By on May 14, 2008

x08ca_ct175_01.jpgConventional wisdom says never buy a car the first year it's on the market, whether it's a brand new model or a redesign of an existing one. TrueDelta's latest quarterly results say… it depends from whence cometh the car. The 2008 Honda Accord, Nissan Rogue and Mercedes C-Class, for example, all boast a better than average repair rate. On the other hand, GM. Last year, the GMC Acadia and Saturn's Aura and Outlook showed higher than normal repair rates. So far this model year, they're lower than average rates. The cycle is repeating for the 2008 Cadillac CTS (2.5 times the average repair rate) and Saturn Vue (1.5 times the average). TrueDelta developer Michael Karesh sums it up thus: "For GM, rough launches appear to be the rule rather than the exception." So the next time GM CEO Rick Wagoner and Co. feel like mouthing-off about the "perception gap" supposed afflicting their narrow-minded non-customers, they should visit TrueDelta (and/or TTAC) for some cold, hard truth. if we don't say so ourself. Which we do. 

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16 Comments on “TrueDelta: GM Still Beta Testing With Early Adopters...”


  • avatar
    jaje

    Here’s a Joke: How can you tell when Rick Wagoneer or Bob Lutz is lying? Their lips are moving.

    The Big 2.8 have been saying this for the past 20 years. Ya know perception gap, currency rates, etc. It’s always someone else’ fault never their own. In fact I don’t recall the last time GM, Ford or Chrysler (and Toyota for that matter – ahem engine sludge) ever apologized for a mistake. With the exception of Toyota has the Big 2.8 ever extended a warranty over a problematic concern such as transmissions, rust, etc.? Any recalls on cars > 100k miles?

    You build trust by building cars that are great and stand the test of time no matter what model year. You stand behind them if they break (no one is perfect and can make a car that doesn’t break ever). Seems on Ford Cougars (the new Cougar that was supposed to defeat all fwd perfomance coupes) the transmission was almost a routine maintenance replacement item – as the 4 people I knew each had at least 2 new transmissions installed. Only one person was lucky enough to have it fail under warranty and have the dealer honor it.

  • avatar
    Steve_K

    VUE, indeed. Our 2008 VUE is our first new car ever (and probably the last), which we acquired last October. I let is slide b/c the drivetrain has been around already. The New Model Issues include exterior plastic-chrome which lasted about 3 winter months. Also the radio was replaced due to a CD player issue; puzzling since this radio is not unique, it’s the current corporate unit. Unsurprisingly a trim piece was broken during the replacement of said radio. The Saturn dealer quickly and courteously remedied every issue.

    Otherwise the VUE is brilliant.

  • avatar

    Oh man, my parents bought a Kia Sedona in it’s first year of production, what an awful decision. The only thing that carried them through was the 100k mile warranty, they just sold that pig. What did they replace it with? Why, a 2008 Ford Focus, the first model year of a big redesign (sheetmetal and interior only, but still…) Sigh, nobody listens to me.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    The irony with GM and the rest of the domestics is taht considering the fact that they do have much higher production cost they continue to attempt to be the price leaders in most categories.

    So if it cost Honda less to make an Accord than GM to make a Malibu and the Malibu sells for less than an Accord there MUST be some serious hidden cost cutting/saving going on at GM to get the Malibu to market at the price it list for.

    Now, I do happen to be somewhat old fashion in my belief that you do not get something for nothing.
    That is why I would put my money on the Accord. From my experience, feature rich cars (300M, Galants, older Hyundais, etc) sold at lower prices are generally POSes. On paper they look good in the real world they are crap once you take a really good look and live with them for a little bit of time.

  • avatar

    whatdoiknow1:

    The irony with GM and the rest of the domestics is taht considering the fact that they do have much higher production cost they continue to attempt to be the price leaders in most categories.

    And there you have it: a high cost producer attempting to compete with low cost competitors on price. It’s a broke model and Detroit ain’t fixing it.

  • avatar
    menno

    Interesting how things change. Fifty years ago, Studebaker was the lower volume therefore high cost and GM was the high volume low cost car maker, and Studebaker simply could not compete. They had to lighten up the frames on their cars to take metal out, didn’t forge ahead with rustproofing (as American Motors did), they used smaller brakes and cheaper interiors (sound familiar, Chrysler?) and bought off-the-shelf automatic transmissions instead of using and updating their own automatic transmission design (which had been contract-built and engineered in collaboration with Detroit Gear).

    Studebaker died in 1966. GM didn’t even notice.

  • avatar
    dastanley

    The bean counters have probably done a cost-benefit analysis and concluded that development costs exceed warranty claim costs. So what if a few thousand customers get hosed every year on new first model year vehicles. Cheaper to fix our shit than to withhold a new Caddy or whatever for another year to iron out the problems.

