Enterprise Reviews Procedures for Automobile Manufacturers’ Recalls

In response to a lawsuit, which it lost last week, Enterprise Rent A Car reiterated its procedures for handling manufacturers' vehicle recalls.

"If and when manufacturers recommend that vehicle owners park or ground their vehicles, we promptly do so," said Greg Stubblefield, executive vice president and chief strategy officer for Enterprise. "However, we also believe there are times when recalled vehicles need to be grounded regardless."

The issue of how rental car companies handle manufacturers' recalls has been put in the spotlight following the resolution last week of a lawsuit in Alameda County, Calif., where the jury awarded Chuck and Cally Houck $15 million in the traffic accident deaths of their two daughters, Jackie and Raechel.  

"This was a long, complicated and difficult case for all involved, one that had to work its way through the court system to reach resolution," said Stubblefield. "But, more significantly, this is a terrible tragedy for the Houck family. Our hearts go out to them, and we are very sorry for their loss."

In the Houck case, neither Chrysler nor the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recommended grounding the more than 400,000 PT Cruisers recalled in 2004. (Chrysler, the manufacturer of the PT Cruiser, was a defendant in the Houck lawsuit, but was dismissed due to bankruptcy in 2009.) Instead, owners were asked to contact their local dealers to schedule a service appointment.

"Given all we have learned, today we would ground the recalled PT Cruiser until repaired," Stubblefield said. "That is why we continue to work with our employees and automobile manufacturers on ways to improve our policies and procedures for handling recalls. 

"We share the Houcks' goal of preventing anything like this happening again," Stubblefield said. "Of course, nothing can change this heartbreaking situation for the Houck family and, again, we are truly sorry for their terrible loss."

Comments

  1. Consumer Advocate [ July 2, 2010 @ 04:08PM ]

    RESPONSE OF CHUCK AND CALLY HOUCK

    TO STATEMENT OF ENTERPRISE RENT-A-CAR

    REGARDING RECALL PROCEDURES

    Part 1 of 2

    Enterprise Stmt: “Enterprise Rent-A-Car is reiterating its policies and procedures for handling automobile manufacturers’ recalls.” Houck Response: Enterprise [ERAC] does not have, and never had, any policy on renting recalled vehicles–that is why Raechel and Jackie died. Vice President Gieseking confirmed under oath: “Q. So does the parent company have any policy with respect to ensuring that recalled vehicles are not rented to the public? A. No.” The Enterprise training manual has nothing on recall procedures. While Enterprise employees are trained in “learning how to sell…optional damage waiver, supplemental liability protection, personal accident insurance and personal effects coverage,” they receive no training in handling recalls.

    Enterprise Stmt: “This case … had to work its way through the court system to reach resolution.” Houck Response: No, it did not. ERAC tried to crush us, muzzle us and make us give up. For 5½ years ERAC claimed that it acted reasonably in renting the recalled vehicle and they hired a fleet of so-called “expert witnesses” to conduct dozens of “tests” and “experiments” to prove that Raechel and Jackie died, not because of the safety recall for underhood fires and notwithstanding an eyewitness’ testimony that he saw smoke and fire coming from the PT Cruiser, but because Raechel’s bad driving killed herself and her younger sister. Then, a month before trial and after 5½ years of contentious, extensive and wildly expensive litigation, Enterprise brought in new counsel, admitted liability, withdrew all of their defenses and successfully moved to keep the jury from knowing anything about their 5½ year campaign against us. We want the truth to be known.

  2. Consumer Advocate [ July 2, 2010 @ 04:10PM ]

    RESPONSE OF CHUCK AND CALLY HOUCK

    TO STATEMENT OF ENTERPRISE RENT-A-CAR

    REGARDING RECALL PROCEDURES

    Part 2 of 2

    Enterprise Stmt: “Our hearts go out to [the Houcks], and we are very sorry for their loss.” Houck Response: They killed our daughters on October 7, 2004. This is the first time we heard them say this. All we ask now is that ERAC stop renting recalled vehicles so this nightmare is not suffered by any other parents. Stop fighting us and fix your company.

    Enterprise Stmt: “[W]e continue to work with our employees and automobile manufacturers on ways to improve our policies and procedures for handling recalls.” Houck Response: Vice President Gieseking confirmed under oath: “Q. And are there any plans for the future that you’re aware of of changing the way recall notices come up in the rental system? A. I don’t know;” and “Q. And as we sit here today, do you know whether vehicles that are subject to a safety recall at the present time are still being rented to Enterprise customers? A. I do not know.”

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