General Motors is in quite the tight spot. The company has been grappling with a very public ignition switch recall that has affected 2.2 million vehicles, but now faces a second round of recalls that targets a faulty power steering system in an estimated 1.3 million vehicles. While 3.5 million vehicles is no small number to recall, it’s only a fraction of some of this country’s most sweeping recalls.
Back in the late ’60s, General Motors faced a different type of recall – motor mounts. 172 cases of engine-mount failure were reported, which resulted in at least 63 accidents and 18 injuries. GM eventually recalled 6.7 million vehicles to fix the problem.
Ford nearly had to recall an unbelievable 21 million vehicles in the early 1980’s after a defect was discovered in of the company’s automatic transmissions. 23,000 people complained when their cars inexplicably slipped from “park” to “reverse”, which led to 6,000 accidents. Ford side-stepped this recall in a settlement with the Department of Transportation that mandated Ford put a safety sticker in each affected vehicle.
Ford came under scrutiny once again when it was forced to recall over a decade of trucks, from 1991 to 2004, after faulty switches caused vehicles to catch fire. The recall totaled 14.9 million vehicles, including the popular Ford Explorer, Mercury Mountaineer, Ford Ranger, and Ford Windstar models.
But the most famous recall in recent memory is undoubtedly Toyota’s “unintended acceleration” lawsuit, which affected 9 million cars. Toyota initially blamed floor mats as the cause of the issue, but when the pattern repeated, the company took action. Total costs for this recall are estimated in the billions of dollars.