Thursday

Isuzu Gives Up

Last year in the entire United States Isuzu sold a grand total about 9 cars a day --- in the entire country. You can't make a living that way, so Isuzu gave up.

Isuzu is pulling out of North America, unable to compete with either price or quality in a marketplace that is flooded with cars bearing all sorts of brands from all sorts of places. Even the Chinese are trying to figure out how to break into the US car marketplace. They better take a look at what went wrong at Isuzu before they take the plunge.

Meantime, GM plants keep building out the rest of their Isuzu contract. Most people didn't know that some GM plants were actually building Isuzu cars for Isuzu. Okay 4 cars a day isn't a big production order for the Moraine, Ohio, GM plant (a paltry one half of one percent of the production output at the plant).

When the bad press hit, an Isuzu spokesperson said "Ford doesn't build the Model T anymore [either]." Yeah, that explains it. Apparently the Isuzu Ascender and the Isuzu pickup truck models were just Model T quality? We could have told you that, folks.

And Ford better listen up too. Brilliant brains at Ford came up with the original Thunderbird design and the cool Mustang. Then along came the Fiesta joke and the Taurus - Ford 500 - and then Taurus again mess. That kind of marketing stupidity is why Canada turned down Ford's request to dole out $60 million to "incentivize" Ford to reopen its Windsor, Ontario plant.

In a brazen economic bullying move, Ford made it clear to Canadian politicians that if it didn't get $30 million then they leave town and just let the shuttered plant gather dust. Yeah, Ford, that'll get you lots of friends in the marketplace.

Somewhere along the way Ford needs to get back to building good cars and good trucks with good quality and good warranties for good prices. Lemons, cheap or expensive, don't make people happy. Arguing over warranty coverage doesn't build customer good will. You don't buy a new car so you can learn the service manager's first name in the repair shop --- you do that so you can stay out of the repair shop.

If you've got a lemon Isuzu or a lemon Ford (just not a Model T though because that warranty already ran out), contact us. You can call us on our Toll Free number 1-888-331-6422 or email us by clicking here.

Fighting to protect consumers every day is what we do. We could write wills, I suppose, but that's just not what we enjoy. If you want a lawyer to write a will for you, you'll have to go somewhere else. If you've got a traffic ticket, we can't help you. If you were ripped off by a car dealer or your car or truck is a lemon --- now there we can help you!

Burdge Law Office
www. US Lemon Lawyers .com


Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemon Cars and Lemon Trucks Since 1978

Wednesday

Model T: a MPG Champ


Ford introduced the Model T in 1908. It got 21 miles per gallon and was remarkably inefficient. Now a hundred years later, latest industry-wide statistics show that the average fuel economy for a new car is 17.2 mpg. And this is more efficient?

What in the world is going on in Detroit (and everywhere else, for that matter)? We talked about Detroit's lousy fuel economy attitude before (click here), but then we didn't know about the Model T numbers.

If we can put a man on the moon (more than once) and shrink a computer from a massive room down to a laptop (and increase its capabilities in the process), how come we haven't figured out how to substantially increase mpg across the board?

Worse yet, mpg numbers are going the wrong direction. It hasn't been this bad since 1979 when it was about 16 mpg. In fact it went up from there. Sure the numbers bobbed and weaved a little but they were generally up. Now? Worst numbers in 29 years. And back then it was much, much worse than the Model T. I'll give Henry that one. At least he didn't invent a gas guzzler when he started out. How we turned it into one is just mind boggling.

It can't all be just because we put an a/c and radio in the car. It can't be just because we put smog devices on them. Something stinks here, folks. Only thing we can't figure out? Which stinks more, the Big Oil Companies or Detroit's mindset. Either way, it's high time for a change.

No one in Washington has forcefully pushed for better mpg mandates for nearly a decade. Why not? Conservative politicians gather major donations dollars from oil companies and car companies. Time for a change, folks.

A short while back we got a phone call at home one night from a local pollster. They asked if we would favor replacing the local 3 term mayor or keeping the mayor for another term. We bluntly said "replace the Mayor." When asked why, the answer was simple. Every once in awhile you have to make sure politicians know who's in charge.

