AutoNation accused of selling vehicles with unrepaired safety recalls

CBS News
CBS News staff

A new report out Tuesday accuses one of the nation's largest car retail chains of selling used vehicles with unrepaired safety recalls. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) looked into 2,400 used vehicles at 28 AutoNation dealerships nationwide. It claims "one in nine" had safety recall issues, including problems linked to deaths and injuries.

In 2015, AutoNation said it would no longer sell used cars with open safety recalls. But it reversed course the next year, and PIRG said it's been looking into how many unrepaired used cars are sold to consumers. 

This issue isn't limited to AutoNation, CBS News' Anna Werner reports.

CBS News checked in with a Florida car dealer we met three years ago who said it's still a problem nationwide. In Lake Park, Florida, dealer Earl Stewart walked a lot filled with cars that he owns but refuses to sell because they have defective Takata airbags.

"If I can't sell a car that I would sell to my own family to my customer, I'm not going to sell the car," said Stewart, who estimates he's lost close to $600,000 on those cars over the past three years because he can't get the parts to fix them.

"We have to hold those cars until the Takata airbag is available to fix it. So I'm suffering a huge amount, most of that, half a million dollars plus, is from depreciation," he said.

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