According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA), automakers recalled 63.95 million vehicles, in the U.S., in 2014. That’s more than twice as many recalled in previously record-setting 2004. General Motors (GM) recalls account for a large portion with 27 million recalled in the U.S. Airbag defects were responsible an additional 21 million recalls across more than 10 automakers.
At Least 97 GM Ignition Switch Deaths
As of May 4, 2015, GM has confirmed 97 deaths as a result of its faulty ignition switches, and still has 45 death claims to process. The actual number of deaths caused by the defect may be much higher.
The problem with the ignition switches is that they can accidentally slip out of the run position into the accessory position, shutting the engine off. The result is a loss of power to the steering and the brakes, which can cause an accident while at the same time there is no power to the airbags causing them to fail to deploy.
It is clear that GM took so long to initiate a recall of the affected vehicles. Internal documents show that the problem was discovered as early as 2001.
Exploding Takata Airbags
Airbag defects were responsible for horrific accidents, some likened to having an IED go off in the steering wheel. Of the roughly 21 million vehicles recalled for airbag defects in 2014, more than half were equipped with products made by Takata. Takata supplies many automakers in the U.S.
Takata-related airbag recalls are continuing to expand in 2015.
Airbags Deploying without Warning
In January 2015, the NHTSA announced that four automakers were recalling more than 2.3 million vehicles for an electronic problem that can cause airbags to deploy without warning. About a million of these vehicles contain Takata products. Models affected by the recall include:
- 2002-2003 Jeep Liberty
- 2002-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee
- 2002-2004 Dodge Viper
- 2003-2004 Honda Odyssey
- 2003 Acura MDX
- 2003-2004 Toyota Corolla
- 2003-2004 Toyota Matrix
- 2003-2004 Toyota Avalon
- 2003-2004 Pontiac Vibe
Mini Cooper Faulty Airbag Sensors
In April 2015, the NHTSA announced that BMW was recalling 91,800 Mini Coopers for a defect that could cause the front-passenger airbag to fail to deploy in the crash. A faulty sensor may fail to detect the presence of a passenger in the front seat. Mini Coopers made between 2005 and 2008 are included in the recall.
Ford Door Latch Recall
Just last week, Ford recalled an additional 156,000 vehicles for defective door latches that prevent the doors from latching properly and may allow them to fly open while driving. The total number of cars recalled for this now stands at 545,906. Since 2014, this is Ford’s fifth recall for door latch issues involving more than 1.5 million vehicles. This latest recall relates to 2011-2014 Ford Fiestas, 2014 Lincoln MKZs and 2013-2014 Ford Fusions.