Car recalls: 18 automakers ranked from best to worst


It seems like we can’t go a full week without news of another major car recall, many times for defects that could result in injuries or deaths.

Read more: The most reliable car brand 

Car manufacturers ranked by recall rate 

Using 31 years of recall history data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a new study from ranked automakers by recall rate.

“Consumers who don’t like their cars getting recalled and wasting their time getting them fixed would want to buy a car from a manufacturer with a low recall rate,” the study said.

From January 1985 through September 2016, the industry average was 1,115 car recalls per 1,000 sold. How’s that possible? Well, the same vehicles are often recalled more than once.  

The study found that 11 of the 18 automakers ranked above the industry average, with Porsche having the lowest recall rate of 531 per 1,000 cars.

Volkswagen was dead last on the list, with 1,805 recalls per 1,000 vehicles sold.

18 automakers with the best and worst recall rates

Read more: Most and least expensive cars to maintain

Taking a look at only the last five years, the industry average for recall rate shot up to 2,380 recalls per 1,000 cars.


Volvo was the most improved from 2012 to 2016, but BMW, Chrysler, GMC, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Toyota all experienced dramatic increases in recall rates.

“A key reason for this increase is attributable to the very large recalls in recent years, such as the Takata airbag and the GMC ignition switch recalls,” said Phong Ly, CEO of

In addition to the recall rate, you want your next car to be dependable overall, so check out how the top car brands fared in Consumer Reports’ 2016 reliability survey.

And to get the best price possible, follow these “Clark Smart” steps to buying a new car.

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