National Automobile Dealers Association in denial about safety

The President of the National Automobile Dealers Association, Colorado car dealer Jeff Carlson, claims that only 6% of recalled vehicles are “hazardous.” That means he thinks that cars like this one, that killed a 17-year-old Texas teenager, are NOT “hazardous.”

ABC News report: 17-year-old killed by exploding Takata air bag

Try telling that to her family.

That also means that he doesn’t consider any of these defects, which have killed and maimed many car drivers and their passengers, to be “hazardous”:

  • Stalling in traffic
  • Catching on fire
  • Faulty brakes
  • Steering loss
  • Seat belts that fail in a crash
  • Axles that break
  • Hoods that fly up while you’re driving in traffic
  • Sticking accelerator pedals
  • GM ignition switches that turn off and eliminate power steering and braking, and cause air bags to fail to deploy

Automotive News report: Carlson vows to press NADA’s fight against regulation

Bottom line: Carlson and NADA cannot be trusted to decide whether a car is safe to sell. When it comes to safety, they are absolutely clueless. And a real danger to American society.

Used car buyers have friends in the White House in auto safety battle

America’s used car buyers and our nation’s roads will be a lot safer if the Obama Administration wins the battle against shady car dealers who sell unsafe, recalled cars to used car buyers.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Dr. Mark Rosekind, are urging Congress to make it illegal for car dealers to sell unsafe, recalled used cars to consumers.

They joined the President of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety at a press conference in Richmond, VA, along with representatives of Hertz, Enterprise, and Avis, and the American Car Rental Association, who have been working together with CARS to enact federal rental car safety legislation. Auto manufacturers (except GM) and car dealers are blocking the rental car safety bill, and lobbying Congress to weaken protections for America’s car buyers.

It is historic for a President and his safety team to call for people who rent cars, or purchase used cars, to have the same level of protection as new car buyers. Under federal law, it is illegal for car dealers to sell recalled cars with lethal safety defects to NEW car buyers. That has been the law since the 1960’s. But there is no similar federal law to protect people who rent cars or purchase used cars.

“What we need now is for Congress to step up, and to make renting or selling a recalled vehicle [to a consumer] illegal,” said Secretary Foxx.

Read more: US DOT safety recall news

Are car dealers providing unsafe loaner cars to owners of recalled cars?

U.S. Senators, like Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, have been urging Honda and Toyota and their dealers to provide loaner cars to customers with faulty Takata air bags, while they wait for repair parts to become available. Sounds like a good idea, right?

But — new car dealers have been vehemently opposing attempts to stop them from loaning out cars that have the exact same safety defects, or different defects, that have triggered a federal safety recall.

So — if you turn in your recalled Honda or Toyota at a Honda or Toyota dealership, and they hand you the keys to a loaner car, is it guaranteed to be any safer? NO!!!!

Here’s video of lobbyists for the new car dealers and CarMax opposing legislation in California that would have prohibited them from renting, selling or loaning unsafe, recalled used cars to consumers:

Car dealer lobbyists oppose safety bill in California

 

 

CarMax — caught on Camera AGAIN selling unsafe, recalled cars

An undercover investigation by WSB-TV in Atlanta, GA found CarMax is still selling unsafe, recalled cars — while claiming they take care of safety recalls.

Instead of cleaning up their act, and ensuring the cars they sell are safe, CarMax says they plan to keep leaving it up to car buyers to get the safety recall repairs done — AFTER they buy the car. For millions of recalled cars, it could take months before repair parts are available, and meanwhile CarMax customers will be stuck driving ticking time bombs.

Watch video: WSB-TV report: CarMax under Fire over Recall Policy

CarMax sells unsafe, recalled cars

CARS continues to hear from more consumers who bought cars from CarMax, believing that they were safe. They were astonished and dismayed to find out that their car or truck was so unsafe, it was being recalled by the manufacturer due to safety defects.

