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Shame on G.M , no wonder theyre in trouble


Dans 77 Limited
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People keep wondering why G.M. cant turn the tide so to speak. You hear lots of reasons, bland styling , cars all look the same etc etc etc. Maybe it has more to do with building poor quality products and then compounding the problem with poor customer service. I know Ive bought my last new one , so has my father who has bought G.M. exclusively for at least the last 50 years.

In september of 2004 my wife bought her 1st brand new car. A 2004 Chevy Malibu Maxx. A very practical car with surprising performance and "interesting"(Read ugly !) styling. My wife doesnt drive much , she works from home, our son rides a bus to school, basically the car is an errand runner & grocery getter. It currently has 7100 miles ....yes 7100 not 71000. I took her car to work on Monday and could not believe what poor mechanical shape this car was in. The steering clunked when you turned the wheel, the left headlight "jumped" all over the place it was like trying to drive behind a strobe light. And scariest of all when you stepped on the brake the pedal went to the floor and you could hear grinding coming from the rear wheels. It acted & felt like a car with 71000 miles on it that had recieved no maintenance in that time. So I took it to the dealer Monday night and gave them the list of problems, they called yesterday and told me they had replaced the light, that was the best news in the whole conversation. They heard the thunk in the steering, but DIDNT KNOW HOW TO FIX IT, so theyre not fixing it. WHAT?????????? How can this possibly be ? the people that built the car dont know how to fix it so oh well too bad ?, WTF.

Then they got to the brakes. It needs a master cylinder after the 7100 grueling miles weve put on it riding to kids events & grocery shopping mad.gif, however they dont have a master cylinder in stock so now the car sits waiting on the part to come in. Also the grinding is coming from severely rusted and pitted brake rotors flaking apart & getting trapped in between the pads & the rotors so G.M. in their great generosity is cutting the rotors and putting the car back together for me . Yes they are cutting the rotors and reinstalling the original brake pads that were placed on the car on the assembly line. shocked.gif The car doesnt need brakes but it needs the rotors cut???? how the hell does that happen. G.M. refuses to replace the rotors even tho the car is under 10,000 miles and is still wearing its original brake pads , that by the way arent even worn half way yet. Is it me or is there something wrong with this ?THEY put defective rotors on the damned car and expect ME to pay the cost of replacing them or ride around with rotors that have had part of their life expectancy removed because THEY used substandard parts.By the way this is G.M. policy and even the girl I spoke to at the zone office felt I was right but couldnt help me . Im outraged !! and unless G.M. comes up with a better plan before this car leaves the dealership they can kiss my soon to be driving Toyota butt goodbye!

Dan

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There are not many who are more "Pro GM" than I am. Over tha last 33 years, I have owned ONLY GM cars. I was just telling my brother, who drives only Hondas that my wife's 2000 Chevrolet Venture has been problem free, not one visit back to the dealer for repair in more than 5 years since new. So much for my string of good luck. The 3.4L V-6 has just been repaired with a new intake manifold gasket ($850.00 approx) Keep in mind that the mileage is ONLY 21000(Yes 21 thousand) It seems that GM has been installing defective gaskets for years and the problem has been widespread. RECALL...NEVER, just let the customer pay for it. I guess I am lucky that this is the worst I have experienced over the years. Granted, my the brother's Hondas have NOT been without problems with expenses out of his pocket. So much for the rant......I still absolutely love my new Buick.

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Guest imported_MrEarl

It sounds like GM is in a time warp. these scenarios were typical back in the 70's.

Although I must say, my 96 Silverado has 180,000 miles and never had a wrench on the engine or transmission. Changed brake pads a few times, turned the rotors once, original rear brake shoes still on it, Strong Vortec engine uses maybe a third of a quart oil in 5000 miles. Yes that's right 5000 miles is my oc frequency. I'd jump in it today and head to California pulling a Roadmonster and never give it a thought. So when did they start not GAD?

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I've read a couple comments about the intake manifold gasket issue and most folks know this has been an issue especially on the 3.1 / 3.4/ 3.8 for years. I worked at a Pontiac dealership and that was the bread and butter job for GM techs. Even under warranty, they could usually beat flat rate time.

