Auto industry recalls at a glance

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Auto industry recalls at a glance

A look at some large recalls in the U.S. auto industry:

— Jan. 26: Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. suspends U.S. sales of eight recalled car and truck models, including the best-selling Camry sedan. The aim is to fix gas pedals that can stick and cause unintended acceleration. Toyota says it’s unaware of any accidents or injuries due to the pedal problems, but cannot rule them out. The automaker also says it will halt production of the models at six North American assembly plants beginning the first week of February.

— Jan. 21: Toyota announces U.S. recall of 2.3 million vehicles to fix faulty accelerator pedals, its second large recall in four months in the United States.

— Oct 13, 2009: Ford Motor Co. adds 4.5 million older-model vehicles to a long list of those recalled due to a defective cruise control switch that can cause fires, pushing Ford’s total recall due to faulty switches to 14.3 million. The series of recalls, which began in 1999, becomes the largest cumulative recall in U.S. history. There were more than 1,100 reports of fires from the switches in the U.S. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says there have been no confirmed deaths or injuries, but lawsuits have been filed over three deaths allegedly connected to vehicle fires.

— Sept. 29, 2009: Toyota recalls 3.8 million U.S. vehicles to address problems with a removable floor mat that could interfere with the vehicle’s accelerator and cause a crash. The recall, which on Nov. 25 is expanded to 4.3 million vehicles, is the largest in its history. Owners are advised to take out the floor mats on the driver’s side and not replace them. The government attributes at least five deaths and two injuries to accidents in which the gas pedal may have become trapped under the floor mat, causing sudden acceleration.

— Oct. 2005: Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire agrees to pay $240 million to Ford Motor Co. to settle claims related to the tire maker’s 2000 recall of defective tires and the 2001 tire-replacement program.

— Aug. 2000: Bridgestone Firestone recalls 6.5 million tires. At least 271 people are reported killed and hundreds more injured in accidents involving Firestone ATX and AT tires, which were widely used on Ford Explorers. Safety officials discover tires were prone to losing their tread, causing rollovers. Bridgestone Firestone spends more than $10 million advertising the 2001 recall and sent 2 million recall letters in 2003 to owners under a class-action settlement. Ford separately recalls more than 10 million tires, and the crisis leads to congressional hearings and the passage of the federal TREAD Act in 2000 to spot safety defects earlier.

— March 2004: General Motors recalls 4 million 2000-2004 pickups worldwide because their tailgates can break without warning. The culprit: common cables that hold the trucks’ tailgates in place can corrode or fracture. GM officials say they received reports of 134 injuries related to the cables.

— March 1996: Ford recalls more than 8 million 1988-1993 cars to replace defective ignition switches in what was the largest single U.S. recall at the time. The switches can produce electrical shorts, causing engine misfires that led to stalling, as well as and brake and steering failures. The problem is implicated in hundreds of vehicle fires, and as many as 11 deaths and 31 injuries. Ford faces multiple lawsuits

— May 1995: Eleven manufacturers recall 8.9 million vehicles sold from 1986 through 1991 for Japanese-made seat belt defects, because of concerns the buckles sometimes jam or fail to latch or unlatch. NHTSA, which has been investigating the belts for nine months, says it received hundreds of complaints related to the belts, including some 90 injury reports. There are no reports of fatalities linked to the belts.

— April 1993: NHTSA asks General Motors to recall 4.7 million 1973-1987 full-size pickup trucks with side-mounted fuel tanks.

— Sept. 1987: Ford recalls 4.3 million 1986-1988 model cars, trucks and vans, including some of its most popular models. Ford says the recall follows 222 reports of engine fires caused by a failure of couplings used to connect fuel lines, which caused eight injuries.

— Feb. 1981: GM recalls 5.8 million 1978-1981 cars and light trucks for replacement of two bolts which could fail and send the vehicles out of control. The automaker says it had received reports of 27 accidents that resulted in 22 injuries, none of them serious.

— 1980: The U.S. government allows Ford to mail warning labels to owners of more than 20 million 1970-1980 cars and light trucks with automatic transmissions that can slip into reverse, thus avoiding the largest safety recall in automotive history. The dashboard stickers advise drivers not to leave the vehicle with the engine running, to use the parking brake and to make sure the transmission has been placed in park. However, NHTSA considers the warnings a recall. NHTSA finds that slipping transmissions caused 6,000 accidents resulting in 1,710 injuries and 98 deaths.

— 1973: GM recalls 3.7 million models of 1971-1972 cars due to engine shield problem that could cause stones to lodge in the steering mechanism.

— 1972: Ford recalls more than 4 million 1970-1971 models because the shoulder seat belts could break free of the buckle.

— 1971: GM recalls 6.7 million 1965-1969 various model Chevrolets, to fix faulty engine mounts.

Sources: AP reporting including National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.

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