When car models get recalled, how do the concerned companies stock millions of cars in a short timespan?


When car models get recalled, how do the concerned companies stock millions of cars in a short timespan?

In: Economics

It’s very rare for a recall to be the entire removal of a vehicle. Often it’s just a single part replacement or an adjustment that needs to be made to compensate for a defect discovered later.

The recalled part is replaced by the car dealership.

Recalling the entire vehicle would be pretty unprecedented. The biggest hit I’m aware of is a Ford recall back in the early 80s where virtually every model had transmissions that could slip out of park. Ford had to repair 20some million vehicles and lost several billion dollars.

A recall doesn’t mean the manufacturer takes back all the cars.

It just means that each owner has to bring the car back to a dealer so that they can fix something important, that wasn’t noticed until now.

A “recall” is an official thing that you can check for any model of car; that’s why it has that particular name.

It’s very rare for an entire car model to be bought back.

Recalls are basically always just part replacements or software updates. If you own an affected car model, you will get a letter in the mail (They get your address from the car registration) telling you that a certain defect was found and that it needs to be corrected. You will be directed to contact you dealer to setup a time to fix it. And that’s it.

VW’s “Diesel gate” is the most recent example of a manufacturer having to buy back all of their affected cars. This was because they were manufacturing cars that did not meet emissions regulations in the US. They hid the fact by tweaking the software so it would run more cleanly when plugged into emissions testing machines.

Recalls aren’t taking back and replacing all the affected cars!

A recall means having to take your car to the dealer service to have the part in question checked and/or replaced. And vary rarely are they something so mission critical the vehicle has to be immediately brought in/not driven. It’s often just something done next time car goes in for other service, or make an appointment when you can to have the recall work done. There may be times where there are shortages of the parts, so they’ll triage and handle the ones with the actual issue before checking vehicles not displaying the problem.

The car manufacturers main concern is that as much as possible of your car is to last until the warranty runs out. If they are any kind of worried that a component of the car won’t last until the end of the warranty, they’ll start inspecting the cars.

If it’s a safety related component, it’ll probably be a public recall. All the owners are individually contacted and recommended reach out to their local dealership.

But the recall is not necessarily for a component replacement. It can just as well be for a component *inspection*. You know, have someone with some knowledge have a quick look at it so that your safety is assured.

In reality, they have probably done silent inspections for a while first. All the cars that have been serviced by a dealership recently have had the specific component inspected, and a statistically eerie amount of them had a hint of something that could be a safety risk.

That they actually get to the point where it’s established that too many components have unexpected wear and tear, and that every single vehicle is to come in and have that component replaced with no other selection process at all, that is a whole lot more uncommon.

To recall the entire vehicle, that is very, very uncommon.

My favourite brand, Subaru, had some issues with a welding robot (I think) last year or something like that, and recalled a handful of already delivered vehicles due to safety concerns. Well. They recalled maybe 50 or so if I remember the number correctly, but 10 were already with their buying customers while the others were still at dealers and a lot easier to recall.

Some car recond/wash places also do silent recalls for premium brands. Every time they get a car of a specific brand in for cleaning, they check with the national dealership organisation if that specific vehicle has any hidden campaigns to be done on it. And get paid some extra just to pop the hood and look at hose this and cap that and check if they look like they should. They normally don’t fix anything, but they are an extra pair of eyes in the initial silent inspections.