If someone died as a result of faulty mechanics in a Toyota or Lexus vehicle, then a recall was indeed necessary. But shouldn’t the playing field be level for all manufacturers, regardless of whether or not someone died?
I ask this question three days after publishing a pair of posts in which I expressed skepticism about the reasons behind the federal government issuing recalls on products made by the Japanese auto giant:
- In Obama Administration Sending Wrong Signals, I speculated about the possible reasons why the Obama Administration would want to bully Toyota; and
- In Is Toyota Paying Price for Not Supporting Obama?, I examined the number of campaign contributions made by Toyota executives to Barack Obama since Jan. 1, 2007, and found that only two of 151 executives listed on the Toyota web site gave a combined total of $2,500 to Obama for America.
Today, however, I discovered something more.
On Feb. 2, the Los Angeles Times reported that an estimated 905,000 2005-’09 Chevrolet Cobalt vehicles, including the Cobalt SS, are the subject of a new investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration due to complaints of electric power steering failure. Such an action is sometimes the precursor to a recall. During the days that followed, Edmund’s Inside Line, The New York Times Wheels blog and two other publications reported the same basic story, informing readers that the investigation was launched after more than 1,100 consumer complaints were received.
According to a Chicago Tribune report Jan. 26, the Toyota recall was based upon some 2,000 complaints related to 2.3 million vehicles sold.
In doing the math related to these recalls, I found the following:
- Only 1 in 1,000 (.001) consumers complained about the Chevrolet product; and
- Fewer than 1 in 1,000 (.00009) consumers complained about the Toyota product.
In short, the Chevrolet product has received more complaints per car sold than the Toyota products! So why hasn’t the federal government issued a recall on the Cobalt? Probably because Chevrolet is owned by General Motors (a.k.a. “Government Motors”), a taxpayer-owned company that stands to benefit greatly from having its foreign-owned competitors struggle with the public relations nightmares related to product recalls.