The Truth About Cars » Franchise http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:15:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Franchise http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: Double A (Beep! Beep!) Em, Cee, Oh… (Part II) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/piston-slap-double-a-beep-beep-em-cee-oh-part-ii/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/piston-slap-double-a-beep-beep-em-cee-oh-part-ii/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 12:06:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=855409 TTAC commentator M0L0TOV has an update for us: Hey Sajeev, I figured I’d send you an update so people would know what happened to my situation. Well, I went ahead and tried to contact AAMCO. First I tried contacting them via their website but almost a week had passed and no response. So I contact […]

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TTAC commentator M0L0TOV has an update for us:

Hey Sajeev,

I figured I’d send you an update so people would know what happened to my situation. Well, I went ahead and tried to contact AAMCO. First I tried contacting them via their website but almost a week had passed and no response. So I contact them via their Facebook page, the next day I got a response with a phone number, name, and e-mail address of somebody at corporate to contact. I sent them an e-mail, I got a call from the owner of the Aamco where I had originally taken my car within ten minutes.

He stated he was notified by the customer service department and we had a disagreement. He offered to not charge me for the labor and I would pay for the part. I was perfectly fine with paying for the part, I wasn’t looking for a free ride. I thought their offer was fair because it would have been replaced when the work was originally being done. I picked up my car today and paid $214.00 and I get a 90 day warranty. So yes, the system works. I appreciate everybody’s advice on this matter and I was able to force their hand.

Thanks for all your help Sajeev and the rest of the TTAC readers!

Sajeev answers:

Behold the power of social media.

BEHOLD IT RIGHT NOW!

Between what you experienced, my firsthand experiences (disclosure: social media is my full time gig) and “little” things like the Arab Spring or whatever makes people love Justin Bieber, there’s no doubt social media is a powerful tool for customer service.  Or a service for powerful tools…but I digress.

The system works, with pleases me immensely.  So kudos to AAMCO for doing the right thing, once they heard about it.  And doing it rather quickly: it’s rare ’round these Piston Slap bloggy parts when a company interacts with one of us and does the right thing. So let’s relish this moment of (seemingly) good karma.

Happy Monday to you, Dear Reader.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

 

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Piston Slap: Double A (Beep! Beep!) Em, Cee, Oh… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/piston-slap-double-a-beep-beep-em-cee-oh/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/piston-slap-double-a-beep-beep-em-cee-oh/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 12:37:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=840217 TTAC commentator M0L0TOV writes: Greetings All-Knowing Sajeev, I am looking for some insight on an ongoing issue with my workhorse. I have a 2003 Ford Focus ZX-5 with 160,000 miles. A little bit over a year ago, I had Aamco rebuild the automatic transmission on my car for the tune of $2500. Apparently, my car […]

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TTAC commentator M0L0TOV writes:

Greetings All-Knowing Sajeev,

I am looking for some insight on an ongoing issue with my workhorse. I have a 2003 Ford Focus ZX-5 with 160,000 miles. A little bit over a year ago, I had Aamco rebuild the automatic transmission on my car for the tune of $2500. Apparently, my car seems to have an appetite for transmissions, I’m on #4 now (original, warranty, junkyard, Aamco).

Lately, I noticed my car was leaving large puddles of fluid on the driveway, I checked underneath it, and saw fluid was accumulating around the transmission pan. I took my vehicle to my mechanic and he showed me what had happened. It looks like whoever worked on the transmission last (Aamco) had attempted to seal a crack in the transmission housing with silicone. From my understanding, silicone will not stand up very well to the heat and corrosive properties of ATF.

I passed by Aamco and they inspected my car, they acknowledged they had attempted a repair during the install. The owner of this Aamco franchise advised me that I would need a new transmission case and with parts and installation would cost me over $800.00. I’m a bit pissed because if they knew it was cracked, while the transmission was out, this part could have been replaced, now I have to go through a similar procedure to get this done again.

I really don’t feel like spending $800.00+ to get this done considering the age and wear on the vehicle. Should I:

  1. Try one of those additives that claims to fix leaks.
  2. Drain the transmission, clean the area, add JB Weld, and hope for the best.
  3. Have the crack welded.
  4. Try to find somebody else to do the job cheaper.
  5. Listened to my father and avoided Aamco.

I’m mechanically inclined but my skills are not advanced nor do I have the space and room to do this job myself. Besides the transmission issues, the car hasn’t given me any issues, the engine runs strong. I do have a little bit of sentimental value for the car since it was my first “new” car I ever got. I do I.T. work which requires a lot of driving and the car gets decent mileage.

P.S. Driving my Dodge Magnum R/T is not an option since it would eat me out of house and home gas wise.

Sajeev Answers:

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of problems with an AAMCO transmission franchise.  Or, heck, any franchised service shop.  Even worse, this is the second time I heard about a rebuilder cracking a transmission case.

What is the right move? Franchise owner eats the bill and hopes you remain a happy customer. If this only happens via running it up the AAMCO channel, so be it.  Hit up their Twitter or Facebook accounts and ask the store owner for his regional manager.   If it’s not too late, go do that.

