The Truth About Ford Motor Company (F)’s Recalls


Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s Michigan Assembly Plant. Photo Courtesy of Ford.

Last Friday The Detroit News reported the latest in Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)‘s round of vehicle recalls, noting that it would call back 465,000 vehicles for leaky fuel tanks and fire risks. Unfortunately for the Detroit automaker, it isn’t the first issue that has made headlines over the last year as Ford’s Escape and Fusion have been involved in numerous recalls.

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)

However, if you were a general reader and glanced at these headlines you’d expect Ford to be near the top of vehicle recalls by manufacturer, but that’s far from the truth. I dug deeper into past recall numbers, and was surprised at what I found.

By the numbers
I bet you’d be surprised to hear that in 2012 General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)‘s and Ford’s vehicle recalls combined were less than Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM)‘s or Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:HMC)‘s . Toyota took the top spot with 5.3 million vehicles recalled last year, which was nearly 2 million more than its Japanese rival Honda at 3.4 million. Ford and GM came in with significantly fewer recalls at 1.4 and 1.5 million, respectively. That’s not an unusual result either; take a look at the graph below for cumulative recalls over the last three years:

Involved in Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s recent recall of 465,000 vehicles are the 2013 Explorer, Taurus, Flex, and Fusion as well as the Lincoln MKS, MKT, and MKZ models. According to Detroit News, Ford received about 600 complaints of fuel leaks by the end of March. With the leaks a potential cause of fires, there’s no doubt that this is an important issue to fix proactively, before a mandated recall, as Ford is doing.

To help put the number of recalled vehicles in perspective, here is another recent recall for comparison. In January, Toyota recalled 1.29 million vehicles for two defects. Over 907,000, mostly Corolla models, were recalled for faulty air bags and 385,000 were recalled for defective wipers. While I’m sure the wiper issue won’t cause uproar, Toyota had another string of airbag recalls in April where it had to hunt down an additional 170,000 vehicles for defective airbags.