Home » Ford Had More Recalls In 2022 Than Kia, Hyundai And Tesla Combined

Ford Had More Recalls In 2022 Than Kia, Hyundai And Tesla Combined

Ford Recalls Topshot

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released its 2022 recall data, and the biggest loser—if you define it that way—in 2022 was Ford. The automaker issued 67 recalls in 2022, or one roughly every 5.45 days. That’s more recalls than Hyundai, Kia, and Tesla combined.

Ford has continually struggled with new product launches, including serious problems like malfunctioning trailer brake controllers and EV battery contactor issues popping up here and there. It’s troubling news, but not exactly unexpected if you hold build quality in high regard.

On the other hand, when recalls are voluntary, it’s a sign that an automaker is taking the problems seriously and acting to fix them quickly instead of letting them sit—or put customers at risk. But nobody wants to spend a lot of money on a new car, only to have it sit in the shop awaiting parts and repairs.

This has been a Ford problem for a while now. As the Wall Street Journal put it earlier this year, “At Ford, Quality Is Now Problem 1.” The report highlighted how in 2021, Ford expected $1,041 per vehicle in warranty work compared to GM’s $713, along with the sheer quantity of recalls the Dearborn-based manufacturer is facing lately.

According to Ford Authority, CEO Jim Farley said that fixing Ford’s quality woes is “[…] going to take several years. We didn’t lose it in just one or two years. Until we fix quality, nothing else matters.”

While good build quality isn’t a guaranteed sign that a car is engineered safely, build quality is a good metric of general shits to give within the manufacturing and development process as it shows pride in work or lack thereof. Let me tell you, I’ve seen some lack thereof.

I had a very early fourth-generation Escape press car with the most deficiencies I’ve ever seen on a new gasoline-burning car. There was debris under the paint, the taillights were loose, excess fabric on the front seats was simply bunched up underneath like a full diaper, the stitching on the steering wheel wasn’t even remotely straight, and the headliner was fitted so poorly that I could touch the curtain airbag. I could’ve excused some of these issues if it were a dirt-cheap car from a company nobody’s ever heard of before, but this is a Ford.

Alright, so what about models that have been in production for a while? Are they any better? Well, not really. The Ranger’s been out for a number of years, yet the last Ranger I drove had a particularly ill-fitting switch pod and yet more debris under the paint. While it’s possible that someone messed with the switch pod, it would’ve taken extraordinary force to produce such a jagged edge, plus the debris under the paint had to come from the factory. Is it wrong to expect more from a reasonably expensive truck?

Ranger Paint Debris

Oh, and then there was the time when an electronic interior door release on an Aviator broke away from its mounting tabs and fell into the door. Yeah, that one was awkward. Funnily enough, the Aviator’s platform mate put Ford’s old CEO in the hot seat when a botched Explorer launch affected customer satisfaction.

Now, press cars do get the living daylights beat out of them, but so do rental cars. How many Edge crossovers have you seen in private driveways versus on rental car fleets? Plus, many of these issues have nothing to do with treatment by drivers and everything to do with assembly.

2011 Fusion

The difficult part is knowing that Ford can make great cars when it wants to. It’s an older model, but the early-2010s Ford Fusion is a criminally-underrated used car bargain by nature of being well-equipped and reliable. However, one solid car launched roughly a decade ago doesn’t make up for Ford’s share of plonkers.

So, let’s see if Ford can put its money where its mouth is. Let’s see if in a few years, a brand new model is launched without a hitch. Any brand new Ford model. After all, Ford already makes cool stuff, now it just needs to make cool, high-quality stuff. Fingers crossed Dearborn can pull this off.

(Photo credits: Ford, Thomas Hundal)

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22 Responses

  1. Well maybe Ford needs to take some lessons from Tesla when it comes to trying to ramp up production fast while also trying to maintain quality…

    Yeah I’m directing this to all you Tesla-haters who like to preach about Tesla’s “terrible quality” which hasn’t been the case for at least a few years now.

