There are basically two opposing conclusions one could come to when reading about an abundance of vehicle recalls: 1. more recall-prompting safety defects means that the quality of vehicles is on the decline, or 2. defects that previously would have gone undetected or uncorrected are being spotted and taken care of before widespread safety issues arise.
A report out of Detroit emphasizes the latter conclusion, pointing to the efforts of automakers to be proactive about their recalls. This recent attention to getting ahead of the problem before it starts is said to stem from the sullied reputation that befell Toyota in the wake of myriad unintended acceleration reports. Many felt that Toyota did not act as swiftly as it could have to correct the matter, and they suffered in the public eye.
As a sign of just how careful automakers have become, one need only look to the number of recalled vehicles versus the number of vehicles said to suffer from a defect. Chrysler recently recalled a couple thousand vehicles for an issue that was thought to affect 16. Not 16,000, just 16. That company has recalled over a quarter million vehicles in the recent past, and the six recalls that encompassed those numbers were all issued without instances of adversity being reported.
When the public sees such a recall issued without the government forcing an automaker’s hand, the reputation of the manufacturer benefits. Among the other reasons for an uptick in the number of recalls is said to be the availability of software that can identify potential problems and an abundance of disparate vehicles that nevertheless use a single component from one facility.