Federal Regulators Issue Fine Against Southern Honda Powersports

1_southernpowersportsThe largest powersports dealer in the nation, Southern Honda Powersports in Chattanooga Tennessee was fined $125,000 to settle allegations that it knowingly sold motorcycles that had been recalled but not repaired.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began a probe of the dealership after USA Today story about the practice.   USA Today said it received information from Ernest Vickers III, a former marketing consultant, hired by SHP, who alledged the dealer sold hundreds, perhaps thousands of motorcycles, ATV’s and dirt bikes that were under recall without first fixing the defective items.

In October,  American Honda said in a statement 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.”  Southern Honda’s owner, Tim Kelly called Vickers allegations “utter balderdash” and told USA TODAY that  “some bikes were delivered” before recall work was performed but that customers were notified and their vehicles were repaired.

NHTSA said it’s investigation found that at least 329 motorcycles were sold between 2007 and 2012 that were not inspected or had their recall defects repaired before customers took delivery.  No injuries or deaths involving those motorcycles have been reported.

The total fine amounts to less than $400 per identified vehicle.

Vickers claims that 25,000 vehicles were assembled unsafely during his 3 year tenure with the dealership.   The NHTSA announcement did not mention or address those claims.

Largest Honda Dealer in the US Under Investigation

Southern Honda Powersports, the largest Honda dealer with locations in Tennessee and Florida is under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),  the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nashville and the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office for allegedly selling unsafe motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes, according to a report out today in USA Today.    The report says a consultant and former employee, along with 9 other employees all say the dealership sold bikes that were under recall, (without fixing them first) and employees did not have the training to assemble the ATV’s and motorcycles the dealer sold to the public.

The reports says  that there are potentially 25,000 vehicles that are in customers possessions that are potentially unsafe.

The owner, Tim Kelly, says there “is no substance” to the’ allegations, and says alleged assembly problems are “utter balderdash.”

Read the USA Today story here