It seems like not a month goes by without a blaring headline citing a recall of hundreds of thousands if not millions of vehicles. I hadn’t really given it much thought until recently but for some reason it finally struck me as serial Misleading Headlines.
The above image is pretty typical of what we see in the frighteningly bold headlines in all these cases. In the past I think my reaction to such news was probably pretty typical of what most people think. Wow! Insert Auto Manufacturer really messed up. This is going to cost them billions of dollars to fix. What a disaster.
I had these thoughts despite having vehicles of my own as part of recalls in the past. We all know the drill and yet we are still impressed with the headline and often click on it.
The reality? There’s no mystery. Everyone who owned that year and make car gets a note. The next time they take it in for service the dealership performs the fix. They do thousands of them, they have the parts on hand, the mechanics replace the part, probably in less than five minutes. The car is back on the road.
In fact, I’d be willing to bet that the recall actually ends up being profitable. When I take my car in to the dealer to fix a recall issue I usually get my oil changed or some other routine maintenance that I would normally have done a local facility. This means I pay the dealership for the routine maintenance, work if not for the recall they would not have done. The profit on the oil change most likely exceeds the loss on the recall fix.
I’d be willing to bet most people do it the same way.
So, there you go. Serial Misleading Headlines.
What do you think? Am I wrong?
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