Despite daunting development budgets, defects in cars still get revealed only after thousands of examples encounter the real world, away from the development tracks and computer simulations.
The EU has an agency called the Rapid Exchange of Information System, which seeks to flag up safety risks for all products on sale in the EU, including cars. This leads to cars being recalled to have remedial work carried out, almost always at the cost of the original manufacturer, not the consumer.
The website car-recalls.eu specialises in deciphering the data from the system – and it has just compiled a list of the most recalled car brands in Europe for 2020. Now clearly the companies with larger model ranges tend to have the most recalls, so please bear that in mind when viewing the data. Looking at 30 car brands in total, we start at the brand with the fewest recalls in 2020, and work our way up to the car brand with the most recalls in Europe over the past 12 months.
Editor’s note: Due to the extent of defects with certain models, not all affected cars have been named. Follow the link on the last slide to get a full rundown of all defects affecting all models and for how to find out about recalls affecting your car
Mini 2 (from a total of 2 models affected)
The recalls here concerned a remedy for the battery in the Countryman PHEV (pictured) and to fix a possibly defective airbag sensor in the Mini Clubman.
Jaguar 2 (from 3 models)
Both the E-Pace and I-Pace built between April and July 2019 may have defective seats fasteners, while the 2009-2019 XJ (pictured) had an airbag issue.
Porsche 3 (from 2 models)
The 911 (pictured) faced recalls for defective hazard lights and possibly loose bolts on the front axle, while the Cayenne (built from November 2017 to December 2019) had a fuel line issue.
Dacia 3 (from 3 models)
Logan MCVs (pictured) built in early summer 2020 had incorrectly assembled brake pads, while Logans and Sanderos built before July 2019 have an engine defect that may be a fire risk. Dusters built between November 2018 and October 2019 may have a rear seat frame fault.
Skoda 3 (from 4 models)
The Kamiq (pictured) and Scala models may have defective seat covers, while Superbs built between January and August 2015 must have a repair on their airbag control units. The Octavia Mk4 faces a recall around its automatic emergency call system.
Lexus 3 (from 4 models)
Several Lexus models built between 2013 and 2019 face a fuel pump pressure issue that may cause engines to stall. The RX350 and RX450h (pictured) built between May 2015 and February 2018 need rectifying as water ingress into the heated washer jets can cause a short circuit and possible fire.
Dodge 4 (from 2 models)
Faults in the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler of the RAM pick-up, built from 2013 to 2019, increase the fire risk. On more recent models, the loading area step may be insufficiently strong, while there is a risk that the driver's side floor mat could interfere with the accelerator pedal.
On the 2004-2006 Dodge Viper (pictured), the airbags and seatbelt tensioners may deploy mistakenly.
Mitsubishi 4 (from 3 models)
Two recalls affected the electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV (pictured) produced between 2010 to 2019 concerning water ingress into the brake vacuum pump, causing internal corrosion and reduced brake effectivenss.
There may be improper welding in the front suspension of the 2017 and 2018 Pajero, while the 2020 Outlander may have a defective rear seatbelt.
Kia 5 (from 4 models)
Several older Kias may have potential oil and humidity penetration into their ABS/ESC units, while the Optima's brake booster may fail. The Sorento (pictured) had three recalls: a fuel line issue may cause fuel leakage and fire.
The Stinger had a recall around a blocked fuel pump nozzle in models built between 13 May 2020 and 17 July 2020.
Bentley 6 (from 3 models)
The Bentayga (pictured) had recalls for its airbags, seatbelts and a fuel leak issue. The Continental GT had a hydraulic fluid leak recall, while it and the Flying Spur have a sunroof issue for models built during a brief period in January 2020.
Hyundai 6 (from 5 models)
With 2007-2012 i30s, their ABS/ESC modules may have a defect that will deactivate them. Also, their airbags can be inadvertently activated.
On 2006-2008 Santa Fes, the ABS modules face a short circuit and fire risk. The KonaElectric (pictured) may have faults relating to lithium ion batteries and the electric parking brake.
Subaru 6 (from 6 models)
Crosstrek, Impreza and XV (pictured) models built between 2017 and 2020 had recalls to rectify a faulty fuel pump connector that may be a fire risk, as well as a faulty brake fluid hose.
On Crosstrek, Impreza and XV models produced between January 2017 to August 2018, there was a recall over fuel pump issues.
Seat 6 (from 6 models)
Arona, Ateca, Ibiza, Leon and Toledo models built between 2018 and 2020 all faced a recall around an issue with the three-cylinder 1.0 TSI engine.
Tarraccos (pictured) built between January and February 2020 may have a defective fuel tank.
Land Rover 7 (from 3 models)
Recalls for the Discovery concerned the instrument panel, while a battery issue may cause the lighting to fail. The mild hybrid system on the Discovery may have a defect that could cause a fire, and this also affected the Range Rover Evoque MHEV (pictured).
Fiat 7 (from 4 models)
Among other issues, the Ducato van was recalled for improperly installed cables and the brake system’s vacuum pump. The brake calipers may be cracked on the 500X built between November and December 2019. The Fiat Panda (pictured) from the first half of 2019 may have a steering wheel cover issue.
Jeep 7 (from 5 models)
The Cherokee, Gladiator and Wrangler (pictured) models each had two recalls. Among other concerns, there were issues with the steering, brakes, differential, clutch and suspension. A recall was also called for the Compass over a windscreen wiper issue.