    1. I mean… Tesla has been improving their build quality, sure, but gradual improvement from “we literally nipped down to Home Depot and bought some fake-wood corner moulding to use as strap pads for the cooling system on a batch of Model Ys” means they still have a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong way to go. My mom loves her Model Y (which has been blessedly free of issues for her) and I’m even the one who recommended she buy it but let’s not blind ourselves to reality. Tesla’s build quality is improving, but it’s improving from kit-car levels of jank.

  2. What the hell decision did Ford make that caused battery contactors to be an issue?

    I’m using a set of Kilovac “Bubba” contactors in my electric GT6, and I’m confident it will never be a worry, even if I decide one day to run 2,000A to the motors and put wheelie bars on the back. Why? They can handle inrush currents of 4,000A, each, and are hermetically sealed!

    1. The same decisions they made when they cheaped out on the bronco engine components that caused all those failures. I’m in professional electronics (Supply Chain Director) and our customers are constantly pressuring us to find a cheaper alternative; even when the current material suppliers have been doing very well with little/no failures for multiple years. I can personally attest to struggling with failures not seen prior when we do this simply because the new supply doesn’t have that “tribal knowledge” of what happened the last time the issue arose. Different manufacturing processes, materials (same base product but from different or “discount” raw material suppliers), employee quality, etc…. We’ve done it to ourselves ultimately and auto quality has fallen quite a bit I would say from where it was even just 5 years ago.

  3. I wouldn’t limit it to just the 2010 Fusion when talking about past instances of good Ford quality. In the late 2000s/turn of the 2010s, Ford quality had been climbing and maybe the highest quality among the domestic automakers. Focus had been a top-rated small car by Consumer Reports some years comes to mind; anecdotally I see a ton of 2nd-gen Escapes still, and even a good number of the original Edges. Really it illustrates how big the shift has been since then.

    It’s some combo of the Mulally years and proven tech, since by 2010 the platforms underpinning most models like the Focus, Escape, and Fusion were several years old, their powertrains were updated versions of existing engines, and so on.

    PowerShift, MyFord Touch, and the like were just the start of the decline, but rather than start to pull up from the nosedive they seem stuck in it.

    1. I would venture to say the 6.0 Powerstrokes and 5.4 Triton engines were a massive drop in reliability, perceived as quality over time. prior to that The AOD trans and head gasket issues of the 80’s 2.3 turbo 4 were often detractors for often nice products otherwise to me. These days, the 2016 and up floating cylinders in the 2.0 Ecoboost causing number 2 or 3 cylinders to start burning coolant is a massive issue that will only get worse. The fact that they released the Bronco/Maverick/lightning at nearly the same time is really scary. They all seem to be parts bin specials with new skin or electric drive train, but the old adage about not buying first year new vehicles seems to fit, even though much of the stuff on these vehicles is not all that new, it still seems to be failing far more than it should.

    2. However, Ford still can’t figure out how to get paint to adhere to metal without bubbling and peeling off – had two company Escapes, a personal Mustang, and a personal Town Car all do that, and it happened to my dad’s company Expedition. Seems like painting a car is one of the most basic, elemental tasks at an assembly plant and Ford clearly hasn’t been able to do even that right in a long time.

    3. Well put.

      What I’ve always liked about Ford is that it tends to put out something (an engine, vehicle model, etc.) that was decent but critically, then hangs onto it for years, incrementally improving it along the way until it’s really good for what it was. There’s something to be said for a proven, if no longer super sexy, character when it comes to machines.

      GM by contrast frequently seems to be constantly seeking the new for new’s sake, and I can never quite figure out Chrysler’s plan.

  4. It saddens me to see what a train wreck that Ford’s quality has become over the past 3 years. (′︿‵。)

    So much so that I tell people that ask my opinion about buying a Ford product; my advice is to LEASE it, do not BUY it.

