U.S. product recalls remained flat from the second to third quarter, but automotive recalls continue to be the industry with the steadiest recall activity.

The auto industry consistently logs 180-220 recalls every quarter. According to the third quarter 2019 Recall Index released by Stericycle Expert Solutions, what’s worrisome is the ongoing issues related to core safety components of a vehicle, such as airbags, seat belts, and brakes. In fact, service brakes accounted for more than one-third of all recalled units. No change is expected in the volume of recalls, but auto retailers and rideshare companies are very likely going to face increasing pressure as NHTSA tries to reduce the number of cars with open recalls on the road.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions announced the launch of LexisNexis Recall Clarity, to assist auto manufacturers in the owner identification process for safety-related recalls.

According to the NHTSA, over 1,000 recalls were issued in 2018 affecting more than 35 U.S. million motorists. In the event of a recall, customer outreach teams are tasked with getting vehicles repaired by finding recalled vehicle owners and leading them to the dealership for service. This process has become increasingly more difficult due to changes in vehicle ownership on secondary markets.

There are an estimated 57 million unrepaired vehicles on American roads today, so the benefit of increased clarity will ultimately serve as a measurable result when examining repair completion rates.

One hundred million vehicles have now been processed through a search tool aimed at creating greater consumer awareness of auto recalls. The Vehicle Recall Search Service (VRSS) reached the milestone this month after launching in March 2018. The program was developed jointly by Carfax, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers, which collectively accounts for 99 percent of automobile production. Approved commercial and government entities, like state departments of motor vehicles (DMVs), auto insurers and finance companies, are able to search for open recalls for thousands of autos at once, free of charge.

Currently there are six state DMVs signed up for the tool, with New York being the first DMV to fully implement checks for open recalls during the vehicle inspection process to help improve public safety. Since the New York DMV started using VRSS 10 months ago, they’ve checked 9.4 million vehicles and identified more than 1.6 million vehicles with open recalls. Drivers of vehicles that have open recalls are notified at the time of inspection and recall details are included on the state inspection report. 

The California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) is also working to implement VRSS into its emissions inspection process.

Ford Motor Company is issuing a safety recall for select 2015 Ford Fusion and 2015 Lincoln MKZ vehicles for an issue involving seat belt anchor pretensioners. In affected vehicles, increased temperatures generated during deployment of the driver or front-passenger seat belt anchor pretensioner could degrade the tensile strength of the cable below the level needed to restrain an occupant. Seat belt assemblies that do not adequately restrain the occupant in a crash can increase the risk of injury.

Ford is aware of one report of injury related to this condition.

This action affects 103,374 vehicles in the United States and federal territories, 4,002 in Canada and 1,023 in Mexico.

Affected vehicles include:

  • 2015 Ford Fusion vehicles built at Flat Rock Assembly Plant from Aug. 1, 2014 to Jan. 30, 2015 and at Hermosillo Assembly Plant from Aug. 1, 2014 to Nov. 24, 2014
  • 2015 Lincoln MKZ vehicles built at Hermosillo Assembly Plant from Aug. 1, 2014 to Nov. 21, 2014

Dealers will apply a coating to protect the cable during a pretensioner deployment. The Ford reference number for this recall is 19S25.

Audi is recalling 144,092 2018 Audi S5 Cabriolet, S5 Sportback, S5 Coupe, S4 Sedan, A5 Cabriolet, A5 Sportback and A5 Coupe and 2017-2018 A4 Sedan and A4 Allroad vehicles.

Oxidation on the passenger occupant detection system (PODS) connecting cable may cause the software to misdiagnose a malfunction and disable the passenger air bag.

Audi will notify owners, and dealers will update the air bag control unit software, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin Sept. 15.

Audi's number for this recall is 74D9.

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