When it comes to reporting on automobile recalls and manufacturing defects, only one side of the story is usually told – the problem with the vehicles. What is typically ignored is just how many people actually realize that their car is affected by a potentially dangerous issue and that they need to either contact the company or dealership and have their car repaired. After all, automobile recalls are only effective if they reach the consumers. But what would happen if a car company announced a massive recall and the response rate was 100%? Apparently, the answer to that should cause a great deal of concern.
Back in May, Honda Motor Co. announced the recall of approximately 2,615 Acura TL sedans that were sold in 2007 and 2008. The problem was a defective power steering hose that could lead to fluid leaking on to the catalytic converter, resulting in a fire under the hood. The owners of the vehicles affected in that recall were and still are covered by Honda’s guarantee to replace the hoses free of charge. However, last week the recall was substantially expanded to include 572,000 Honda Accord V6 models that were manufactured and sold between 2003 and 2007. That’s a considerably greater amount of power steering hoses.
Honda’s leaders know this and have thus announced that this recall – totaling more than 625,000 vehicles to date – will actually be delayed until 2013 because there simply aren’t enough power steering hoses for all of these Accords and Acura sedans. While no accidents or injuries have been reported as a result of this issue yet, drivers will still have to operate their vehicles with this threat in the back of their minds, because Honda just doesn’t have the parts, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"It will take some time to produce the updated hoses to replace them in every vehicle," said Chris Martin, a Honda spokesman. "These vehicles have been out of production for quite some time."
It’s difficult to predict how many people will react appropriately to the recall, as the L.A. Times also points out that GM’s December recalls – involving Cadillac SRX crossovers and Chevrolet Captivas – had a completion rate of just 52.5%. That at least begs the question of how high of a completion rate any automobile manufacturer can actually handle in the face of massive recalls.