The friction between automakers and U.S. dealers over which is responsible for expenses related to vehicle recalls should hardly be a surprise.
Amid a record run in U.S. recalls, the rapidly mounting costs of millions more cases involving potentially defective Takata airbag inflators make such conflict almost inevitable.
Manufacturers and franchised dealers have a long history of jostling over recall costs. The basic pattern that has emerged is for dealers to fix recalled autos and automakers to pay dealers for the service.
But the Takata crisis creates new wrinkles based on the difference in recalls of new and used vehicles. Federal law bars the sale of new vehicles with pending recalls until they are fixed and requires the manufacturer to compensate the dealer if it can't provide parts. But there's no such requirement regarding used vehicles. Various manufacturers have imposed different policies about selling unrepaired used vehicles, and the dispute is being taken up by state legislatures.