Responding to customers when recall parts arent available

Responding to customers when recall parts arenêt available

Many dealers have been discussing how to respond to customers whose vehicles have been recalled when the parts are not yet available from the manufacturer. That is the case for many dealers, including many in the Washington area.

One problem is that the delays in getting parts have created apathy in vehicle owners, who start to ignore recall notices because they canêt do anything about them right away. But manufacturer delays also force dealers, regulatory and safety advocates, and consumers to consider what to do with recalled vehicles from the time the recall is announced to when the repair can be completed. That leads to the question every consumer wants answered: –Should I continue to drive my recalled vehicle in the meantime?”

NHTSA is responsible for answering that question. On the Takata matter, NHTSA explicitly told Congress that it did not believe a –do not drive” recommendation was necessary for vehicles with recalled Takata airbags. DOT said the same thing about GM ignition-switch recalls that it was –not necessary” for consumers to stop driving affected vehicles if drivers took certain precautions.

While everyone may not agree with the answers, DOT and NHTSA thoroughly considered these questions in adopting their positons. In NADAês view, such regulator decisions shouldnêt lead others to play politics with the issue by accusing dealers of being anti-consumer or anti-safety. After all, says NADA, we all want to get 100 percent of recalls fixed 100 percent of the time. The way to do that is through more parts, and more consumer awareness.

–Adapted from the NADA Chairmanês Column by Jeff Carlson

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