It starts at the top and it flows downhill. If you want to get gas mileage up, you have to vote for someone who cares more about people than about corporations, Big Business and Big Oil. Folks, it's that simple.

Until then, you'll get more lemons from Detroit and they won't go that far on a gallon of gas either. For now, if you've got a lemon, call or contact us. Getting rid of lemons everyday is what we do. We were doing it before there ever was a lemon law (heck, we were doing it before some of those other lawyers were even out of high school).

Burdge Law Office
www. US Lemon Lawyers .com
Helping Consumers Fight Back Since 1978

Click here to see what your state's Lemon Law says.

Sunday

Top Auto Industry Screw Ups

We have to give the folks at ConsumerAffairs.com credit for creativity --- and accuracy too.
They just released their list of "Top Ten Automotive Outrages of 2007" and they hit the nail on the head.

Ford scores big with 3 of the "top ten" spots, for their flaming Fords (almost 11 million vehicles recalled since 2005), the Ford truck spitting spark plugs (an expensive non-warranty $3,000 repair) and the Focus ignition fiasco (a model with the worst recall record of anything on wheels since 1980). Those were so well known that they could be expected and have been long time big safety issues for the public.

Airbags that won't go boom when they should are the #1 issue. They reported on numerous accidents that should have caused air bags to deploy but didn't. While manufacturers say that airbags aren't supposed to deploy in all accidents (that's their excuse) we've seen some accidents that were so severe that common sense dictates the air bag should have gone off but it didn't. Even the experts are baffled and tend to just trust the science behind the system more than their instinct on this one. The odds are that the airbag issue will continue to be debated.

Then there's GM's truck brakes (nearly 1.4 million recalled), but worse still is the GM Onstar abandonment (built on a now-outmoded and abandoned technology, leaving hundreds of thousands of GM Onstar customers without any recourse at all).

While Jeeps that jump, the Prius unintended acceleration problem, and the BMW transmissions
are their own problem, the biggest issue we see? The federal safety department itself, Nhtsa.

Yes, folks, it's your tax dollars at work. Business as usual in Washington. Lobbyists in bed with the regulators. Lots of those slogans seem to fit the folks at Nhtsa nowadays and only a change in administration will change Nhtsa, an agency run by folks who seem to think that big money political donors matter more than peoples' safety.

These are the people who gave the okay for "geographic recalls" that allowed some defective vehicles to be driven around without their owners knowing of their defects, while requiring others to be recalled to fix the same defect, purely based on where you live.

They're the same folks who keep some defect safety investigation files secret, working hand in glove with big business. Yup, that's a great use of your tax dollars, folks...figure out the problem and then bury it away where no one can find it.

Although hounded by consumers and watchdogs, Nhtsa turned down a request to investigate the big Ford engines that dangerously spit out spark plugs, saying that "In the need to allocate and prioritize limited resources to best accomplish the agency's safety mission," they just couldn't spare the manpower and didn't think flying spark plugs was all that big a deal. (Federal Register, Vol. 60, No. 138).

That's because they weren't the ones who had to duck when the spark plugs went flying, no doubt.

The upper level management at Nhtsa gives direction and authority for the lower level safety investigators who do the real work. In short, for years the people at the top have been tieing the hands of the people at the bottom, hamstringing any serious effort to investigate some deadly
defects that pose serious risk and danger to the public.

It ought to be embarrassing. Instead, it's just business as usual on both ends of the phone line that runs between Washington and Detroit.

Well, if they won't help you, we will. If you've got a lemon, we'll help you get rid of it. Call (1-888-331-6422 Toll Free) or email us. Fighting back is what we do. It's what we've done since 1978. We're not going to stop now.

Thursday

Negative Equity Gets More Negative


It's everywhere. Reports of a rising recession, layoffs, abandoned factories, bankruptcy threats and more. And now, some hungry car dealers are starting to show it in the paperwork we are seeing.

There's more (and higher) negative equity numbers showing up on sales contracts, where car salespeople are convincing consumers that their trade in vehicle isn't worth what's owed on it and might even be worth a whole lot less. The difference is what car dealer's euphemistically call "negative equity." A lot of it is just plain lies.

