Auto defects have escalated in the last few years leading to a record number of recalls and billions paid in claims. In terms of the number of notices issued and cars recalled, 2016 was a record year for the car industry. A study published in January, 2018 sheds some light on this trend. In spite of the expenses and negative publicity, manufacturers have continued to pursue both innovation and cost-cutting measures that have compromised the quality of their products.
The Costs of Defects
The costs of repairing defects for auto manufacturers have soared. Automakers and suppliers paid just over $22 billion in claims and warranty accruals for recalls in 2016. This is an estimated 26 percent increase from the previous year. Recalls in the U.S. in 2016 rose to 53.1 million, increasing nearly 5 percent from 2015. A large percentage of these recalls were attributed to GM’s ignition switch issues and Takata’s defective airbag systems, but about 300 other less publicized recalls took place in 2016.
Increase in Electrical System Recalls
The most-cited reason for recalls in the past few years has been faulty electronic systems. This highlights the industry’s growing focus on developing technology systems that offer improved safety and comfort features. It also underscores one of the reasons for soaring recall numbers: when a recall involves electronic systems, it typically affects an entire lot of vehicle models. In contrast, manufacturing defects are often limited to a narrower segment of automobiles, such as a particular region or time frame associated with manufacturing. With the race to implement new and better electrical systems in cars, these large-scale recalls are likely to persist.
How has the Bottom Line Affected Manufacturer’s Decisions?
The study also explored the link between increased auto defects and quality issues in the affected automobiles. The number of consumer complaints and reported quality problems has grown steadily since 2013. Yet the majority of manufacturers do not invest adequately in quality control and there is little evidence that this will change quickly. Many examples of poor quality as a result of cost-cutting measures have become public in the auto industry. In October, 2017, it was revealed that Kobe Steel, a leading manufacturer of metal supplies for cars, submitted false quality data when representing its substandard metal parts as meeting industry guidelines. There are many reasons for manufacturer’s lax treatment of quality issues: prioritization of sales volume, failure to conduct analyses after recalls, inadequate attempts to redress quality issues and lack of funding and personnel. The good news: a number of auto companies have begun to implement either targeted campaigns or wholesale overhauls to improve quality. Consumers are hopeful this trend will continue.
If you or a member of your family suffered injury or death as a result of negligence or a defective automobile, contact the attorneys Alexander Law Group, LLP. Our exceptional personal injury lawyers will answer your questions and get you the maximum compensation that is possible. Call 888.777.1776 or contact us online.