Despite General Motors' (GM) highly publicized massive recalls, the next hurdle will be to simply get consumers to bring those cars in for repairs.
Unfortunately, the track record for American consumers fixing their recalled cars doesn't inspire confidence: About one-third of recalled cars and trucks don't get needed repairs, Bloomberg News notes.
Even worse, many of those cars end up resold to other consumers, who may not be aware of the recall notice or whether a vehicle remains unfixed. Last year, a whopping 3.5 million used cars went up for sale online with unfixed recalls, according to CarFax, the vehicle history company.
For GM, those statistics boil down to the fact that it faces a stiff headwind as reaches for a goal of fixing 100 percent of its recalled vehicles. GM is aiming to complete those fixes by the fall, according to spokesman Jim Cain. One issue is that because the cars are older -- they were manufactured from 2003 through 2011 -- it has had to restart production of the improved ignition switch, and repairs started only earlier this month.
"This recall is unusual in the sense that it involves vehicles that have been out of production for quite some time," Cain said. "We have had to get the supplier to restart production of the switch. The supply is limited right now, but we hope to have 1 million [switches] by the end of August."
Typically, GM has recorded recall completions in the 80 percent to 85 percent range, Cain added.
But people like Ray Chapman will pose a challenge to GM's efforts to hit 100 percent. Chapman, who owns a 2006 Chevy HHR that's part of the recall, told Bloomberg that even though he's aware of the faulty switch -- it can cause a car to lose power suddenly -- he's in no rush to get his vehicle fixed.
"I'm the kind of person who doesn't get scared by the headlines. I can assess the real risk and I've driven a lot of miles with no issues. I don't expect it to happen in the next month," Chapman told the publication.
In other cases, consumers may be unaware of the recall, said CarFax spokesman Chris Basso. Consumers who sell their cars aren't required to alert buyers about whether they've fixed a recalled car before selling it, which adds to the problem. Some of the recalled GM cars are currently on the resale market, Basso noted. Consumers can check to see if a used car is subject to a recall at CarFax, which offers the service for free.
"These are issues that can cause real safety concerns," he said. "We estimate that one out of nine cars listed online has an unfixed recall."