Automakers to offer free recall data on U.S. Website

WASHINGTON — Federal regulators said Wednesday that they will require automakers and motorcycle manufacturers to provide consumers a free, online means of searching for recall information by punching in their vehicle identification numbers.

Detroit’s three automakers — General Motors, Ford and Chrysler — already offer such a service, but, starting next year, theirs will be linked along with others’ via a web portal on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s site, Safercar.gov.

On Wednesday, NHTSA said it will require all manufacturers to provide such an online tool by Aug. 14, 2014. Some, but not all, automakers already offer such a search tool through their own websites.

Recall information by vehicle identification number (or VIN) will have to be updated at least weekly, under NHTSA’s ruling. Currently, Safercar.gov offers only general searches by vehicle make and model year.

“Owners and potential buyers alike will soon be able to identify whether a safety recall for their specific vehicle is incomplete,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The new search feature will allow consumers to tell whether a specific vehicle is subject to a recall and whether it has received the recall remedy or not.

Under the rule to be posted on the Federal Register, large volume car, light truck and motorcycle manufacturers will have to allow consumers to search uncompleted safety recalls by VIN. Manufacturers will also be required to provide vehicle owners direct notices of recalls within 60 days of notifying NHTSA a recall is underway.

By providing the information and linking Safercar.gov with automakers’ websites, it is hoped even more consumers react to recall notices. NHTSA says the average completion rate for vehicle recalls is about 70 percent.

“By making individual VIN searches readily available, we’re providing another service to car, light truck and motorcycle owners and potential owners – the peace of mind knowing that the vehicle they own, or that they are thinking of buying, is safe,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.

Gloria Bergquist, at the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a group that includes General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and other automakers, said providing recall information on manufacturers’ websites — rather than creating a separate government database — “is both effective and saves duplication of efforts.

“Consumers go to automaker websites when they were looking to buy their car, so it makes sense to provide safety recall information on those same websites,” she said. “(These) websites also provide additional information on vehicles … that would not be available on a separate government website, which was an option that the government chose not to adopt.”

More in Herald Business Journal

Snohomish County’s campaign to land the 797 takes off

Executive Dave Somers announced the formation of a task force to urge Boeing to build the plane here.

For modern women, 98-year-old rejection letters still sting

In a stark new video, female Boeing engineers break the silence about past inopportunity.

Drone’s ease piercing of NY ‘no-fly’ zone underscores risks

An Army Black Hawk helicopter suffered damage to one of its rotor blades, but was able to land safely.

Disney buying large part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4B deal

Before the buyout, 21st Century Fox will spin off the Fox network, stations and cable channels.

Commentary: GM, Boeing fight a war of words over Mars

Boeing is strongly signaling how crucial deep-space exploration is to its future.

Angel of the Winds pays $3.4M for Everett arena naming rights

The casino replaces Xfinity as the lead sponsor for the publicly owned downtown Everett events center.

Delta orders 100 Airbus A321neo jets valued at $12.7 billion

Boeing had hoped to land the deal, offering comparable 737s.

FCC votes along party lines to end ‘net neutrality’

Republican-controlled FCC junks the principle that said all web traffic must be treated equally.

Rubio to vote against tax bill if child credit isn’t expanded

Sen. Bob Corker announced that he would vote against it due to concerns on the federal deficit.

Most Read