By on July 16, 2015

US Senate Wing of the Capitol

U.S. rental cars will need to comply with open recalls before being driven off the lots, a U.S. Senate panel decided Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.

The measure was an about-face from an earlier proposal backed by automakers, consumer groups and some rental car companies, which would have allowed rental cars with known defects to continue to be driven, as long as those defects were disclosed to consumers. NHTSA asked lawmakers to consider the proposal on pulling defective cars off the road in February.

The bill’s opponents said the revised amendment could harm consumers by filling dealerships with rental cars waiting to be repaired.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said preventing rental car companies from issuing cars with known defects would ultimately be safer for drivers.

“When consumers and families drive a rental car off the lot, they should be able to do so with the confidence that car is safe to drive, and we’re one step closer to that peace of mind today,” she said, according to Bloomberg.

The amendment is part of a much larger, comprehensive bill that tackles automakers’ recalls and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s ability to fine or penalize car companies.

The embattled bill, which was proposed by Republicans this month, would double the existing $35 million cap on fines for automakers and extra federal money for vehicle safety measures. Democrats opposed the larger measure, saying it didn’t go far enough. Democrats have introduced a much larger reform measure which would include a recall warning light for new cars.

 

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20 Comments on “Senate Committee Says Rental Cars Must Have Recall Repairs...”


  • avatar
    danio3834

    Don’t everyone fall all over yourselves now.

    • 0 avatar
      Aaron Cole

      I’m curious to see what the final version of this NHTSA bill looks like. After the GM debacle, there’s a lot of political gain to be had in spanking the automakers publicly, but taking their campaign donations privately. That’s in my opinion.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        And yet Honda and Takata continue to largely get a free pass from the automotive and mainstream press.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          None of my family’s three Hondas has been part of the recall. Meanwhile, owners of BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Freightliner, GMC, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Pontiac, Subaru, and Toyota vehicles have joined the Honda and Acura owners effected by the recall. Not sure this is a Honda story, but I don’t have to try to distract from GM’s conduct.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Agree. This is low hanging fruit for legislators on both sides. It seems the only thing they disagree about is how badly to punish them.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    How can it hurt consumers by forcing repairs?

    It stands a greater chance of hurting rental companies because they will have to schedule downtime for cars.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I don’t know about hurt, but inconvenience for sure. Less availability and a rush to the dealer by the rental companies to scedule repairs first before regular consumers.

    • 0 avatar

      Recall notices used to come out when parts were out, they changed it to when the defect is detected, which is probably a good thing. But it means there are a whole lot of cars that are in need are parts that don’t exist. With parts sharing its not impossible to imagine a majority of the rental fleet being out of service, regardless of how diverse the fleet is.

      This also puts a bigger strain on folks who own the car and are already on long waiting list. You may sit for months owning a car with an open recall that will have a varying degree of danger. If you want to trade in the car you may be stuck with it. No dealer will give you a decent price on a car that they can’t sell for several months.

  • avatar

    I do think it would have been better to allow rental vehicles with known defects to be driven with disclosure. After all, I don’t really fear for my personal safety if the car is being recalled because it is a part of a batch that was made with defective front grilles that tend to have peeling plastichrome, or whatever…

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      Recalls are for safety problems, so I really don’t see your point. There will never be a recall for peeling plastichrome.

      I think they got this right. I’m in no mood to drive on public highways with vehicles under recall, where the owners, company or private, are just too damn lazy to get off their rear ends to get things fixed.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “The bill’s opponents said the revised amendment could harm consumers by filling dealerships with rental cars waiting to be repaired.”

    What a weak argument. “Sorry about that fuel tank fire, but at least we had your car ready at curbside when you needed it.”

  • avatar
    Pch101

    This is what happens when legislation that should be driven by technical considerations gets made by those who lack technical expertise.

    Some recalls are more important than others. It would make sense to have a triage system and then apply this kind of rule to only the most severe recalls. A hospital emergency room would never treat all ailing patients as having equally important problems, for obvious reasons. There’s your model for prioritization right there.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I see your point, but recalls by definition are more pressing than Technical Service Bulletins (for example), since the issues they address potentially leave the consumer at risk, and/or expose the company to financial loss.

      If the lawyers weren’t concerned about lawsuits arising from unaddressed problems, the mfrs would merely issue TSBs to be handled when there’s a complaint.

      I suppose a lesser class of recall would be emissions-related items or maybe time-based things like corrosion of non-safety-related parts.

      Frankly, I’m not concerned with dealer overload with rental recalls. That problem can be reduced if the mfrs produced more reliable products by applying more rigor in the design and testing process. The dealers are compensated for their trouble.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Yes, but not recalls are created equal. Some are dire, others can wait.

        With rental fleets being what they are, some of the recalls could take substantial amounts of inventory out of service. A recall of a Honda won’t matter at all, since there is virtually no Honda fleet, but imagine a recall that hits a bunch of GM cars simultaneously.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      CAFE and the ethanol mandates are other examples of legislation by those who have only ideological or graft expertise.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        CAFE was approved by the US Congress with bipartisan support and signed into law by a Republican President. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 – which expanded use of ethanol in gasoline – again had bipartisan support and was signed into law by a Republican President.

        • 0 avatar
          CGHill

          Graft is graft no matter what the initial on the party registration, and “bipartisan” merely means that the wankery is shared.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          I suppose that Henry Ford was some kind of communist to have Model Ts that could run on alcohol.

          Only in America would conservatives turn a high-octane detergent into a political drama.

  • avatar
    Reino

    Great. Next can we please have a law that says that rental car companies must provide snow tires in winter

    …to people renting at the Denver airport
    …with a bunch of ski gear
    …from a flat state.

    Thank you!


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