Vehicle Recall Is Not A Shame

Guest writer, LILY, has a different point on view on Toyota’s recalls.

When there are no rules, everything seems perfect because there is no yardstick to determine between right and wrong; when rules are established, flaws and weakness will be uncovered and ugliness is placed under the limelight.

We are used to hearing about Japanese car manufacturers recalling their cars due to certain faulty parts. In fact, we posted an article recently about 59 complaints toward Toyota’s Camry Hybrid triggering an investigation which might lead to another vehicle recall. Pause and think about this: being the biggest car manufacturing country in the world since 2009, were the vehicle recalls ever truly significant?

Allow me to explain. The number of cars being manufactured in China is massive. Car production in the first six months of 2013 reported by OICA was 10 751 683. In the same duration, Toyota’s home ground, Japan, manufactured 4 660 946 units of cars while USA manufactured 5 665 485 units. What is the reason that there have been more vehicle recalls in Japan and the US as compared to China? With a higher vehicle production rate, there should be a higher probability of vehicle recall in China but such is not the case; does this indicate that China has better quality control and more advanced technology?

The truth behind this is lax regulations on standards – as I have said, when there are no rules, everything is correct! The manufacturer will try to cover up every defect; vehicle ‘recall’ is an unfamiliar vocabulary to them.
However, at the beginning of 2013, China’s central government enacted the regulation that if a manufacturer is found guilty of concealing defects or refuses to effect vehicle recall upon finding the defects, fines of up to 10% of the vehicles’ value will be imposed! After that rule came into effect, vehicle recalls surged by 66% in China that year; there were 5 300 000 units of vehicles recalled, which is even more than the total manufactured in Japan during the first six months of 2013! Imagine if those numbers were recalled in Japan, the entire 6-month production, that would have been a real disaster!

As I read more news about vehicle recalls in China, I realised that headlines are about foreign brands such as “Aston Martin recalls car after finding counterfeit Chinese part”, “VW recalls 640 309 vehicles to change oil in double clutch gearbox”, “Nissan to recall Infini JX35 antilock brakes”, “Suzuki joint venture recalls 365 500 vehicles to fix fuel hoses”, “Hyundai recalls 121 835 SUVs to fix brake light” and many others on GM, BMW, Kia and so on, but I have yet to read one piece of news on a local brand’s vehicle recall. We may need more insight to understand the reason. Could it be attributed to local protectionism in China? We will need to find out.

I do not think that a vehicle recall is a shame. I think that it shows the integrity of the auto manufacturer. They have the courage to admit that they have done wrong and are willing to spend money to make good what is wrong – a vehicle recall is an expensive, profit-depleting exercise. We should applaud auto manufacturers that are willing to do so.


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