      1. It’s funny you say that because a friend of mine who is an old time race engine builder recently looked at the coyote my dad is putting in his Cobra replica and said, “Wow, Ford finally figured out a decent exhaust port.”

        Literally the only “nice” thing he’s ever said about anything Ford that I’ve ever heard.

        1. coyote seemed to be the turning point for gas v8’s for Ford for sure. I would rather have the 5.0 over and ecoboost 3.5 v6, but in he end even those engines are turning out to be somewhat reliable over the distance.

  5. A quick Google suggests Ford also sold roughly the same amount of vehicles in Jan-Nov 2022 as Hyundai, Kia and Tesla combined, so does that not average things out to be roughly the same recalls per vehicle sold?

  6. Ill fitting switch pods and debris under paint are nothing – Ford Australia will see your crappy press car and raise you a crappy press car…

    I remember in 2015 when a brand new Ford Everest decided to self immolate during a press drive. It wasn’t the best look for Ford:

    https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/manufacturing/journalist-recounts-the-moment-a-new-ford-everest-suv-catches-fire-on-a-test-drive/news-story/e9fc3f785c89e2743b1a00faf30c4501

  7. I feel like I have to point this out – quality, reliability, and recalls are all separate things that happen to have a bit of overlap. Using the early 2010’s Fusion as an example, while they’re solid cars, they had their share of recalls (looking at a 2011 as an example, omitting the 5 airbag recalls, there were still four different recalls on them). Also, bad paint and haphazardly assembled interiors are appalling at modern car prices, but if they were an indicator of longevity, we wouldn’t see so many old GM’s on the road.

    That said, the Fords I have any experience with got a stupid number of recalls this year that have left them grounded way too long, more than any other OEM.

    1. number of vehicles recalled? Or number of actual recalls. even with many of these companies quietly fixing stuff (TSBs) without the recall they should make, all of them have had plenty of recalls since the turn of this century.
      General Motors: From January 2000 through July 2022, General Motors (GM) has the highest number of recalls issued. NHTSA shows 671 recalls during this time frame. Several recalls involve more than a million vehicles, but the most significant recall occurred in March 2014. The safety issue involved the ignition turning off and impacted over 5 million GM vehicles. Numerous models were recalled, including Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo, Chevrolet Malibu, Oldsmobile Alero, Oldsmobile Intrigue, Pontiac Grand Am and Pontiac Grand Prix vehicles.
      Ford Motor Company: Since 2000, Ford has received 635 recalls, with September 2005 leading to a significant number of vehicles impacted — over 4.5 million. This safety recall involved a potential fire starting from the speed control deactivation switch. The recall notice was sent to drivers of certain pickup trucks and SUVs equipped with speed control.
      Chrysler: In May 2018, Chrysler issued a recall potentially impacting nearly 5 million of its vehicles. This issue stemmed from the cruise control failing to disengage, resulting in a need for a software update. This impacted several models, including Dodge Ram, Dodge Journey, Dodge Charger and Durango, and Jeep Cherokee, to name a few.

  8. I’ve owned my Maverick for eight months now and have two recalls that are pending repair. Not bad for a brand new model but man I would love it if they recalled the interior plastics because that shit scratches if you look at it hard.
    The worst recall I’ve ever had was on my gen2 Mazda 3. I bought one of the first ones off the boat and within three years the entire dashboard had melted into a sticky reflective surface that acted like a mirror on the windshield. At the right time of day you would be completely blinded by the sun.
    It took two years of complaining to Mazda before they released a recall.

  9. Ford is trying to get ahead of the game and too much of a rush is a bad thing. Bronco, Lightning, and Maverick were too many major pushes too quickly.
    Hopefully, they’ll get all this ironed out, and they have the time to do so because they are Ford. They can do this for a bit before their brand really suffers as a result.

    1. I work at the Bronco plant and was on a Bronco team during launch. What it boils down to is too many cooks in the kitchen making decisions trying to look good and weasel their way to a promotion. During meetings nothing gets done because everyone talks over each other.

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