Donlen rolls out comprehensive recall management tool


Donlen recently rolled out a solution to help fleet managers navigate through what can be one of the most challenging part of the jobs — watching for vehicle recalls.

Donlen released its latest recall management offering — Recall inSIGHT — a solution that can gives fleet professionals full visibility to their vehicle fleet’s open recalls, so they can take immediate action by working with their drivers to efficiently manage and address OEM and NHTSA recalls.

Donlen’s Recall inSIGHT can provides a comprehensive platform to identify open and/or closed recalls that can be sorted by campaigns as well as individual vehicles affected by recalls.

Using this platform, Donlen customers can filter recall campaigns by severity ratings and campaign status to prioritize the highest risk recalls and take action as soon as OEMs announce that they are ready to perform recall repairs.

“Recall InSIGHT comes with industry-leading features and benefits that are not offered in the fleet management industry today,” said Oliver Zerhusen, Donlen vice president of maintenance/accident products and supplier management.

“By screening more than 50 OEM and NHTSA recall databases on a daily basis, we provide comprehensive recall information for our customer’s entire fleet,” Zerhusen said.

Donlen customers will be able to access recall information through Donlen’s FleetWeb Intelligence Visualization Suite where they can view the progress of recall completion across their entire fleet by each open recall campaign. The company emphasized this capability can eliminate the need to check multiple OEM/NHTSA websites for recall campaign progress and individual vehicle recall repair completion.


NHTSA unveils new compliance assistance program


On Monday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the creation of a compliance assistance program to help regulated entities, including vehicle and trailer manufacturers,  as well as equipment manufacturers comply with safety regulations as a means to promote safety on our highways. 

NHTSA reiterated that regulated entities may not sell vehicles or equipment that do not comply with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). 

“NHTSA seeks to promote safety through proactive and responsive engagement.  In addition to vigilant enforcement, NHTSA also serves as a federal resource that small and large manufacturers can for guidance on federal regulations,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King said. 

“A transparent partnership with manufacturers assures the development of safe, reliable vehicles and equipment,” King continued.

King pointed out that NHTSA tests and monitors important vehicle components like brakes, tires, air bags, child seats, seat belts and headlights to ensure they are compliant with FMVSS. NHTSA’s Office of the Chief Counsel issues interpretations on various legal issues.

She added the new compliance assistance program will help NHTSA achieve the highest standards of excellence in motor vehicles by providing informal compliance guidance, to current and prospective manufacturers. 

Regulated entities can NHTSA for guidance on compliance issues at [email protected] or .

GasBuddy updates app to generate recall alerts


Vehicle owners now have another way to use their smartphones to keep up with potential recalls that possibly can be remedied at your franchised dealership’s service drive.

GasBuddy, a smartphone app that reportedly is used by more than 70 million individuals, recently updated its Car Profile feature, providing drivers what developers called an easy way to track and be notified of important vehicle recall information.

“Our mission is to empower drivers in all aspects of their journey on the road, and this is just the first of many capabilities under the Car Profile feature,” says Levi Hamilton, head of product, consumer experience, at GasBuddy. “Everyday tens of millions of people rely on GasBuddy to make smarter decisions from comparison shopping to driving habits; the Car Profile feature provides value, and deepens the relationship we have with our users.”

Drivers can access a new ‘My Car’ section of the in-app profile section. After entering their VIN number or their year, make and model, drivers will automatically receive important recall information and notifications about their vehicle. Recall information is easily accessible in a list format so drivers can see past and current recall notifications over the lifetime of the vehicle.

Drivers can also sign up to receive future vehicle notifications.

The launch of Car Profile follows GasBuddy’s recent release of the Trips feature, which helps drivers track when they have been guilty of fuel-inefficient driving.

GasBuddy plans to launch a series of new capabilities this year that will complement popular in-app tools like real-time fuel prices, station ratings and reviews, and the Pay with GasBuddy program that saves drivers money on every gallon they purchase.

