Millions of cars and trucks are recalled every year due to safety-related defects. In 2014, the total number of recalls hit an all-time high. Having your vehicle recalled after you buy it is one of the risks involved in owning a car. Many car buyers are not aware, however, that car dealers are allowed to sell cars that have already been recalled. Even if the repairs have not been completed, car dealers can sell you a recalled car without even informing you of the problem. The U.S. Senate recently passed legislation that would prevent car rental companies from sending out vehicles that needed repairs, but the law does not include car sellers. At least one company has decided to set a policy to protect consumers.
AutoNation is a network of automotive dealers. The company advertises itself as the largest auto retailer in the United States. Its CEO recently announced that the company would no longer sell vehicles subject to a recall prior to having the repairs completed. The policy includes both new and used vehicles.
Defective automobiles kill people. The law allows victims of auto defects to hold manufacturers legally responsible for the harm they cause. Unfortunately, the law does not force auto dealers to behave responsibly. Without voluntary commitments like the one made by AutoNation, dealers can continue to profit while putting car buyers in danger. Dealers are in a superior position to know about recalls and take the necessary steps to have repairs completed. Hopefully, this will ignite a trend that other dealers will have to follow to keep up.
Source: NBC News, "Biggest Auto Dealer Network Says It Won't Sell Recalled Vehicles ," by Paul A. Eisenstein, 9 September 2015