50 million U.S. vehicles still subject to recall, Carfax says

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New data from Carfax shows that 50 million U.S. vehicles have an open recall issue that drivers are expected to get repaired.

That’s a 6 percent decrease from the number in 2021 and a 19 percent decrease since 2017, but it’s still a significant concern for driver safety, Carfax says.

Information — such as recall costs being fully covered by automakers — must continue to spread, said Faisal Hasan, general manager of data and public policy at Carfax.

“The goal is to get the information out there. But why aren’t people coming in? That’s probably the hardest question to answer,” Hasan said.

Takata airbags and “do not drive” recalls are the most common open recalls today, Hasan said. About 67 million Takata airbag inflators have been under recall in the U.S. for several years because of a potentially lethal defect linked to at least 19 deaths and 400 injuries.

“There’s no question that the Takata airbag continues to be an issue. That continues to be really key, and folks need to pay attention to that, and they need to check their VINs,” Hasan said. “You also get a lot of ‘do not drives,’ and those are usually small sets of VINs. Those have been constant in the past couple of years.”

Dealers are attempting several solutions to bring more people into the service department to get issues fixed, said Hasan.

“Consumers today are inundated with all types of emails and stuff coming to your house. We have a tendency to throw that stuff away, to delete an email,” he said.

Carfax has “partnered with DMVs like in California, New York, Texas, Ohio, Maryland and so on,” Hasan said. “We’ve reached out to insurance companies, fleet companies, finance companies, all the rental car companies, Uber, Lyft and auctions, too.”

Hasan said consumers are less likely to throw away mail if they believe it is from a professional entity.

“When you get a note, an email, anything from the DMV related to your car, your insurance company, maybe through financing the car from your bank, you’re probably going to immediately open that to see what’s going on,” Hasan said. “The more touch points we can create, good ones like those, that’s how we get people to come in and close their recalls.”

Dealers face potential liabilities as well. A dealership in Texas was sued last month along with Ford Motor Co. for not replacing a Takata airbag on a 2007 Ford Mustang it sold. The vehicle later was involved in an accident in which the airbag injured someone riding in the car, the lawsuit says.

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