Total recall: Car manufacturers spend £780 million a year to fix faults with Vauxhall and BMW topping the recalls’ leaderboard

Date Posted 12th December 2022
Read Time 8 min read

Vauxhall, BMW, and Toyota take the top three spots on the list of 63 car manufacturers with the highest number of car recalls in the last 20 years. According to an analysis of data by Hippo Leasing, the Vauxhall Astra is the model with the highest number of recalls. Precisely 636,066 Astra models were recalled, which along with Vauxhall’s other recalls (a total of 5,410,378) has cost the manufacturer more than $2.7 billion / £2.2 billion.

In second place is BMW, with a total recall count of 4,079,349, costing approximately $2 billion / £1.7 billion over 20 years. In comparison to BMW’s main rivals, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, Mercedes comes in as the fifth highest on the recall leaderboard, with around 2.85 million, costing just over $1.4 billion / £1.2 billion. Audi is lower down, ranking 16th with 776,600 recalls, costing $388 million / £323 million – over five times fewer recalls than BMW.

Infographic showing the top 10 car manufacturers with the highest number of car recalls in the last 20 years.
Manufacturers who have submitted the most recallsData sourced from

Though car recalls can be frustrating, they are incredibly important. Drivers must take their cars back to manufacturer dealerships for immediate repairs. Even when there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with the car they have. But that’s the most vital factor when it comes to recalls. Even when you think your car is fine, there may be an underlying issue that only the manufacturer can identify.

It could be an electrical or mechanical fault, a problem with the car’s engine, safety assistance features, or anything that could put the driver and passengers at risk. So, while recalls may be frustrating at the time, they’re incredibly important to help keep you safe on the roads.

“Recalls are actually a positive thing,” said Tom Preston, Managing Director at Hippo Leasing. “If your car is recalled, the manufacturer has discovered a concern or potential fault on one or more of their vehicles, and, as an ultimate safety precaution, will recall cars to make 100 per cent certain that your car is safe to continue driving and the issue isn’t replicated on any other vehicles.

“If a fault is found with your car, the manufacturer will fix it immediately,” Tom continued. “Their main goal is to prevent any future potential faults and issues with your car, and keep you out of harm’s way.”

Total recalls – 37,580,585 – have cost the automotive industry close to $18.8 billion /£15.6 billion in the last two decades.

The good news is that as technology progresses and engineers implement more new tools and features into cars, as of 2022 recalls are becoming less frequent than they once were. This year, we’ve seen the lowest number of recalls since 2014. There has been a decrease of -57 per cent compared to 2018, which saw the most car recalls in the last 20 years, at 3,319,094 models called back for repair by manufacturers.

Biggest causes for the most amount of car recalls

As part of the analysed data of 63 manufacturers, we have discovered the concerns and faults that have caused the greatest number of recalls in the past 20 years, totalling 37,580,585 recalls overall.

Airbags are the number one reason for car recalls in the last 20 years. Airbags are arguably one of the most significant factors when it comes to keeping you and your passengers safe in the event of an accident.

Overall, there have been 6,898,640 car recalls checking and prevent airbag-related issues on cars over the last two decades. This is twice as many recalls as there have been in relation to car seat/seat belt issues, at just over 3.5 million recalls. And brake-related issues at just over 3.3 million recalls.

Infographic showing the most common faults and concerns that have led to the highest number of car recalls.
Most common faults causing the greatest number of car recalls Data sourced from

Car models with the most recalls

Due to the volume of models, we have concentrated on the top five manufacturers with the highest number of total recalls. The table below shows the models that have been recalled the most.

Recall DateMakeModelConcernNumber of cars recalled
17/04/2000VauxhallAstraRemote possibility of brake fluid contamination.636,066
08/01/2022BMWX1, X3, X4, X4, X5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 SeriesThe exhaust gas recirculation cooler may leak over time and cause thermal incident.318,206
15/06/2015ToyotaYaris, Corolla, Avensis, Verso, PicnicPassenger side airbag may fail to deploy correctly.542,751
30/10/2020FordMondeo, S-Max, GalaxyTakata airbag inflator may rupture on deployment219,738
05/05/2021Mercedes-BenzWide selection of models including the CLA, GLA, C-Class, E-Class,
S-Class, B-Class
The behaviour of the emergency call system might not meet specifications162,581

Vauxhall/Opel takes the top spot for the manufacturer with the highest number of overall car recalls in the last 20 years. When you segregate their recalls and look at the individual models, the Astra has been the biggest cause of stress for the UK manufacturer. In 2000, Vauxhall/Opel recalled upwards of 636,000 Astras due to a remote possibility of brake fluid contamination.

