Massive scale of Toyota recall down to increase in common car parts

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Recalls are not uncommon in the car industry, but as car manufacturers use the same parts in many different models they are getting bigger. Photograph: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Recalls are not uncommon in the car industry, but car experts think they are getting bigger as car manufacturers use the same parts in many different models.

General Motors’ faulty ignition switches

The world’s second largest carmaker was criticised by US regulators on Tuesday for a “troubling” failure to supply information about faulty ignition switches linked to 13 deaths. The company recalled 2.6m cars in February and March, although the problems, affecting the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion, first came to light a decade ago.

Toyota’s accelerator pedal problem

In 2009-10 Toyota recalled 10m cars over problems with a sticky accelerator pedal linked to fatal accidents. The issue first came to light in the US, with the recall of 4.2m vehicles, but the probe soon widened to Europe and Asia. The recall of millions of cars, including bestsellers such as the Prius, the Lexus and the Camry, set the company back $2bn (£1.26bn) in extra costs. Last month it agreed to pay $1.2bn to end a US criminal investigation, where it was accused of hiding problems with its vehicles from regulators.

Toyota’s dodgy window switches

With its reputation still tarnished by the braking problem, Toyota was forced in October 2012 to recall 7.4m cars over a faulty window switch that was a potential fire hazard. It was the single biggest recall in one day since Ford pulled 8m cars off the roads in 1996. In February 2014 the company recalled 1.9m Prius cars over a programming glitch in the hybrid system.

Ford’s fire-risky cruise control

In 2009 Ford warned drivers of 4.5m of its vehicles to stay off the roads, when a faulty cruise-control system posing a fire risk was uncovered across several models. Ford had already been grappling with this problem for more than a decade, which led it to recall a total of 14.2m vehicles. The faulty switches, affecting vans and off-road vehicles in north America under the Ford Lincoln and Mercury brands, brought a spate of lawsuits alleging fires and injury.


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