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NHTSA releases final recall numbers for 2013

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released its annual report outlining which automakers had the largest number of recalls over the preceding 12 months. While the report didn't contain too many surprises, it did show how car companies are continuing to struggle with large-scale recalls spanning not thousands, but rather millions of vehicles.

The NHTSA report found that nearly 22 million vehicles were recalled in 2013, which is actually a 34 percent jump from 2012 and the most since 2004, when nearly 31 million vehicles were recalled.

The automaker occupying the top spot for the single most recalls in 2013 was the Toyota Motor Corporation, which recalled almost 5.3 million cars. This marks the second year in a row that the Japanese automaker has earned this dubious distinction, as it recalled nearly the exact same number of vehicles in 2012.

The following four automakers rounded out the top five for recalls: Chrysler Group (4.7 million vehicles recalled), Honda Motor Co. (2.8 million vehicles recalled), Hyundai (2.3 million vehicles recalled) and Ford Motor Co. (1.2 million vehicles recalled).

Interestingly, some auto industry experts are attributing 2013's high recall numbers to a growing trend among automakers to use the same parts/components in multiple car models. Accordingly, when something goes wrong, the pool of possibly affected vehicles is that much larger.

It is also worth noting that the NHTSA pointed out that its report is not meant to be interpreted as a quality assessment for any car company, and that a high number of recalls might be indicative of a car company's willingness to introduce new technology into its product.

While all of this may be true, it's nevertheless troublesome to realize that several of these recalls had major safety implications for the average motorist. For instance, Toyota recalled over 800,000 vehicles over concerns about inadvertent airbag deployment or power-steering shutdowns, while Chrysler recalled 1.6 million vehicles over concerns about fires in rear-end crashes.

Here's hoping that 2013 sees decidedly less auto recalls ...

If you have suffered serious personal injuries or lost a loved one in a car accident that you believe was caused by a dangerous auto defect, consider speaking with an experienced attorney to learn more about your rights and options for seeking justice.

Source: The New York Times, "Safety agency says 22 million vehicles recalled in 2013," Cheryl Jensen, Feb. 3, 2014; The Los Angeles Times, "Toyota tops U.S. recall list for second straight year," Jerry Hirsch, Feb. 4, 2014 

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