When a car manufacturer recalls large numbers of vehicles, it doesn’t look great. But how do you feel about the manufacturers who decide not to recall cars when problems arise?
Car recalls have been big news stories lately, with successive safety issues persuading a number of companies to issue massive recalls involving millions of cars.
Generally speaking, this is viewed as Bad News for the car company involved.
You can see why some people might view recalls as bad PR. For example, when Toyota had to recall eight million cars with faulty accelerator pedals, the president of the company apologised publicly. Toyota hadn’t delivered the quality expected of the brand, which took an estimated £1.2bn loss in repair costs and dented sales as a result.
Is a recall really bad news?
But let’s turn it on its head. What if Toyota had failed to act on information it uncovered, and decided not to recall its cars? That would have been much worse, potentially putting people’s lives at risk.
In the UK, the car recalls system effectively lets manufacturers decide if and when to recall cars. If a car maker deems that a fault with one its models should not warrant a recall, that’s effectively the end of the matter.
I’m certainly not alone in applauding companies who recall cars on safety grounds. And I think much more should be done to highlight companies who don’t recall cars, even when there seems to us a compelling case to do so.
Which? investigates car faults
For instance, we have been following the case of several Peugeot 307 CCs whose seatbelt pre-tensioners have exploded. In at least one case this happened without any prior warning, and in some instances personal injuries were suffered.
Despite investigating, the body tasked with enforcing recalls in the UK, VOSA, decided that it wasn’t a safety matter and no recall has been issued.
And we’ve recently highlighted an issue with the Volkswagen Passat electronic parking brake, which is prone to failure. On one forum, over 80 such cases have been reported.
I think the system needs to change, and Which? wants to hear from you. If you’ve suffered a safety-related fault with your car – like a problem with the brakes, steering, suspension or safety systems – we’d like you to report the fault to us.
Do you think car recalls are good news or bad news for drivers?