In November 2019, the volume of recall alerts relating to the motor vehicle category spiked to 47 across the EU — the highest the category has seen since July.
Data from the European Commission’s rapid alert system confirmed the monthly stats: January (64), February (33), March (43), April (40), May (32), June (41), July (53), August (40), September (38) and October (37).
When comparing this month’s 47 to November 2018 – where there were only 33 recalls in this category — it is quite a jump.
Of the 47 alerts, the countries of origin included Germany (18) — unsurprising considering they are a global powerhouse in the automotive sector and outpace any other market in terms of manufacturing and production. Second to Germany were France and the US with six each, with the remainder shared across the Czech Republic, UK, Thailand, Spain, Turkey and Japan.
Top notifying countries included Germany (30), United Kingdom (9) and Portugal (4).
The reasons for the recalls varied in terms of the potential risk to consumers. These were injuries (36), fire (8), fire/injuries (2) and environment (1).
All products were recalled from end users with many of them done voluntarily. Motor vehicle manufacturers do this for two reasons. The first is that they are legally obligated to and the second is because they know they could risk the credibility of their brand, leading to reputational damage and loss of revenue.
In years gone by, car giants have been severely punished for many reasons including introducing software that manipulated air pollution tests, neglecting to run appropriate safety checks on sticky pedals and poor airbag compliance. The upshot is that they have learned from these scandals and since adapted their quality control measures to assure both the regulators and consumers that their vehicles are fit for purpose.
Recalls are inevitable in any category — whether it is automotive, food and drink, electrical goods or pharmaceuticals. This is because mass production is a necessity in the world we live in, and when producing anything at speed, there will always be a portion of error.
However, the fact that countries across Europe and the rest of the world are working together to ensure only the best products reach consumers is something to take comfort in.
As we navigate our way into the season of extravagant purchases, as recall experts we anticipate a surge of alerts across every consumer category.