MM Blog: Halting The Increase Of Vehicle Recall Numbers

The connection between auto plant overtime and the growing number of vehicle recalls.

The auto industry has seen a dramatic spike in recalls in recent decades, culminating in a record 51 million vehicles recalled in the U.S. last year. While academic studies of the trend largely focused on its economic toll, researchers from the Indiana University and the University of Minnesota sought to find connections between auto plant operations and subsequent safety issues.

Their findings, published in the journal Management Science, indicated that a factory consistently running on overtime translated to a 300 percent increase in recalls due to manufacturing errors. Higher numbers of factory options on new cars also corresponded to increased recall costs, the study found.

The authors suggested that automakers too often rely either on overworked employees or temporary staff to meet demand -- instead of expanding their production capacity.


Could cutting back on overtime stem the increase in vehicle recalls? Would the industry be open to those measures in the wake of record auto sales?

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