A further insight into how detailed concerns can be to cause a recall are illustrated with BMW. The manufacturer has recalled nearly 320,000 cars from pretty much all of their internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle ranges this year. This was due to a potential issue with their exhaust gas recirculation cooler that may leak over time and cause a thermal incident.

In third place on the recall’s leaderboard came Toyota, one of the world’s largest car producers over the last couple of years. They had a total of 542,751 recalls in 2015 due to the possibility of the passenger-side airbag failing to deploy correctly on several cars in their range, including the Yaris, Corolla and Avensis.

As for Ford, who finished just behind Toyota in fourth, due to a potential rupture on deployment of the Takata Airbag inflator, they had to recall close to 220,000 cars from their range in 2020 that included the S-MAX, Mondeo, and Galaxy.

And finally, in fifth place, Mercedes-Benz recalled 162,500 cars from almost their entire range in 2021, due to the behaviour of the emergency call system potentially not meeting specifications.

How many Tesla vehicles have been recalled by Elon Musk since 2010?

According to the data, Tesla has had 18 separate recalls from 2010 to today, which sees them sitting in 29th on the recall leaderboard, with a total of just over 80,000 vehicles recalled. This will have cost Elon Musk’s motor company, Tesla, an estimated $40,144,000 / £33,387,363.

Their biggest recall to date was this year when 26,600 of their Model 3s were brought in due to the rear-view camera harness potentially failing, which can cause no image to appear in the centre display. This issue could have approximately costed Tesla upwards of $13 million / £10.8 million to fix.

Recall DateMakeModelConcernNumber of cars recalled
18/02/2022TeslaModel 3The rear-view camera harness may fail causing no image in the centre display.26,618
20/04/2022TeslaModel 3In certain conditions the user interface (“UI”) on affected vehicles displays vehicle speed but not a unit of speed (i.e. mph or km/h).10,927
01/02/2021TeslaModel S and Model XWhen the EMMC reaches accumulated lifetime wear, the customer may experience a blank centre display. 9,475
19/04/2022TeslaModel 3 and Model YA loss of low voltage system support may cause the audio subsystem to be unavailable.9,471
18/02/2022TeslaModel SMisalignment of the hood latch may prevent latching of the secondary latch.8,351

Despite the high number of recalls for a manufacturer with fewer cars available and on the road, Tesla remains further down the recalls’ leaderboard. It required fewer recalls than the likes of Porsche, Skoda and Subaru. And has nearly 10 times fewer recalls than Audi.

Benefits of car leasing with Hippo

One of the many benefits of leasing a car through Hippo Leasing is that if in the highly unlikely scenario that your car is recalled, we’re on hand to help. Thankfully, with leasing, safety concerns are at a minimum, as you will most likely be driving a brand-new car.

In the very few instances that you may have chosen an approved-used car to lease, we offer the comprehensive Hippo Protect maintenance plan to cover any future motoring costs on the car you’ve chosen (subject to terms and conditions).  All new cars come with the latest safety features, along with new connected technology and gadgets too.

No matter which car you’re looking to lease, we’re always here to help.


Hippo Leasing sourced car recall data from the Government website that spans from 1992-2022. And then moved all duplicates to separate out all the individual recalls and the cars involved.

We sectioned out the data by 63 manufacturers and years. This led us to uncovering the findings highlighted above. Costs were calculated based on the statement provided by Mike Held at AlixPartners, indicating that the cost per car recall is, on average, $500. ​​Conversions to GBP were done on Google Converter on Nov 28th and the exchange rate was 1 GBP = 1.21 USD.

Arrow to top