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So, you have one bad experience with a GM car and you will never buy a GM car again. That doesn't make any sense. Every mechanical device is going to have problems sooner or later (even Toyotas...read up on Toyotas and oil sludge). I have a 2004 Malibu and haven't had a single problem with it with 32000 miles on it. My 2004 Malibu is the best car I have ever owned, GM or otherwise. I had a Honda Civic when I was in college...had to replace the muffler every year, the only thing I changed more than the muffler on that car was the oil. That car went away after the timing belt snapped and took out the engine...10000 miles after having the timing belt replaced (and I had that done at a Honda dealer). For your Malibu, I would take it to a different dealer, maybe you just had an incompetent service tech. Just my 2 cents.

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This is an outrage!!! The car is bad enough, but the dealer ought to be castrated for letting service people like that work there.

Here's a scary thought for ya...This country seems to be leading to two major industries... Research and development ( they are closing all the factories) and customer service ( this includes waiters/ waitresses, and all the other retail $5.00 per hour jobs that kids have to take today) and this is what they allow for customer service? And meanwhile the Pontiac technicians are just waiting for the next intake gasket job to come in so they can charge flat rate and beat the clock...

It is sad, sad, sad!!!

I'm mad as Heck ( sp ) and I'm not gonna take it anymore!!!!

Whew! Glad I got that off my back. Now where's the keys, I'm going to Friendly's for some expensive ice cream and snotty waitresses... grin.gif

JD

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">...(even Toyotas...read up on Toyotas and oil sludge)... </div></div>

The problem in many cases isn't with the 'problem' it is with how it is handled. Yep, Toyota has had sludge problems, and Toyota didn't step right up... until the size of the problem was recognized. Below is the text of the letter Toyota is sending to owners of the affected vehicles:

<span style="font-style: italic">"Dear Toyota Owner,

Our records indicate that you currently own or lease a <MY> Toyota <model>. At Toyota, customer satisfaction is our first priority and we want you to ha ve absolute confidence in your vehicle. A very small number of Toyota owners have reported engine damage from a condition known as oil gelling or sludge. Oil gelling can occur inside an engine if the oil isn?t changed often enough. The oil gets old and loses its lubricating abilities. Engines with oil gel damage will usually experience blue smoke from the tailpipe and/or excessive oil consumption. Regular oil changes at recommended intervals as outlined in your owner?s guide will avoid this condition and provide years of trouble free driving.

Toyota is confident of the reliability and durability of its engines. [color:\\"red\\"]To demonstrate this confidence, we are making a strong commitment to you, our customer. <span style="font-weight: bold">For eight years, unlimited mileage from the date of first sale or lease of your vehicle, we will cover the engine in your Toyota against oil gel related damage with a Customer Support Program.</span> This program will cover the costs of repairs and reasonable incidental expenses, such as the expense of a rental car, associated with oil gel related repairs.

All we ask is that you show a reasonable effort to regularly maintain your vehicle. Again, this program is a statement of the confidence we have in our products as well as a commitment we make to our customers. Even though the number of owners who have experienced or will experience oil welling is very low, we want all of our customers to have peace of mind and to know that we stand behind our products. This is the Toyota way of doing business.

If you have not had a problem with oil gelling, you do not need to contact us ? simply continue to regularly maintain your vehicle. If you have had a problem, please contact

us at 1-888-802-9436 and we will work with you to process your reimbursement.

If you do develop an oil gelling related problem in the future, please contact your Toyota dealer to arrange for repairs. Thank you for your confidence in choosing a Toyota. Your satisfaction is our number one priority.

Sincerely,

Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc."</span>

This is a far cry from the treatment of most domestic auto owners...

Cheers,

JMC

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Page where do you get ONE problem from :

1. Jittering headlight

2. Bad master cylinder

3. Grinding brakes

4. Rusty rotors- that they are not willing to replace

5. Thumping steering column

6. They dont know how to fix the thump so they are ignoring it

all on a car with UNDER 7500 miles on it . some cars dont even need an oil change till 7500 miles and this thing is 3 days and counting at the dealer. Hell if it was ONLY 1 problem , I wouldnt complain.

