Better be safe than sorry.
It appears that in the wake of General Motor's ignition switch recall and overall PR debacle, fellow automakers are taking no chances with the possibility of suffering the same fate. You're not alone in thinking there's suddenly been a surge in automaker recalls. There has, and it doesn't appear to be ending. As of this writing, Toyota just announced a recall of 6.39 million cars for a range of issues, including faulty airbags, seat rails and defective windshield wipers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims the US car market will likely break a recall record this year. In 2013, a total of 22 million vehicles were recalled. This year isn't even halfway over, and already there have been 11 million. Oh wait, add in the latest Toyota recall and there's now over 17 million. GM alone is responsible for six million recalls. Other than GM and Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, Nissan, Chrysler and Ford have all issued recalls for specific models for various reasons. So, is auto production not what it used to be? Is it that problematic? Not really.
Automakers, who are learning important lessons from GM and Toyota, simply aren't taking any chances, especially when it comes to dealing with the US government. Issuing recalls is cheaper (not to mention more moral) than what it'd be if an automaker had to pay out government fines and civil lawsuits.