AUTO RE­CALL BILL IS PULLED

Los Angeles Times - - HIGHWAY 1 - By Jerry Hirsch jerry.hirsch@la­times.com Twit­ter: @LATimesJerry

A mea­sure pushed by Cal­i­for­nia auto deal­ers to reg­u­late the sale of re­called ve­hi­cles in the state was abruptly pulled by its au­thor Fri­day — even though it sailed through the state As­sem­bly on a 76-0 vote this month.

The bill would have re­quired deal­ers to dis­close un­re­paired re­calls to used car buy­ers. It would re­quire fran­chised deal­ers to re­pair a re­called used car be­fore sale if it was their own brand. It also pro­posed mak­ing au­tomak­ers re­pay deal­ers for the cost of stor­ing re­called cars wait­ing for re­pairs.

Although fed­eral law pro­hibits auto deal­ers from sell­ing new cars that are un­der a safety re­call, no such re­stric­tion ap­plies to used cars. Cal­i­for­nia does not bar used car deal­ers from sell­ing un­re­paired ve­hi­cles.

The Cal­i­for­nia New Car Deal­ers Assn. and the law­mak­ers who sup­ported the bill said it would in­crease dis­clo­sures, im­prove safety and pro­vide pro­tec­tions for Cal­i­for­nia con­sumers who pur­chase or own used re­called ve­hi­cles.

But the bill also would have given deal­ers pro­tec­tion from law­suits if they know­ingly sold an un­re­paired ve­hi­cle that was in a mishap caused by the de­fect, said Brian Chase, pres­i­dent of Con­sumer At­tor­neys of Cal­i­for­nia.

As­sem­bly­man Richard Gor­don (D-Menlo Park) said he no­ti­fied the state Se­nate that he plans to hold AB 287, ti­tled the Con­sumer Au­to­mo­tive Re­call Safety Act, un­til next year to see if he can es­tab­lish a con­sen­sus among deal­ers and the grow­ing op­po­si­tion.

Nearly ev­ery au­tomaker, most rental car com­pa­nies and mul­ti­ple con­sumer groups op­posed the bill.

“Au­tomak­ers are pleased and pledge to work with the au­thor dur­ing the in­terim to ad­vance ef­forts to en­sure ev­ery re­called ve­hi­cle gets fixed,” said Daniel Gage, spokesman for the Al­liance of Au­to­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers, which rep­re­sents Gen­eral Mo­tors, Ford, Chrysler, Toy­ota and other au­tomak­ers.

Con­sumer ad­vo­cates praised Gor­don’s move.

“The whole con­cept of al­low­ing deal­ers to sell re­called cars is bad news for con­sumers,” said Rose­mary Sha­han, pres­i­dent of Con­sumers for Auto Re­li­a­bil­ity and Safety.

“No one else in the in­dus­try thought this was a good idea,” she added.

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