By on March 21, 2017

tesla model x

Despite garnering below-average reliability ratings, Tesla is probably the one car brand with the most fervent disciples. While not all Tesla fans are blindly loyal, most are willing to cut the company much more slack than you would Ford the next time your Focus’ bum transmission acts up. Granted, Tesla’s automobiles do possess elements that most Fords do not — namely prestige and a highly unique driving experience.

An elegantly fashionable car will, of course, be more easily forgiven for its missteps than some plain-Jane model. However, the Model S and X have suffered more than just the occasional mechanical error. The Model X is infamous for its malfunctioning electronic doors and wonky electronic interface, while the Model S has suffered from quality control issues since day one. Still, every time an owner voices a concern about reliability or the company’s lackluster ability to service its vehicles, their complaint usually comes with an addendum specifying that they still adore their purchase.  (Read More…)

By on December 3, 2015

cheapcheaprio

Consumer Reports recently came out with a study that featured the seven least satisfying new cars in today’s market. The worst? By a margin worthy of “Independence Day” going up against “Pluto Nash,” it was the current generation Kia Rio. Only 40 percent of current owners would recommend buying a new one.

The usual demerits for a compact such as the Kia Rio would be that it is tinny, cheap, loud and had interior accompaniments that would be worthy of a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe. In other words, it’s a Korean version of the Mitsubishi Mirage with substantially more power in exchange for far less usable interior space and an ugly beak. That may just be my personal opinion.

But there’s a far guiltier crime of irrefutable measure that the Kia Rio is known for at the auto auctions, and Consumer Reports managed to hit the exact bullseye of that bullseye.

(Read More…)

By on July 15, 2015

Tesla Store

We have opined in these pages before about how for every Tesla sold in America, there are two or three glowing stories written about the electric automaker. There are days when over 50 percent of the pieces on auto industry news feeds are about Tesla, which is not bad for a company capturing 0.1 percent of the U.S. automobile market. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is truly a marketing and public relations genius.

Given that, it is fascinating when a negative story surfaces about Tesla’s way of doing business and the slobbering media is strangely silent.  (Read More…)

By on November 18, 2014

2005-Honda-Accord-Sedan-Image-01-1024

Worried that the airbag in your Honda may shred your face instead of saving it? Complain loud enough, and the automaker will replace the unit in question.

(Read More…)

By on November 22, 2013

impala2

At what point are you willing to accept a low-ball offer for your old beater?

Is it when the tranny blows out? Or does it eventually come through the scourge of rust, and the constant breaking of electric doo-dads that no longer work all through your doo-dah-day?

Some folks simply get bored of their ride. While others just try to drive their cars until their bodies become the rolling representation of swiss cheese.

Everyone has a reason to curb a car. Thanks to the efforts of Nick Lariviere (<— Click the link!), and the cooperation of an automotive conglomerate with more money than some state governments, I now have 257,020 purely anecdotal examples of this type of personal decision making.

I now need to figure out one simple thing.

What does all this data tell me?

(Read More…)

By on December 17, 2012

Porsche salesfolk in Germany may have to go to school again. On the curriculum: Manners. Getting up while greeting a customer may not be a bad idea. Porsche sales in Germany grew 17 percent from January through October. In November, sales were up only 0.1 percent compared to the prior month. Immediately, alarm bells rang at Porsches new owner Volkswagen, says Der Spiegel. (Read More…)

By on August 13, 2012

Channel stuffing is taking its toll on China. Customers fight back against “increased sales pressure and an insufficient supply of experienced staff, driven by a disconnect between the dealership network expansion and the market slowdown, “ and punish car manufacturers where it hurts second most: On the J.D.Power Sales Satisfaction Survey. The survey, published today, notices “a notable deterioration in overall sales satisfaction among new-vehicle owners in China.” (Read More…)

By on August 28, 2011

When an American wants to attract attention to his car & dealer woes, the tech-savvy slighted customer sets up a [name_of_dealer]sucksrealbad.com, and protests from the privacy of his webserver. The traditional types take up position in front of said sales outlet with some placards.

