About 40% of all vehicles recalled between 2013 and 2015 (representing more than 45 million vehicles) still haven’t been fixed, according to J.D. Power. Nearly 109 million cars and trucks were recalled during that time period.
Stricter regulations, standardization of parts and new technologies have caused automakers to increase the number of vehicle recalls for four consecutive years, including records in 2014 and 2015. Consumer complaints, which can help automakers and regulators identify concerns more quickly, are also rising significantly.
By analyzing National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and their own proprietary benchmarking data, J.D. Power has identified that primary factors affecting completion rates are vehicle age and type, number of cars involved in a recall, and the type of recall.
•Age: Consumers are less likely to take in older cars and trucks for recall fixes. The completion rate for vehicles with model years between 2013 and 2017 is 73%, compared to 44% for vehicles manufactured between 2003 and 2007. Many times it’s hard for automakers to contact second- or third-generations of owners •Vehicle Type: Among vehicle segments, big vans have the highest overall recall completion rate at 86%, followed closely by compact premium SUVs at 85%. Those compare with the mid-premium sports car segment, which has a completion rate of just 31%, and with large SUV’s, which have a completion rate of 33%.•Larger Recalls, Bigger Problems: The completion rate for individual recalls affecting more than one million vehicles is 49%. This compares with a 67% completion rate for individual recalls affecting less than 10,000 vehicles. Some of the problem may involve parts shortages or dealers not receiving the parts in a timely fashion. •Type of Recall: The highest recall completion rates for components are for powertrains (71%), electrical (62%) and brakes (66%). Air bags and suspension issues have the lowest completion rates at 47% and 48%, respectively.
Automakers, pushed by NHTSA, have launched new initiatives to get vehicle owners to get vehicles repaired. If an automaker and dealer handle recalls well, they can turn a negative into a positive—whether it be reconnecting with a former customer or showing them new products they have to offer.