If you're wondering why it seems that there have been more car recalls than ever in recent months, it's because there actually have been -- Before this year, 2004 held the honors for the most number of vehicles recalled in a single year, at 33.01 million. Now, 2014 holds that record, with 39.85 million recalls already. And we're still six months away from Dec. 31.
While many automakers have announced major recalls this year, General Motors has contributed to nearly three-fourths of the 2014 figure. This year, GM has recalled over 28.5 million vehicles worldwide. Its latest recall involved over 7.6 million cars in the U.S., and over 8.45 million in North America.
Here's seven things you could do with the 28,580,353 cars GM has recalled worldwide this year.
1. The recalled vehicles could wrap around the Earth more than four times.
Most of the recalled GM vehicles are over 170 inches long. Using that as an underestimate, if you lined up the cars bumper to bumper — the world's longest traffic jam — they'd stretch for over 160,000 km. The Earth's circumference is 40,075 km. A Long Line of Cars indeed, Cake.
2. They could also line the Russian border. Twice.
Russia has a whole lot of border territory: 69,031 km (37,861 miles) of it. That same string of cars could go around the massive country's borders twice — and then some.
3. A stack of the 24,904 recalled 2012 Chevrolet Sonics would reach outer space.
If you stacked these cars up bumper to bumper, you'd cross the Kármán line, the altitude of 100 km (62 miles) above sea level that divides the Earth's atmosphere from outer space. Stack all of GM's 2014 recalled cars and you'd be halfway to the moon, which is 384,403 km away. NASA, call your office.
4. The longest time between recalls hasn't even been longer than the World Cup.
The longest stretch between separate GM recalls this year was between February 25 and March 17 — less than one month. The World Cup runs from June 12 to July 13 — a month and one day. The shortest time between recalls was one day, between May 13 and May 14.
5. Bill Gates could foot GM's recall bill 30 times.
The world's richest man has a net worth of $76 billion, which would allow him to cover the $2.5 billion GM has set aside to pay for this year's recalls. Kim Kardashian, whose net worth is around $40 million, would have to take out a loan.
6. The recalled cars weigh more than 100 Empire State Buildings.
The 2014 Chevy Cruze is one of lightest cars GM has recalled — and one of the lightest cars available on the market — at 3,084 pounds. Using that as an underestimate, the total mass of all recalled cars is over 40 million tons, about 120 times the mass of the Empire State building, which is 365,000 tons.