According to the Detroit News, NHTSA, in conjunction with automakers, has recalled 10.2 million vehicles in the first six months of the year and is on track to recall 20 million vehicles for all of 2010. For comparison, 16.4 million vehicles were recalled in 2009.
This year’s spike is partially due to Toyota’s continuing recalls. Toyota has recalled 4.63 million vehicles this year and has been fined $16.4 million by the U.S. government for failing to notify NHTSA about problems in 2.3 million vehicles with sticky gas pedals.
Other big offenders include General Motors, which has recalled 2.9 million vehicles including 1.36 million for a defect in a discontinued heated windshield wiper feature.
The Toyota recall was the crucible that led to greater consumer complaints and increased sensitivity to them by NHTSA. The government agency was criticized for not reacting quickly enough to consumers’ complaints about runaway vehicles.
NHTSA is now stepping in earlier on potential issues and probing automakers even when there are few logged complaints. Congress is also contemplating giving the federal agency more power and oversight of the automotive industry. NHTSA’s chief David Strickland would like to increase the speed of his agency’s investigation time, but thinks changing the way it regulates is unnecessary.
Auto recalls climbing under federal pressure (The Detroit News)