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Yet another new wave of auto recalls; when will it end?

On September 29, The Wall Street Journal ran an article announcing that Toyota Motor Co. will recall approximately 690,000 Tacoma pickup trucks over rear suspension issues. Reportedly, springs in the rear suspension could corrode and fracture, causing fractured spring ends to puncture the fuel tank. The recall affects model years 2005 through 2011 of the Toyota Tacoma pickup truck.

Not even a week earlier on September 26, Ford Motor Co. announced a safety recall of 850,000 vehicles. The day before that, Chrysler recalled 350,000 automobiles to fix a faulty ignition switch issue.

Currently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is pursuing a formal review of a complaint alleging that 4.9 million trucks, vans and sport-utility vehicles marketed by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are at risk of air bag failures and engine stalling. The petition for National Highway Traffic Safety Administration review of the issue includes 70 complaints; if there is indeed a problem, it would affect nearly every Chrysler vehicle produced since 2007.

Automobile defects have always been a concern in the automotive industry. But this year, things seem to really be spiraling out of control. In the wake of the massive GM recall concerning faulty ignition switches, which have already been linked to nearly 30 deaths, automakers have become more leery and consumer advocates have become more demanding.

While hopefully the costly repercussions of these safety issues for automakers will eventually lead to the production of safer automobiles, for right now, it is hard to see the wave of publicity concerning auto defects as much more than a grim reminder that there are a whole lot – millions and millions – of inherently dangerous vehicles traversing America’s roads and highways.

 

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Toyota to Recall 690,000 Tacoma Pickup Trucks,” Jeff Bennett, Sept. 29, 2014