Remember the time before the internet? Remember when a mass vehicle recall was something you heard about in the newspaper…maybe. Or you heard about a problem with your vehicle’s manufacturing because you got a letter through snail mail from your dealership telling you that there was a slight problem with the car, and they are happy to replace it absolutely free of charge because it is a company error. Remember how it might be something you mention over coffee, but really didn’t give much thought to after it was fixed? You know that someone probably had to die or become seriously injured for that recall notice to be sent to you, and potentially thousands and thousands of other people, right? You might not have known it “back in the day” when your mechanical issues were identified by a stamped envelope in your mailbox, but you sure as hell know it these days…because of the internet.
Car manufacturers work really, really hard to do insane amounts of damage control when an incident happens that causes them to have to recall parts, components, and entire cars. It can cost millions and millions of dollars. And they don’t want you to know – or at least talk about – the fact that someone probably had to die in order for them to pay attention to that malfunction. They are getting better at it, as the internet continues to loom and grow bigger and bigger. It’s getting so that people have zero privacy, and companies have even less than zero privacy.
Sometimes car manufacturing screws up in a no-big-deal kind of way. And sometimes car manufacturing literally sends people to their fiery demise. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it is only “cheap” cars that can have problems. Some of the world’s biggest and most successful car manufacturers have been plagued by persistent issues in manufacturing. BMW, for example, suffers from persistent cracking on a subframe on its E46 M3 series. Lamborghini recently recalled a $4 million dollar car for problems with fire in the engine. What?? I don’t know about you, but I would be pretty peeved if my $4 million dollars came with any risk outside of the obvious: speed. Before the blazing trail of the internet, BMW and Lamborghini owners would be quietly notified of the errors and informed to make their way to the nearest dealership for repair. Now, the news is on the internet before the vehicle owners even have a chance to find out.
You can imagine the frustration that is felt by the car manufacturers, especially luxury car manufacturers who provide high-touch, white glove service to their clients. They are treated with the highest esteem and respect, and yet, they automobile industry is still struggling to make cars safer and better. They don’t want you to know that about them. They want you to think lifestyle, luxury, freedom, and success when you think about the top brand names in the world. They don’t want you to think about them scrambling to right a wrong that has potentially killed someone. Maintenance and product testing are evolving as the car industry evolves too. Thankfully, nowadays it is just as common for manufacturers to find issues during routine testing and maintenance, than for someone’s injury to prompt a recall.