You wouldnt happen to work for GM customer service by any chance would you ? confused.gif You sound like you would be perfect for the job

Dan

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Poor customer service, yes, but brakes do rust, especially when not in use. With regular use, there may never have been a problem with those rotors. I'm certainly not defending the dealership by any means, but just giving a bit of food for thought.

I had the brakes done on my '52 Roadmaster a few years ago when it was being driven a bit before being put into storage...the brake shop made a point of mentioning rusting and that has stuck with me.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Page where do you get ONE problem from :

1. Jittering headlight

2. Bad master cylinder

3. Grinding brakes

4. Rusty rotors- that they are not willing to replace

5. Thumping steering column

6. They dont know how to fix the thump so they are ignoring it

all on a car with UNDER 7500 miles on it . some cars dont even need an oil change till 7500 miles and this thing is 3 days and counting at the dealer. Hell if it was ONLY 1 problem , I wouldnt complain.

You wouldnt happen to work for GM customer service by any chance would you ? confused.gif You sound like you would be perfect for the job

Dan </div></div>

No, I don't work for GM customer service...not by a long shot, but if I had a problem with the service at one dealer, I would take it to a different dealer and get a second opinion before I write off GM. I am not even a diehard GM fan...less than half the cars I have owned have been GM's. I just recognize that every once in a while a bad car is going to come off the assembly line, whether it be a GM, Honda or Toyota assembly line...perhaps you got a bad one.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> Poor customer service, yes, but brakes do rust, especially when not in use. </div></div>

Yes, rotors surface rust when sitting unused for extended periods, <span style="font-style: italic">but they don't "pit"!</span> This is an amazing amount of corrosion for a rotor with 2 years of light wear. Normally to have enough rust on a rotor for it to even be audible the car would have to sit unused for weeks or months, and even then the rust would be scrubbed off in a few hard stops.

Dan, be <span style="font-weight: bold">very</span> wary of the turned rotors. Rotors are made of certain thickness for a reason. When they're thinned in turning they become highly susceptable to warping (especially in hilly Pittsburgh city traffic).

Be certain to ask how much they had to turn them down and to compare that to the specs allowable. They should turn them enough to remove all traces of pitting. If that's more than spec or if pit remnants are still there when you get the car back they owe you a set of rotors (if for no other reason than you shouldn't be able to pass PA inspection otherwise!).

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Speaking of freezing equipment, I have a spare road tractor truck that set for about a year, without being used. I went to use it one day and the clutch had stuck together. It would not release, in gear all the time. My mechanic jacked the truck up off the ground, started it in high gear, cranked up hard on her to about 65 miles per hour, then slammed on the brakes hard. Those rotating 22 inch tires coming to a halt broke the clutch loose....food for thought. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />

Wayne

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Pulsating rotors have been a chronic problem with GM cars for decades, but they sure seem to rust, grind, and wear out faster than ever these days. The only way I got past this was to use aftermarket rotors (unfortunately, made in China) which cost a fraction of GM's ridiculous Suggested List price. I also had to use Raybestos premium brake pads, which gave me 40% longer service than the crummy OE pads. Yet, I've heard that AC-Delco's Durastop (availble through GM dealers) are actually reboxed Raybestos product.

</div></div>

He didn't say he had pulsating brakes, but grinding brakes. Dave's point taken, the thicker the rotors the better, but as long as the rotor is within spec, it should give good service. I'll bet that in LESS than 1000 miles the newly turned rotors will become pulsating rotors and then you'll need new ones. Why? Because the service tech is not going to torque the wheels properly. He'll do the old zip zip zip with the impact wrench and the torque will be all over the map on the wheels. Some will be too tight, others too loose and bam! Warped rotors that pulsate. When you get that car back, jack it up, break each lugnut loose and torque them to specs. Ask the service tech what the torque spec is. Bet he won't know it since he didn't torque them down properly.

