Why are there so many vehicle recalls?

Last year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded 586 safety- or compliance-related vehicle recalls. Although it was a slight reduction from 2011, the total number of recalls per year has been climbing for two decades. These numbers suggest sloppy production by carmakers, but data gathered by J.D. Power and Associates and Consumers Union, both of which track vehicle quality and reliability, show the opposite: steady improvement, year after year.

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