Stout’s 2020 Automotive Defect & Recall Report Is a Compass of Insight for Navigating Uncertainty

October 15, 2020

Stout today released its latest research on automotive recalls – the 2020 Automotive Defect & Recall Report.

To prepare its sixth annual report, Stout compiled and analyzed data from an array of sources, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Department of Transportation (DOT), multiple U.S. jurisdictions, international recall databases, financial reports, and other sources. Stout’s 2020 Report identifies the latest trends in automotive recalls and component defects and provides insight into how the COVID-19 pandemic may impact automotive recall and the potential for manufacturing defects in the years to come.

For the third consecutive year, Stout observed an increase in the number of light vehicle recall campaigns, which reached a record level in 2019. In addition to more recall campaigns, the number of larger recalls increased in 2019. As the U.S. fleet continues to age, it is increasingly critical that OEMs and suppliers alike:

1) understand trends in component defects

2) benchmark the risk of defects against industry counterparts

3) develop proactive strategies to prevent component failures

4) minimize the financial impact of automotive recalls

5) cost-effectively maximize recall completion percentages

"While defect trends associated with advanced automotive technologies are still emerging, Stout has identified indications of how these components are beginning to contribute to recalls in vehicles, offering insight into what OEMs and suppliers may expect to encounter as such technologies become more prevalent," the report states.

Findings from the research include:

  • A record number of light vehicle recall campaigns in 2019 (317 campaigns - an average of 26 per month), involving more than 28 million vehicles
  • Nearly a 50% increase in the number of recall campaigns that affected more than 100,000 vehicles
  • Continued improvement in industry completion percentages with overall median completion percentages approaching 90%
  • A record-setting 15 million vehicles recalled for electronic component defects
  • More than 50% of recalls involved electronic component defects related to software-based defects, the greatest proportion of any year studied to date
  • New insights related to the industry's only analysis of recall remedy repair times and vehicle emissions defects
  • Greater uncertainties for future recalls as a result of the economic, safety and manufacturing impact associated with the COVID-19 pandemic

To see our full analysis, download the 2020 Automotive Defect & Recall Report.