FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida – AutoNation, America’s largest automotive retailer, said it will not sell, lease or wholesale any new or used vehicle that has an open safety recall.
The dramatic move is in response to high-profile recalls that have rattled consumers, including the Takata recall for defective airbags and the General Motors ignition-switch recall.
“Economic considerations must take a back seat to safety concerns,” AutoNation said in a statement on Monday.
The new policy will apply to all of AutoNation’s 293 vehicle franchises in the U.S.
“There’s no way to expect that customers would or should know of every safety recall on every vehicle they might purchase, so we will ensure that our vehicles have all recalls completed,” said Mike Jackson, AutoNation CEO, in a statement. “We make it our responsibility as a retailer to identify those vehicles and remove them from the market until their safety issues have been addressed.”
However, AutoNation said it accepts vehicles as trade-ins even if they have open safety recalls.
They will value them “according to standard guidelines, even with the understanding that there may be additional time and investment in the processing of these vehicles as part of the reconditioning process.”
All vehicles with open safety recalls are physically pulled from inventory and “Not for Sale” hang tangs and key tags will be placed on them.
A January report from Carfax said that millions of consumers may be driving, buying or selling potentially dangerous cars due to an unfixed recall.
The Carfax research shows more than 46 million cars nationwide have at least one safety recall that’s never been fixed. Five million of those vehicles were bought and sold by potentially unsuspecting consumers in 2014.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration head Mark Rosekind told Congressional investigators earlier this year that the driving public should continuing checking Vehicle Identification Numbers or VINs against the NHTSA database, including vehicles that have been previously recalled.
Edmunds says: AutoNation takes a leadership role in dealing with the recall crisis in the U.S. Expect other auto retailers to follow in its footsteps.