Record Recalls May Not Necessarily Hurt Auto Industry

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Automakers recalled 37.5 million vehicles in the first six months of 2014. That's more cars and trucks recalled than in any prior year. GM led the way but other companies also picked up the pace.


NPR's Business News starts with a car recall record. While more than 37 million vehicles have been recalled in the United States during the first six months of 2014. That is more vehicles than have ever been recalled in this country during a single year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And of course, it's only July. NPR's Sonari Glinton has more.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: If I'm an everyday consumer who drives a car and I hear that there are a record number of recalls, that might make me a little nervous.

MATT DEGEN: Well, rightly so.

GLINTON: Matt Degen with Kelley Blue Book says two things are happening.

DEGEN: You can be real nervous - like you say - and worry that your car's going to fall apart or something, you know, terrible is going to happen while you're on the road, or it may go in one ear and out the other.

GLINTON: Degen says neither is good. On the upside, recalls don't really hurt the resale value of vehicles. And Consumer Reports says recalls don't really factor in how they assess reliability. Let's hear from them.

MIKE QUINCY: Mike Quincy, automotive specialist from Consumer Reports. It is not unusual for even the cars that have the best reliability and Consumer Reports for reliability data to have recalls.

GLINTON: Quincy says though the number of recalls by GM has been excessive. As he says it though, the auto industry's latest recall fever has sort of broken, for now.

QUINCY: What's happening this year is kind of a blip in the radar. But hopefully, from a consumer perspective, we won't see something of this magnitude for a very long time.

GLINTON: Sonari Glinton, NPR News.

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