Why recalls don't have to be a blot on the consumer landscape
Now spiders can spark a global call-in
A SMALL number of manufacturers get upset with me when I report one of their models is to be recalled.
Apart from being a bit like shooting the messenger – I'm just doing my job – I think they miss the point.
Recalls are not all negative by any means.
Of course, no one likes them but, properly handled, they need cause minimum stress.
Indeed, I remember a senior manager in BMW telling me years ago they saw recalls as an opportunity to show their customers they would leave no stone unturned to track down and fix every single car.
Customers, I think, tend to see it more like that.
I know it seems like there has been a lot of recalls over the past two or three years. But that doesn't mean cars are less well made. Quite the opposite, I'd say.
There are several elements at play in the increase of reported faults, but two stand out. First, cars are hugely complex now, have a lot of electrics and myriad suppliers. If one tiny element is, or goes, wrong it invariably involves a substantial number of vehicles.
Secondly, consumer protection laws and the ever-present threat of litigation ensure the tiniest of flaws sparks a global recall.
It is only right that customers should benefit in this way. If your toaster has a flaw, it will be repaired or replaced. The same applies to motoring: If a car has a flaw, get it sorted.
Only late last week we were treated to examples of items that warrant a major recall nowadays.
And one was caused by a spider. Yes, a spider.
For the second time in three years, Mazda recalled '6' saloons in North America because of a spider that likes the smell of petrol. The Yellow Sac spider weaves a web that blocks a vent in the engine.
Mazda is recalling 42,000 with 2.5-litre engines from model years 2010 to 2012 in the US.
Three years ago, they recalled about 65,000 '6' saloons for model years 2009 and 2010 because of spider webs too. The web can lead to a restriction of fuel flow, which in turn can reduce fuel tank pressure.
The same company is also recalling 88,000 vehicles globally to fix a programming glitch in its engine control computer.
And Mitsubishi is recalling more than 6,000 Outlander SUV plug-in hybrids in Japan because of three software programming glitches. It's the model's third recall since going on sale in January last year.
Recalls? Get used to them. I'd be more worried if there weren't any.