America's dominant rental car companies are suddenly a bit under siege, with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) stating that "incidents involving allegations of personal injury and death" from car accidents have led it to investigate industry practices concerning recalled fleet vehicles.
The consumer-focused Center for Auto Safety recently petitioned the Federal Trade Commission, asking that it inspect Enterprise Holdings Inc., to determine whether that rental car operator - the largest in the country, with Enterprise, National and Alamo under its umbrella - violates federal law by renting its vehicles without first repairing them if they are subject to a recall.
The result is a full-blown NHTSA audit of nearly 30 vehicle rental models that seeks to ascertain how quickly and thoroughly rental vehicles are being repaired - if, indeed, they routinely are - once a recall is issued.
Enterprise Holdings, for one, states that it is in full compliance with applicable requirements. A company spokeswoman says that it "holds" most vehicles that are recalled by manufacturers until required repairs are done. The company representative further added that, "If and when manufacturers recommend that vehicle owners park or ground their vehicles, Enterprise promptly does so."
That response was far more comprehensive than what was offered by competitors. Indeed, at the time of this report, spokespersons for both Avis Budget Inc. and Hertz Global Holdings Inc. declined any comment at all.
Related Resource: www.bloomberg.com "U.S. Probes Rental-Car Companies over Recall Repairs " November 22, 2010