Major car rental firms support bill to not rent recalled cars

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Hertz was the only major rental company to initially agree not to rent recalled vehicles. Image: mrkathika/Flickr/CC BY-SA

America’s major car rental companies, under pressure from consumers, have agreed to stop renting recalled cars before they have been fixed.

Firms initially balked at not renting recalled cars

Major car rental companies had initially balked at the idea of a legislated mandate, forcing them to keep recalled vehicles that have not yet undergone repairs off of the nations roads, streets and highways. However, the proposed legislation now has the backing of all four top rental companies. That represents 93 percent of all car rental firms.

Enterprise Holdings is the largest player. It owns Enterprise, National, and Alamo car rental companies. It’s spokeswoman Laura Bryant said that public support for the mandate was what made the company flip its position:

“At some point, you realize that if this is what your customers want, you need to deliver.”

The bill will make it a legal requirement for rental companies to get any recalled vehicle to the dealership for repairs no later than 24 hours after it has learned of a recall.

Only Hertz initially agreed

Enterprise is joined in its support by Hertz Global Holdings, the Avis Budget Group and Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, as well as he American Car Rental Association. Hertz was the only one of the four rental firms to give its initial support for the proposed law.

California Senator Barbara Boxer singled Hertz out for its initiative on the matter. She said:

“I just want to say to Hertz how much it meant to all of us when you stepped up to the plate.”

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2004 crashed killed two sisters

The bill, sponsored by Senators Charles Schumer of New York, Barbara Boxer of California and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, was inspired by a 2004 head-on collision in which a pair of sisters were killed.  Raechel and Jacqueline Houck were riding in a recalled PT Cruiser. The car’s recalled failing was the immediate cause of the accident. It was rented from Enterprise.

The bill, which will be named for the Houck sisters, was the result of a campaign spearheaded by their bereaved mother Cally. Her petition on raised more than 160,000 signatures.

She told Autoblog that she is cautiously hopeful about the outcome of the bill:

“I remain very hopeful and optimistic. But it’s not done yet … I remain a bit cynical, based on my history lobbying for this issue. But we do have a consensus of all the industry’s major players.”

What about dealers?

Next, perhaps legislators should target car sellers. Some states require new car dealers to not sell recalled cars until they have been fixed. Used car dealers, however, have no such restrictions before accepting a motor vehicle finance contract.


Detroit News

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