In the United States, a vehicle recall takes place on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, in less than a month between June 27 and July 18, the country's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had 31 recalls on file.
In the Philippines, however, a recall by a car manufacturer or distributor is as rare as a politician delivering what he promised during his campaign. Not for Honda Cars Philippines. Thursday's recall of the 2012 CR-V's door-latch system is its second for the year following last March's recall of the 2002-2004 CR-V's lighting switch assembly.
While the latest recall affects over 800 CR-V units sold locally since the new model was launched last April, that figure pales in comparison to the 20,857 units recalled for the 2002-2004 model's issue with the lighting switch assembly. The problem with the door-latch system is also a lot less alarming than knowing that the metal band that holds your car's fuel tank can actually snap, detaching the tank from your car and becoming a potential fire hazard.
So, why is HCPI so eager to share its recall news with everyone when some local carmakers and distributors have supposedly associated the act with poison or something that's very dangerous to the brand?
HCPI's official statement on recalls is that it is "in accordance with Honda's own standard even if there is no specific law in the Philippines that requires such an action." In addition, the Japanese carmaker views a recall as an important aspect of worldwide customer satisfaction when it comes to the quality of the product and the safety of its customers, which are Honda's top priorities.
According to Roberto Ong, general manager of HCPI's marketing and sales division, a silent recall in which only affected customers are informed of the problem--which is what most manufacturers and distributors supposedly do--could be more harmful than beneficial to the company.
"If we hide it and it becomes public, it might be taken negatively," said Ong. "With information spreading much faster these days because of cell phones and e-mails, we would rather be open about a recall and let everyone know about it instead of trying to hide it."
This kind of transparency apparently works for HCPI as, according to its marketing department head, Xavier Eyadan, the previous recalls the company did never really affected its sales.
"You could say that our sales were even bolstered by it because our customers knew that we were open about it and that we never tried to hide anything from them," said Eyadan. "I believe they appreciated that."
Should other carmakers follow Honda's lead and be more open about recalls, or should they continue doing their silent recalls and pray that they don't encounter a vindictive customer who might use the power of social media to air his/her complaint about their products?