Saturday, March 12, 2005

 

Top 10 Auto Recalls Of All Time

Via Yahoo!, Bankrate.com brings us the Top 10 automotive recalls of all time. It's an interesting list which does little to counter evidence that auto recalls primarily concern "simple" stuff - well-established technology - that probably would have not failed if not exposed to negligence during some phase of the design or manufacturing process.

What struck me as odd is this quote:

Cars today depend more on computers and electronics. "New functionality always presents new complexity, and complexity means more ways to fail," says Joe Ivers, executive director of quality at J.D. Power and Associates, which rates vehicles annually in areas such as initial quality and longer-term dependability.

While electronics have certainly played a role in customer satisfaction and nuisence quality problems, they seem to be a disproportionally low contributor to recalls. This, despite the fact that they're playing an ever-increasing role in both passive safety devices such as air bags, and active safety devices such as ABS and stability control. Clearly, the complexity and criticality of these systems brings with it an appropriate level of engineering concern - but that's no reason to divert one's attention from seemingly mundane stuff that still counts, like tires, wheel lugs, parking brakes, or headlamps.

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