AutoNation's decision not to sell any auto with an unrepaired recall is a good idea.
But it's not an easy path. U.S. recalls aren't sorted by severity. It's laudable not to sell a vehicle with an unfixed safety defect, but AutoNation shouldn't have to hold a recalled vehicle that just needs its owner's manual updated. That makes it needlessly harder and more expensive for AutoNation to do the right thing: protect consumers.
It's time for the rules to catch up. There are different kinds of recalls. Regulators should treat federal safety standard issues and defect issues differently.