A while back we wrote an article about the Zap Xebra recall.  In the article, we incorrectly stated that the NHTSA issued a recall on the vehicle mentioned.  After getting in touch with Public Affairs official Eric Bolton who works for the NHTSA we learned some interesting bit of info and thought it would be worthwhile to share it with you.

A little background is in order.  The Zap Zebra article sparked a series of calls to the DOT.  The call traffic exceeded normal volumes and prompted the NHTSA to contact us in regards to the article.  They kindly asked us to add a note at the end of the article that asked for all concerns to be directed to the manufacturer,  We added it immediately and all was taken care of.

We contacted Eric Bolton about the situation and learned something new.  The reason our article, and many others like it spark increased calls to the NHTSA is because we incorrectly stated that the NHTSA issued a recall on a vehicle.  Concerned owners contacted them directly and overwhelm them with calls.  Mr. Bolton straightened it all out for us.

The NHTSA does not issue recalls.  I'll repeat it, the NHTSA does not issue recalls.  Only the manufacturer of the vehicle issues the recall.  If, during routine testing, a manufacturer spots an issue or safety related problem, they have five days to report the issue and how they will rectify the problem to the NHTSA.  Then the NHTSA issues a Part 573 Notice to notify consumers of a problem.  The notice is intended to spread the word that the manufacturer has issued a recall.

This was news to us.  The NHTSA does not issue a recall and therefore responsibility lies in the hands of the manufacturer.  Certainly it would be in the best interest of buyers to be notified immediately about any recalls on the vehicles they own.  But what if the manufacturer ignores a known defect in order to save money?  It has happened numerous times before.

Buyers tend to put the blame on the government organizations, but clearly the laws are laid out in such a way that the full responsibility and therefore full blame should be directed to the manufacturer.

We apologize for incorrectly stating that the NHTSA issued a recall.  But it made us well aware of how the system works.  You learn from your mistakes and by passing the info on to the readers, you will be fully aware of the operating procedure surrounding recalls.  Next time you hear about the NHTSA issuing a recall, you will know that that is simply not possible.

Special thanks to Eric Bolton of the NHTSA for sharing this information with us and clarifying the situation.