We are seeing bigger numbers, more often, than ever before. A lot of times the consumer hasn't even realized what the dealer did to them. Sometimes they do but didn't know how much it really was. And sometimes they didn't have a clue what was happening to them until it was too late. Read before you sign and read very, very carefully.

With a downturn in the economy, don't be tempted to trade off that bad car and roll over negative equity into your next car loan, even if you know it's happening. If that next car turns out to be a lemon, you may not be able to afford to get rid of it or, worse yet, even if you have a right to make the manufacturer buy it back, they may ask you to pay your way out of the loan. That sucks.

Remember, car dealers don't make any money unless you buy. That's Rule #1. And the factories don't make any money if the dealers aren't selling. So, the factories often know all about the negative equity problem too. They probably know about it better than anyone. After all, they started it with surplus capacity that could only be dumped by offering big rebates and dealer incentives to "move the iron."

Don't be fooled by slick suits and smooth talk. Before you go on a car lot with your trade in, check blue book value so you know what your trade is really worth. And then argue like the dickins over it too. Try to get at least 10% above book value.

And don't buy anything unless the sales contract is crystal clear to you on the numbers. Make sure you understand every number and that every number is right and that the numbers all add up correctly too. And every number --- every number --- on the sales contract is negotiable. That includes even the so-called "documentary fee" (which is really just pure profit, after all, the numbers are already in the computer so the "fee" is just for pushing the button that says print it all out) and even the sales tax (there's no law that says you have to pay it --- if the dealer wants you to buy that expensive car, tell them that they will have to cover the sales tax. After all, what do you have to lose?).

And don't be a "payment buyer" who never cares about the price because all you want is something that fits your monthly budget, either. A payment buyer is the easiest kind to rip off. If all you are looking at is the monthly payment, you'd be surprised to see how much more profit there is by adding another 6 months of payments to the loan! Watch out.

We started sueing car dealers for "auto sales fraud" practices 29 and a half years ago and the only thing that has changed is their creativity at scheming up new ways to get into your wallet.

Don't let a car dealer rip you off. And if they already did, call us Toll Free at 1.888.331.6422 or email us your story. We can help you to get even. After all, it's your money and you worked hard for it.

Tuesday

Ford F150 Being Investigated

Federal safety investigators are checking out the '05 Ford F150 pickup truck because of consumer complaints of brake failure. The problem appears to be with the 5.4 liter V8 engine package for some reason, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Office of Defects Investigation.

Reports are that the loss of brake power assist can come suddenly and without warning, the feds say, and it's apparently related to a brake booster assembly vacuum hose coming off the intake manifold.

This investigation was opened on January 8, 2008 and could affect 359,605 (estimated) Ford trucks.

The ODI department at NHTSA conducts defect investigations and administers recalls. NHTSA is the government agency authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles when ODI investigators report serious safety defects "upchannel". Typically an investigation only happens when federal safety officials get enough complaints or the defect is so serious that an important safety concern is raised.

Ford trucks have had more than their share of recalls and you can click here to see some of them, along with recalls by other manufacturers too.

Remember, you don't have to put up with a lemon (brakes or not). If you've got a Ford lemon, or any other kind, call us Toll Free at 1.888.331.6422, or click here to email us. We can help you get rid of your lemon and get your money back or a new truck (with brakes that work).

Burdge Law Office
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemon Cars and Trucks Since 1978

Monday

What Did One Russian Say to the Other?

The Chevies are coming! The Chevies are coming!

Guess what brand sells the most in Russia? That's right. Chevrolet. With sales figures that climbed 71%, Chevy overtook Ford and all others to become the biggest overseas brand in Russia, in spite of Ford's big push to take the #1 spot.

The Russian car market rose 61% in foreign car sales and Chevy's share of the Russian market rose even faster. Russia's car sales are rising in general now, making it the #3 biggest car market in Europe.

With the announcement out of the Assn of European Businesses in the Russian Federation (AEBRF, yes that's a real business organization too), GM bragged that "We are committed to that market and that is why we are investing $300 million on a site in St Petersburg."

Okay, so maybe we need to open an office in Moscow?

When you're Chevy's quality sags, call us. Unless, of course, you're in Moscow. We can't help you there, folks. Ohio, yes. Kentucky, yes. California, yes. Indiana, yes. Moscow? Nyet, at least not yet.

