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Why do carmakers recall vehicles?

| Jul 21, 2021 | Products Liability

Auto manufacturers issue recalls when they learn about defects in their products that could compromise safety. Vehicle owners in New York and around the country are normally notified about recalls by mail, but they may also receive phone calls if the safety issue is a serious one. Carmakers are required to cover the costs of recall repairs even if the vehicles involved are out of warranty, and dealers are expected to consider the work a priority.

Ordering vehicle recalls

Automobile manufacturers usually issue recalls voluntarily after receiving complaints from consumers or learning about accidents involving their products, and they consult with officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration before taking action. When a carmaker is reluctant to act after learning about a potentially dangerous defect, the NHTSA may step in and order a recall. However, official action is rarely required as manufacturers generally act quickly to avoid product liability litigation. A safety issues can sometimes be remedied with a simple software update, but most recalls require parts to be replaced and cost manufacturers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Recent recalls

There have been several recalls in recent years that involved tens of millions of vehicles. Some of the most notable include:

  • General Motors recalling 2.6 million cars to repair faulty ignition switches linked to 42 accidents and 13 deaths
  • Toyota recalling 20 million vehicles in 2014 to address an unintended acceleration issue
  • The electric carmaker Tesla recalling every Model S sedan ever made to fix faulty seat belts
  • Ford recalling almost half a million Fiesta, Fusion and Escape models to repair defective door latches and correct cooling problems
  • Multiple manufacturers recalling about 67 million vehicles to replace defective airbags manufactured by the Japanese parts supplier Takata

Product liability lawsuits

If you suffer harm because a product you purchased was defective, an experienced personal injury attorney could take action on your behalf by filing a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. If the facts suggest that the manufacturer acted negligently, you could be awarded damages to cover your health care expenses and lost income and compensate you for your pain and suffering.