While the number of recalls increased to 914 in 2018 as compared to 810 in 2017, the number of affected vehicles fell to 29.3 million as compared with 30.6 million in 2017, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.
The trend indicates a continuing decline from a record high of 50.5 million total recalled vehicles in 2016.
Between 2014 and 2016, the total number of vehicles affected by recalls spiked — with approximately 50 million in 2014, 49.8 million in 2015 and finally reaching 50.5 million in 2016.
The current decline in 2018 to just 29.3 — some 20 million fewer affected vehicles than the all-time high — may be due, in part, to the fact that the Takata airbag inflator recall has peaked.
While Takata did expand the recall to include another 3.3 million vehicles in early January 2018, the historic safety recall began in 2013 with a good amount of the affected vehicles being recalled between that time and 2016. This could help explain the overall lower number of vehicles affected by recalls in 2018.
Of the 914 recalls in 2018, 859 were initiated by the automaker and 55 were NHTSA-recommended recalls. These figures represent a continuing safety-focus trend on the part of OEMs over the past few years. Of the 810 recalls in 2017 and the 919 recalls in 2016, 761 and 860, respectively, were initiated by the automaker.
Data from earlier years indicates less active initiation of recalls on the part of OEMs. In 2013, for example, when there was a total of 628 recalls, the manufacturer initiated just 462 — leaving 166 to be urged by NHTSA.