  • avatar
    gawdodirt

    It MUST be true, it’s on the Internet!!!

    Too funny.

    The “option laden (feature rich), POS’s” aren’t always like that. The Lexus LS400 was option laden and very cheap at launch, too cheap to make any money. But they kept at it and waited to get some notoriety. THEN, they jacked the price.

  • avatar
    Wulv

    Every time someone brings up a Gen 1 problem, I always think about my Wife’s parents buying a Hyundai Stellar withing the first month of being available in Canada.

  • avatar

    Thanks for posting this, guys.

    I was hoping to report strong initial reliability for the CTS–my father bought one–but the results is the results. Few of the problems render the car undriveable–wind noise, vibrations, trim–but the same can be said for most early problems.

    There might be one exception for GM. I didn’t have enough responses for the new Malibu to even post a result with an asterisk. But the data I do have suggest that it probably has a relatively low repair rate.

  • avatar
    lprocter1982

    jaje:

    “Any recalls on cars > 100k miles?”

    Yeah, Ford recalled a whackload of vehicles, including my Dad’s 97 Crown Vic (230,000km) for the cruise control recall. So it does happen.

    Of course, they shouldn’t be this many recalls, and it’s indicative of how the Not-So-Big-Anymore 3 do business – they prefer to build the cars fast and cheap, then fix them later, whereas everyone else (except the luxury brands) prefers to build them right, then not have to fix them at all (ideally.)

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    We currently have 2004 and 2007 Japan-manufactured cars. The 2004 has had two minor issues and the 2007 none.

    Our previous Detroit-3 car started bad and got worse, really really worse. Patience and warranty exhausted we dumped it, and took a bath on the resale value. Never again!

  • avatar

    They build a garbage car and are surprised nobody wants to buy it.

    They can run all the propaganda they want, but the fact of the matter is that car buyers talk to other people who buy cars and get their experiences. While not all consumers are smart, most people aren’t stupid either.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Steve_K :
    May 14th, 2008 at 8:16 am

    VUE, indeed. Our 2008 VUE is our first new car ever (and probably the last), which we acquired last October. I let is slide b/c the drivetrain has been around already. The New Model Issues include exterior plastic-chrome which lasted about 3 winter months. Also the radio was replaced due to a CD player issue; puzzling since this radio is not unique, it’s the current corporate unit. Unsurprisingly a trim piece was broken during the replacement of said radio. The Saturn dealer quickly and courteously remedied every issue.

    Otherwise the VUE is brilliant.

    I bought a VUE the first year they came out. Many small problems initially, culminating in a clutch master cylinder failing while on vacation. I ended up trading it in (tried selling it but nobody would touch it) on a Mazda6s and have been happy ever since. After having the Mazda for 3.5 years of ownership, I plan on keeping it for at least another six years; I was only to happy to get rid of the Vue after 2.5 years of ownership.

    P.S. I drove buy the Mazda Dealer approximately six weeks after trading in my Vue, and it was still sitting on the lot. I felt a little bad for them.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Wow, this sure brings memories of Phil Ressler’s November 2007 Editorial defending the Big Three to mind.

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/in-defense-of-american-automakers/

    “I drove buy the Mazda Dealer approximately six weeks after trading in my Vue, and it was still sitting on the lot. I felt a little bad for them.”

    The Oldsmobile I traded in on my TSX sat on the dealer’s lot for a long, long time. I wonder if they eventually wholesaled it off to some Buy Here, Pay Here lot. My good vehicles I sell to friends (twice) or give to a family member (once). But the Oldsmobile was something I really wanted to wash my hands of.

  • avatar
    offroadinfrontier

    I wish manufacturers who built good reps would hold them, though.

    Old Nissans tend to be bulletproof – over 200K miles on a well-maintained engine is very easy to come by around here. Maybe some interior squeaks/rattles (and apparently rust up north on some?), but still running strong after 10, 20 years. My last alternator lasted 15 years. 22 years on the OEM clutch, still kicking.

    I bought a new Frontier 2 years ago, and man… things have gone downhill for sure.

    Personally, I’ll take a car with a economy-looking interior as long as it lasts over the fancy-looking rattle/squeak/scratch prone crap available at any dealer around here (yes, ALL). Give me a decently-powered engine with a strong transmission and I’m fine. Who really needs the horsepower available in some of the cars nowadays? Trucks with V6 engines and over 260HP but no low-end grunt (who the hell is going to pull 6500 lbs when the engine is in the upper 5’s going 60?? I don’t care how great the engine is, it isn’t going to last very long under real truck conditions). Family sedans with 0-60 times on par with last-generation sports cars, but seats and interiors that break in your hand. A car with a navigation system available but no ABS to be seen.

    And honestly, how heavy do cars really need to be?

    Here’s for wishing, though…

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