Nissan 7 (from 11 models)
Several Nissan models had recalls for a possible failure of the rear door child lock. On Leaf and e-NV200 (pictured) electric models, the actuator plate welding can be faulty. The NV300 van also had a recall for its parking brake.
Mazda 8 (from 5 models)
Five recalls concerned the CX-30 (pictured). There may be problems with the brake assist, engine stalling, brake calipers, fuel tank and headlights. Some issues were shared with the Mazda 3.
Honda 8 (from 6 models)
Several Hondas were recalled over the same issue: the low-pressure fuel pump may be faulty, causing the engine to stall.
Four other recalls were announced for the CR-V (including one for its airbags), plus three for the HR-V (pictured) and the Civic. Several older models were recalled for airbag issues.
Volvo 10 (from 15 models)
Several large recalls covered virtually the entire model range of the Swedish car maker. After previous problems with fuel leakage, melting of the plastic intake, failure of the brake assist and fastening of the seatbelts, another problem with the cooling of some diesel engines appeared in July.
When adding coolant, air pockets can form in the system, which could lead to insufficient cooling of the engine and damage to some of its components. The risk of a local fire in the engine compartment cannot be ruled out, either. The fault can occur with 370,000 cars, including the V40 (pictured).
Vauxhall/Opel 14 (from 7 models)
Steering failure may occur with the Combo, and the Corsa manufactured between September to December 2019. Three recalls due to a fuel or oil leak have been released by Opel for the Insignia (pictured). Fuel may also leak from the Crossland’s engine high-pressure pump.
Renault 15 (from 11 models)
The Captur (pictured) faced four recalls, including for a battery issue that might result in a short circuit and fire, and for its power steering. A total of 25,000 Mégane, Scenic and Talisman models have to be serviced due to a possible fuel leak.
BMW 17 (from 18 models)
The 3 Series, the X3/X4 SUVs and Z4 Roadster built between September 2018 to August 2019 may be affected by a tie rod issue that could lead to a loss of wheel control. The plug-in hybrid versions of the 3 Series (pictured), 3 Series Touring, X1, X2, X3, X5, 2 Series Active Tourer, 7 Series, 5 Series, 5 Series Touring and Mini Countryman all faced an issue around welding on the batteries, which may be a fire risk.
Citroen 18 (from 13 models)
There was a huge recall for various issues affecting the 1.2-litre PSA Group petrol engine for cars built between March 2013 and April 2017, impacting models such as the Berlingo, C3, C3 Picasso, C4, C4 Cactus, C4 Picasso, DS 3 and DS 4 (pictured).
Citroën announced nine recalls for Jumpy/Spacetourer vans and, as in previous years, these were some of the most recalled cars. The Berlingo, C3 and DS 7 Crossback had four recalls each.
Audi 19 (from 12 models)
More than half a million mild-hybrid-powered A4 (pictured), A5, A6, A7 and Q5 models were recalled for issues related to the BSG (belt-driven starter-generator), a fault that could lead to a short circuit and fire.
The Q7 built between the end of July and mid-November 2019 was recalled for an issue relating to the front camera that can result in a fire.
Toyota 22 (from 14 models)
There were six recalls for the Yaris (pictured), mostly due to airbags and seatbelts, but Toyota also recalled the Yaris due to headlights or a fuel leak with the Yaris GRMN.
Volkswagen 24 (from 12 models)
As previously mentioned with VW sibling Seat, there was a major recall of the three-cylinder 1.0-litre TSI engine manufactured between 2018 and 2020, and this affected the Caddy, Golf, Golf Sportsvan, Passat, Polo, Sharan, Touran, T-Coss, T-Roc and Up (pictured) models.
Four recalls were announced for the Passat and Polo models, while the Amarok, Crafter, Golf, Tiguan, Touareg and Transporter T5/T6 had three recalls each.
Ford 24 (from 16 models)
Ford had to temporarily suspend sales of its popular new Kuga PHEV (pictured) due to faulty batteries that could lead to a fire and more than 33,000 cars were recalled.
Ford also announced three recalls for the Focus. The engine wiring harness may be damaged by contact with a bolt on the transmission housing on cars manufactured between 2018 and 2020. There may also be problems with the power distribution box (PDB) contacts.
Peugeot 28 (from 11 models)
More than 370,000 models of the Partner, 208, 2008, 308, 3008 and 5008 (pictured) were affected by a recall due to possible strong abrasion of the timing belt and other issues affecting the 1.2-litre PSA Group petrol engine.
Mercedes-Benz 57 (from 27 models)
The most recalled Mercedes and the car with the most recalls in 2020 was the A-Class (both for the current model, pictured, and the previous generation), whose owners were invited in for recalls 10 times. The C-Class and E-Class had six recalls each.
In the SUV category, the GLB and GLE had the most problems. Each of them made five entries in the recalls list.
How do I find out if my car is affected by a recall that I’m not aware of?
UK car owners can easily find out by visiting this DVLA website and entering their car registration number. It will also reveal the car’s current MOT status: https://www.check-mot.service.gov.uk/
If you believe there has been a recall but your car has not had the remedial work done, then you should contact a main franchised dealer for your car’s make in your locality for further assistance. Such work is normally carried out free of charge, although your car may be off the road for a time and a courtesy car is not always offered.
However, it’s very important that the work is done as soon as possible because your safety may be at stake. Additionally, your car may prove hard to sell on if recall work has not been done. Non-UK drivers can check their car’s recall status by sending their car’s unique VIN number to a local franchised dealer.
You can see the full table from car-recalls.euhere