Toyota has most recalls for 2009

In a first, Toyota led the U.S. auto industry in recalled vehicles this year, thanks to its largest safety-related problem since it began selling vehicles in the United States. The Japanese automaker has struggled with the fallout from the recall of 4.3 million Toyota and Lexus models for unintended acceleration linked to fatal crashes.

Toyota told federal officials earlier this month it would start fixing the vehicles now, but some repairs would not be ready until March.

According to a Free Press analysis of federal data, automakers recalled 15.2 million vehicles in 2009, a sharp jump from 8.6 million in 2008.

Safety recalls have generally declined in recent years as automakers catch problems earlier, but the totals can fluctuate widely with one or two big problems.

All three Detroit automakers also saw their count of recalled vehicles rise in 2009, even as they caught problems earlier in production.

Nearly all of Ford's recalled models were tied to one longstanding problem with cruise control switches; absent it, the company would have hit a record low.

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