I have a friend that is a loyal Honda owner and he had warped rotors on his new car. He bought new ones and they warped. He was getting fed up with them and I told him to check the torque on each one. They ranges from 55lbs to over 150 lbs on the same wheel. He argued with the dealer that they caused the problem by not properly torquing the wheels, they said it wasn't their fault. Now he takes his torque wrench to the dealer and torques the wheels properly before leaving the dealership. Right there in front of the service bay for all to see. He has yet to have another warped rotor.

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Guest my3buicks

hhhmmm, that is an extremely interesting tidbit you just gave us Dan - I hope people will try this and/or have done this and can give us more feedback.

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A little off subject, but thanks for the reminder on lug nut tightening. Had tires put on my '98 Ranger end of Nov. and forgot to check lug nuts until being reminded by the previous post. Most were between 120 and 140 ft. lbs., with a couple between 90 and 100. Says something about the consistency of the shop's impact wrench. But I would challenge anyone to break loose a 140 ft. lb. lug nut with the short handled lug wrench supplied with the vehicle. A flat tire would not have been a fun experience. frown.gif

John

BCA #41635

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Most shops use what they call torque sticks (attached to impact) rather then an actual torque wrench. My tow mule pick up truck requires 140 pounds wheel torque, and they always torque them at 80. Have been to several tire dealers and none can get it right even after telling and showing them in the book its 140. So I can imagine the rotor torque method is beyond most of these experts.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Most were between 120 and 140 ft. lbs., with a couple between 90 and 100. Says something about the consistency of the shop's impact wrench.</div></div>

Mostly it's a function of the shop's air compressor. As it's pressure fluctuates, so does the impact. Once I learned the importance of the correct torque on wheels, I insist on it from my shop. The place I used to go to loooong ago wouldn't do it, they said it took too much extra time to do and they didn't have the time built into the state inspection "special" they offered....I never returned. The place I go to now does it for all cars, Yugo, Buick, Bentley...all get the correct treatment.

It's little things like this that can cause Dan's list to artificially increase in size, and in this case, it's not because of a defective part, but a defective mechanic.

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My father told me of experiences with GM service just as Dan described in the 1940s!! But not to bash GM too much, I bought a brand new Nissan Maxima GXE in 1990, loaded, and drove the heck out of it (it really WAS a four door sports car). I took it in religiously for service and always, always asked about the brakes. Are they still good ... do they need pads etc.. A year and a half later, at 13000 miles, I take it in to a different Nissan dealer (it was convenient that day) only to be told that the brakes were shot. Shot?

All the way round. It was going to cost $1000 to fix. What the ... ? Why? Oh, because the person who preped the car for delivery never removed the yellow plastic shields that covered the brakes. He admonished me to keep to the maintenance schedule!!! Shame on ME. Uh .. the rest is unprintable.

So what was the other dealership service men doing??? Not Nissan's problem because it was a fanchise. So sorry. Thank you for buying a Nissan. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/mad.gif" alt="" />

Point is, I think this kind of pass-the-buck-while-not-doing-the-work crap is endemic to our 'service industry'. Some service. That is why I now check everything done before accepting a car back from a mechanic. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

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Yes absolutely on the torqueing of the lug nuts folks. As a mechanic I have torque sticks (80lbs) and (100lbs). When aluminum rims became the norm as opposed to steel rims, it became a bigger issue. For wheel balance and rotors. I went to rotate my wife's tires the other day in my driveway and I have compressed air. I'm hitting the lug nuts with a 500lb/foot torque Ingersoll Rand air gun and NOTHING. My gawd!

Finally got them off. Her dad owns an old gas station and he put new Kumhos on a year ago. Hammered those lug nuts on with full force of his air gun.

Critical to put lug nuts on with recommended torque specs usually 70 to 86 ft/pounds, slightly higher for trucks.

