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AutoNation: Stop selling recalled used cars, don’t spam

By Adam Garber
Consumer Watchdog

Everyone gets excited about buying a car -- even a used one. But with all the dangers of driving, we expect used car dealerships not to add to the danger by selling unsafe cars.

When our new report revealed every single one of the 28 AutoNation dealerships we surveyed across the country was selling a recalled car with a dangerous safety defect you’d hope their response would be: “we’re on it.” After all, AutoNation is a multi-billion dollar company who recognized the danger these recalled cars pose in a 2015 announcement: “These are significant safety recalls, and we feel the time has passed that it's appropriate to take a vehicle in trade with a significant safety recall and turn around the next day and sell it to consumers."

Given the seriousness of this issue, it should be a no-brainer for AutoNation to re-institute its former policy of not selling used cars with unrepaired recalls. They have an opportunity to help lead the entire industry away from this dangerous practice. 

Instead, they spammed news articles and posts about the report that tagged them with the comment: "This report does NOT provide a true or accurate picture. We wish factual information would have been included. AutoNation has all the facts."

But AutoNation doesn't refute any of the facts in our report, which are based on data obtained from the company's own website.

So what’s going on here? AutoNation says they disclose these recalls -- both on the website and when the customer is signing the paperwork. That might be true, but it doesn’t address the fundamental problem of selling these cars in the first place. 

A car with an explosive Takata airbag, a faulty GM ignition, or other safety defect doesn’t belong on the road. People have even been killed the same day as getting the keys to a dangerous, recalled vehicle, so informed consent does little to help. And when it can sometimes take weeks to get a recalled car fixed, it means the new owner can’t even drive the car they just bought.

Put another way, we don’t let Americans buy toys with lead, drugs contaminated with toxics or furnaces that leak gas or could explode. You can’t even sell these recalled products second-hand. Used cars should be no different. 

We’ll work with anyone who wants to provide a truly “worry free” car buying experience. So I’ll say it again: AutoNation should re-institute its 2015 policy of not selling used cars with unrepaired recalls.

And if you want to join me in asking AutoNation to lead the country towards a safer future -- one in which your car doesn’t come with dangerous defects -- you can send a message too.

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