“We’re getting to the point,” a CNBC reporter says, “where they have to be getting close to setting an all-time record.” In fact, the recalls have become such an avalanche that CNBC adds them up to 13.6 million for 2014 so far, while Reuters and CNN tally it at 15 million. (The difference is between domestic and global.) Either way, the recall backlog has become stunningly huge, and we’re not even to the halfway mark for the year:
General Motors has issued four separate, new recalls for more than 2.4 million vehicles in the United States, the automaker announced on Tuesday.
The cars include 2009-2014 model years of the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia, and 2004-2008 model years of the Chevrolet Malibu. Cadillac Escalades, Chevrolet Silverado pickups and GMC Sierras from the 2015 model year were also among the vehicles involved in the recalls. …
The company will also take as much as a $400 million charge in the second quarter, including a previously announced $200 million charge, to cover recall-related repairs over the quarter.
That’s for the quarter. For the year, the charge is four times as large:
Stat of the Day: $GM through mid-May has designated $1.7 Billion in recall charges.
— Phil LeBeau (@Lebeaucarnews) May 20, 2014
Reuters goes with the global count:
General Motors Co said on Tuesday it is recalling another 2.42 million vehicles in the United States, raising the number of vehicles it has recalled so far this year to more than 15 million.
So does CNN, which notes that nearly half of the new recalls are older models:
The crossover SUVs being recalled — Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMS Acadia and Saturn Outlook — have a problem that can cause the front seat belt to separate from the car during a crash. GM said it is a serious enough problem that it is ordering dealers not to sell new or used models of the vehicles until repairs are made. The model years involved are 2009 to 2014.
Older models sometimes experience new recalls. My 2002 Honda CR-V still gets an occasional recall on minor issues just as precautions; usually I find that the recall doesn’t apply to my particular model, which got included out of an abundance of caution.
However, this recent flood of recalls on older models — and perhaps even some of the more recent models — raises the question of how long GM sat on these issues, and whether the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration knew of these issues prior to the sale of GM stock by the Department of the Treasury. Questions about the NHTSA’s lack of action on the ignition-switch recall while aggressively pursuing Toyota are already hot topics in Congress, and this sudden flood of recalls less than six months after Treasury sold off its remaining interest in the company certainly looks curious. And I imagine that the people who bought GM stock from Treasury are more than a little curious as to whether the federal government defrauded them in those transactions.