AutoNation Reneges on No-recall Sales Promise, Blames Trump

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
autonation reneges on no recall sales promise blames trump

Used vehicles with open recalls have begun rolling off AutoNation lots again, 16 months after the country’s largest new vehicle retailer promised an end to the practice.

The retailer, which has a half-billion dollar used vehicle expansion plan in the works, blames the about-face on the incoming Trump administration, with its CEO declaring that the legislative fight for mandatory used car recall repair is dead in the water.

Speaking to Automotive News, AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson claims he’s done all he can.

“If parts are available, we repair them,” Jackson said. “If the parts are not available, we’ll either auction or retail it. In both cases, we use full disclosure if we retail or auction it without having made a repair. It’s been a very difficult journey, but with the Trump administration there’s no way that that issue is going to be addressed from a regulatory point of view.”

Jackson, a self-described Clinton supporter, believed his company’s policy would spur legislation holding all used vehicle retailers to the same standard. Many safety advocates felt that a Clinton win would help pave the way for a federal ban on the sale of used cars with open recalls, not unlike the existing law for new vehicle sales.

By throwing in the towel, the retailer can now rid itself of an expensive burden.

Around 6,000 used vehicles awaiting recall repairs languished in AutoNation’s inventory at the end of November, the bulk of them equipped with Takata airbags. The recall’s scale has made the repair process a slow one. Late last year, AutoNation walked back part of its policy and began sending some recalled vehicles to auction (outfitted with window stickers stating the vehicles’ recalled status).

“The scale of the issue became astronomical,” Jackson said. “If things were ever going to change, Takata would be the rallying cry to say we can’t go on like this anymore.”

Only vehicles that couldn’t be repaired within a six-month period were sent to auction. Still, Jackson claims that most of the disclosure notices were removed, leaving future customers in the dark. By scrapping his policy, Jackson says would-be AutoNation customers will still be notified of the recall status of his company’s used vehicles, allowing them to make an informed decision.

[Image: Michael Sheehan/ Flickr ( CC BY 2.0)]

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2 of 34 comments
  • Ol Shel Ol Shel on Dec 05, 2016

    People will die because of this, but we don't care because we want corporations to make money and we don't think it's anyone in our immediate family who will die. We have lost our way as a society. We're worthless piles of shit who hide behind Jesus as we root for the deaths of others.

  • Acd Acd on Dec 05, 2016

    Trump is a convenient excuse to change a business policy that has cost a lot of money since implementing it.

  • YellowDuck Thank goodness neither one had their feet up on the dash....
  • Zerofoo I learned a long time ago to never buy a heavily modified vehicle. Far too many people lack the necessary mechanical engineering skills to know when they've screwed something up.
  • Zerofoo I was part of this industry during my college years. We built many, many cars for "street pharmacists" that sounded like this.Excessive car audio systems are kind of like 800 HP engines. Completely unnecessary, but a hell of a lot of fun.
  • DedBull In it to win it!
  • Wolfwagen IIRC I remember reading somewhere that the Porsche Cayenne was supposed to have a small gasoline-powered block heater. There was a loop in the cooling system that ran to the heater and when the temperature got to a certain point (0°C)the vehicle's control unit would activate the heater. I dont know if this was a concept or if it ever made it into production.