In China, the preferred mode of protest is by farm animal. A Chinese man called bull on his car and dealer. (Read More…)

By on August 15, 2011

 

According to (some) conventional wisdom, Chinese cars are made from toxic drywall and are covered with lead paint. A more benign characterization of a Chinese car is “POS” – which is not meant as “point of sale.”

J.D. Power, the global go-to for all matters of customer satisfaction, begs to differ. Chinese have never been happier with their new car, says J.D. Power in a press release titled “New-Vehicle Sales Satisfaction in China Reaches an Historic High in 2011.”

Who are the cars that make Chinese so giddy? If you like American brands, don’t hit the jump. Wait – we found another study that has some red, white and blue. Jump with confidence …

(Read More…)

By on July 12, 2011

Can one dramatically increase customer satisfaction ion the course of three weeks? Yes, you can! How? Simple: Just get a different survey.

Three weeks ago, acid reflux, shouting matches and massive finger pointing were rampant at car companies like Volkswagen and Ford. On J.D.Power’s Initial Quality Study (IQS), Ford had landed (with a thud) on rank 23, and Volkswagen crashed to #29, outdone in measured mediocrity only by Mitsubishi, Suzuki, and Dodge.

Now, all is fine again. (Read More…)

By on November 9, 2010

Dealerships are a pain in the neck. The salesman tries to convince you that they’re your friend (when you know damn well they want as much money as they can squeeze out of you), getting warranty work out of them is sometimes a nightmare and, if you’re buying used, you don’t know what the car has been through. You can write a letter of complaint, but will that really help*? You may get a discounted service as compensation, but will anything REALLY change? Well, BMW wants to shake the dealership experience up a bit. In the customers’ favor. (Read More…)

By on April 19, 2010

No, the boys of the blue oval didn’t win any new J.D. Power kudos (yet.)

But the relatively obscure RDA Group of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. says Ford has the highest customer satisfaction among all major automakers. This according to Ford’s latest press release. Eighty-four percent of customers who purchased a 2010 model-year Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars and trucks are satisfied with the quality of their vehicle, says the study. (Read More…)

By on February 1, 2010

In case you are reading TTAC before watching the “Today Show,” turn it on. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Jim Lentz, the executive in charge of Toyota’s U.S. sales arm, is scheduled to appear on NBC’s “Today Show” Monday morning, a Toyota spokesman confirmed. Mr. Lentz is expected to lay out a timetable for shipping repair parts to dealers, as well as for resuming sales of the eight models whose sales were suspended last week and for restarting production and shipment of new vehicles that are free of the gas-pedal problems, according to people briefed on the plans.”

And here is today’s media schedule according to the Nikkei [sub]: (Read More…)

By on January 31, 2010

The Obama administration either decided that Toyota has been sufficiently maimed and weakened to give its wards of the state some breathing room (a theory rising in popularity amongst some conspiracy buffs), or Toyota has definitely found the definitive cure for UAS (unintended acceleration syndrome). Be it as it may, the NHTSA has approved the shim fix, says Reuters. If the Wall Street Journal got it right, recalled Toyotas may also get a re-flash, and a feature amiss in most American cars. (Read More…)

By on January 28, 2010


Here is a round-up of the Toyota news that is flowing furiously out of all news outlets. Everybody, from the Wall Street Journal to Al Jazeera weighs in on the issue. Grab a cup of coffee. Or something stronger.

More recalls: Toyota announced late Wednesday that it must recall another 1.1 million vehicles “to address the risk that floor mats could trap accelerator pedals and cause bursts of sudden acceleration,” says Reuters. According to Reuters, “Toyota now has recalled nearly 6m vehicles for problems with the accelerators used across its lineup.” This is not counting the 2m vehicles in Europe that will be recalled.

EU recall official: Toyota Motor said today that it definitely will be expanding the recall to Europe, says AFP via Google. “Toyota will implement a recall in Europe,” said company spokesman Paul Nolasco. “We are still not sure about the models and the number of vehicles.” Initial estimates, published by The Nikkei [sub], spoke about another 2m cars in Europe. Plants will not be closed in Europe, because different parts already are being used in new production.

Recall spreads to China: China’s quality watchdog agency said “bu hao” to Toyota and ordered  the  recall of at least 75,000 vehicles  in China,” says London’s Times. (Read More…)

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