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2014's record number of auto recalls mostly for basic issues

October 24, 2014
With more than two months left, automakers have recalled a record 56 million-plus vehicles so far in 2014. To put that in perspective, automakers have now recalled more than three times the number of new cars and trucks that Americans will buy this year.
The prior record for auto recalls was 55.6 million vehicles in 1999, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 
The good news: A surprising number of the recalls have been for relatively basic technology such as ignition switches, alternators, hood latches.
General Motors’ ignition-switch crisis and the related legal, political and regulatory fallout is one contributing factor to the increase. The NHTSA’s desire to prove its effectiveness is another.
Jake Fisher, director of auto testing for Consumer Reports, said potential lawsuits and fear of congressional hearings has made automakers more proactive. Cars also are getting more complicated. Software running today’s new cars have more than 1 million lines of code.
Both Fisher and Sean Kane, founder of the engineering consulting firm, Safety and Research Strategies, said that generally cars are far safer and more reliable today than ever before.
"We’ve been doing reliability surveys for many, many years," Fisher said. "The cars are not getting less reliable at all."