One consumer in Richmond, VA called to say that he bought a GM car from CarMax, which advertises that all its cars must pass a rigorous “125+-point inspection” and be “CarMax Quality Certified” to be offered for sale. Then he found it that GM had recalled it because of the notorious ignition switch defect, which causes the car to die in traffic without warning, and also disables the power steering, power brakes, and air bag. A local GM dealer told him that it could take months before repair parts are available.

CarMax told him that was his problem, not theirs.

Meanwhile, he is afraid to drive the car. So he and his partner have a very expensive lawn ornament in their back yard.

Did CarMax sell you an unsafe, recalled car? Here’s what you can do:

1. Contact CARS. We want to hear your story. The only way we’re going to get CarMax to stop selling unsafe, recalled cars is for enough consumers whose lives are being put at risk, to speak up.

Contact CARS

2. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has the authority to crack down on CarMax over its false, misleading advertising, that claims its cars are so safe, they passed a 125+-point inspection. But — CarMax does not even check for safety recalls.

Complain to the FTC

 

 

CarMax sells recalled used cars

Auto retailing giant CarMax advertises that all of its cars have to pass a rigorous, 125+ point inspection before they are fit to sell. But ever wonder if that inspection includes safety recalls?

Huh?  How could a car pass CarMax’s rigorous inspection and still have a major safety defect that makes it so unsafe, it would be a violation of federal law for it to be sold as a “new” car?

Wellll…  that’s a very good question.

Keep in mind — CarMax recently played a major role in killing first-in-the-nation legislation in California that was backed by consumer and safety organizations, to make it illegal for car dealers to sell recalled used cars to consumers.  Their excuse?  They are not authorized to perform safety recall repairs.

That’s right. Auto manufacturers don’t allow independent dealers like CarMax to perform safety recalls because under federal law, the manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that the recall repairs are done properly.  Which makes sense, since the manufacturer is the one that made the defective product, issues the recall, and oversees the repairs.  Ultimately, if the safety recall repair is inadequate, or isn’t performed properly, and someone is killed or injured as a result, the manufacturer is the one who is held liable. Witness what’s going on with GM.

So watch out. CarMax thinks it’s OK to sell unsafe, recalled used cars to consumers simply because they’re not authorized by auto manufacturers to perform safety recall repairs. Seriously.

See for yourself. Here’s the testimony of CarMax’s Counsel against the California auto safety recall bill:

CarMax:  Don’t make us stop selling unsafe, recalled used cars

Bottom line:  Don’t get snookered by those CarMax ads claiming that all their cars are “CarMax Quality Certified” and passed a “125+ point” inspection.  Unless you don’t mind the fact it could be a certified 125+ point deathtrap.

Did CarMax sell you a recalled used car? CARS wants to hear your story. Here’s how to get in touch:

Contact CARS

P.S. Even if you think your CarMax car is safe, it’s a good idea to check the manufacturer’s website for safety recalls, and enter in your car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

Has GM changed its stripes?

General Motors executives, rocked by revelations about GM’s failure to fix known defects in its 2005 -2007 Chevy Cobalts and other cars the manufacturer produced in 2005 – 2007, seek to portray the company in a more favorable light, claiming  that the mistakes of the past belong to the “Old GM” and the “New GM”  has changed its stripes and is now more responsible and caring.

But — is it? You be the judge. Here’s what’s happening:  At the same time GM struggles to be perceived as a kindler, gentler company that actually cares about its customers’ safety, it is actively blocking legislation in the US Senate to stop rental car companies from renting unsafe, recalled vehicles to consumers. In other words, if an unrepaired, recalled Cobalt happens to show up in a rental car fleet, they are perfectly willing to keep playing “recalled car roulette” with your life.

