Dutch Steps Up

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
dutch steps up

This august publication has proven more than willing in the past to criticize Dutch Mandel’s writing. The Autoweek editor-in-chief has long been not so much a journalist as a junketeer and upscale-meal-consumer of the first rank, dispensing harsh words without fear unless the potential target for those words is an automobile manufacturer of some type.

It would appear, however, that Mr. Mandel is finally ready to take a carmaker to the woodshed over customer service and product reliability.

Porsche IMS and RMS failures have long been a painfully taboo subject in the car-magazine world. Although the Porsche owners’ groups have long discussed the issue, any attempt to bring it forward to a public discussion in general-interest “books” usually runs up against a fairly sturdy wall of Porsche PR goodwill. Although there was eventually a class-action settlement, Porsche managed to delay it to the point that very few affected owners will ever see a dime.

Which is where Dutch comes in. In a bold new editorial entitled Porsche whiffs on customer care, Mr. Mandel does not spare the rod:

From 2001 to 2005, Porsche sold 39,633 Boxsters and a whopping 51,375 Porsche 911 models (including rarer and unattached-to-this-suit GT2s, GT3s and Turbos). The point is, a lot of cars could be affected—and the cost to fix them could be high—but the cost to Porsche’s rep could be far, far dearer.

The heart of the matter is the heart of what matters: If you can’t trust Porsche to build bullet-proof engines and stand by their products, what can you do?

You bet Schoelzel has a bad taste in his mouth. The company he loved—the brand that showed the world he made it, a company to which over years he gladly, willingly wrote large checks—jettisoned and betrayed him. Schoelzel, a fellow dad whom I met at my son’s fraternity house a few years back, won’t buy another Porsche. That pains him. He figures he had another two or three cars in his future, as he’s been on a 10-year buying-and-owning cycle. Now, he openly believes that, yes, Porsche, there is a substitute.

Who can blame him?

Because it’s Dutch, there has to be a little bit in there about having rich friends and a kid in a fraternity, the same way I’m not going to let a sports-car test happen without putting some single mom or depraved adventuress in the passenger seat. But the man’s point is valid, and it’s being broadcast from one of the largest bully pulpits in American auto writing.

Had Autoweek done this ten years ago, when people started experiencing the failures, it would have saved a lot of people a lot of money and hassle — and probably sold a few extra Corvettes to boot. When I bought my Boxster more than eight years ago, I had no idea the failures were occurring, but a lot of people in the magazine business already knew. Their failure to share that information cost me money; a Boxster that cost $62,000 in 2004 is now worth $20K or less and has been for a while. But when it comes to finding your courage to speak up, now always beats never.

A few more articles like this, and I’ll subscribe to AW again, no matter how many “Gift Guides” I have to read between their pages.

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2 of 86 comments
  • Vettelife88 Vettelife88 on Mar 11, 2014

    Damn......glad I bought a Vette instead!

  • Ewest112 Ewest112 on May 22, 2015

    So what did Schoelzel end up doing after he was a few days out of the 10 year window? I wonder if Arnoldo knows?? My 2004 carrera just shit the bed at 40k miles (bought it with 25k) and was quoted 35k for a rebuild from one place and 11k from another when I was really getting a hardon for an affordable 360 Modena and would prefer to forget about my unfortunate experience with the 911.... I haven't tried to work over the dealer that sold it to me yet.... Results to follow if anyone is interested still (I'm aware this post is from 2013 thanks)

  • Damon Thomas Adding to the POSITIVES... It's a pretty fun car to mod
  • GregLocock Two adjacent states in Australia have different attitudes to roadworthy inspections. In NSW they are annual. In Victoria they only occur at change of ownership. As you'd expect this leads to many people in Vic keeping their old car.So if the worrywarts are correct Victoria's roads would be full of beaten up cars and so have a high accident rate compared with NSW. Oh well, the stats don't agree.https://www.lhd.com.au/lhd-insights/australian-road-death-statistics/
  • Lorenzo In Massachusetts, they used to require an inspection every 6 months, checking your brake lights, turn signals, horn, and headlight alignment, for two bucks.Now I get an "inspection" every two years in California, and all they check is the smog. MAYBE they notice the tire tread, squeaky brakes, or steering when they drive it into the bay, but all they check is the smog equipment and tailpipe emissions.For all they would know, the headlights, horn, and turn signals might not work, and the car has a "speed wobble" at 45 mph. AFAIK, they don't even check EVs.
  • Not Tire shop mechanic tugging on my wheel after I complained of grinding noise didn’t catch that the ball joint was failing. Subsequently failed to prevent the catastrophic failure of the ball joint and separation of the steering knuckle from the car! I’ve never lived in a state that required annual inspection, but can’t say that having the requirement has any bearing on improving safety given my experience with mechanics…
  • Mike978 Wow 700 days even with the recent car shortages.