Older Ford and Mazda compact trucks have ‘Do Not Drive Warning’ because of Takata airbags


Here’s an important update for dealerships that might have 2006 Ford or Mazda compact trucks in their inventory or customers who are still driving these older models.

According to announcements from the Blue Oval and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ford and Mazda said that they are expanding their “do not drive warning” to include additional 2006 Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series trucks with defective Takata air bags based on new testing. 

NHTSA officials indicated these units have defective Takata air bags that are an immediate risk to safety.  

“Affected owners are urged not to drive these vehicles and to Ford and Mazda immediately to schedule a free repair,” NHTSA said.

“Ford and Mazda have replacement air bags available now and will tow vehicles to a local dealership for repair, and provide loaner vehicles — all free of charge,” the agency added.

Ford elaborated about the situation that involves 33,428 vehicles, which were previously under a separate Takata airbag inflator recall.

The OEM explained the units have been transferred due to an elevated risk to safety posed by airbag inflators that may have a higher risk of rupturing in the event of a crash than other recalled Takata inflators. Ford is advising these owners of certain Ford Rangers to stop driving their vehicles so dealers can make repairs immediately.

Parts are available now and dealers are prepared to get vehicles directly from customers, make permanent repairs that will resolve the safety risk and provide a free interim loaner vehicle, if necessary.

Ford said previously took this action on a population of approximately 3,000 Ford Ranger vehicles from the 2006 model year because there were two fatalities caused by driver airbag inflator ruptures from Takata inflators built on the same day.

After Ford took this action, the company continued its investigation and testing. Further inflator and propellant test data showed higher propellant pressures and ruptures inside certain inflators in vehicles built during the period included in this expanded recall.

Ford said is not aware of any injuries or fatalities involved in these additional vehicles.

Affected vehicles include certain 2006 Ford Rangers built at Twin Cities Assembly Plant from Aug. 10, 2005 to Dec. 15, 2005 and from Aug. 5, 2005 to Nov. 4, 2005.

This expanded recall involves approximately 33,428 additional 2006 Ford Rangers in North America with 30,603 located in the United States and federalized territories and 2,825 in Canada. The total number of vehicles included in this recall now is 36,330.

The Ford reference number for this recall is 18S02.

OEMs have chance for piece of $850 million Takata airbag restitution fund


Franchised dealerships have seen scores of customers arrive at their service departments to have defective Takata airbags replaced. Now, it’s the automakers’ turn to be compensated for the matter.

The special master in the criminal case involving Takata announced that he launched the $850 million restitution fund for OEMs that purchased airbags with PSAN inflators from Takata and its subsidiaries. 

The special master — defined as an official appointed by a judge who ensures court orders are followed — stated that he is sending notice to more than 50 manufacturers around the world that purchased the Takata airbags that are subject to widespread recall programs, and that may be eligible for compensation from the OEM Restitution Fund set up as part of Takata’s plea agreement in February.

Appointed by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan as special master is Eric Green, a Boston law professor and mediator.

According to the special master's notice sent to the manufacturers, Takata pled guilty on Feb. 27 to one count of wire fraud and the court entered the restitution order requiring Takata to, among other things, pay restitution in the amount of $481,848,850 to the OEMs who were defrauded in connection with their purchase of airbags with PSAN Inflators and additional restitution in the amount of $368,151,150 to all OEMs who purchased airbags with PSAN Inflators from Takata for a total amount of $850 million in restitution to OEMs.

On July 31, the court appointed Green as special master to oversee the OEM Restitution Fund. His responsibilities include developing a formula or formulas, subject to court approval, for distributing funds to eligible claimants, making determinations regarding allowed claims, and making a recommendation to the court regarding allocation of funds from the OEM Restitution Fund.