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Asking for a brake "inspection" usually amounts to absolutely nothing, unless they are, as noted, "shot" and require a total overhaul including expensive parts like rotors. It seems a lot of big shops and dealerships don't want to bother replacing pads and shoes when that's all the brake job would amount to. Not much markup in pads and shoes, I suspect. I no longer even ask them to look at the brakes, I check them myself. Many shops now require you to return to have the lugs "re-torqued" on alloy wheels. They even have a disclaimer stating that if this is not done, they will not take responsibility for lost lug nuts. Huh? I've never lost a lug that I've tightened myself, but have lost two that were "tightened" by a shop before I learned to always re-check their work. This re-torque nonsense is just a CYA measure by the shops to cover the lugs they neglect to tighten at all.

As for properly torqued lugs all the way around, as others have stated forget about them being done right--ever. Check them yourself. There's almost no chance that your stock lug wrench will be able to remove all of the lugs--although some may be REALLY EASY! The others will require a BFW. It's really sad that something as basic as properly tightened wheels is too much to expcect from a commercial shop. But, who do you think they have doing tire rotations and "inspections?" The newest, least experienced, lowest paid, most irresponsible wrench-bender in the shop generally.

Gone are the days when you took your car to a mechanic who took responsibility for every car that went through his shop, and had his name on the door. I've had my best luck at a local BP/Amoco that has one mechanic on duty at a time who does each job from start to finish. But I still check the lug nuts if they've had the wheels off.

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John Chapman,

Do not make Toyota out to be voluntarily committed to customer satisfaction regarding the engine sludge issue.

The Toyota sludge problem was denied for many years by Toyota, until public pressure and legal action prompted a re-evaluation of their conscience and policy.

The wording you quote is the carefully-crafted back-tracking of a manufacturer that was BUSTED for their shortcomings and stubborn refusal to admit that they were capable of making a error in design ("who me?")

Dans 77,

Sorry to hear of your problems. No car is perfect, not even a Toyota or Honda. But do not blame the manufacturer for the poor treatment, poor analysis, and poor repairs from ONE PARTICULAR DEALER. There are thousands of Chevrolet dealers and they range from great to poor. GM does not own them or control them...they are independent businesses. If you don't like they way they operate, vote with your feet and choose one of the many excellent dealerships.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Though I had an excellent new-car purchase experience there, I have personally seen other examples of truly incompetent service...</div></div>

That has been my experience too. Taking new-car purchases back to the dealership where I bought it, I have naively expected that they would want to keep a customer happy. Often, it seems to be a crapshoot whether you get good service. The departments are so big, and the personnel turnover so rapid, that you have little idea who works on the car on any given day you bring it in. An "excellent" dealership from a sales standpoint can still perform lousy service, and even a good service department can do bad work, depending on who you happen to get working on the car. Then, you have to rely on whether the department is "excellent" at fixing their mistakes when you bring the car back. That depends a lot on whether the service management does a consistently good job. It gets real complicated.

My first new-car purchase was an '84 Mercury Capri, which had what I thought was a sticky throttle cable from new--wouldn't idle down, hung up between shifts, etc. After listening to them tell me on two different visits that "those never stick" and having the same problem continue after they "fixed" something else, I went back a third time, opened the hood, pointed at the cable and said "replace THAT or I won't take the car back." Guess what? It was the throttle cable.

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During this discussion there have been suggestions to try another dealership(s) in an attempt to obtain satisfactory repairs. Is anyone who works or has worked in the field knowledgeable of just what information is available on the service writer's computer screen when the VIN or other identifying data of the vehicle is input? Is there an accessible historical record of warranty repairs which would allow the service writer to nudge his fellow worker and say, "Looks like we have a chronic whiner here". Would the best way to deal with this at the second or third dealership's service dept. to be up front with the service writer or should you present it as a first time occurrence only to be caught red handed by the computer record blush.gif?

What is IMHO? If I may say so, the Malibu is one butt ugly vehicle.

