US agency investigating if Hertz rented unrepaired recalled vehicles

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was in receipt of information that indicates “Hertz rented vehicles to customers without having performed required recall repairs.”

A HERTZ RENTAL car sign is placed outside a rental lot near Detroit Metropolitan airport in Romulus, Michigan (photo credit: REUTERS)
A HERTZ RENTAL car sign is placed outside a rental lot near Detroit Metropolitan airport in Romulus, Michigan
(photo credit: REUTERS)

US auto safety regulators said on Tuesday they are investigating if Hertz rented unrepaired recalled vehicles to customers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in a filing made public on Tuesday it was in receipt of information that indicates "Hertz rented vehicles to customers without having performed required recall repairs."

NHTSA said it had opened an "audit query to seek additional information concerning this issue."

The agency said the issue involved Ford Explorer F.N and Nissan Altima cars 7201.T owned by Hertz between 2018 and 2020 but did not disclose the number of vehicles involved. The recall issues involved include latches and locks, NHTSA said.

Hertz has major reach

Hertz, which operates the Hertz, Dollar, and Thrifty vehicle rental brands, said it is "reviewing NHTSA’s request for information. We are committed to providing safe rentals for our customers."

People queue at rental car desks at the international airport in Munich (credit: REUTERS/MICHAEL DALDER)People queue at rental car desks at the international airport in Munich (credit: REUTERS/MICHAEL DALDER)

NHTSA said in a statement Tuesday that in late 2021 it began receiving information suggesting that Hertz may have rented vehicles to customers without having had all required safety recall repairs performed on those vehicles.

"Information gathered by the agency to date, including from vehicle manufacturers, suggests repairs required under multiple NHTSA safety recalls were not made prior to the rental of such affected vehicles to Hertz customers," the agency added.

A 2015 law requires rental car companies with 35 or more vehicles to complete recall repairs before they rent vehicles.

Earlier this month, Hertz said it would pay about $168 million by year-end to resolve over 95% of pending claims from owners who alleged the car rental giant filed wrongful theft reports.

Some customers had sued Hertz alleging the police detained or arrested individuals in error after the company reported rental cars were stolen.