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Study: Porsche Boasts Lowest Recall Rate, Volkswagen Is Highest

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author photo by Doug DeMuro October 2016

A new study shines some interesting light on recall data from the past 30 years. The study, from iSeeCars.com, examined U.S. automotive recalls going back to 1985, and it reached some interesting conclusions.

For instance, Porsche had the lowest overall recall rate, issuing just 392,563 recalls out of 739,812 sold during that time period -- or just 531 total recalls per 1,000 cars sold. Mercedes-Benz ranked second (624 recalls per 1,000), while Kia and Tesla came in third and fourth, with 788 and 936 recalls respectively.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen Group brings up the rear of that list, issuing 13.4 million recalls since January 1985 despite selling just 7.4 million cars. That places Volkswagen's recall rate at 1,805 per 1,000 cars sold, which vastly overshadows the next-worst automakers -- Fiat Chrysler and Honda, at 1,422 and 1,307 per 1,000 vehicles, respectively.

The study also examined another interesting aspect of recalls: severity. According to iSeeCars.com's analysis, only 71 percent of Volvo recalls were due to a defect that could cause death, injury, crash, accident or fire, making Volvo the safest recaller in the industry. By comparison, 100 percent of Tesla's recalls had those potential effects -- likely due to Tesla's small number of recalls. Hyundai finished just behind Tesla on the recall-severity list, with 96.8 percent of its recalls potentially leading to accidents or injury.

The iSeeCars study also looked at recall-rate trends and noted that Volvo's recall rate is dropping quickest, from 2,181 recalls per 1,000 cars just 10 years ago to 516 recalls per 1,000 cars today.

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Study: Porsche Boasts Lowest Recall Rate, Volkswagen Is Highest - Autotrader