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About Wayne Mitchell

Wayne Mitchell is the innovation director at NPower.

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More work needed to boost effectiveness of safety recalls

Dec 19, 2020

Despite efforts by automakers and U.S. safety regulators to alert vehicle owners of safety recalls beyond the required mail notification, more must be done to address recall effectiveness, says Wayne Mitchell of Stericycle Expert Solutions. Mitchell is global director of automotive solutions for the firm, where he helps automakers and parts suppliers with various business processes including recall outreach and identifying the status and condition of recalled vehicles. Wayne Mitchell "Is that vehicle on the road anymore or is it a tin can?" he told Automotive News. "There's no use mailing to the … last registered owner for two years if that car is crushed and has been recycled." NHTSA in summer launched a mobile app called SaferCar that automatically checks for safety recalls and alerts users when a recall has been issued. Hyundai Motor Co. also introduced license plate reader technology through its website for U.S. drivers to access open safety recalls and service campaigns issued by the automaker. More modernized approaches to alerting consumers of recalls are steps in the right direction, Mitchell said. "A first-class mail notification that's required by NHTSA from an initial recall — I don't believe is going to be cutting it, especially for these older vehicles," he said. "I believe that it needs to change, and I believe it will change in the near future." Recall recap Total number of automobile recalls as of November 2020: 596 Top 3 reasons for the recalls: equipment issues, 100 recalls; electrical systems, 76; and service brakes, 50 2019 Total number of automobile recalls: 749 Top 3 reasons for the recalls: equipment issues, 98 recalls; electrical systems, 82; and airbags, 67 Note: Totals exclude child seat, equipment and tire recalls Source: Stericycle Expert Solutions Staff Reporter Audrey LaForest spoke with Mitchell, 49, about recall trends and predictions. Here are edited excerpts. Q: What trends or recurring defects have you seen for 2020? A: There seems to be a lot this year around latches, door locks and hinges. Every year is different, so we don't see a lot of consistencies between years, but we do see some investigations going on around seat belts and lithium batteries that could give us some insight into possible 2021 issues. What about vehicle recalls over software or electrical issues? Any time there's new technology introduced, there are always going to be issues. As they refine that, it gets improved — year after year after year. There is a lot of new technology that they're looking at incorporating into these vehicles, more so than there ever has been. I do see there are going to be more recalls that are software-related, but a lot of those updates can be done through an upload to the vehicle, which some of the [manufacturers] are testing now. It may be the case where the owner doesn't have to go in. They'll get notified about the recall and while the vehicle is sitting in the driveway overnight, it can be downloading a software patch to correct that technology. I do see more and more recalls around being software update fixes, not necessarily just a hard part that's replaced or electrical components that are replaced. It's updating software, just like your phone. You plug it in, and they're fixing a bug. This year, we've seen a concerning trend: electric vehicle-related battery fires. What's your take on this? Hopefully they solve those issues before the volume of vehicles becomes widespread. There is a lot of effort and money spent on designing these electric vehicles, but they're not to the masses yet. They're still in small populations. There were a lot of learnings around laptop batteries, cellphone batteries. I don't know if the technology is the same, but they may take a look at lessons learned with that. What did those manufacturers go through? It's just on a grander scale, with a vehicle battery being quite a bit larger than those small ones. But I'm hopeful in their testing phase that they'll get those issues identified and corrected with the lithium batteries before that becomes a scalable vehicle. Recalls over the faulty Takata airbags continue to garner attention. Has the recall campaign been effective? More should be done because they're not there yet. Do I believe you're going to fix 100 percent of the vehicles? No. There are going to be vehicles that you're never going to find. They just don't exist anymore. There may be some people that never respond no matter what you do. But there are a lot of people that become less engaged with the vehicle as it ages. Related Article

Wayne Mitchell Investments

1 Investments

Wayne Mitchell has made 1 investments. Their latest investment was in Just Move In as part of their Angel on January 1, 2019.

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Wayne Mitchell Investments Activity

investments chart

Date

Round

Company

Amount

New?

Co-Investors

Sources

1/14/2019

Angel

Just Move In

$1.93M

Yes

1

Date

1/14/2019

Round

Angel

Company

Just Move In

Amount

$1.93M

New?

Yes

Co-Investors

Sources

1

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