The automobile industry saw more than 650 auto recalls in 2012, totaling more than 17.8 million vehicles, child seats and other vehicle equipment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration influenced many of those recalls for safety concerns.
According to the NHTSA, nine million vehicles, as well as 60,000 items of related equipment, such as child safety seats and tires were recalled as a direct result of its findings. Toyota accounted for more than 5.3 million vehicles recalled last year, the highest amount for any one car manufacturer. Honda claimed the second highest, which recalled 3.3 million vehicles. General Motors, third on the list, recalled 1.47 million vehicles in 2012. Other companies featured in the top 10 recall list for 2012 were Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Group, Subaru of America, BMW of North America, Mazda North American Operations, Hyundai – Kia America Technical Center, Kia Motors Corp. and Nissan North America.
Many recalls were brought about through complaints by owners of vehicles. Consumers can file an auto safety defect complaint with the Office of Defects Investigation. Not every complaint will result in an investigation; however, when there are a number of similar complaints, the agency may decide to begin an investigation into the complaint. If the agency believes that it is warranted, it will influence the company to announce a recall.
The Office of Defects Investigation and the Office of Vehicle Safety also monitor information from a number of sources throughout the world to identify potentially dangerous auto defects, which will also influence any decision by the car manufacturer and the NHTSA.