By on June 7, 2017

2011 Volkswagen Jetta, Image: TTAC

A problem faced by many Volkswagen TDI owners over the past several years has become a thornier issue ever since the company’s diesel debacle.

North of the border, several owners of 2.0-liter diesel models have turned to the media after high-pressure fuel pump failures turned their vehicles into Teutonic paperweights. The problem facing the owners was unique: to have the automaker buy back their vehicles as part of the emissions scandal settlement, the cars needed to be in running order. No longer covered by warranty, the cost to repair a fuel system contaminated by metal fragments was potentially more than the owners would receive in the buyback.

The burning anger is enough to melt snow. (Read More…)

By on May 23, 2017

Tesla Supercharger

Chatty Tesla owners who compel their friends and family to consider buying a Model S or X are apparently behind the company’s U-Turn on paid Supercharger use.

At the beginning of the year, Tesla, in a bid to fund a doubling of its fast-charge network, withdrew a big perk from the purchase of one of its vehicles: free Supercharger use. No longer would new buyers be able to sail off in their new Tesla, confident in their ability to juice up at one of the 750-plus stations scattered across North America. Owners who purchased their vehicle prior to January 1st were grandfathered.

Supercharger hogs were also slapped with an “idling” fee, all in the hopes of freeing up space at the stations. While the pricing structure remains — new buyers receive 400 kWh of annual free charging with their purchase, after which a variable fee applies — there’s now a way to get unlimited free power. (Read More…)

By on April 19, 2017

2017 Lincoln Continental

Say you’ve just gone through the hassle of buying a new Lincoln. It’s out there, sitting in the driveway, but you’ve got things to do. It doesn’t own you. You’re busy, and worthy of love.

Well, for a fee, Lincoln will set you up with someone nice. (No, not that kind of setup.) The automaker has created a pilot program called Lincoln Chauffeur, which delivers just what it states: a driver to ferry you around as you work on your tablet, drop you off at the airport and return the car home, or run out to the Safeway for sprouts. (Read More…)

By on September 8, 2016

dealership

The r/askcarsales subreddit is a great source of information about car buying and the inner workings of dealerships. Flaired users are verified to be actual salespeople, which makes for highly qualified car buying advice. They’ve helped a great number of people save money and help calm the adversarial nature of the buyer-seller relationship.

Buying a car is a big decision. We all like to think that we are unique in the choices we make and how we go about negotiating a sale, but buyer stereotypes do exist. When one subreddit user posted a question about typical buyers for each brand, many of the salespeople jumped in to offer their opinion on the type of buyer that shops each brand. Some of the opinions might cross into racial profiling territory, but many are just hard truths about the customer base each brand has built up.

(Read More…)

By on September 7, 2016

2017 Cadillac XT5

A dealer association in California is the latest group to go after Cadillac, demanding the automaker make changes to its controversial “Project Pinnacle” sales incentive program.

The California New Car Dealers Association, acting at the request of 52 dealers in that state, has sent a letter to General Motors CEO Mary Barra in a bid to delay (and alter) the project, Automotive News reports. (Read More…)

By on June 29, 2016

TDI Settlement Program Executive Message to Dealers Cover

Volkswagen is making sure everyone is getting the right message today, and that includes its American dealers.

Thanks to a tipster, TTAC has obtained a video sent by Volkswagen of America executive to its dealers.

(Read More…)

By on June 6, 2016

2015-escalade-exterior-masthead-family-960x540

It’s D-Day, so what better time to dish details on Cadillac’s secretive Project Pinnacle?

The luxury automaker plans to completely revamp how its dealers interact with customers — a strategy that even changes how its salespeople dress, according to a draft document obtained by Automotive News.

Under Project Pinnacle — the brainchild of brand president Johan de Nysschen — U.S. dealers will be grouped into five tiers based on expected sales. When the operation kicks off on October 1, car shoppers can expect a higher-end experience at their local Caddy dealership. Get ready to be coddled. (Read More…)

By on June 2, 2016

2016 Toyota RAV4

If you want the best chances of being treated right as a new car buyer, head over to a Toyota or Mercedes-Benz dealer, a new report says.

Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm, ranked 294 companies, including 20 auto dealers, based on satisfaction surveys from 10,000 Americans. While Toyota took the top spot with a 66 percent rating, the report holds bad news for many automakers, and the industry as a whole. (Read More…)

By on May 26, 2016

Volkswagen letter

Pity poor Volkswagen. It’s constantly accused of doing the wrong thing in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal.

But guess what? There’s reason for it, and here’s yet another example.

