10 Ford Recall Statistics, Trends, and Predictions

From the Model-T and the invention of the assembly line to the Bronco and Ford F-150, the Ford Motor Company has been foundational to today's automotive landscape – and left an indelible footprint on the modern world.

However, like any vehicle manufacturer Ford has had a number of recalls over the past century.

Since it was founded in 1903, the Michigan-based auto giant has had nearly 1,500 recalls, including 57 in 2023 and 16 as of March 2024.

In America, when there are safety concerns stemming from a possible defect in an American vehicle, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires car manufacturers to fix the issue, replace the vehicle in question, or offer the owner a refund.

Today, especially for electric vehicles (EVs), some of these repairs can be done over the air (OTA) through software updates. However, some car recalls require the vehicle to be returned to the dealership or manufacturer.

Here are 10 important Ford recall statistics that will shed light on how many Ford vehicles are being recalled and why, as well as give you a broader picture of the state of automotive recalls in general.

Let's dive in.

Key Takeaways

1. Ford has had the most recalls for 3 years straight, with 16% of the total vehicle recalls in 2023. (Source)

Ford recalled 6 millions cars in 2023 across 57 recalls

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Ford recalled 6 million cars last year across 57 recalls. This leads Chrysler with 45 recalls potentially affecting 2.7 million vehicles, and Forest River Inc. with 37 recalls potentially affecting 11,670 vehicles.

However, this was a decrease from 2022, when Ford had 68 recalls, representing 17% of the total recalls that year and potentially affecting 8.7 million vehicles. In 2021, Ford had 57 recalls, 13% of the total, potentially affecting nearly 5.4 million vehicles.

2. Ford has had 1,469 vehicle recalls, the second most in history, behind General Motors at 1,642. (Source)

Ford has had a total of 1,469 recalls - the second most in history

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As of March 2024, Ford Motor Company has had the second most vehicle recalls since the automobile was invented, but their recalls have affected more vehicles than any other manufacturer's recalls.

Ford's 1,469 total recalls represent 17% of all vehicle recalls, and have affected approximately 208 million vehicles.

While General Motors (GM) leads in total vehicle recalls with 1,642 recalls, GM's recalls have affected approximately 203 million vehicles, about 5 million fewer vehicles than Ford's recalls.

In third place is Chrysler with 1,379 recalls affecting approximately 139 million vehicles.

3. The power train was the top reason for Ford recalls in 2023, affecting more than 4 million vehicles. (Source)

The power train was the leading cause of Ford recalls in 2023

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Potential issues related to the power train resulted in 21 Ford recalls in 2023, potentially with 4.1 million affected vehicles.

This was followed by 15 recalls related to back-over prevention systems (1.8 million vehicles), 15 recalls related to the electrical system (1.2 million vehicles), nine recalls due to airbags (725,587 vehicles), and eight recalls due to hydraulic service brakes (1.7 million vehicles).

Other reasons included potential problems with visibility, exterior lighting, the gasoline fuel system, steering, engine cooling, the engine, and equipment.

Additional Vehicle Recall Statistics

4. Ford Motor Company has had 17 recalls so far this year, potentially affecting 2.2 million vehicles. (Source)

Ford ties with Forest River for the most recalls as of March 2024, but the Forest River recalls affect a much lower number of vehicles at just 14,000.

5. By far Ford's biggest recall of 2024 so far was announced in January, potentially affecting more than 1.8 million Explorer SUVs from model years 2011-2019. (Source)

The statement came after 164 complaints from owners. The issue is parts of the windshield trim that may fall off and pose a safety risk to other motorists.

6. While Ford has had a lot of recalls, they've also sold a lot of cars. According to 31 years of data from 1985 to 2016, Ford's recall rate per 1,000 cars is just 24 cars above the industry average. (Source)

In that time period, Ford had 111,043,241 cars recalled while they sold 97,493,753 cars, with a recall rate of 1,139 per 1,000 cars sold. The industry average is 1,115 cars per 1,000 sold. (The same vehicles may be recalled more than once.)

7. Historically, Ford is the least proactive auto manufacturer when it comes to recalls, while Tesla is the most proactive. (Source)

Of recalls from 1985 to 2016, just 29.6% of Ford's recall campaigns were manufacturer-initiated – meaning the rest were initiated by the NHTSA. By contrast, Tesla initiated 100% of their own recall campaigns.

8. When it comes to recall timeliness, Ford is historically just behind the industry average. (Source)

Of Ford recalls between 1985 and 2016, 66.3% were initiated in the first three years after manufacture. The industry average is 66.6%. Again, Tesla scored the best here, initiating 100% of recalls within the first three years. By contrast, Mazda met this timeframe just 48.4% of the time.

9. The ongoing Takata airbag recall that has affected 67 million vehicles across 19 vehicle manufacturers resulted in numerous Ford recalls over the past decade. (Source)

The largest auto recall in history, this includes air bag inflators in nearly 4 million Ford vehicles. In fact, certain 2006 Ford Rangers are currently on the NHTSA's do not drive list, and this recall will likely continue to affect vehicles and owners.

However, more than three times as many Honda and Acura vehicles have been recalled due to vehicle safety issues with Takata airbags.

10. Ford is under investigation by the NHTSA for mishandling a 2019 powertrain control module update recall of 57,000 Focus sedans. (Source)

This follows a 2018 recall of 1.3 million Focus sedans.

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