Last 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 recall updates to data provided by a federal agency.
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.