TTAC reader Rudy Lukez has waited months to find out what Volkswagen plans to do with his 2014 Jetta Sportwagen TDI. So, when a package from the company showed up in his Highlands Ranch, Colorado mailbox this morning, the repeat Volkswagen owner figured his questions were about to be answered. (Read More…)

By on May 14, 2016

2016 Buick Enclave

General Motors is in damage control mode following the discovery of incorrect fuel economy ratings on the window stickers of its 2016 full-size crossovers.

A “stop sale” order was issued to GM dealers on Wednesday after EPA labels on GMC Acadia, Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave vehicles were shown to overstate mileage by one to two miles per gallon, Automotive News reports. (Read More…)

By on May 11, 2016

Tesla Model 3 Unveil, Image: Tesla Motors

At the Tesla Model 3’s glitzy unveiling, everyone knew the model was a half-baked cake. Now, company founder Elon Musk admits the much-hyped electric sedan still isn’t out of the oven.

Musk said in a recent conference call that the design of the $35,000 Model 3 EV still isn’t finalized, according to Reuters, and the company plans a spending spree to get the model into production on time. (Read More…)

By on March 10, 2016

Honda FCX Clarity At Shell Hydrogen Fuel Pump

The world needs to be saved, but who wants to spend more money doing it?

That, cash lands on Takata-plagued dealers, Tesla takes to the track, BMW wants you in and out fast, and Volkswagen dreams of slaying the Prius … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on April 30, 2014

2013-Chevy-Traverse-Low-Angle

Automotive News reports General Motors, already being hammered from all sides from its delayed recall of 2.59 million vehicles affected by a defect in the ignition switch, issued a customer-satisfaction campaign in mid-March of this year for 1.2 million crossovers whose airbags may fail to deploy in a side-impact crash, an issue known to the automaker since 2008. Once the National Highway Traffic Safety learned of the decision, however, GM did an about-face and upgraded the campaign to a full recall. In addition, its Executive Field Action Decision Committee considered a full recall as early as November 2010, opting to issue service bulletins four times between then and 2012 instead, which spokesman Alan Adler claims satisfied the issue thoroughly without the need for increased action.

(Read More…)

By on April 9, 2014

ChevyDealership03.jpg

Automotive News reports the repairs of some 2.6 million vehicles affected by the 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall will be delayed by one week as the needed part slowly enters into the automaker’s dealership network. Though most dealers thought they would be receiving the part Monday, GM spokesman Kevin Kelly insisted the part was set to arrive sometime during “the week of April 7”:

We plan to send letters this week informing affected customers that parts are arriving at dealerships and to schedule a service appointment with their dealer. Repairs are likely to begin to follow soon after the customer letter mailing.

Until then, dealerships may face service backlogs, especially with affected vehicles already on the lot that cannot be sold until they are repaired, which can only happen once customer vehicles go through the 30-minute swap. On the other hand, while dealers have noticed some frustration from their customers, the majority of their base was found to be patient with the status of the repair plan.

(Read More…)

By on December 1, 2011

In the comments section of yesterday’s post on the ongoing Chevy Volt fire investigation, I noted that GM might

retrofit Volts with crash protection that can maintain battery integrity in all crash conditions… Mary Barra has said that GM is

“continuing to work with NHTSA to investigate additional actions to reduce or eliminate the potential of a post-crash electrical fire.”

I think some kind of update on the battery integrity front is inevitable, but we shall see…

Sure enough, today Reuters is running an interview with GM CEO Dan Akerson, who says that European deliveries of Opel-branded Volts (called Ampera) would be delayed pending NHTSA’s investigation, and that maybe, just possibly, the Volt’s battery might have to be redesigned. Says Akerson:

We want to assure the safety of our customers, of our buyers, and so we’re just going to take a time out, if you will, in terms of redesigning the battery possibly

Unfortunately, Akerson’s mangled syntax makes it tough to know if GM is really going to redesign the Volt’s battery, or what the “time out” in question means. He does tell the AP [via The WSJ [sub]] that a recall or buyback are options as well. Though redesigning the Volt’s battery could be expensive and devastating for sales, GM’s current post-crash safety protocol is incredibly human resources-intensive, and likely very costly as well. And the fact that GM is even considering redesigning the Volt for safety a year after its release is going to create a huge sales and marketing challenge anyway. Volt production edged down by 199 units in November, and now GM’s sales boss Don Johnson tells the Detroit News that the Volt will miss its 10,000 unit 2011 sales goal. At this point, GM may just want to take a mulligan on the Volt’s first year, redesign the battery, and relaunch the thing.

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