Officials explained that a significant majority of Takata’s OEM customers — which collectively purchased approximately 90 percent of the PSAN inflators sold by Takata as of Dec. 31, 2016 — agreed upon a proposed allocation and presented it to the special master for consideration.

Following a formal presentation on the proposal for allocation of the OEM Restitution Fund, several discussions with the consenting OEMs about the proposal, and an independent review by the special master of the proposal, the special master provisionally determined that the proposed allocation provides for an equitable distribution of the OEM Restitution Fund.

However, to ensure that all eligible OEMs have a chance to be heard, an opportunity is being provided for them to object to the proposed allocation or comment in writing to the special master prior to final determination by the special master and submission to the court for final approval.

Green is also in charge of a separate $125 million Individual Restitution fund designed for persons who suffer personal injury or wrongful death as the result of a Takata airbag inflator defect. Green stated that the proposed allocation of the Individual Restitution fund will be announced at a later date.

Under the proposed allocation, the restitution monies directed to the OEMs will be combined into a single global fund. All OEMs that purchased PSAN inflators, regardless of jurisdiction of sale, will be eligible to participate in the combined fund without the need for determining whether a particular OEM was defrauded by Takata.

Each OEM’s allocation will be determined by the percentage of all PSAN inflators sold by Takata globally that was purchased by that OEM as of Dec. 31, 2016. The court noted the special master has independently analyzed the verified third-party Takata PSAN inflator sales data utilized to determine the percentage for each OEM and determined it reliable.

The proposed allocation governing the distribution of the OEM Restitution Fund is set forth in the direct notice that was mailed electronically or otherwise to all identified OEMs that are eligible to participate in the OEM Restitution Fund. A copy of the direct notice and the proposed allocation schedule can be found and accessed on the special master's website, .

Officials indicated any remaining funds attributable to checks which are not cashed or to wire transfers that cannot be completed will be redistributed by the special master pro rata to all participating OEMs.

To receive an allocation from the OEM Restitution Fund, each eligible OEM will be required to provide a release in favor of the special master and his professionals, advisors and agents.

If an eligible OEM disagrees with the proposed allocation, it can comment on the plan or object. Officials said any comments and objections must be in writing and received by the special master on or before Dec. 20.

Objections can be emailed to [email protected] If a manufacturer does not submit a timely objection, officials insisted it will be deemed by the special master to have accepted and consented to the proposed allocation.

Following his review of any objections, Green anticipates that he will provide the final proposed allocation for the OEM Restitution Fund to the court for approval in January.

For any questions about the proposed allocation, visit , email [email protected], or call (800) 574-7035.

Tennessee Automotive Association chooses AutoAp to help dealers comply with new state recall law


A dealer organization and a service provider are joining forces to comply with a new mandate coming in Tennessee involving vehicle recalls.

Looking for ways to help Tennessee dealer members better identify safety recalls and streamline new recall compliance efforts requiring recall disclosure to consumers prior to sale, the Tennessee Automotive Association has entered into a strategic alliance with recall management service provider AutoAp.

The move is an attempt to help dealers comply with the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Recall and Disclosure Law that goes into effect in January.

“During our efforts to secure the passage of the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Recall and Disclosure Law, we became aware of the real-life difficulties dealers experience in seeking to identify recalls,” Tennessee Automotive Association president Bob Weaver said. “We set out in search of a strategic partner to help our members with an effective compliance solution, and AutoAp’s Dynamic Recall Management service does just that.

“Choosing AutoAp was the right thing to do,” Weaver continued.

AutoAp’s suite of safety recall management solutions can help dealers make informed decisions at vehicle acquisition, reduce recall liability and streamline recall compliance requirements for vehicles in inventory, and generate net-new service revenue from their sold customer vehicles.

“We are honored that the Tennessee Automotive Association has chosen AutoAp. With this strategic alliance, Tennessee motor vehicle dealers are assured of receiving the highest quality and comprehensive safety recall management solutions,” AutoAp chief executive officer Mark Paul said.

