Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Car rental firms in U.S. safety probe

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating whether rental car companies have been quick enough to repair recalled vehicles and careful enough about not renting them out to customers.

The agency says it has recently been informed about deaths and injuries allegedly stemming from rental car companies allowing customers to drive vehicles on which required recall work had not yet been performed.

In August, the Center for Auto Safety filed a formal petition with the Federal Trade Commission asking the agency to require Enterprise Holdings Inc., the company that operates the Enterprise, Alamo and National car rental brands, to remove recalled vehicles from service until they have been repaired.

The petition stemmed from an accident in October 2004 which killed two women who were driving a recalled PT cruiser they rented from Enterprise. The car had been recalled because of an underhood fire risk. According to the suit, the vehicle caught fire and crashed into an oncoming truck.

Earlier this year, according to the petition, Enterprise settled a lawsuit stemming from that crash. As part of the settlement, Enterprise paid $15 million and admitted liability in the case.

"Once Enterprise receives the official notice of the recall, the affected vehicles should be immediately parked until fixed," the Center for Auto Safety said in its petition.

Enterprise ordinarly places a "hold" on recalled vehicles until the required work is completed, the rental car company said in a statement, even in cases in which the automaker itself does not recommend the vehicles be parked and not driven.

For example, in January, Enterprise Holdings announced it was pulling a number of recalled Toyota cars from its rental fleets until required recall work was completed.

"We, of course, are willing to cooperate with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Trade Commission in any inquiry they wish to make concerning our current practices," Enterprise said in its statement.

The NHTSA investigation focuses on a number of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler models that have been recalled and that are also commonly found in rental car company fleets. Those models include the 2009 Buick Enclave SUV, the 2005-2006 Chrysler Town & Country minivan, the 2010 Ford Explorer and many others.

In January, Enterprise Holdings announced it was pulling a number of recalled Toyota cars from its rental fleets and would not return the cars to service until they had been repaired. To top of page

Find Your Next Car
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,798.49 -14.90 -0.08%
Nasdaq 5,127.53 11.38 0.22%
S&P 500 2,090.11 1.24 0.06%
Treasuries 2.22 -0.01 -0.31%
Data as of 6:47pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
General Electric Co 30.36 0.00 0.00%
Bank of America Corp... 17.48 0.04 0.23%
HP Inc 12.61 -0.03 -0.24%
Pfizer Inc 32.79 -0.08 -0.24%
Walt Disney Co 115.13 -3.54 -2.98%
Data as of Nov 27


Nearly six in ten black Americans surveyed by CNN/Kaiser Family Foundation say that they or a close friend or family member have been incarcerated -- and a majority of them come from low-income households. That leaves the many families of inmates in a precarious financial situation. More

Hive, a startup funded by the UN, is tasked with getting more Americans engaged with the refugee crisis. More

Shoppers around the country braved the crowds to get their hands on the best Black Friday deals. More