Toyota is facing a firestorm in the media as millions of its cars are being recalled worldwide.
In the UK alone nearly 200,000 Toyotas are being called back to service centres to investigate potential problems involving the accelerator pedal and the brakes.
Vehicle recalls are a fact of everyday life, however. According to the Vehicle Operator and Services Agency (VOSA), there were 130 recalls in 2009 involving some 665,000 cars. It may sound like a lot, but 2009 had the lowest number of cars recalled in a decade, with a million more recalled in 2001.
Citroen tops the league table in the number of recall programmes it launched last year, with 15 separate actions.
Volvo was second in the table, with 12 recalls last year. It said that many of the outstanding recalls were almost completed and expected VOSA to close them soon.
Volvo also pointed out that while other manufacturers may issue a single recall for a similar potential problem over a range of models, it would issue a recall for each model involved.
Keeping numbers in perspective
Peugeot announced nine recalls last year, making it third in the league table. 'Not every car will have a fault,' explained a Peugeot spokesman. 'The sample size is always bigger than the number of vehicles with an actual fault.'
In terms of vehicle numbers, Fiat had the highest number of vehicles recalled with almost 90,000 in 2009, although that's still half the number of Toyotas involved so far in 2010.
While it's true that the chances of something going wrong with your car are remote, it's always worth taking recalls seriously and getting the work done for free.
If you buy a second-hand car it's also worth checking that the work has been carried out. We have one of the most effective recall systems in the world, but some cars do slip through the net, so check your car out on the VOSA website www.dft.gov.uk/vosa.
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