The Passport group of auto dealerships in suburban Washington, D.C., and a California marketing firm have settled claims they deceptively mailed more than 21,000 fake "urgent recall" notices to consumers, the Federal Trade Commission said this month.
U.S. light-vehicle recalls have plunged to their lowest level in five years. But as the nature of safety recalls changes with the evolution of automotive technology, automakers and dealerships are turning to new tools to reach owners of recalled vehicles.
Almost every automaker offers a large portfolio of approved tools that meet its own repair standards and improve shop efficiency. But that hasn't stopped dealers from looking elsewhere for innovative equipment.
Customers coming back to the new-vehicle market are finding heftier price tags and dwindling financing options. For those underwater on their loans, a new vehicle is even further from reach just as automakers are pulling back on incentives that could help.