Recall: Car Recalls

By Alessandra Esguerra,
International News Assistant Editor

When considering recalls, the most common thought is often of car recalls. They get the most attention because they are, typically, the most dangerous.

General Motors (GM) has had a history of recalling cars over the past several de­cades. In 1971, GM recalled 6.7 million vehicles for engine mount failure. There were 172 cases reported to GM. There had been 63 accidents, but only 18 injuries. GM initially refused to recall their cars, but was overruled by the government. Two years later, GM faced an issue regarding their pickup trucks. If the truck were to be “T-boned,” there was a high risk that the truck would explode. GM settled with the Department of Transportation, which included payments of over $500 million to burn victims from the default.

Ford is one of the most scrutinized for the need to recall cars for deadly design flaws. One of the most infamous cases of recalls is that of the Ford Pinto. Ford knew that if the Pinto was rear-ended, there was a high risk of the gas tank exploding, but decided that it would rather make payments to burn and crash victims rather than recall the Pinto. Over the course of the Pinto’s life, 27 deaths were attributed to the Pinto before it was recalled.

Ford’s most widespread recall was from 1996 through 2009, forcing them to recall cars between 1991 and 2004 due to faulty Texas Instruments switches. The total number of recalled cars was almost 15 million vehicles. Throughout a decade filled with constant recalls, Ford’s reputation and reliability plummeted. It has only been recently that Ford has begun to be a make strides to increasing consumer confidence, but such a scarring decade will not be so easily forgotten.

Cars are already dangerous, but add faulty designs to the mix and it makes driving so much worse. The industry as a whole must be held to high standards in order to protect consumers. Recalling cars is much easier than other consumer products, since companies know who has which cars, making notification of the recall much easier.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Apr. 7 print edition.

Contact Alessandra at


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