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Part I: the biggest auto recalls in history

One of the best things about the establishment of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 1970 was that it required automakers to meet safety standards and issue recalls when vehicle defects affect motorist safety.

That brings us to today's question: which vehicle recalls have been the biggest in those nearly 50 years?

Two of the biggest recalls were in the early 1970s, not long after establishment of the NHTSA.

In 1973, GM recalled 3.7 million cars (Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Chevy and Buick models) with defective underbody shields that allowed rocks to enter engine compartments. The stones and gravel could then become lodged in the steering coupling, which could make steering difficult (no need to explain why that would be extremely dangerous).

A year earlier, Ford recalled 4.1 million vehicles from its 1970 and '71 model years. The problem: a single grommet in the seatbelts was defective, which made it hard (or even impossible in some cases) to lock the shoulder belts.

Skip ahead 43 years to Fiat Chrysler's 2015 recall of 4.1 million vehicles that were equipped with airbags that could send shrapnel careening through the vehicle. The defective airbags made by Takata have been linked to 11 deaths and more than 100 injuries. We have covered this recall extensively here in our blog.

Many readers will undoubtedly recall a Toyota recall a decade ago. More than four million vehicles were called back because floor mats caused the gas pedal to get stick, which in turn made vehicles accelerate. The sudden acceleration problem was cited in 89 deaths in motor vehicle crashes.

We will have more about the biggest recalls in history in a coming blog post.

Please let us know if our consumer protection law firm can help you resolve issues involving defective new or used vehicles, dealer fraud or Lemon Laws.

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