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GM, Chrysler Recalls Not the Same as Toyota

In the last two days nearly two million GM and Chrysler vehicles have been recalled for a variety of defects, including some that could cause fires. On the surface, the massive number of models recalled and the threat of vehicle fires has people asking, "Are GM and Chrysler now going down the same path as Toyota earlier this year?"

2008 Buick Enclave
2008 Buick Enclave

The answer to both is no.

Sure, anytime you see nearly two million vehicles recalled, it gets your attention. And I can understand that months of stories about Toyota's problems have made people "hyper-sensitive" about defects in their cars and trucks.

But these GM and Chrysler recalls are completely different for a variety of reasons.

First: The GM and Chrysler recalls do not involve any injuries and deaths. By comparison, the Toyota recalls center around reports of unintended acceleration. A problem that has been linked to the deaths of 89 people, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety. That's not say recalls involving injuries and deaths are the only ones worth caring about. It is, however, one critical factor to keep in mind when comparing recalls.

Second: The Toyota recalls were a major international story in large part because Toyota executives failed to alert the federal government with a recall as soon as they discovered the defect. In the case of these GM and Chrysler warnings, there is no indication either company sat on the information.

Third: The Toyota recalls lead to the company suspending sales of some of its most popular models. That's not happening with the GM and Chrysler recalls.

Bottom line: Don't mix apples and oranges when looking at recalls. The Toyota recalls were a major, game-changing events that cost Toyota billions of dollars and will continue to haunt the company, even as it tries to move on.

The GM and Chrysler recalls are definitely news worthy and important for the vehicle owners and public to be aware of. Could they make some people think twice about buying a GM or Chrysler model? Maybe. But from where I sit, neither recall will rock the foundations of those automakers or cause them the kind trouble Toyota has experienced in recent months.

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