AutoAp releases survey to help dealers evaluate safety recall liability


AutoAp has developed a new assessment survey that provides dealers with a current safety recall liability score and specific recommendations regarding needed improvements to reduce safety recall liability at their dealerships.

With the report, dealers can gain an understanding of how they compare to the industry average and dealers with effective safety recall management processes.

“Dealers tell us how quickly they are able to lower their liability with the specific recommendations provided in our report. They’ve also said they had no idea they weren’t really covered,” AutoAp chief executive officer Mark Paul said in a news release.

“With all of the safety recall compliance requirements facing dealers today, it is extremely important for dealers to honestly assess how they are currently managing safety recalls. We are pleased to offer this industry-first recall management assessment tool, giving dealers an easy way to quantify their current recall liability and move towards best practices,” he continued.

The assessment includes six questions and is available to franchised dealers through the end of the year.

“Establishing a baseline for current recall management effectiveness, dealer principals can begin their critical process examination and learn where improvements need to be made. David Nathanson, managing partner at motormindz said in the release. “Ignoring ineffective recall management practices guarantees that a dealer will remain at high risk. I applaud AutoAp for making this available for all dealers. It is timely and extremely valuable.”

For access to the online assessment click .

CarMD launches new educational online 'health report' tool

IRVINE, Calif. - 

CarMD recently launched CarMD Garage, its new turnkey online tool that provides car owners, used-car shoppers and auto industry partners with useful vehicle service and repair information.

Using any vehicle’s year, make, model and mileage, the new service generates a free CarMD Garage Vehicle Health Report with information on how to both reduce the cost of vehicle ownership and extend a vehicle’s life.

“CarMD Garage offers a way to find solutions for some of the most frequently searched for vehicle service and repair information as well as automated, accurate parts purchasing,” CarMD technical director David Rich said in a news release.

“Different CarMD Garage features will appeal to different markets, whether you are a consumer who just wants to stay on top of your vehicle’s performance, a DIYer who wants service your own vehicle or get details and estimates for repairs, or an aftermarket or telematics affiliate partner looking to enhance the overall value provided to customers by offering monthly vehicle health reports.”

Each free CarMD Garage Vehicle Health Report features the following information:

•        VIN decoding

•        Average miles per gallon

•        Recalls

•        Service Maintenance Due

•        Warranty Status

•        Predicted Failure count

•        Technical Service Bulletin count

Premium report information is available for purchase for most 1996 to current OBD-II cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs.

The premium option offers vehicle title history reporting, such as DMV and accident history, as well as a list of detailed predicted failures with descriptions and parts and labor estimates for service issues.

CarMD Garage also can be integrated into partner websites, apps and telematics services.

CarMD said its new service offers business partners a low-cost way to enhance their offerings and increase customer retention.

“As online auto parts purchasing becomes more prevalent, automotive enthusiasts and DIYers find that it can be difficult and time consuming to search millions of parts online to find the right part for a specific vehicle,” the company said.

“When maintenance is due, CarMD Garage pinpoints the right part and provides a direct link to purchase the part online, which also reduces returns for the online retailer.”

Currently, the company is seeking select affiliate partners in the used-car, usage-based insurance, automotive retail and repair shop referral markets.

For more information about the CarMD Garage Vehicle Health Report, visit .

NADA & NIADA object again to bill aimed to stop retail of recalled units

CARY, N.C. - 

Seven Democratic lawmakers are trying again to push legislation that would prohibit the retailing of vehicles with an unfulfilled recall; a plan prompting the two largest dealership associations to reiterate their objections and explain the potential unintended consequences.

Amid all the hubbub over healthcare and the revolving door at the White House, late last week a proposal dubbed the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act surfaced on Capitol Hill as lawmakers leveraged reports over another potential fatality involving faulty Takata airbags. While both the National Automobile Dealers Association and the National Independent Automotive Dealers Association want to retail safe vehicles, the groups fear this measure would hamstring dealers and impact owners significantly.

