Automakers with the Highest Recall Rates


Every time you purchase a new automobile, you are making an investment. While not necessarily a long-term investment like a house or market investment, selecting the right vehicle requires many considerations. You will undoubtedly want to look at the true cost of ownership, as well as the quality of the warranty, how much safety the vehicle provides and a dozen other issues before making your final decision. Not all auto manufacturers have equally great track records with their lineups, which means you should consider their past records when making any decision for your future. Automobile recall rates can provide a bit of insight into the likelihood that your vehicle will hold its value, be safe and otherwise run reliably. Below is a list of the automakers with the highest recall rates in the United States.

The Best Performers

Before we cover the most recalled brands in the business, let’s quickly look at the automakers with the fewest recalls. Topping the list is Mercedes-Benz, which has sold over five million vehicles in the past 30 years. A little over two million have been subject to recall during that time, earning the automaker the title of least recalled manufacturer in the US.

Next is Mazda, which has sold roughly nine million vehicles in the US since the mid-1980s. Around five million have been recalled, giving it a recall rate of 0.55.

Finally, we have General Motors, an American auto manufacturer that produces lines such as Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC. More than 150 million GM vehicles have been sold in the US in the past thirty years, with around 90 million being recalled. While major recalls – such as the Chevy Cruze recall – have led to a larger raw number of GM cars being recalled than any other maker, the ratio of recalls to sales (0.65) gives it the title of third least recalled automaker in the country.

Fourth Most Recalled Maker – Volvo

Generally known for quality, Volvo making this list might surprise some people. With a recall rate of around 1.05, the maker has both sold and recalled around 3 million vehicles over the past 30 years. While the brand certainly has decent resell value, maintenance is quite expensive, and this can be a turn-off for many would-be buyers. Add to that the occasional faulty part and it is no wonder why the manufacturer has had to recall so many vehicles over the past few decades.

Third Most Recalled Maker – Mitsubishi

The Mitsubishi brand has never been a very popular one in the U.S., but it is one of only four automakers in the country to have recalled more vehicles than it has sold. With around five and a half million recalls against five million vehicles sold, Mitsubishi’s recall rate hovers around 1.1. Despite some initial success at the turn of the century with models such as the Eclipse, the manufacturer has since seen slower sales. Additionally, it has never enjoyed excellent resale value, making it one automaker that many avoid when considering long-term resell value.

Second Most Recalled Maker – Volkswagen

Until about a year ago, Volkswagen would have been the third most recalled automaker in America. With the recent Volkswagen diesel scandal, however, the automaker moved up a notch and into the number two slot. Roughly 11 million Volkswagen vehicles have been recalled, compared to the roughly ten million that have been sold in the US. While the overall quality of Volkswagen vehicles are generally accepted to be solid, Volkswagen’s reputation has been decimated by the emissions scandal. In just a few months, the average Volkswagen vehicle – including those not impacted by the recall – lost nearly 20 percent of its value. Because of this, a massive buy-back program on top of full refunds is now in the works.

Most Recalled Maker – Hyundai

Taking the top spot on the list of most recalled automaker in the United States, Hyundai earns this dubious honor mostly due to its shoddy past rather than its current state. When Hyundai was on the market in the United States in the 20th century, the quality of its car was questionable and suspect. The automaker developed a reputation for poor quality, and the recall number – 1.15 vehicles recalled for every vehicle sold – certainly backs up these feelings. It is worth noting that Hyundai in the present day has a much better reputation and the overall quality of Hyundai vehicles has increased dramatically in the past decade.

Now that you know which automakers have the highest recall rates, you can carefully consider whether any of these makes should feature in your next vehicle buying decision. Does a higher recall rate make you less likely to purchase a new vehicle from an automaker? Tell us below.