There's a war is in progress between the government and car dealers.
In December, President Obama signed into law the federal highway bill, but a key element of the bill was defeated and thus left out, thanks to lobbyist of auto dealers. The part left out - a ban on selling vehicles with open safety recalls. The government's reaction, make life a living hell for auto dealers.
In retaliation, the government, has since, used its authority through the Federal Trade Commission to limit the dealers advertising on vehicles with open recalls.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it's not done fighting for an end to the sale of any vehicle -- new or used -- with an unfixed safety recall. It's "the right thing to do ... We're happy to see any steps to help protect consumers and prevent the sale of vehicles under recall,"said NHTSA spokesman Gordon Trowbridge.
The highway law enacted in December contains provisions that ban rental agencies from lending vehicles with open recalls, but NADA's influence on Capitol Hill helped kill an amendment by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., that would have extended the ban to used-vehicle sales.
NADA spokesman Jared Allen says while the group supports the goal of fixing 100 percent of recalled vehicles, policies such as Blumenthal's amendment are "overly broad" and "counterproductive."
The Blumenthal amendment and similar proposals fail to distinguish between "minor" issues and legitimate safety concerns and would needlessly ground millions of used vehicles, driving down trade-in prices, Allen said, referencing an NADA-commissioned study by J.D. Power and Associates.
Last month's FTC case against GM, Lithia Motors, and Jim Koons Automotive was settled. The companies can no longer claim that the vehicles they sell are safe or even that they have been inspected unless they are free of open recalls or the companies discloses that there may be open recalls.
Has the government gone too far in the attempt to protect consumers? Let me say that I am all for ensuring the vehicles on the road are safe, but I believe the government has overstepped its bounds. The law does not prohibit the sale of vehicles with open recalls, but the FTC has made it nearly impossible to do so. The FTC targeted these three companies in an effort to set a policy for the automotive industry because the law did not fit the government's agenda.
Here's my advice about buying a car:
- Don't trust anyone selling a car. Have it inspected by a neutral third party.
- Check the title history for previous collision repairs, accidents, and/or brands.
- Check the NHTSA website for open recalls.
- Most important, do a lot of research. If there is a problem with a specific model (i.e. Accord, Camry, Taurus) people will have posted it online.
Do we really need the government stomping on our civil liberties in a "effort" to keep us safe from ourselves? My answer, "NO!"
Jim A. Stone, Jr. CEO