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

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Find Your Next Car
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
Nasdaq 4,095.52 9.29 0.23%
S&P 500 1,864.85 2.54 0.14%
Treasuries 2.72 0.08 3.19%
Data as of 5:02pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.15 0.00 0.00%
Facebook Inc 58.94 0.00 0.00%
General Electric Co 26.56 0.00 0.00%
Cisco Systems Inc 23.19 -0.02 -0.09%
Micron Technology In... 23.91 0.00 0.00%
Data as of Apr 17
Sponsors

Sections

Spencer has been a supporting member of the "Good Morning America" cast for the past three years. More

Obamacare sign ups hit 8 million, though final enrollment remains to be seen. More

Office for iPad move is a symbolic victory for Nadella's Microsoft, but the company is still weighed down by many of the same old issues. More

Schwinn, Trek and Cannondale are all iconic American bicycle brands. But none of them are made in the United States. More

As Detroit moves closer to reaching a bankruptcy deal, retired civilian workers are poised to be left worse off than firemen and police officers. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.