Which Automaker Has the Worst Recall Record?

Of the 14.5 million cars sold in 2012 almost as many current and past models were recalled.

The biggest surprise was that the two brands that are most highly regarded for their quality and reliability, Toyota and Honda, had a combined total of more than half of all recalls. Toyota voluntarily recalled nearly 5 million Toyota, Lexus and Scion models, while Honda initiated recalls for over 3.4 million Honda and Acura vehicles. Autos were being recalled for things such as power-window issues, suspension problems, steering troubles, faulty ignition switches, and potential low-beam headlamp failures.

Also surprisingly; by comparison, GM and Ford had far less recalls in 2012. GM recalled nearly 1.3 million cars and trucks, and Ford recalled an estimated 1.1 million.

No automaker went totally unscathed; Rolls-Royce, Lotus and Lamborghini had at least one recall during 2012. Their recalls ranged from possible catastrophic engine failure (BMW M5 and M6 models) to relatively minor things, such as needing a few replacement pages for their owners’ manuals.

Despite the high number of recalls, auto sales were up. Apparently, the average consumer shrugs off recalls that are issued voluntarily by a manufacturer. Some even see a voluntary recall as “a good thing.”  More than likely, that has a lot to do with brand loyalty.

12 Largest Auto Recalls in History

Graph from: Auto Insurance Center

Statistic Verification Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Research Date: 12.6.2012

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Debbie Horowitz

Deborah L. Horowitz, an attorney who has been licensed in California to practice law for over 15 years, has dedicated her entire legal career to protecting consumer rights. She has settled over 8,000 lemon law cases and achieved excellent results for her clients.