GM’s position, argued in revealing testimony by Mitch Bainwol, Executive Director of the Auto Alliance, which includes GM, is that they don’t want to have to compensate rental car companies for the down time, when the manufacturers’ unsafe, defective products languish on rental car company lots while the manufacturers and their suppliers crank out the parts necessary to fix the safety defects. The fact the manufacturers are obviously responsible for making the defective products in the first place somehow doesn’t seem to register in their consciousness. To them, it’s all about avoiding any added costs, even if that means putting their customers’ safety at risk.

Adding fuel to suspicions about GM’s supposed change of heart: GM’s now offering concerned owners of the recalled cars a loaner, to be supplied by a GM dealer. However, they have not revealed what standards, if any, the loaner cars must meet. Is GM allowing its dealers to loan out vehicles that are under a safety recall?

If you think this scenario sounds far-fetched, think again. GM dealers are opposing the same federal legislation (S 921), named for Raechel and Jacqueline Houck —  two sisters, ages 20 and 24, who were killed by a recalled rental car. GM dealers are also fighting against a popular bill currently pending in California (SB 686) that would stop them from selling, renting, leasing, or loaning unsafe, recalled used cars to consumers.

Fe Lastrella, who lost her son, daughter, granddaughter (age 13) and son-in-law in a horrific crash near San Diego, after a Toyota dealer loaned her family a runaway Lexus while their new Lexus was in the dealership for routine maintenance, gave heartbreaking testimony in favor of the California loaner car safety measure.

Dealer lobbyists dismissed her testimony as irrelevant, because the crash involved a Lexus that had not yet been recalled — although her family’s tragedy raised public awareness and sparked a massive Toyota recall.  Instead, they argued that anytime there is a delay in getting repair parts, they should not be expected to stop loaning unsafe, recalled vehicles to consumers.

According to statewide polling, 88% of likely California voters disagree, and favor banning dealers from foisting unsafe, recalled vehicles into their customers. Of those, 78% “strongly” favor the restrictions.

Apparently GM and its dealers think the media can only focus on one auto safety disaster story at a time, and won’t connect the dots.

Video of US Senate hearing — GM represented by Mitch Bainwol, from Alliance of Auto Manufacturers, including GM

Senator Barbara Boxer asks: Should a rental car company be able to rent vehicles to the public when they’re under a safety recall?  Responses from auto manufacturers and dealers

Testimony of Fe Lastrella, who lost her daughter, son, granddaughter (age) 13 and son-in-law in horrific crash, due to an unsafe loaner car from Bob Baker Toyota / Lexus

Dealer lobbyists: Don’t stop us from renting, leasing, selling, or loaning unsafe recalled autos to consumers

Other vehicles besides the Chevy Cobalt included in the safety recall (so far):  2007 Pontiac G5s, 2003-7 Saturn Ions, 2006-7 Chevrolet HHRs, 2006-7 Pontiac Solstices, and 2007 Saturn Skys,

GM delayed Cobalt safety recall, while fatalities mounted

General Motors issued a rare apology, after being hit with a barrage of news reports about faulty ignition switches in the popular Chevy Cobalt, that led to at least 13 deaths. GM engineers first discovered the defect in 2004.

Merely jostling the key in the ignition could lead the car to shut down, including disabling the air bags. But for years, GM denied that any defect existed and failed to issue a safety recall. Instead, the company merely issued a “technical service bulletin,” while their customers continued to die.

The defect means that at the very moment when drivers and passengers need the lifesaving protection air bags provide — in the milliseconds after a crash — the air bags would not inflate.

Twenty-nine year old Brooke Melton of Georgia was killed when she was driving to her boyfriend’s house. A 16-year-old died in a crash in Maryland when the ignition switch turned off and the air bag failed to deploy.

Buyer beware: NEVER trust that a dealer will have the safety recall repairs performed before selling you a car that is being recalled. Dealers are so eager to make a buck, fast, they are unwilling to delay sales long enough to get the safety recall repairs done — for FREE.

Plus — dealers are blocking legislation in Washington, DC and in California to stop them from renting, selling, leasing, or loaning unsafe, recalled vehicles to consumers, until they’ve been repaired.

