Sunday

Manufacturers - the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

It is just a fact of life that some manufacturers seem to care more about consumers than others. We've been helping consumers since 1978 and have seen many manufacturers come and go. We think that the ones who have succeeded, and have stuck around, usually have been the ones who cared more about their customers. Price didn't seem to matter as much as quality and customer concern. We can all come up with examples of companies that are gone now ... and with good reason, no doubt.

So, if caring about customers matters, then who do we think are the ones who care more right now and who are the ones who seem to care less than others? We can only tell you about our experience when we go to them about our clients' bad cars and trucks and how they react ... is it out of genuine concern for their customers or is it more out of a concern for their corporate pocketbook?

We have a list of manufacturers that our experience has taught us about. A list of car makers that we know we might as well file a lawsuit against rather than try to negotiate with, because it just seems to take a lawsuit to get their attention. We also have a list of manufacturers that we know we can probably get clients' problems take care of pretty quickly and fairly.

On our "bad guys" list you'll find Ford, Hyundai, Honda, and Suzuki. Hearing complaints about a Ford lemon, a lemon Hyundai, a Honda lemon, or a Suzuki lemon is not unusual at all for us.

The first two are on our "bad guys" list because of what we think are perceived and actual quality control problems as well as their displayed attitude about customers ... we think the last two are on the list, not because of general quality problems at all, but almost entirely because of customer attitude, real or perceived.

And who made our "good guys" list? GM and Chrysler. That's it. We hear complaints about a lemon GM and lemon Chrysler vehicles, sure, but they handle the problem much better in our experience.

What we have seen with GM is a long-term and consistent desire to solve a consumer's problems quickly and, usually, pretty fairly. Granted, they don't seem to be reckless with their money, but they do seem willing to try to keep their customers from becoming angry enough to file a Lemon Law lawsuit.

And Chrysler? Well, they made our "good guys" list, but just barely. Although they often seem to show real customer concern, they still seem to sometimes flip flop between trying to keep a customer happy and sometimes just not trying very hard at all.

Every manufacturer ought to know that sometimes defects occur. The question is how they deal with it. Some seem to just stick their corporate head in the sand and deny that there is anything that is ever built wrong by them. Period. They often blame it on the dealer, the owner, anything except their own quality level. Others seem to know and admit that a defect can happen, but they just seem to plain argue all day long about what they are going to do about it.

Notice that some brands didn't make either list. That's because our history with them is that they are not consistently "good" or "bad" but seem to fluctuate according to the particular factory rep or the circumstances of the particular vehicle we are dealing with. Also, there is one car maker that we think just hardly ever seems to build a bad car. They are the only brand we can think of that we have never filed a lawsuit against in modern times...but more about that on another day.

If you've got a lemon car or a lemon truck, email or call us 1-888-331-6422 Toll Free. Smashing lemons is what we do. Every day.