Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 24

FIXED OPS JOURNAL

REMEMBER RECALLS

 New software helps dealerships track safety notices better

L

ALEX KWANTEN
foj@autonews.com

ast year, 53.2 million cars and trucks
were recalled in the United States - the
third straight year the figure topped
50 million. A dealership can get in
trouble for selling a used vehicle, knowingly or
unwittingly, that is covered by a safety recall.
New digital tools are helping dealers manage the bewildering array of recalls. They enable retailers to identify recalled vehicles
sooner and more accurately, reduce potential
liability and customer hassle and recondition
used cars and trucks for sale more efficiently.
Software providers AutoAp and Recall Masters offer products that enable dealers to
closely monitor safety recalls and automate
tracking of used vehicles in their inventory.
The vendors give customers daily updates on
recalled vehicles.
Carfax offers a similar
recall checking service,
but delivers its reports
twice a week. AutoAp
partners with Rapid Recon, a provider of reconditioning workflow software, to deliver automated recall alerts. Several
other vendors limit their
Paul: Vendor
recall updates to data prodata beats
vided by a federal agency.
NHTSA's
However they do it,
dealerships - including their service departments - need to know whether the vehicles
they acquire to remarket face recalls.
Selling a vehicle with an undisclosed safety
problem makes for dissatisfied customers and
can have legal repercussions, even if the dealership was unaware of the recall.

Potential liability
"There are theories of liability that plaintiff
attorneys may attempt to attach to these vehicles, even if dealers are using good-faith efforts to identify potential open recalls," says
Shawn Mercer, a partner at Bass Sox Mercer, a
Tallahassee, Fla., law firm that specializes in
dealership franchise law. There is no federal
law against selling a vehicle with an open recall. But "depending on the jurisdiction," Mercer says, "potential liability can stem from vio-

PAGE 24

AUGUST 2017

Schomp Mini in Highlands Ranch, Colo., uses two software systems to monitor safety recalls.

lations of state laws or common law tort
claims."
At Honda of Fife in suburban Tacoma,
Wash., the dealership's process for checking
recalls used to include ordering vehicle history reports from Carfax, monitoring recalls of
Honda cars and trucks from the automaker's
Web portal for dealers and clicking on safercar.gov, a website operated by the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for information about recalls of non-Honda vehicles.
Chris Wolfe, the dealership's general manager, says employees assigned to keep on top
of recalls often felt they were flying blind.
"We were juggling between different [Web]
pages," Wolfe told Fixed Ops Journal. "You get
different information from different sources."
So Honda of Fife bought AutoAp's recall
software last year. "AutoAp catches everything," Wolfe says. "They catch stuff before we
get alerted from the manufacturer sometimes."
The software liberates dealership employees from time-consuming searches of vehicle
identification numbers to identify recalls,

Wolfe says. It also eliminates the possibility of
slowing a used-vehicle sale or delaying a delivery if a recall is discovered during or after
reconditioning.
"We're able to catch that, take them off the
line and get them fixed quickly," he says.

Data discrepancies
Mark Paul, CEO of AutoAp in Beaverton,
Ore., says his company works with roughly
400 dealerships. Paul would not disclose pricing, but says it varies by volume.
"For less than a dealer spends on washing
each car on their lot every month, they can be
covered for recalls on those cars," Paul says.
He calls AutoAp's data more comprehensive,
accurate and timely than other sources of recall
information, claiming "there is a significant error rate for NHTSA's database." A NHTSA
spokesman did not respond to requests for
comment.
Automakers sometimes describe recall
campaigns as "field service advisories," Paul
see RECALLS, Page 26


http://www.safercar.gov http://www.safercar.gov

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017

Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017
Contents
Need a lift
Tire track
Mobility devices
Times to recall
Slick trick
Fatal fire
Players club
Online parts
Lean inventory
Loyalty test
Patent pending
Open minded
Editor’s Letter
Service Counter
Legal Lane
Richard Truett
Feedback
Five Minutes With
Letters
Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Intro
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Cover2
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Editor’s Letter
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 5
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Service Counter
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 7
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Legal Lane
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 9
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 10
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Need a lift
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Tire track
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 13
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 14
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 15
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 16
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 17
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Mobility devices
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 19
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 20
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 21
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 22
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 23
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Times to recall
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 25
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 26
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 27
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Slick trick
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 29
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Fatal fire
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Richard Truett
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Players club
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 33
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Online parts
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 35
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Lean inventory
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 37
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Loyalty test
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 39
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Patent pending
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 41
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Feedback
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Open minded
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Five Minutes With
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Letters
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Cover3
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Cover4
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