At the beginning of the 1960s, auto manufacturers started to fight for a piece of the market with intense cutthroat competition leading to faulty components putting car owners, their family, and their friends at risk.
Auto manufacturers and their vehicles not only posed risks to passenger’s life but also created uncertainty about their future by putting corporate interests first.
Recently in 2021, a limousine caught fire carrying a bridal party in Las Vegas without any reports on what caused the fire.
This is not the first but one of many incidents resulting in damages to the passengers.
Here are 5 of the most notorious limousine and hearse recalls in history.
In 2013, an old limousine burst into flames on Malteo Bridge in California killing five nurses. The vehicle was carrying a total of nine women, one more than the legal limit of passengers allowed in a limo.
The passengers kept informing the driver of smoke in the back of the car. Due to a loud radio, the driver was unaware of the incident for 45 seconds during which time four women made their escape but unfortunately, the other five women faced death from smoke inhalation.
Owned by Accubuilt, the company converts standard Lincoln cars into stretch limos renting them out to individuals. Soon after the incident, Accubuilt informed vehicle owners of the same fate due to the rear suspension failure that can happen with their car if no repairs got done. The company recalled vehicles older than 10 years covering more than 970 vehicles but there is still no information available on how many vehicles had issues.
What caused chaos was how Accubuilt did not know how many vehicles were on the road and who owned these vehicles requiring help from local government and previous owners to provide details.
You would want to believe that the Presidential limo would be the safest vehicle on Earth but that proved to be wrong when Ford decided to build its first Presidential limo, a convertible for President John F Kennedy.
In 1963, however, the sight of the elegant limo that caught people’s attention was not the only thing that stunned the audience.
Upon the assassination of John F Kennedy, there was a need for a protective roof and a vehicle recall was in order where the car manufacturer upgraded the safety aspects of the limo getting it ready for the next president, Lydon Johnson.
Nobody wants a fire at a funeral but that is exactly what happened in 2015 when the Ford MKT hearse caught fire due to a wiring short in the vacuum pump relay. However, the recall came for something much different.
The company recalled more than 210,000 vehicles of different models for loose seatbelts and faulty door handle repair springs. These springs would pop the door open during a side impact collision exposing the passengers to the risks and dangers of a car accident.
During the 1970s, there was tough competition between auto manufacturers with many taking out newer and cheaper models to please the public.
Ford followed the strategy by releasing the Pinto in the early 70s, a vehicle that cut out on so many engineering components resulting in a car with a vulnerable fuel tank from rear collisions. At the time, the Pinto was also used as a funeral hearse car.
The company stated that it would be cheaper for the brand to pay lawsuits rather than recall vehicles and fix the issues which was a devastating statement impacting the auto manufacturer. But by 1978, it had to recall 1.4 million units of the Pinto while paying millions of dollars in lawsuits.
In 1980, Ford made the largest recall in the history of vehicles in the country and the world. The auto manufacturer, whose vehicles also got converted to limos and hearses, had to call back 21 million cars between the period 1970 to 1980 for transmission slippage. In 1980, reports suggested more than 1,700 injuries and 98 dead people due to transmission slippage.