[U.S.] Senate Panel Reverses Course On Rentals Of Recalled Vehicles

by Jeff Plungis, Bloomberg News


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A Senate panel killed a proposal to permit companies to continue renting vehicles that have been recalled, a measure criticized by consumer groups, automakers and even some rental-car companies.

The Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee instead voted Wednesday to require cars be repaired before they’re rented.

The change resulted from an amendment by Senator Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat. It modified a bill, introduced last week by Senator John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, that would have allowed rentals with known safety defects as long as companies disclosed the open recalls to customers.

“When consumers and families drive a rental car off the lot, they should be able to do so with the confidence that car is safe to drive, and we’re one step closer to that peace of mind today,” McCaskill said.

The panel approved the overall bill, which sets policy for automotive, trucking and rail regulators, on a party-line 13-11 vote. Democrats objected to the measure, saying it failed to include needed auto-safety provisions.

In the past week, Honda Motor Co. joined General Motors Co. as the second automaker to back the Democrats’ push for a ban on rentals with safety defects.

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