'Number Nine' is a repeating lyric in Revolution 9, a "song" on the Beatle's 1968 White Album. It's a mind-numbing little loop, which reminds me of a numbing, repeating refrain we're being continually exposed to today.
I'm referring, of course, to that sad, revolving ballad of the Open Safety Recall. Open Safety Recall. Open Safety Recall.
Today's Automotive Remarketing headline reads: "General Motors confirmed today that it will recall approximately 200,000 Saab and Saturn vehicles that contain Takata PSDI-5 driver front airbag inflators. A headline in last week's issue blared, "Takata recall saga continues with 1.5M Daimler & VW vehicles."
A record 803 safety recalls were issued in 2014, affecting just under 51 million vehicles. Last year, safety recall numbers outpaced 2014, with 900 safety recalls involving more than 51 million vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Is anyone paying attention anymore, or have we morphed into a new world where cars come factory-equipped to be taken out of service?
The problem is real, for certain. Lives are being lost, property damaged, and brand reputations besmirched.
As a result of these historically high safety recall numbers, vehicle safety recalls have gained significant media attention and consumer safety risk at an all-time high. Although manufacturers and their suppliers are the sources of vehicle defects, auto dealers are being held liable for selling cars with open safety recalls.
Pre-owned vehicles with open safety recalls may be the most significant legal exposure that a dealership has today.
Smart minds are applying technology to the dilemma. Dealers have resources to help them isolate the new vehicles on their lots that come under a safety recall. The same tools assist them to identify used vehicles they're taken in trade or bought at auction that also might be under an open safety recall. Unfortunately, sources report, these tools are not the sharpest ones in the toolbox.
Enter the entrepreneurs: Rapid Recon and AutoAp, who're offering dealers a better mousetrap.
A recent news release that "auto dealers can now close the loop on safety recall risk inside of the reconditioning process with AutoAp, Inc.’s professional-grade safety recall technology that adds daily recall discovery and status verification to Rapid Recon’s already robust vehicle reconditioning program."
Under license from AutoAp, Rapid Recon’s Open Safety Recall Management solution dynamically updates the safety recall status of vehicles in inventory inside of their reconditioning software, and will identify open safety recalls from the first time the car enters inventory until the car is sold.
Dealers can reduce recall liability; increase warranty revenue; improve customer safety; enhance market differentiation; optimize service bay utilization and reduce overhead costs, by identifying recalls on their in-brand and off-brand vehicles every day, AutoAp notes.
Why is this a better mousetrap? The current safety recalls resources apparently have significant errors in their data. For example, dealers who use SaferCar.gov to verify the safety recall status of off-brand vehicles put themselves at risk from the many “false negatives” from this NHTSA site. Vehicle history reports can also misidentify vehicles’ safety recall status. Timing issues between the OEMs, NHTSA and dealers create delayed and often uncertain recall status, which further increases dealers’ liability and reduces consumer safety.
I pray someone stops this madness before Open Safety Recall...Open Safety Recall...Open Safety Recall...becomes a groove I will never be able to shake.
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