Recalls generally happen for a good reason. Or, that is the case nowadays. Sure, in the 1970s and ‘80s, auto manufacturers were a bit corrupt—scratch that—very corrupt. That was the time when anything and everything was “okay.”
Take the example of Chevy’s pickup trucks from 1973. Much like the dreaded Pinto, this car had a 20-gallon fuel tank on the sides. Well, that was not the safest design—the gentlest “T-bone” accident could easily hit the highly flammable gasoline that was just waiting there to convert into something more volatile; the gasoline would release energy and become more stable, the very thing nature aims for. A battle ensued. The US Department of Transportation argued that there was a problem with the pickup’s fuel-tank placement, and asked Chevy to recall voluntarily. Chevy refused. Both sides took the matter to the court, and Chevy settled with pledging $51 million to “safety programs.” If I wasn’t clear, let me be: the manufacturer flat out refused the US government to recall its unsafe vehicles. (GM ended up losing more than half a billion dollars in settlements to burn victims regarding these vehicles, though.)
If something like that were to happen now… oh wait, wouldn’t that be the VW Diesel Dupe? Yep. The only difference is that VW is losing billions of dollars. Plus, the afflicted cars will be sitting like un-hired limos in the future; no one will want them.