Safety recalls are piling up unsold cars, frustrating dealers


WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) – The scene: millions of new cars sitting on dealers’ lots across the country, gathering dust. The unsold inventory cannot be sold because of recalls–many of these vehicles were built with defective airbags, and it is a safety issue.

Even though there is no state or federal law requiring dealers to hold onto recalled vehicles, the head of the local new car dealers trade group said carmakers won’t allow it.

“If it is a true safety recall–number one, our dealers are not selling it; two, the manufacturer isn’t allowing them to sell it,” said Paul Stasiak, president of the Niagara Frontier Auto Dealers Association, which is comprised of Western New York’s new car dealers.

Stasiak said when a dealer has to sitting on a vehicle that is in high demand, it can be a strain for both the dealer and a would-be buyer.

“If a dealer can’t sell something and he is in short supply, it obviously puts a drain on him. If he has to store these vehicles for an excessive period of time, that comes at his expense.”

But Stasiak also points out, manufacturers can also restrain dealers from selling new cars for non-safety recalls, such as a simple mistake on a government-mandated fuel efficiency sticker, called a Monroney label.

Carmakers have barred the sale of their new cars until the stickers get replaced with corrected labels, said Stasiak, “The consumer in Western New York really should have very little fear of buying a car with an open recall, that it is a safety related recall.”

Waiting for replacement parts can add to a new car dealer’s frustration said Stasiak. For some vehicles, new parts for recalled items can be ordered and installed within a few days, but the backlog for Takata airbag inflator repair kits, in some cases, is over a year.

To see if your car has been designated for any recalls, you can log on to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website for recalls, SaferCar.gov, and look for your specific make and model, or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

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