When a major fault occurs because of a design failure, the only option open to manufacturers is to do a blanket recall to fix things.
The most recent to hit the news, of course, was in 2016 for Volkswagen when a problem was identified with their software for monitoring emissions.
Major recalls are not unusual, however, Volkswagen certainly isn’t the largest we’ve seen over the last 50 years. A new infographic from OSV, a vehicle leasing company, takes a look at the biggest and most notorious in the history of motor manufacturing.
One of the best recognised names in the industry, Ford has had three major recalls in the last 50 years which are enough to make your eyes water. During the biggest, in 1980, some 21 million cars that had a tendency to come out of parking mode without any warning were finally recalled. The initial response by the company was to issue everyone with a sticker to warn about the fault. When this failed, they had no option but to put into operation the largest recall in automotive history.
The nineties were particularly troublesome for Ford. In 1996, nearly 8 million vehicles had to be recalled because of an ignition switch issue that was setting cars on fire.
A few years later in 1999, 15 million cars went back to the manufacturer because the cruise control had the potential to catch fire.
Another big name in car manufacturing has had its fair share of problems. General motors had to recall 7 million cars in 1971 because of an issue with sudden and unwanted acceleration.
In 1981, another 5.8 million cars were recalled when a problem with the rear suspension was discovered.
The last was in 2014 when a safety issue was spotted and nearly 6 million cars recalled. The ignition switch in this case was cutting the engine, something that eventually cost General Motors some $4 billion to put right.
Toyota and Honda
Toyota has had to undertake two massive recalls in recent history. In 2009, the problem was with the accelerator pedal which caused cars to suddenly speed up – 9 million were recalled. In 2012, electric windows were the issue and 7.8 cars had to be called in for a fix.
Finally, non-inflating airbags were the issue for another major Japanese car firm, Honda, that made them recall around 5.4 million cars in 2014.
You can check out the full list of recalls on the OSV website.