John

BCA #41635

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70 Electra,

The dealer told me it was GM policy to turn the rotors instead of replacing them. So I called the Chevy zone office & they told me the same thing. My fathers 8000 mile Bonneville had the same problem , he took it to the local Pontiac dealer, they told him it was GM policy to turn the rotors. He called the Pontiac zone office and they told him the same thing. My brother in law took his 03 Impala to a DIFFERENT Chevy dealer than I took my Malibu to .His own SON wrote the car up for service. They cut his rotors and told him it was GM policy. He called the chevrolet zone office .... wanna take a guess what the answer was? Its not the dealer, its the corporation. Its an ongoing problem that GM has absolutely NO intention of correcting and thats whats stoking my anger boilers, Im stuck with this thing. Unless I want to pony up the cash to fix the problem right its just not going to get fixed. As far as GM is concerned My wife , my Dad , my brother in law , me , you and everybody else who owns a late model GM car can take themselves and their defective rotors and take a flying (expetive deleted) at a rolling donut and thats what Im angry about.

Dan

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Buy a Lincoln----they have 40,000 mile bumper to bumper (and 5 year---whichever comes first) coverage. And that means EVERYTHING from front bumper to rear bumper.I have had 7 since 1983 and never had anything go wrong or not work. I usually put about 60,000 on one before I trade----Oh yeah, I did have buy 1 set of tires. wink.gif

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Find a reliable mechanic that is also a racer. Pay him to service the car. IF it's a warranty issue, HE may have contacts that can help get it fixed. If not, at least you'll have independent documentation of the problem that might pressure GM Zone to actually authorize the fix.

Worst problem with a new car is being tied to dealership service for the warranty period.

On the other hand, the two new FORDS purchased have done EXTREMELY WELL needing virtually no warranty service and doing well afterwards too--other than 4.6 blowing an intake manifold at a very inconvenient time. Naturally just a couple days after the most recent recall settlement would have reimbursed for it.

Oh well, the Fords have still had less problems and less expensive service issues than sister's ex-98 Century.

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Silly me! I guess I am one of those strange people who think that when a person spends a lot of hard-earned money on a new car, and that car is advertized to be virtually flawless, then the folks who made it should stand behind it. Grinding noises from the brakes are not normal nor should be pulsing of the pedal or any other brake problem. New cars should not rattle or clunk, the electrical system should work, the engine and driveline should function and so on.

Auto manufacturers know how to make vehicles that don't have problems. So why don't they? They think they can save money by just having to listen to a bit of bitching from the "chronic whiners". If American manufacturers had made better quality vehicles over the past forty years and had stood behind the vehicles they made, the Japanese would not have taken over our car market the way they have.

Fans of American cars are becoming fewer. The diehards claim that folks who buy imports just don't know anything about cars. That may be true, but they do know value and that is where they are going.

GM, Ford and Chrysler can make good cars and they appear to be trying a lot harder now than in the past. But the perception among a lot of Americans is that they don't and, further, that they don't fix them right when they go sour. That perception is not based on fancy, it is based on bad experiences. Whose fault is that? I blame it on the American auto industry; they have been complacent too long and have abused the trust of the American car buyer for too long as well. They seem to think the buyer should subsidize their poor design and quality.

The "big three" certainly seem to have earned their poor reputation with the average American. I'm afraid they have a long, uphill fight to regain the stature they once enjoyed worldwide.

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One critical lesson that most successful companies learn quickly is that a customer who has a problem that is fixed quickly and competently and to his satisfaction will likely have a <span style="font-style: italic">better</span> opinion of the company and product than even the customer who has had <span style="font-style: italic">no problems at all!</span>

Service is GM's second chance to make a customer feel good and rave about their GM "experience." Instead, it comes down to dollars and cents and the prevailing attitude at GM is that they already have their money from the purchase (and probably the financing), they don't really care much for giving some of it back in warranty costs. So you end up with a bunch of people with a crappy product, no recourse and a wall of unmoving "policy" decisions that are designed to save the company a few pennies in exchange for future dollars. Short-term thinking at its worst is what put GM in the pickle they're in today.

Doing business this way, eventually you'll run out of customers. Not every customer has problems and not every customer is dissatisfied with warranty service, but if you do business like this long enough (say, for 30 years), you'll find your market share eroding and profits plummeting.

Oh, wait, GM's already there and still hasn't figured it out. Never mind...

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