Have all the automotive recalls of last year had an impact on the automotive industry? One must wonder.
Nissan Motor Co. is recalling about 768,000 vehicles—including its popular Rogue crossover and Pathfinder SUV—for separate problems, the company and U.S. regulators said this week. Some 552,135 Rogues from model years 2008 through 2013 will be recalled because moisture could seep through the driver-side floor and cause an electrical short to wiring that could then cause a fire, Nissan and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said. Of the total, 468,815 vehicles are registered in the U.S.
What makes the announcement interesting is that no crashes or injuries have been reported due to the wiring issue, a Nissan spokesman said.
Also, 215,789 Pathfinder SUVs from the 2013 and 2014 model years and 2013 Infiniti JX35 vehicles will be recalled for problems related to a secondary hood latch, Nissan and NHTSA said. Of that total, 170,665 are registered in the U.S.
Meanwhile, Honda Motor Co. announced it has cut its full-year profit forecast due to rising recall costs. The company cut 6.5 percent off its core annual profit forecast as it set aside an extra 50 billion yen in extra cash to cover an extended car recall to replace potentially faulty airbags made by Takata, Reuters reports. Honda now expects an operating profit of 720 billion yen ($6.1 billion) for the year to March 31, although it previously forecast 770 billion yen.
At least five driver deaths in the U.S. and Malaysia, and dozens of horrific injuries, have been reportedly linked to the faulty airbags. There is a risk the airbags may deploy with excessive explosive power, sending potentially fatal shrapnel around the interior of the automobile. Consequently, millions of vehicles produced by some of the world’s largest automakers, including Honda, have already been recalled due to the risk.
Honda is paying for the voluntary recall of about 4 million cars in the U.S. alone. Its October-December net income dropped 15 percent as rising costs hit its bottom-line, with the firm taking a $425 million recall-related charge in the quarter, reports an Agence France Presse story. Nonetheless, Honda expects to get those costs back if investigations find Takata at fault, and many analysts say reputational damage from the recalls seems minimal, including in the U.S., Honda’s most important market.
Meanwhile, Takata—whose Tokyo headquarters declined to comment on another death reportedly linked to its airbags last week—has been plunged into a public relations crisis at it faces calls from the U.S. government for a criminal probe and lawsuits. One U.S. law firm, which is involved in a class-action lawsuit against Takata and Honda, accuses the companies of engaging in a 10 year pattern of “deception and obfuscation.”
Considering charges and allegations last year that GM and Honda knew about potentially deadly defects in their vehicles for years before initiating recalls, and the hit to bottom lines during investigations, it would only stand to reason that other automotive manufacturers would now be forthcoming about the need for recalls. Regardless of whether or not that is the case with Nissan, do you believe automotive manufacturers have changed the way they view recalls? Furthermore, will they change the way they view suppliers—or at subject them to more scrutiny?