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UK product recalls jump by 26 per cent to a new high

Rise in number of vehicle recalls as motor industry faces increased scrutiny

17 March 2016

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The number of product recalls in the UK jumped by 26 per cent, according to City firm RPC.

When figures were first collected by the firm ten years ago there was less than half the amount of product recalls with just 149 products recalled in 2004/5.

The latest figures show that recalls have reached a new high of 310 in 2014/15 from 245 in 2013/14.

The number of vehicle recalls rose dramatically in the last year after several high profile incidents within the motor industry.

The UK saw 39 different motor vehicle recalls over the last year, a 30 per cent increase from the 30 recalled in 2013/14.

The scandal over General Motors' failure to promptly recall cars with a potentially faulty ignition switch may have prompted other manufacturers to recall more swiftly and more frequently if they identified a potential problem with their car.

US federal agencies claimed the fault caused up to 124 deaths. GM Motors recently agreed to pay $900m in criminal damages to settle the case and eventually recalled 800,000 cars.

Pressure on the motor industry has been further raised by the investigation into Volkswagen over emissions testing, which began in 2014.

French carmaker Renault recently recalled 15,000 cars after questions were raised over emissions testing of its cars.

Gavin Reese, a partner at RPC, remarked: 'Sometimes it can take a huge scandal to break for an industry to sit up, take notice and ensure their products are watertight.

'Certainly the automotive industry is now very sensitive to accusations of being slow to recall faulty or non-compliant products.

'Car manufacturers are looking for irregularities more closely, as well as facing increased pressure from regulators and, therefore, it's likely that 2016 will also see a high level of vehicle recalls.'

RPC also point to a rise in the number of food and drink recalls, by 50 per cent this year from 56 to 84.

After the horsemeat scandal in 2013, the National Food Crime Unit was established to uncover incidents of food fraud in the UK.

RPC says the unit's creation, as well as the increasing importance being placed by supermarkets on their supply chains, may have led to the rise in food product recalls over the last 12 months.

'The horsemeat scandal set off reverberations across the food industry and now a couple of years on tighter measures and an increased scrutiny have clearly made a big difference,' added Reese.

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