Millions of Vehicles with Potentially Dangerous Recalls Still On Road

Industry Updates

Millions of vehicles in Canada, an estimated one in six, have an outstanding safety recall, and auto industry experts say not enough is being done to fix them.

These include cars with safety defects that may result in crashes, injury or death, according to the manufacturers.

“It’s just this complete circle of finger-pointing that’s going on, and nobody’s taking responsibility for the issue,” said Kevin MacDonald, an Ottawa car dealer who is fed up with government and manufacturer inaction.

CBC News checked 200 vehicles currently for sale across Canada and found about one-sixth had recalls that remain unfixed or open…

There’s nothing stopping Canadian dealerships from selling a car with an open recall. No provinces mandate that a car with an open recall must be repaired prior to registration, and safety or mechanical inspections do not require open recalls to be fixed…

The problem is that many Canadians don’t even know their cars have defects. In a report released last week, Transport Canada told the Office of the Auditor General that manufacturers had difficulty identifying and contacting owners of recalled cars — especially in the case of older vehicles that may have changed hands…

Even owners of relatively new cars don’t know about some recalls. Crystal Taillefer of La Broquerie, Man., is a case in point. She has lived at the same address since the day she bought her 2011 Dodge Journey brand new from the dealer.

Until CBC News told her, she had no idea that a recall had been initiated for a power steering hose defect that could cause a crash without warning.

“It kind of upsets me that I didn’t hear about this for well over six months — and from somebody who’s not the manufacturer,” said Taillefer.

She knows her address is on file with her dealer. She has the Christmas cards and advertisements it sent her to prove it.

George Iny of the Automobile Protection Association said he has heard of other cases in which manufacturers’ advertisements are reaching owners, but safety recalls are not.

“It’s incredible, but the recall notice department of the car maker might not be speaking with the automaker’s other databases,” said Iny. “They’re bringing people in for a spring special or for a deal on a brand new car, but safety notices — they do the bare minimum.”…

Canadian law requires manufacturers to contact owners when there is a recall. They also must report the repair completion rates to Transport Canada. Unlike in the US, completion rates are not made public.

“It’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to make sure that you get as high a response rate to the recalls that they issue,” said David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada, a group that represents car makers like Toyota, Honda and Nissan. “And I know manufacturers are going to extremes to try and do that.”

Over at the Automobile Protection Association, George Iny isn’t buying that. He doesn’t think manufacturers are doing everything they can.

“They’re cheap, and they’re not motivated to bring these cars in [compliance] in all cases, so they’ll tolerate low correction rates,” said Iny…

Dealer feels stuck in the middle

Car owners aren’t the the only people with trouble keeping a handle on open recalls. The people who sell vehicles are also frustrated.

Ontario car dealer Kevin MacDonald wrote to his industry association about toughening the laws around open recalls and better informing the public about defects. The industry association pointed him to the province. The province directed him to the federal government which directed him back to the province.

“All of these people agree with the severity of the issue,” MacDonald said, “but they all would prefer to point at another party.”…

Read the full article on the CBC website

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