While Toyota has experienced well-publicized difficulties with millions of cars being recalled over the past few years, the motoring public generally thinks of cars from Eastern Europe or Korea when they hear that a new flaw in a vehicle’s safety systems means they have to be taken back to the dealer for a (hopefully) quick fix. Certainly, anyone purchasing a vehicle in the high-priced luxury range would expect, at the very least, that their rather expensive wheels will get them safely from Point A to Point B.
However, that’s not always the case, and some of the vehicles that have recently been the subject of car recalls may surprise you. Yes, Toyota is included in the list, but even the manufacturer who lists the safety of their vehicles as a key selling point, Volvo, have recently been fined a hefty sum for not announcing safety recalls within the designated time limits once a defect is confirmed.
German models pepper the list of car recalls
Premier brands like Porsche, BMW and Audi have all recently announced car recalls, prompting some observers to shake their heads in wonder. These are supposed to be top-end brands with a top-end price tag, and owners don’t expect safety issues when they’re shelling out up to six figures for four wheels.
While German models pepper the list, American-made cars make up their fair share of the recently recalled vehicles. Just a few of the models subjected to recent car recalls and the faults found include:
- The 2012 Porsche Cayenne, and the 2011-2012 Porsche Panamera. A total of 270 vehicles manufactured from Sept. 13, 2010, to May 22, 2012, have two turbochargers with turbine wheels that could fracture because of a casting defect. That fracture could draw oil into the exhaust system, with the potential for triggering an engine fire. Porsche will notify the relevant owners starting this month to bring their vehicles in and get a free set of new turbine wheels.
- BMW is also having its share of difficulties with two of its 2012 models—the Z4 convertible and the Active E electric car. The auto giant is recalling 162 cars in total, because of a fault found with variations in electrical current. It was found that these fluctuations could cause the power-steering system to stop working, creating an obvious accident hazard. Owners will be notified at the end of July.
- Audi has discovered an issue that could certainly affect any Oregon drivers of its 2012 Q5 compact SUV. It seems the front sunroof glass panel can break in extremely cold temperatures, and if this happened while you were driving, you or your passengers could be injured, or at the very least, the driver would be badly distracted. If you own one of these models, check the sticker on the driver-side doorjamb for the build date. If your car was built between June 21 and Dec. 9, 2011, you will probably receive a recall notice sometime after the first week in August.
- Volvo has landed themselves in hot water with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over numerous delays in issuing recalls. NHTSA regulations state that a car maker has five business days to tell them when a defect has been identified. Volvo recently accepted a $1.5 million fine for:
- Failure to issue no fewer than six safety recalls within the prescribed time limits in 2010
- A similar failure to report in 2012
The latest safety fault affects 1,469 2011-2013 versions of the S80 sedan, which has an issue with software errors that affect the automatic transmission. In some cases, the software incorrectly prevents the car from downshifting, which could lead to an engine stall and the risk of a crash. Recalls are starting now.
- Ford hasn’t escaped the current rash of recalls, or more to the point, their 2013 Escape hasn’t escaped. The compact crossover has an issue with carpet padding in the center console trim panel that could impede the brake pedal. In some cases, this could lead to longer stopping distances and times, with obvious risks. Ford will start sending out recall notices on July 23.
- It seems like no recall list these days would be complete without Toyota being featured somewhere near the top, and the latest round of recalls are no exception. The brand that once referred to their vehicles as “the best built cars in the world” are now recalling another 131,800 of their 2010 Lexus RX350, plus an additional 22,200 of the Lexus RX450h SUVs. The reason for this recall is the same one that has seen Toyota bring back more than 4 million vehicles since mid-2009. The floor mats installed in all affected vehicles could entrap the accelerator pedal, causing an unintended acceleration with disastrous results.
Other car manufacturers have been recalling their vehicles as well. Nissan are bringing back some of their 2012 Juke hatchbacks for problems with an improper weld on a seatback, and Isuzu are recalling models that were built as long as 13 years ago for problems with excessive corrosion on the rear suspension’s lower link bracket. The variety of issues for which recalls are being made are as numerous as the companies making the cars themselves.
While things like bulging floor mats and glass that can’t take a frosty morning in Portland may seem on the face of it to be relatively harmless, these issues can and have been at the root of a number of accidents and injuries, and they need to be addressed.
Car makers are quick to point out the exceptional safety features of their vehicles, and huge steps have been made in recent years to make cars safer and more reliable. In addition, thanks to strict enforcement by the NHTSA, manufacturers are far less inclined to delay recalls once defects have been found.
Unfortunately, when defective vehicles do cause accidents, the results for the unsuspecting occupants can be devastating. These are not cases where “it’s just one of those things,” however. Just because auto makers are for the most part faceless entities, that doesn’t mean they’re exempt for liability for injuries caused to individuals.
If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by a design fault or a mechanical defect, you shouldn’t be stuck with huge medical bills or have to figure out how you’ll make up for the lost wages from being out of work.
To be sure, holding a giant car maker liable will require no small amount of expertise, so if you’re an Oregon resident with a claim to make, speak to a Portland product liability attorney who has a track record of success in dealing with your kind of claim. They can explain the process to you, and from the initial consultation until you receive the compensation you deserve, you won’t pay a penny for their services.