By on August 3, 2015


Fiat Chrysler Automobile dealers won’t be able to sell cars without recall repair work or they risk losing their incentive money under a new agreement with the federal government, Automotive News is reporting.

The agreement was part of the sweeping package penalties imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, including up to $105 million in fines. According to the consent agreement by the federal bureau and FCA, the company already asks dealers to complete recall work, but the new mandate would reinforce that existing policy.

In the United States, it’s illegal for a dealer to sell a new car without recall repair work, but no such law exists for used cars. A recent proposal in Congress to force used car dealers to complete open recall repair work was met with opposition.

Congress may approve a measure requiring car rental companies to comply with open recalls before it sends its cars out on to the roads.

According to a used car industry spokesman, the difficulty in getting all used car dealers to comply with recall repair work is resources and the dealers’ abilities to close the work orders with NHTSA. Only dealerships affiliated with manufacturers can perform open recall work and close those cars out with the federal safety bureau.

Carmax, for instance, provides a detailed report of recalls for its cars and encourages new buyers to register with the manufacturer to be notified of recalls. A recent report suggested that there may be up to 36 million cars on U.S. roads that haven’t complied with recalls.

It’s unclear from the consent order if the recall repair work applies only to FCA used cars sold on FCA lots, or if it would require all cars sold at FCA dealers to comply with manufacturer recalls.

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10 Comments on “FCA Dealers Can’t Sell Used Cars Without Recall Repairs...”

  • avatar

    Given the buy back agreement closing the door shut on reselling them unrepaired makes sense.

    I mean it would seem obvious to most, but the last few years have exposed that “obviously the right thing to do” and “automaker” don’t go hand-in-hand.

  • avatar

    I always like to remind people who fight regulations: Nixon signed the EPA into law, and that, for the most part, has worked out okay.

    To wit, you must force people to do things, or else the pursuit of profit will drive them to cut corners, because everyone else will also cut those corners, and even Nixon, the slickest President we ever had, understood that you have to force the hand of people, put them on an even playing field, even if that means taking away the ability to sell a car / rent it (maybe even use it as a taxi?) until every recall is complete, because some of these cars seem to be death traps as it…

    Or at least that’s the way it looks for here.

  • avatar

    I got an airbag safety recall notice for my 10+ year old Subaru in the post over the weekend; said the repair would be carried out at no cost to me, but they don’t have the replacement parts and have no idea when they will have them.

    I’m not concerned about the safety of the car (apparently only a problem in humid climates, which after 4 years of drought CA is not), but this sort of thing would make the car worthless as a trade-in because the dealer wouldn’t be able to sell it on.

  • avatar

    I once got a recall done on a 1975 Volvo 245.

    It was done by the dealer.

    In 2005!

    • 0 avatar

      What can go wrong with an ancient Volvo, that’s a common enough problem to cause a recall?

      Door falling off?

    • 0 avatar

      What was the recall?

      • 0 avatar

        The 75 Volvo 245 had nine total recalls, all taking place by late 70’s.

        4 for the fuel system
        1 for latch/linkage
        2 steering
        1 suspension
        1 speed control

        They seem to have had some recurring problems with the fuel tank and internal valves there, pressure issues, and fuel surging problems.

        Old Volvos are so charming.

        “It doesn’t matter, it’s a Volvo.
        This defines the estate car.
        Nothing else is an estate car, only this.”
        -James May

  • avatar

    It makes sense to require this of franchised dealers, possibly with exceptions (but requiring disclosure) if parts are not available to complete the recall in a timely fashion.

    But this is a bridge too far for BHPH, er, little indie used car dealers. (Not fair. I just bought a car from a little indie dealer that was the furthest thing from BHPH… one who did a burnout in his parking lot in a super-slick supercharged ’56 Bel Air while I looked on.) They don’t have the resources to track every recall or chase down their competition, the franchise dealers, to get it done.

    Every manufacturer should track recalls and provide a website that indicates the status of every recall for every car (within a reasonable time frame). Lexus does this and it was nice peace of mind when I bought my car.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree with this, it would be both costly and taxing on small lots which don’t have a service department. However, for the non-franchise and other BHPH situations, I would like a new sticker section mandated, as part of the window sticker.


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