NHTSA Fines Tenn. Honda Dealer for Selling Recalled Motorcycles
A Tenn. Honda Dealer, the largest power-sports dealership in the United States, has been fined $125,000 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for selling hundreds of recalled motorcycles without inspecting or repairing the bikes prior to the sale.
After a year of investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Southern Honda Powersports (aka Big Red Powersports LLC) in Chattanooga, Tennessee has agreed to settle allegations that the Tenn. Honda Dealer sold 329 recalled motorcycles over the course of five years without repairing or inspecting the bikes first. According to USA Today, the federal agency’s probe was joined by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office.
Although a former marketing agent for the Tenn. Honda Dealer, along with nine other employees allegedly told federal regulators that possibly thousands of vehicles were sold while under recall from 2004 to 2010, federal regulators found the dealership had not inspected or repaired bikes under federal safety recall from 2007 to 2012. The marketing agent also told federal authorities that 25,000 dirt bikes, ATVs, and motorcycles had been unsafely assembled while he worked for the dealership, and that he believed the improper assembly occurred from 2004 to at least 2010. Those claims were not addressed in the NHTSA announcement.
During the investigation, the Tenn. Honda Dealership owner alleged that though “some bikes were delivered” before the repair was done, the buyers were notified of the recall. In fact, the owner allegedly told USA Today that “Safety is our first priority,” and that a salesperson had been fired for selling a vehicle while it was under recall. The company also issued a statement at the time saying that it “always has complied with all applicable regulations issued by NHTSA and the CPSC (Consumer Protection Safety Commission) including those related to product safety defects and the conduct of safety recalls.” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/03/15/honda-unsafe-motorcycles-chattanooga-dealership-fined/1991801/)
Although Southern Honda Powersports agreed to the terms of the settlement, the Tenn. Honda Dealer denied it sold unrepaired bikes and that it complied with the U.S. Safety Act, which requires that recalled vehicles be repaired prior to their sale. Under terms of the settlement, the dealership will pay a $125,000 civil penalty in five installments of $25,000 each, with the final payment due no later than February 1, 2017.
The NHTSA reports that no injuries or deaths have been reported in connection with the motorcycles in question.
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