“NIADA shares the goal of 100 percent recall completion rates and supports public policies designed to achieve that goal.  However, overbroad legislation prohibiting dealers from selling any used motor vehicle with any open recall does not move us toward that goal,” NIADA senior vice president of legal and government affairs Shaun Petersen wrote in a message to AuSM.

“This legislation treats all recalls the same — whether safety related or not — and does nothing to manufacture the parts necessary to repair recalled vehicles or entice owners to take a recalled vehicle to a franchise dealership for repair,” Petersen continued. “But most important, it harms consumers by diminishing the trade-in value of their recalled vehicles by an average of $1,210 — and often upward of $5,000 — and would likely force dealerships to not take those vehicles in trade at all.

“Requiring dealers to ground vehicles for any recall does not justify that economic loss, particularly when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration admits not every vehicle with an open recall needs to be grounded immediately,” he went on to say. “NIADA stands ready and willing to work with members of Congress to find common-sense solutions to improve recall completion rates.  However, this legislation — which was rejected numerous times by the previous Congress — is not the answer.”

Led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts along with Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, supporters of the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act fear any owner of vehicle under recall will suffer the same tragic fate as the dozen individuals fatally wounded by faulty Takata airbags.

“This commonsense bill will protect used car buyers from driving a ticking time bomb off the lot and onto our roads,” Blumenthal said.

Schakowsky added, “It’s already illegal to sell a new car or offer for rent a car under recall. Our bill will give used car buyers the simple assurance that known defects have been fixed before you drive the car off the lot.”

NADA spokesman Jared Allen confirmed many of the points Petersen raised, including how much trade-in values can suffer.

“When recalled vehicles awaiting repair parts — including vehicles that the engineering experts at the NHTSA and the automakers have determined are acceptable for consumers to drive — can't be sold, the market instantly devalues those vehicles, resulting in a massive trade-in tax of, on average, $1,210 per vehicle, according to J.D. Power,” Allen said in a message to AuSM.

“We’re not in favor of anything that would create a trade-in tax because it’s unfair to ask consumers to pay for a manufacturer’s mistake,” Allen went on to say. “Additionally, imposing a $1,210 trade-in tax could lead to fewer, not more, recalled vehicles getting repaired, and we don’t believe a reduction in the recall completion rate is a good policy outcome for consumers or anyone else.”

The legislation introduced in the House is also co-sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois, Rep. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina and Rep. Doris Matsui of California.

Recall Masters latest integration addresses new recall legislation

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. - 

Recall Masters has a new partnership to integrate its real-time vehicle recall lookup solution into Record360’s vehicle condition reporting app. And this collaboration aims to help dealers and rental agencies avoid claims disputes when putting drivers in vehicles during recalls.

The enhanced transparency and real-time recall updates are brought by the integration, following new legislation concerning vehicle safety recalls passed just last summer.

Lawmakers addressed rental car agencies need to fix any and all open safety defects before renting out vehicles to customers.

The legislation established a fine of $5,000 if a consumer is put into a rental or loaner vehicle with an outstanding recall, Recall Masters explained in a news release announcing the partnership.

“Countless damage disputes impact relationships, customer satisfaction, and cause negative reviews,” said Recall Masters president Chris Miller. “Vehicle condition and claims management processes is dependent on paper or low-fidelity digital reporting and Record360 fills the gap with a modern solution.”

Dealerships and car rental agencies can automate their asset management by digitizing vehicle conditions reviews via Record360’s condition reporting software.

The software is designed to help prevent customers being put into a rental or loaner vehicle with an existing recall, as well as end customers’ ability to claim they did not cause damage to a loaner or rental.

“Our integration with Record360 ensures that the user is informed of any open recall in real-time while the initial inspection is done. This helps build trusting relationships between automotive dealers or car rental agencies and their customers,” added Miller.