As long as there have been automobiles, there have been mechanical, structural and other problems with them. The difference is that in modern times, automobile manufacturers are supposed to put safety over profits, but in many notable instances, that has not happened. Below are some recall scandals that California car enthusiasts may remember.
The Ford Pinto debuted in 1971 with a major defect that could puncture the fuel tank and cause deadly fires in rear-end collisions. It would have cost Ford a total of $12 dollars to fix the issue, but instead, it chose to hide the problem from the unsuspecting public. In 1973, a memo from within Ford Motor Company revealed that it would be cheaper to pay awards from lawsuits than to fix the problem. By 1978, the company could no longer sustain this strategy as the memo and the problem became public. Only under pressure did the company finally issue a recall.
Even that debacle, which killed 900 people, does not come close to the amount of media coverage and recalled vehicles associated with the Takata airbag scandal. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 million vehicles across 10 different manufacturers were recalled. The company made airbags from 2000 to 2008, and knew about the potentially fatal flaw around 2004, but failed to report it or take any action that could have saved lives.
These are just two of the more egregious recalls that have occurred in recent decades. Car manufacturers have put profits over lives far too often. California families who lose loved ones to defective vehicles or vehicle parts may benefit from exploring the possibility of litigation against the manufacturer and others who may bear legal liability for the loss of a loved one.