Unrepaired open recalls are an important factor in vehicle evaluations” CARFAX COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR LARRY GAMACHE
A T H I R D O R M O R E O F A L L R E C A L L E D V E H I C L E S A R E N O T F I X E D B Y T H E I R O W N E R S . A R E A N Y I N YO U R I N V E N T O R Y ?
Finding Open Recalls Should be a Dealer Priority Manufacturer recalls are a common occurrence, with hundreds of recalls issued every year affecting millions of cars. In fact, more than 20 million cars were recalled in 2010 alone. But what is alarming about recalls is how many go unfixed by their owners – roughly a third or more of all recalled units. And thousands of those cars are bought and sold every day. It’s believed there are anywhere from 40 million to 60 million cars out there with unfixed recalls. In just the past two years, roughly 12 million cars with open recalls were added to the growing tally. And some of those vehicles are moving daily through auto auctions and being taken in on trade. While finding and fixing open recalls is everyone’s responsibility, it’s up to retailers to take the proper steps to identify any potential issues. Many are already keeping a sharp eye out for evidence of things like flood damage, odometer rollbacks or previous accidents. But what about open recalls? In 2010, a plumber from Delaware named Bob Knotts bought a van for his business from a local independent dealership. He never asked about open recalls, never checked for them and was never told if any existed. Around midnight his wife ran into the house from walking the dog, screaming that smoke was pouring out of the van. The entire front cabin was engulfed in flames. The van was destroyed. “It caught fire from an electrical component under the driver’s seat that was recalled and never fixed,” Knotts said, standing next to the van parked less than five feet from his home. “My house could have caught on fire, or I could have been driving it. Had it spread to the back of the van, where I keep a propane torch and glue that’s highly flammable, it would’ve been a complete fireball. “Not knowing there was an unfixed recall cost me $8,000.” One way to tell if a car has an open recall is to check the vehicle history. Most manufacturers report their open
recall information to CARFAX. When you’re evaluating a vehicle or looking at the auction run list, consider getting a CARFAX Vehicle History Report to help you pinpoint which vehicles have open recalls before taking them into inventory. “We understand that recalls are a concern for our customers,” said Ryan Corey, president of Autoline Automotive in Atlantic Beach, Fla. “It’s up to us to make sure the cars we’re selling have had potential issues addressed. “As an independent dealer, we take full advantage of tools like CARFAX reports that help identify open recalls. Any recalls that show up are taken to get fixed before we retail that vehicle. In fact, as a CARFAX Advantage Dealer, we run a CARFAX report on every vehicle we sell as well as any vehicle we buy. It’s a key part of our everyday operations and builds trust with potential buyers. We know we’re doing right by our customers and are putting the best cars on our lot.” Checking the vehicle history for every unit on your lot helps you make better buying decisions and builds confidence with customers. It can be to your advantage to let your customers know upfront about an open recall and help them get it fixed. Auto manufacturers understand the importance of informing their customers about a recall. Customer safety and the company’s reputation are at stake. With so many of those vehicles changing hands before they’re fixed, most manufacturers choose to work directly with CARFAX to reach the greatest number of buyers and sellers. “Ford is committed to communicating safety recall information to vehicle owners in an open and transparent manner as part of our commitment to top quality,” Ford recall and service programs operations manager Robert Case said. “Ford was the first major automaker to establish a relationship with CARFAX to provide open safety recall information as we recognized the CARFAX Vehicle History Report as a
valuable tool used by many consumers and business entities.” Independent dealers can save time and choose the right cars by checking for open recalls through a vehicle history report prior to acquisition. If you already have vehicles on your lot with open recalls, the smart and safe thing is to take them in to be closed. Show your customers the report and the service receipt with the recall completion. Customers will appreciate your honesty and focus on safety. “Unrepaired open recalls are an important factor in vehicle evaluations,” CARFAX communications director Larry Gamache said. “Estimates are that nearly a third of all recalled vehicles aren’t fixed by their owners. CARFAX is working with leading manufacturers, our dealer customers and consumer advocates to alert people to open recalls and make sure more of these are fixed.” Used car shoppers are looking to dealers to make them aware of any issues like open recalls. Be informed about the cars you’re retailing before they even reach your lot – CARFAX can help. To become a CARFAX subscriber, NIADA members can visit www.carfaxonline. com, call 877-606-9119 or visit www. niada.com and click on the “Links” tab.
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Iowa Independent Automobile Dealers Association for October/Novemer 2012