If AAMCO doesn’t care, well, you are SOL.   There are plenty of reputable rebuilders that dropship refreshed unit to a recommended installer, complete with a good warranty. I’ve heard good things about Jasper and the B&B previously agreed.  Or get one from the junkyard and hope for the best, again. I’ve personally had a great Ford AOD rebuilt from a franchise shop, but I interviewed them, inspected their shop and asked them detailed questions about their AOD-skills. They passed the test and that made me happy.

Since you do like the car, I suggest getting a quality rebuild.  And if there’s a local shop with a good reputation and extensive knowledge of Ford specific transmission issues, give it another shot. Because the aftermarket usually fixes all the weak spots in transmissions, combine that with an aftermarket ATF cooler and you’ll be set for many years to come.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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QOTD: Doing Without Dealers, Part II http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/qotd-doing-without-dealers-part-ii-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/qotd-doing-without-dealers-part-ii-2/#comments Tue, 22 Jan 2013 15:45:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=474773 Last week, a Massachusetts judge sided with Tesla regarding factory-owned stores, in a suit brought by Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association and an assortment of dealers. Barring an appeal, the ruling essentially clears the way for Tesla to operate their own outlets – some of which are in non-traditional venues like shopping malls – and offer an online […]

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Last week, a Massachusetts judge sided with Tesla regarding factory-owned stores, in a suit brought by Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association and an assortment of dealers. Barring an appeal, the ruling essentially clears the way for Tesla to operate their own outlets – some of which are in non-traditional venues like shopping malls – and offer an online reservation system for vehicles.

The ruling brings into question the very nature of the independent dealer model, the laws that currently protect it, and its sustainability. OEMs have experimented with venues that merely act as showrooms, rather than ones that sell cars, as well as outlets that blur the line between an “experience center” and a factory store – the most recent example being the Chrysler pseudo-factory “Motor Village” in California.

Tesla, for one, uses the online ordering system to skirt the dealer franchise laws in various states, since they are not technically selling cars there. But that didn’t stop dealer groups from suing them anyways. Robert O’Koniewski, the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association Executive Vice-President, claimed that the group did have standing to sue Tesla, because

“If you read the statute, it’s pretty clear: A factory cannot own a store, and a dealer can sue for injunctive relief if they feel the public is being harmed.”

Now, we’re faced with a few questions

1) What constitutes a “factory owned store”, and did Tesla knowingly operate in a manner not consistent with the definition of a “factory  owned store”?

2) Was the public being harmed?

3) What impact will this have on OEMs and their decision to operate outside of the traditional dealer network?

I will leave numbers 1 and 3 up to you, the B&B, because I am not well versed in the intricacies of U.S. franchise law, and many of you have real-world experience at the dealer level. As for number 2, I’d say “probably not”. But O’Koniewski does seem to think that the dealers are being harmed, and sounds rather desperate when discussing the matter just a few months earlier.

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Chrysler In Breach Of Arbitration Law Already, Allege Dealers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/chrysler-in-breach-of-arbitration-law-already-allege-dealers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/chrysler-in-breach-of-arbitration-law-already-allege-dealers/#comments Mon, 18 Jan 2010 15:11:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=342115 Even with a government-mandated arbitration process in place, the battle between Chrysler and its 789 culled dealers is a low-down, dirty dogfight. Last week, Chrysler sent out letters to all of its rejected dealers, in its attempt to comply with the arbitration law’s disclosure requirements. But, dealers tell Automotive News [sub], those letters are justifications, […]

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Even with a government-mandated arbitration process in place, the battle between Chrysler and its 789 culled dealers is a low-down, dirty dogfight. Last week, Chrysler sent out letters to all of its rejected dealers, in its attempt to comply with the arbitration law’s disclosure requirements. But, dealers tell Automotive News [sub], those letters are justifications, but not explanations. Absent concrete evidence for why their franchises were closed (something GM has provided to its culled dealers), lawyers for some 65 rejected dealers are fighting back.

AN [sub] reportedly got its hands on several of the rejection letters, and describes them thusly:

Each Chrysler mailing consists of a four-page form letter that lists criteria used to reject dealerships as a whole, as well as a personal scorecard of how the individual dealership performed in a variety of categories… The form letter lists 22 criteria, including sales volume, market share, customer service and working capital. The scorecard has 13 factors, including minimum sales responsibility, customer satisfaction index and sales satisfaction index.

Crucially, however, “the Chrysler scorecard doesn’t say which score was considered deficient by Chrysler, nor does it say which categories were used to decide that a dealership should be closed.” This issue has dogged Chrysler’s dealer cull since day one, with rejected dealers arguing that testimony from Chrysler’s bankruptcy like the clip above prove that the dealer cull was arbitrary and not performance-based.

Now that the arbitration process is in place, backed by the force of congressional mandate, culled dealers finally have some recourse… as long as federal arbitrators go where the bankruptcy court wouldn’t and make a definitive ruling on Chrysler’s cull process. The new law requires OEMs to provide culled dealers with, “the specific criteria pursuant to which such dealer was terminated, was not renewed or was not assumed and assigned to a covered manufacturer.”

Dealer lawyers tell AN[sub] “we’re going to make an issue of this early on and explain that they’re not in compliance with the law. There are consequences to that. We’ll have to ask the arbitrators to decide what the consequences are.”

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