CARS’ tips on how to buy a safe, reliable used car — without having to risk going to a dealer:

Top 12 used car buying tips

Dealers play “used car roulette” with customers’ lives — and oppose legislation to make them stop

Did a dealer sell you an unsafe, recalled car? We want to hear your story. Contact CARS

 

NY Times: Ford issues safety recall, NHTSA upgrades investigation into Jeep fires

WARNING — FORD EDGE and CRYSLER JEEP owners:

“Ford recalled about 28,000 of its 2012-13 Edge crossover utility vehicles for possible fuel leaks on models equipped with the 2-liter 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine, according to a report posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. The automaker said the fuel line pulse damper was not manufactured properly by a Michigan supplier, which could allow ‘fuel odor, seepage or a small fuel leak.’ ”

Caution: If you are buying a used vehicle, NEVER  rely on the auto dealer to ensure that the safety recall repairs have been performed. Car dealers have been caught over and over again selling unsafe, recalled cars, pickups, and SUVs.

One large new car dealership in California even sold one that was supposedly a  “certified” used car — that nearly killed the buyer when the safety defect occurred.

How can you find out if a vehicle has a pending safety recall? It’s easy — write down the Vehicle Identification Number and call a local dealer, or check the manufacturer’s website.

Read more: “NY Times report”

Dealers selling unsafe, recalled used cars

 

Attack against Tesla : HUTZPAH

Automotive News publisher attacks Tesla over safety —
Ignores dealers who oppose having to perform safety recall repairs

“Musk Can Run, but he can’t hide,” writes Automotive News publisher Keith Crain, whose publication caters to auto dealers. Crain echoes the sentiments of auto dealers, who have mounted an aggressive campaign in an attempt to force Tesla to sell vehicles through dealership networks, where they can get a cut of the profits and subject Tesla customers to a wide variety of shady practices that further line the dealers’ pockets.

In his editorial, Crain questions whether Tesla has the ability to perform safety recalls on its cars — which so far have not even been subject to a safety recall.

He writes: “If and when, and it’s bound to be when in my opinion, his car is recalled — if not for the three Model S fires since October 1, it will be something else — he’s going to find it increasingly difficult to take care of all his customers in a timely manner. …I doubt that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will allow just anyone to repair a recalled Tesla or let the company ship parts to customers and tell them to install the replacements at their leisure.” (Automotive News: Musk car run, but he can’t hide,” by Keith Crain, Nov. 25, 2013.) Crain implies that Tesla, like other auto manufacturers, should depend on auto dealers to do the safety recall repairs.

What he conveniently fails to write is that auto dealers are aggressively opposing legislation in Washington DC and Sacramento that would require them to get unsafe, recalled rental cars or used cars fixed, before renting or selling them to consumers. A glaring fact that Automotive News has apparently forgotten.

As numerous national and local news organizations have reported, dealers have been caught time and time again selling unsafe, recalled vehicles to unsuspecting used car buyers without bothering to fix them first — even when the repairs are free.

Sample news report: Today Show finds recalled used cars for sale on dealer lots

Unless and until auto dealers show that they actually do place a priority on their customers’ safety, including sales or rentals of recalled cars, they don’t deserve to sell Teslas. They have shown over and over again that they simply can’t be trusted not to sell their customers unsafe cars, knowing full well that the safety recall repairs have not been performed.

Bottom line:  Elon Musk and Tesla are wise to avoid trusting dealers to ensure that recalled cars are safe.

