Owners of 163,000 cars sought over defects
The details of more than 160,000 Irish car owners were tracked down by manufacturers in the past 12 months due to potential defects.
Transport Minister Noel Dempsey yesterday confirmed the registration details of 163,495 vehicles were requested from the national vehicle and driver file between June 2009 and last month relating to 86 recall scares.
And the number of car owners affected is likely to be even higher as manufacturers' records have up-to-date ownership particulars.
Labour Party TD Tommy Broughan described the disclosure as "alarming".
"Well-known car manufacturers, including Toyota and Honda, have had to recall hundreds of thousands of cars worldwide because of alleged serious brake and other design problems," he said.
"In the US and UK, governments and parliamentarians have already begun to investigate the scale of this defective vehicle crisis given the profound implications for national and public road safety," said Mr Broughan.
Mr Dempsey disclosed the details in a Dail reply, but stressed that not all vehicles for which details were provided may be subjected to a recall as the manufacturer might determine they were not affected.
The National Consumer Agency informs the public of recalled products. Its website contains details of the products and the nature of the faults or defects.
AA spokesman Conor Faughnan said the recall of cars was relatively routine as it was not uncommon for something to go wrong with them. "This is not always concerned with safety. It is very common," he added.
The figures come in the aftermath of Toyota's recall fiasco earlier this year which saw millions of cars around the world pulled due to a variety of problems -- ranging from faulty brakes to issues with stuck accelerators.
Toyota president Akio Toyoda yesterday held his first meeting with shareholders since the recalls -- in which he promised to give regional markets more of a voice in global operations.