The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Web Extra

June 24, 2014

More than one in every 10 vehicles on the road has been recalled since January

It's becoming the year of the recall: Automakers have recalled more than 28 million vehicles in the United States this year — more than one in 10 vehicles on the road — putting the industry on track to trample the 2004 record of 30.8 million.

On Monday, Japanese automakers Honda and Nissan recalled close to 3 million vehicles worldwide to repair an air bag problem. Coupled with a recent Toyota recall to fix a similar problem, it means that in just the past month Japan's three largest automakers have called back more than 5 million vehicles worldwide to fix faulty air bags. It's unclear how many of those vehicles are in the United States.

Industry analysts see two big factors behind the flood of recalls: Automakers everywhere are being extra careful after seeing Toyota get slapped by a $1.2 billion fine earlier this year to settle charges that it hid safety problems from customers and regulators. And, of course, there's the debacle confronting General Motors, which is facing multiple investigations for taking more than a decade to recall cars equipped with a defective ignition switch linked to at least 13 deaths. As the chart below shows, this year has been the worst since government began tracking auto recalls in 1966, and summer has just started.

In February, GM started recalling 2.6 million Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars equipped with defective ignition switches. But that was just the beginning. So far this year, GM has ordered 44 recalls covering 17.7 million vehicles in the United States and more than 20 million in North America, the automaker said. The U.S. recalls account for nearly two-thirds of all recalls in the country this year.

"Almost all automakers are doing a large number of recalls," said Arthur Wheaton, an automobile industry specialist at The Worker Institute at Cornell University.

Many of the defects have been serious: faulty ignition switches, overheating exhaust parts, power steering problems.

Text Only
Web Extra
  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 22, 2014

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 22, 2014

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 22, 2014

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • Facebook tests button to let people shop from its website

    Members on desktop computers or mobile devices can click a "buy" button to make purchases through advertisements or other posts on the world's largest social network, the Menlo Park, California-based company said Thursday in a blog post.

    July 18, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 18, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • web_starbucks-cof_big_ce.jpg Starbucks sees more Apple-like stores after Colombia debut

    This week Starbucks opened its first location in Colombia — a 2,700-square-foot store with a heated patio, concrete columns, mirrors on the ceiling and walls of colorful plants.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: New story emerges about Texas children locked in hot car

    After footage showed Texas shoppers breaking the windows of a hot car to rescue children trapped inside, additional witnesses have come forward to correct the story behind what has become a viral video.

    July 16, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 11.16.48 AM.png VIDEO: Comcast apologizes after customer service call goes viral

    Comcast issued an apology after one of its representatives kept a customer captive on the phone for nearly 20 minutes, demanding to know why he was choosing another cable provider.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo