AutoNation is going back on its word following the Presidential election. It’s once again selling both new and used cars with open recalls, despite a promise 16 months ago to stop the practice of selling unrepaired vehicles.
The about-face follows the election of Donald Trump as the nation’s 45th President last month. AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson has indicated that Trump’s election has something to do with the company’s decision. He says Trump’s election means the public doesn’t want a lot of government regulation on the auto industry, so it puts more power back into the hands of businesses. (Why AutoNation feels the election gives it leeway to sell potentially unsafe cars is quite incredulous to us.)
Bottom line – AutoNation will sell you a vehicle knowing it needs a replacement part or repair called for in a recall. However, Jackson told Automotive News, “If parts are available, we repair them. If the parts are not, we’ll either auction or retail it.” AutoNation will also tell potential buyers about the recall. “We use full disclosure if we retail or auction it without having made a repair.”
The reversal marks a 180 from September 2015. At the time, AutoNation said the recall buck stopped with them. It even campaigned its promise of not selling open recall vehicles. Jackson at the time said selling unrepaired vehicles, “is not a responsible solution. You’re just kicking the can to somebody else.”
AutoNation, as the largest new-vehicle retailer in the states, hoped its stance would spark other companies to do the same. But no one else did.
The Takata recall also played a role in AutoNation’s reversal, since so many cars face open recalls for defective Takata airbags and there is a long wait list for replacement parts.