Research Shows Recalls Affect More Vehicles Due to Parts Standardization
13 December 2000Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association Research Shows Recalls Affect More Vehicles Due to Parts Standardization
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Dec. 12 While automotive product recalls are not new -- although some recent high profile cases have led to new legislation -- the recalled vehicle population has increased due to standardization of automotive parts across different car models, according to the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA). "The percentage of vehicle recalls has increased from around 3% of vehicles in 1990 to more than 9% in 1999," said Frank Hampshire, MEMA director of research. "In many cases, large numbers of vehicles are involved in a single recall because carmakers use standardized parts on many vehicles sold around the world." Carmakers use standard parts across a wide range of vehicle models to simplify production and gain economies of scale, Hampshire noted. The use of parts across multiple platforms contributes to the rise in the number of recalled vehicles when a defective part is found, even if fewer parts are found to be defective. "In 1995, for example, nearly 9 million seatbelt units from one supplier were recalled. They were used in cars produced by 11 separate auto manufacturers," Hampshire said. Another case involving ignition modules used in 29 different vehicle models produced by one carmaker from 1983 to 1995, affected nearly 23 million vehicles. Specific recalls may involve even more vehicles in the future, Hampshire predicted. "The movement toward global vehicle platforms may create the potential for larger recalls when a defective parts is discovered," he said. Founded in 1904, MEMA exclusively represents and serves more than 700 North American manufacturers of motor vehicle components, tools and equipment, automotive chemical and related products used in the production, repair, and maintenance of all classes of motor vehicles. MEMA is headquartered in Research Triangle Park, N.C., and has offices in Washington, D.C.; Yokohama, Japan; Brussels, Belgium; Mexico City, Mexico; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.