Manufacturers recalled 22 millions vehicles in 2013 for defects that endangered drivers and passengers, the New York Times reported recently. The recalls of cars, trucks, and other passenger vehicles were the most since 2004, when 31 million vehicles were recalled.
Nonetheless, some car companies project record-setting operating profits for 2014, according to Reuters. Toyota, the world’s best-selling automaker, is particularly bullish and has faith that the U.S. economic recovery will continue to lead to greater car sales.
Toyota led the pack in recalls in 2013 for equipment defects and safety hazards that could cause injury, death, or financial loss to customers. Toyota and its upscale brand Lexus recalled 5.3 million vehicles in 2013.
The company also is reportedly settling numerous personal injury lawsuits brought by customers who experienced unintended acceleration, power loss, and other problems. Toyota is said to be close to a settlement of a federal investigation of whether it properly disclosed possible defects to regulators.
In 2013, 1.6 million Toyota vehicles were recalled on account of airbag problems. Airbags were reportedly deploying without a crash, which can be very dangerous or deadly to passengers and drivers alike.
Chrysler had the next-highest number of recalls for 2013, with a total of 4.7 million vehicles affected in 36 separate recalls. The recalls included 1.6 million Jeep Grand Cherokees that were in danger of catching fire in rear-impact wrecks.
Honda/Acura was third, with 2.7 million autos recalled in 2013.
The federal government has presided over recalls of more than 540 million autos since 1966. Some of the largest manufacturers top the list of recalls each year because there are so many of their cars and trucks.
In the year ahead, Toyota and its competitors are, as always, jockeying for market share despite a history of safety problems that endanger loyal customers.