WASHINGTON, D.C. —After the Senate Commerce Committee struck down an amendment last week that would ban dealers from selling or leasing vehicles with open recalls, the proposal’s author promised to continue his fight as the Senate considers a multi-year highway funding bill.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal's (D-Conn.) amendment to the Comprehensive Transportation and Consumer Protection Act of 2015 was struck down on July 15 by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in a by an 11-13 vote. The amendment would prevent dealers from selling or leasing cars until any defect was remedied.
According to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), Blumenthal hopes to attach his amendment to H.R. 22, the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act. The act would authorize $317 billion over six years for core highway and transit programs.
“The ‘Blumenthal amendment’ is flawed because it would give consumers less options when buying or trading in a vehicle,” the NADA said in a statement posted to its website. “Additionally, by devaluing trade-ins and not similarly regulating private sales, frustrated vehicle owners will resort to selling their vehicles in the private market, where the consumer has almost no safety or consumer protections, making it even less likely the vehicles will get fixed.”
The amendment does not actually require dealers to fix the recalled vehicles, according the NADA. Instead, it would effectively ground used cars with only minor compliance issues such as a misprinted phone numbers in the owner’s manual.
“Grounding vehicles with open recalls will not lead to faster repairs,” the NADA said. “The best way to strengthen consumer protections is to ensure that the most pressing safety recall issues are fixed in a timely manner.”