December 21, 2018 | Washington, DC
Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Independent Takata Monitor posted a progress report on the state of the Takata air bag recalls. Average recall repair rates across all manufacturers increased by 30% in calendar year 2018. The number of unrepaired vehicles in Priority Groups 1–3 (the oldest vehicles in the highest-risk areas) has been cut in half in one year.
“Communicating the urgency for recall repairs with the help of stakeholders and DMVs is proving effective to protecting lives on our nation’s roadways,” said Deputy Administrator Heidi R. King.
Roughly 37 million vehicles equipped with 50 million defective Takata air bags are under recall because these air bags can explode when deployed, causing serious injury or even death. Vehicle manufacturers are currently prioritizing repair parts for older air bags – which are the most dangerous – while working to replace them all. This follows a coordinated remedy program schedule that prioritizes the repairs into risk-based groups across 19 vehicle manufacturers. Report highlights include the following:
- Repair rates for recalled do-not-drive 2006 Ford Rangers increased from 6% in January 2018, to 82% in October 2018 – an increase of 76% over the course of 10 months. Recalled high-risk model year 2001–2003 Honda vehicles reached a repair rate of 96%.
- Unrepaired vehicles in Priority Groups 1–3 (the oldest vehicles in the highest-risk areas) has been cut in half in one year. There are 12 manufacturers with vehicles in these priority groups: BMW, Daimler Vans, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Ford, GM, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota. Each manufacturer, at the request of Deputy Administrator King, posted publicly their plans for replacing all defective air bags in their vehicles.
- In an unprecedented development, many state DMVs supported outreach efforts through participation in letter-mailing campaigns, helping to double, and in certain instances triple, repair rates for high-risk vehicles in Florida, Louisiana, New York, and Virginia. Additionally, Maryland launched a NHTSA-funded pilot project to notify vehicle owners of outstanding recalls in registration renewal notices.
- Door-to-door “Find-and-Fix” canvassing in 2018 confirmed concerns with the accuracy of owner data. For example, one affected manufacturer received an updated DMV data set and found that 30% of its owner information had changed over the last year alone. Two other affected vehicle manufacturers found that when a new address was identified, 73% of the time it was because vehicle had a new owner.
These findings align with an industry-wide discussion NHTSA led on November 8 regarding general concern that older vehicles have much lower recall repair rates than newer vehicles. During the meeting, there was an emphasis on the need for improved data collection to ensure manufacturers are contacting current owners at their current residences. Also discussed was the importance of engaging stakeholders including dealers, DMVs, independent repair facilities, insurers, auction houses, and used car dealers to spread the word to consumers, as well as the lessons learned to-date from the Maryland DMV recall pilot-program, now in its second year. Click here for details.