Read more:

Auto dealers oppose rental car safety legislation in Washington, DC

Auto dealers oppose used car safety legislation in Sacramento, CA

Automotive News Editorial: “Musk can run, but he can’t hide”

 

 

 

 

 

US Senators Schumer, Murkowski, Boxer, and McCaskill introduce bill to ban rental car companies from renting recalled vehicles to consumers

LEGISLATION TO RECEIVE HEARING FOR FIRST TIME

A Bipartisan Group of Senators Introduces Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2013 That Would Close A Dangerous Loophole That Allows Rental Car Companies To Rent Or Sell Recalled Vehicles That Are Unlawful for Car Dealers to Sell

Legislation is Named for California Girls Killed When Recalled Rental Car Caught Fire and Has Support of Rental Car Industry – Bill to Receive Hearing in Commerce Subcommittee For the First Time

Senators: Keeping Defective and Potentially Dangerous Cars Off the Road Is a Matter of Life and Death

Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduced legislation that would ban car rental companies from allowing consumers to rent or sell vehicles that are under manufacturer recall. The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2013 is supported by all the major car rental companies – Hertz, Enterprise, Avis Budget, Dollar Thrifty, and National – as well as the American Car Rental Association – together representing virtually 100 percent of the rental car market.

While current law prohibits car dealerships from selling recalled vehicles to consumers, no law bans rental car companies from doing the same or renting them to unsuspecting consumers. The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2013 would keep unsafe rental cars that have been recalled off the road. Later this month, Senator Claire McCaskill, the Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, Consumer Protection Subcommittee, intends to hold a hearing on the bill.

“Rental car companies are rolling the dice with passengers’ lives each and every time they rent a car that’s under a recall,” said Senator Schumer. “This practice has already proved tragic. Most rental companies have now changed their policies, but we need a law to ensure that recalled cars are never again driven off of rental lots. This bipartisan bill is a common sense safety measure, and I’m very grateful that Senator McCaskill has agreed to hold a hearing on it.”

“This legislation honors the memory of Raechel and Jacqueline Houck – two beautiful girls who lost their lives in a senseless tragedy – by ensuring that no other family will have to fear that the rental car they are driving is unsafe,” said Senator Boxer. “Because of the tireless work of their mother, Cally, we are able to introduce this bipartisan bill today that will make sure that vehicles rented or sold by rental car companies are safe and sound.”

“Our goals for this legislation are twofold—to protect families, and to prevent undue burdens for employers—and this agreement succeeds on both fronts,” said McCaskill, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, which will hold a hearing on the legislation later this month. “Neither side got everything they wanted, but by everybody giving a little, we’re getting a lot—and that’s what compromise is all about.”

“No other family should have to endure such horrific losses just because a rental car company didn’t bother to ensure that their cars are not being recalled due to safety defects,” said Cally Houck, the mother of Raechel and Jacqueline Houck.

Rosemary Shahan, President of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety added, “We’re optimistic that Congress will act to stop all rental car companies from playing ‘rental car roulette’ with their customers’ lives.”

In 2004, sisters Raechel and Jacqueline Houck were killed driving a rental car that had been recalled for a power steering hose defect but had not been repaired. The car caught fire because of the defect while traveling on the highway, causing a loss of steering and a head-on collision with a semi-trailer truck. The young women died in the crash. The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2013 is needed to ensure this tragedy is not repeated.

Getting unsafe vehicles off the road is integral to improving safety and saving lives. This is why current law requires manufacturers to recall vehicles that have safety-related defects or do not meet federal safety standards. Current law also prohibits auto dealers from selling a new car under recall unless the defect has been remedied. The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2013 would, for the first time, hold rental companies to the same standard as auto dealers. Specifically, the bill:

· Prohibits Rental or Sale of Vehicles Subject to a Safety Recall. Under the senators’ plan, vehicles may not be rented or sold until the vehicles are fixed, consistent with existing law for new car dealers, who have been prohibited from selling or leasing recalled vehicles for decades. Rental companies would be permitted to sell a damaged vehicle subject to recall for parts or scrap with a junk title.

· Requires Rental Companies to Ground Vehicles Under a Safety Recall. The bill would ensure that vehicles under a safety recall will be grounded as soon as possible but no later than 24 hours after the rental company gets the safety recall notice. Rental companies will have up to 48 hours for recalls that include more than 5,000 vehicles in their fleet.

