Are the cars on our highways getting more dangerous? That might be a logical assumption considering the rapid rise in recalls over the last five years. In 2013, a total of 22 million vehicles were involved in recalls in the U.S. alone, up about 20% from the previous year, according to federal data, and the pace is only accelerating.
Since the beginning of the year, General Motors alone has issued recall notices for approximately 6.3 million vehicles – about 40% of those due to faulty ignition switches linked to at least 31 crashes and 13 fatalities. On Wednesday, Toyota announced it was recalling 6.4 million of its own vehicles – 6.7 million if you include products it also assembled for other manufacturers.
While not all of those Toyota products were sold in the States, preliminary data suggest about 11 million cars, trucks and crossovers have been covered by U.S. recalls during just the first 14 weeks of this year, roughly half as many as during all of 2013. And over the past year, it was hard to find a single maker not on the list, large or small, from mainstream brands like Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen, to that most exclusive of marques, Rolls-Royce.