Through the first 10 months of 2014, automakers have recalled over 56 million vehicles in the United States, according to the Detroit Free Press. That figure surpasses the previous high set in 1999 and represents a low point of product quality in the industry’s history. While it is fair to say cars have become more dependent on technology in recent years and have more software recalls, the General Motors ignition switch scandal reminded everyone that tech is hardly the chief culprit in these tales.
It would also be unfair to blame the industry as a whole. Among the biggest automakers, Nissan has recalled a fraction of the vehicles other automakers have in 2014, while one automaker has opened a new chapter of notoriety by claiming more than half of the industry’s record recall total. Let’s just hope that, like Al Pacino’s character in Scent of a Woman, they’re not “just gettin’ warmed up” and have more notices to send out before New Year’s Day.
Here are the 10 automakers with the highest total of recalled vehicles in 2014. Totals are from the running count listed on iSeeCars.com and cover any recalls through November 1, 2014.
Mazda was damaged heavily by the Takata airbag recall that brought about 65,000 automobiles back, but that number is less than one-third of the number of vehicles it has already recalled in 2014. Through the first 10 months of the year, Mazda has recalled 273,846 vehicles, which is 70% more than it did through October 2013. The most bizarre recall of the year might go to Mazda as well: In April, the potential for spider infiltration in vehicles led to a safety fix for 42,000 cars.
In October, Mitsubishi recalled 166,000 vehicles (including Lancer and Outlander) for a problem that could cause the engine to stall. Over 11,000 Lancer and Raider models from 2004 through 2006 were recalled for the Takata airbag issue. Mitsubishi’s total number of recalled vehicles is 589,261 through October 2014. As a point of reference, the automaker sold just 62,227 vehicles in the United States in 2013, while its recall rate is more than 10 times its sales in 2014.
Subaru has had recalls for Outback trailer hitch assembly issues, Takata airbag defects, and problems with brake lines to total 677,810 automobiles brought back in for corrective measures in 2014. Compared to its 424,683 sales in 2013, the number of recalls is leading by a huge margin. The automaker has doubled its number of recalls issued during the first 10 months of 2013.
Among German luxury automakers, BMW was the only one bruised by the Takata airbag recall. Through October 2014, BMW has issued recalls for over 600,000 vehicles with the airbags installed. That represents the lion’s share of the automaker’s recalls for the year, which hit 756,282 vehicles after 10 months. Things were not much better for BMW in 2013 as far as recalls are concerned. Most of the cars in question were 3 Series models from 2000 to 2006.
Nissan has already issued recalls affecting a potential 1,489,662 vehicles in 2014. While many (694K) were linked to the Takata airbag issue, other airbag problems were identified in airbags affecting almost a million cars in total. Among the full-line automakers selling over one million vehicles annually in the U.S., Nissan’s total is nonetheless on the low end of the scale.
Ford Motor Company has both the best-selling vehicle for decades running and the most recalled vehicle of that time period in the F-150 pickup. Since 1990, nearly 15 million F-150 vehicles were named in recall notices, while another 15 million Explorer and Topaz/Tempo sedans were also recalled. Through October 2014, Ford has recalled 3,815,051 vehicles in the U.S. The largest notice went out for problems that could cause power steering to fail in over 900,000 vehicles in May. In September, 850,000 Ford vehicles were recalled for airbag defects.
4. Fiat Chrysler
After announcing three separate recalls in the last week of October, Fiat Chrysler ran its total number of affected vehicles to 5,512,697 in the first 10 months of 2014. Dodge Grand Caravan minivans and Ram pickups are in the top 10 of vehicles recalled since 1990 (fifth and 10th, respectively) with over 13 million units recalled between them in that time alone. As for this year, recalls have been issued for the Dodge Durango, Challenger, Charger, and Nitro, among other models.
Toyota was one of the automakers hit hardest by the Takata airbag recall with nearly 900,000 automobiles from 2002 through 2005 given notices this year. However, that was only a drop in the bucket for Toyota’s 5,543,303 vehicle recalls through October 2014. A problem in the steering column bracket involved several million automobiles earlier in the year. The automaker’s total from 2014 is still a fraction of the 10 million vehicles recalled in 2010 relating to the unintended acceleration issue.
Honda’s recall woes in 2014 are easily traceable. Through October, the automaker issued 5,566,013 recalls. Out of that number, about 5 million were related to the Takata airbag issue. Honda’s total is about twice what it was in 2013. Like the other automakers in the top five of this list, Honda has one of the most recalled cars of the last 25 years in the Accord. Since 1990, 8.7 million Accords have been listed as potentially affected in different recall notices.
1. General Motors
While there have been bloated recall totals from nearly every major automaker in 2014, General Motors has over five times the number of its nearest challenger on this list. Through October 2014, GM has recalled 28,967,917 automobiles sold to U.S. consumers. GM brands represent more than half the recalled vehicles in this record-setting year, with most of them tied to the company’s ignition switch debacle. Claims Journal reports the cost of the recall has hit $2.7 billion in 2014, which covers 34 million recalls worldwide. According to the report, new lawsuits over the ignition switch problem are being filed on a daily basis.