I had my car serviced this week, and as it was picked up I was told there was a recall, just announced that morning. It was to do with reprogramming the computer so that vehicle emissions were improved. With some trepidation I allowed it to go off, worried that it would not “pull the skin off a rice pudding” when it came back. In fact I was wrong, and now appears to be working slightly better than it did before.
So my ears pricked up when I saw that Toyota were recalling 1 million vehicles this week, and Ford 2 million. The latter is doing this almost exclusively in the States. It is over a seat belt defect in one of their big selling trucks. Rather interestingly the seatbelt itself, or its pre-tensioner, can theoretically cause a fire. Toyota’s recall also relates to a fire risk.
All of this comes at a time when Korea is talking about imposing greater penalties on manufacturers who fail to deal with recalls properly. We have already seen a number of manufacturers fined in the US and lambasted across Europe for mishandling recalls. And the South Korean government got particularly exercised over BMW recently regarding a fire risk which the government judged they did not deal with adequately or quickly enough. I always say that it is not necessarily the customer of the manufacturer who gets delighted about such programs, but aftersales managers normally love them. A full workshop, a proper reason to write to your customers and get their vehicles back into the workshop. And something only franchised dealers can deal with. What could be better?
I also see from the FT this week that car sales boomed in August. Before we all get carried away and think the world has been put to rights, let us not forget that with the WLTP deadline of 1 September, there was a lot of old stock to clear. I suspect September and October will yield slimmer pickings.
Have a great weekend. And may your month be going well.

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