Henry Zaragoza and his wife have a new responsibility a few months on the horizon.
"We're trying to find an automobile that can carry our first grandchild, and be able to carry him or her safely," Henry said.
So they came to the local Toyota dealership, part of a franchise that boasts a very high safety rating on its vehicles. But it seems like every other week, a new safety recall is being announced on another vehicle.
"There's a lot of pressure on manufacturers from the time a product leaves the drawing board to the time it's at dealerships' lots," said Paul Atkinson of Atkinson Toyota in Bryan.
That rush to get those autos on the lots could be part of the reason for the issues lately, but whatever the factors are, there have been a lot of issues lately. In this year alone, Ford has recalled nearly 800,000 vehicles -- mostly pickups and SUVs -- because of a cruise control switch that could short circuit. Ford has also recalled earlier models of their Focus that have potentially-faulty door latches.
Dodge has recalled 26,000 2005 Durangos because of a fuel tank valve that may not close. And nearly 200,000 GM vehicles from '04 and '05 have defects ranging from the brakes to the windshields.
"We get more questions on the used car lot, where the customers that are looking at a used vehicle and want to know if there are any outstanding recalls," said Atkinson.
And while look and handling are big deals to the consumer, the dealers say safety should be priority one. "I don't think the customers do anywhere near enough research that they need to be doing," said Atkinson. "If they look at Consumer Reports and all the data that's available to them on the Internet, you'd be surprised what's out there that a customer can get their hands on."
"You want to make sure it's a high quality and safe automobile for you and your family," said Zaragoza.
And future family members as well.
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