New Era of Recall Transparency Benefits Consumers | Edmunds

New Era of Recall Transparency Benefits Consumers


Just the Facts:
  • The media tends to shine car recalls in a negative light, but a new openness about recalls can foster trust among manufacturers, dealers and consumers, said Jessica Caldwell, an Edmunds senior analyst.
  • "It's always better to err on the side of caution and given the sensitivity around auto safety in the last five years, it should be no surprise that we see as many recalls as we do today," Caldwell said.
  • At the same time, Congress is considering legislation that would make more information about defects readily available to the public.

SANTA MONICA, California The media tends to shine car recalls in a negative light, but a new openness about recalls can foster trust among manufacturers, dealers and consumers, said Jessica Caldwell, an Edmunds senior analyst.

The recent proliferation of recalls, including Toyota's worldwide recall of 6.4 million vehicles and the recall of 2.6 million GM cars for defective ignition switches, illustrates a positive trend, in some respects.

"This is really the behavior we want manufacturers to exhibit," Caldwell said. "It shows that they recognize a product flaw and that they want to correct it to protect the safety of current and future owners.

"Recalls do not make life easier for dealers who need to implement the fixes, nor do they make it easier for car shoppers who need to weigh one more consideration when they buy.

But it's always better to err on the side of caution, and given the sensitivity around auto safety in the last five years, it should be no surprise that we see as many recalls as we do today. This sort of openness ultimately helps to foster trust between manufacturers, dealers and shoppers."

At the same time, Congress is considering legislation that would make more information about defects readily available to the public.

H.R. 4364, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2014, was introduced on April 1 by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-California) and eight Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats.

The bill "would enhance the quality and transparency of passenger motor vehicle safety information collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration."

Manufacturers would be required to report additional information on fatal incidents to NHTSA's Early Warning Reporting System. The bill would also provide NHTSA with additional funding, increase penalties when companies fail to comply and give the safety agency the authority to expedite a recall in the case "of an imminent hazard to the public."

During a Congressional hearing on the GM recall last week, Waxman said the bill was designed "to make sure we're not here after another auto safety tragedy."

Edmunds says: As always, Edmunds recommends that car shoppers take all recall notices seriously. Owners who have received notice are urged to contact their dealers to schedule a fix as soon as possible.

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