March 3, 2005

Recalls jump 44%

Ottawa, Ontario – Transport Canada reports that recalls to check and repair automobiles and trucks were issued to 3.77 million vehicles, representing a jump of 44 per cent in 2004 over 2003 figures. The number represents more than one in six vehicles currently on the road.

Vehicle recalls in the first six months of 2004 surpassed those of all of 2003. Analysts attribute it to paying more attention to safety, earlier detection and threat of litigation. In the U.S., additional reporting requirements under recent legislation, along with more class action lawsuits, have helped drive up recall numbers in Canada, since American recalls are usually extended to Canadian customers.

In the U.S., recalls last year climbed almost one-third over 2003 to a record 30.6 million vehicles. Analysts are saying automakers are more diligent about checking and repairing automobiles for potential problems than they were ten years ago.

Transport Canada says that the U.S. Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act of 2003 may be affecting recalls here. The law was enacted after a lack of information delayed the recall of millions of Firestone tires, which were later co-named in lawsuits arising from deaths involving Ford Explorers.

GM experienced Canada’s largest recall of 2004, when it notified 337,025 vehicle owners of a problem relating to potential ignition electrical fires. It also sent notices to replace corroding tailgate support cables in 301,974 pickups.

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