· Permits Rental Companies to Rely on Temporary Measures Identified by Manufacturers. If a manufacturer’s recall notice specifies steps that can be taken to eliminate the safety risk until parts are available, a rental company may continue to rent the vehicle if those measures are put in place but must ground and repair the vehicle once parts become available.

· Ensures NHTSA Has Tools Necessary to Protect Consumers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will have authority to investigate and police rental companies’ recall safety practices.

The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2013 is supported by Carol (Cally) Houck – mother of Raechel and Jacqueline Houck, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Center for Auto Safety, Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Action, National Association of Consumer Advocates, and Trauma Foundation.

The bill has been endorsed by all the major car rental companies – Hertz, Enterprise, Avis Budget, Dollar Thrifty, and National – as well as the American Car Rental Association. The bill also is supported by the Truck Renting and Leasing Association, representing the vast majority of truck renting and leasing operations in the United States, as well as AAA and State Farm.

Enterprise

“Although most of the car rental industry already prohibits renting or selling recalled cars if they haven’t been repaired, lawmakers can further reassure car rental customers across the board by supporting and voting in favor of this important federal legislation. As a result, we will continue advocating on behalf of this bill and working diligently with consumer advocates, the American Car Rental Association and other key stakeholders to help get it passed.”

The American Car Rental Association

“The American Car Rental Association (ACRA) is pleased to join with consumer advocates in support of this legislation, which prohibits the rental of any vehicle that has an unrepaired safety recall and addresses certain practical implementation issues of our industry. It is critically important that Congress codify what most of the car rental industry voluntarily enacted last year. By formally creating a uniform standard, both car-rental and car-sharing customers will have even greater confidence going forward no matter where they rent their vehicles.”

Hertz

“Hertz supports efforts to prohibit car rental companies from renting or selling recalled cars if they haven’t been repaired. The major companies do an excellent job handling recalls, and consumers should have confidence that the cars they drive are safe; this legislation will help improve the public’s perception of our industry’s commitment to safety.”

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Federal Trade Commission — private car sellers often give “more reliable information” than auto dealers

We now have an official answer to the age-old question: Are you more likely to be misled if you buy a car from a private individual or from a used car dealer? Obviously, dealers want you to buy from them — and these days, they are boasting about their record profits.

But — auto sales remain the leading cause of consumer complaints to state and local consumer protection agencies. Year after year, new and used car dealers also rank #1 among the most-complained about businesses, in terms of consumer complaints to the Better Business Bureau.

To top it all off, the leading federal consumer protection agency for America’s car buyers recently stated flat-out that you’re more likely to get accurate information about a used car’s history when you buy a car from another consumer, rather than a used car dealer.

Here’s what the Federal Trade Commission stated:

“The Commission concluded that the [Used Car] Rule should not extend to private or casual sellers of used cars because the record failed to support a finding that deceptive sales practices were prevalent in private sales. The Commission noted that in private sales, prospective customers often receive more reliable information about mechanical condition than they do from dealers…” **

    ** Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 242, Dec. 17, 2012, pages 74761-74762.

Of course, you still have to be on the lookout for “curbstoners” — dealers masquerading as consumers. Be sure to insist on seeing the title and registration, and past work orders from repairs, and make sure that the names on the documents match the seller’s name.

And ALWAYS, ALWAYS insist on getting the car inspected by an independent, reliable, trustworthy mechanic / body shop of YOUR choosing, before you buy. A good place to find an expert to perform the inspection? Car Talk’s Mechanics Files.

It’s a good idea to also check the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System and other vehicle history services before you buy. The more you know, the better. NEVER trust a car dealer to tell you the truth about a car.

Twelve tips for consumers on how to buy a safe, reliable used car — without being cheated by a shady car dealer:

CARS’ Twelve Tips for Used Car Buyers

Happy, safe car buying and Happy New Year!