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Hertz Asks for Federal Oversight of Recalled Cars

Rental industry under fire for potential safety lapses.

by on Feb.21, 2012

Hertz has agreed to support legislation that would require rental vehicles to be repaired before being returned to rent-a-car lots.

With the industry facing criticism for ongoing safety lapses, rent-a-car company Hertz is calling for government oversight to ensure that recalled cars are fixed before being rented to consumers.

Two senior lawmakers say they will introduce legislation to do just that in the coming weeks.

Though rental firms like Hertz and Enterprise, the largest in the field, are the single biggest purchasers of new cars in the U.S. they are not subject to regulation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which oversees automotive manufacturers.  NHTSA can block the manufacture and sale of vehicles experiencing safety defects but it is currently powerless to prevent them from being rented out.

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Nonetheless, NHTSA has been investigating the rental industry for more than a year following revelation that rental companies have frequently allowed vehicles subject to safety recalls to remain on rental lots.  As first reported in July 2010, officials with Enterprise, Alamo and National acknowledged in court they would delay making safety-related repairs, in one manager’s words, “when demand called.”


Feds Launch Probe Into Rental Car Recall Delays

Investigation triggered by evidence some firms regularly delay repairs on defective vehicles.

by on Nov.22, 2010

Rental firm accused of delaying repairs on recalled vehicles if they're in demand.

Federal regulators want to know whether daily rent-a-car companies may be risking the lives of their customers by delaying repairs for known safety problems in order to keep potentially defective vehicles in circulation.

The investigation comes as several rental car firms defend their actions in court.  As first reported, last July, officials with Enterprise, Alamo and National have acknowledged in court delaying safety-related repairs, in one manager’s words, “when demand called.”

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But industry officials are denying such allegations and, if anything, are blaming automakers for failing to properly notify fleet managers of pending recalls.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new investigation is specifically examining how major rental car companies have handled 29 individual recalls ordered by Detroit’s Big Three automakers.  In all, those recalls involved 3 million vehicles sold to rental companies.