5 Infamous Auto Industry Scandals

The car industry isn’t immune to scandals, and unfortunately, many of them have resulted in consumer injuries and even death. After the horrible incidents, some car companies found themselves wrapped up in lawsuits and some even were forced to file bankruptcy.

Some of the things that happened were not the car companies’ faults, and other times they were a result of the vehicle manufacturers cutting corners, bending rules, and foregoing regulations. Some of these scandals have been forgotten about, but others are simply unforgivable.

Sometimes when you purchase a car, you’re completely unaware of potential problems with the design that may result in an accident or even wrongful death. If this happens to you, a lemon law attorney in Bay Area can help you recover damages. 

1. Takata Malfunctioning Airbags and Recall

One of the worst auto industry scandals happened when over 30 million faulty airbags were placed in cars in the United States alone. The airbags, when deployed, were likely to shoot sharp pieces at passengers. Most of the Takata airbags were installed in Honda car models.

Reportedly, 16 people died from the airbags, and over 250 people were injured. The number is likely much higher. In the end, both Honda and Takata were blamed and fined for not responding immediately and Takata filed for bankruptcy before being sold to Key Safety.

2. GM Faulty Ignition Switch and Recall

Faulty and malfunctioning ignition switches in GM models caused at least 120 deaths when they would suddenly stop working while vehicles were traveling at high rates of speed, causing safety components such as power brakes and airbags to completely stop working.

Even though this remained an issue for years, it wasn’t until 2014 that the GM corporation finally decided to recall the ignition switches. GM was fined millions of dollars for ignoring the responsibility for their customers’ lives and safety.

3. Volkswagen Emissions Scandal

You probably remember a few years ago when Volkswagen got into hot water over their diesel emissions cover-up. After an EPA investigation, researchers discovered that Volkswagen diesel engines caused more pollution than allowed, even though they were passing emissions tests.

After further investigation, hidden electronic devices were found in the Volkswagen vehicles that controlled the engine emissions while tests were conducted. The rest of the time, the engines produced ridiculous amounts of emissions. The scandal cost the company over $30 million.

4. Ford Explorer/Firestone Tire Calamity

One of the worst auto industry scandals was caused not by the actual Ford cars and trucks, but by the Firestone tires placed on the vehicles. The National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigated the tires after multiple reports of tire tread separation and puncturing, resulting in multiple accidents.

In fact, by the time the investigation took place, nearly 300 people died and over 800 injuries were reported because of the malfunctioning tires. Both Ford Corporation and Firestone Tire suffered from the scandal and both companies’ CEOs ended up resigning.

5. Ford Pinto Fuel Tanks Exploding

The Pinto is somewhat of an icon when it comes to cars from the 1970s. Its popularity skyrocketed initially but soon fell into one of the worst car industry scandals of all time. The fuel tank would break off during a rear collision, resulting in a release of fuel inside the cabin.

Over 900 deaths and injuries resulted from the lack of a back crumple zone on hatchback models. Coupled with Pintos setting on fire during rear collisions. Ford knew about the potential issues before producing the vehicle, resulting in one of the worst car scandals of all time.