Sunday

Don't Sign Repair Orders



Whatever you do, when you pick up your car after a repair job, don't sign a repair order. It could kill your legal rights later if something really wasn't fixed at all.

That's the lesson coming out of an Rv case I saw recently in Michigan. Two great Michigan attorneys had a lemon Rv case where the owner signed the usual repair orders at the end of each repair job, not thinking anything about it, only to have it come back to haunt them later.

The couple's rv was a true nightmare, with several dozen defects, big and small. And they just kept taking it back month after month, for more repairs. Their mistakes? That's what we'll talk about now.

This is like Murphy's Law. As sure as you follow these steps, everything will go right and you won't have a problem and you won't end up wishing you had followed the steps below. As sure as you don't follow these steps, you'll end up wishing you had. Better safe than sorry, so here's our list of things to make sure you do right when your car is headed into the repair shop.

First, when they went into the shop each time they just stood there and told the service adviser what they could recall off the top of their heads. You don't want to do that. Long before you go to the shop you want to sit down and write out a list of each and every defect and malfunction. Say what it is and explain it. Number each item on your list. Make sure your list is thorough, detailed and absolutely complete. You might even want to look over your vehicle with the list in your hand, so you don't miss anything. Write your name, phone number, and vehicle description at the top of the list (year, make, model is enough).

Then leave a copy of your list at home and take a copy with you to the shop. It is extremely important that you leave a copy of the list of defects at home. You need to be able to prove what you complained about and the shop is likely to throw away their copy of your list later. No list, no proof. Simple as that.

Then, when you arrive at the shop, give the service adviser your list. Don't read it to them. Don't summarize it. Give them the list. That way there's no misunderstanding about what you want done.

The service adviser may type it all into their computer and print out a repair order. That's okay, but watch out. Often they will then ask you to sign the repair order before they start to work. The problem is that the paper they want you to sign may not have listed all of your complaints or it may say it differently from the way you said it. So what do you do? Simple. Write on the repair order "See Owner's List" and then sign it. That way you are "incorporating" your list into the repair order itself and you're covered. The service adviser may not notice or may not care or may scratch out what you wrote but it doesn't matter. The important thing is that you wrote it down.

And get a copy of the repair order before they start to work. Many states, like Ohio, require the service adviser to give you a copy of what you sign when you sign it. For every job you should have a piece of paper that says what you complained about when your vehicle went in (and you should get a separate repair order copy at the end of your repair trip too, which shows what they did about each of your complaints).

Then, at the end of the job, don't sign nothing! Nada! Zip! Nothing in the law says you have to, so don't do it! There is no legal reason you have to sign the repair order, plain and simple.

But the repair shop MUST give you a copy of it at the end of the job. Okay, so what happens when the repair shop says they won't give you a copy because you won't sign it? Simple...you have some choices.

First, you can just ask for your keys and leave. The repair shop has no legal right to keep your car unless you owe money for the repair. If you do, pay it and then demand your car keys.

Or, you can take the repair order (like you are going to sign it) and cross out anything printed above your name (you know, the stuff that says you've inspected the car and everything has been repaired and you have no complaints, stuff like that). Then sign it and give it back to the clerk and demand your car keys. That's what the Michigan Rv owner did NOT do and because of that the Judge said "tough luck, you shouldn't have signed it if it wasn't true."

If you really want to, you could also just write on it the opposite of what their form says..."I have not inspected my car, I do not know if it has been fixed, I do not know if I have more complaints" but that can take too long and be too confrontational for many people.

The moral here is simple and extremely important. Don't sign anything that is not 100% true because repair shops, dealers, and manufacturers will use their fine print to take away your legal rights and make it look like you were completely satisfied and happy when you don't even know if they did anything at all to fix your car --- or if it was just another "could not duplicate" or "no problem found" day for them.

And watch out for fine print on the back of the repair order too. Repair shops are starting to hide the fine print on the back and just put on the front a very short sentence in small print that says the back includes terms of your repair agreement. That stinks!

Watch out. Don't let them use the fine print to zing you the next time you go into the repair shop. And if it turns out you've got a lemon, call us 1-888-331-6422 Toll Free or contact us by clicking here. Sueing dealers and manufacturers is what we do every day.

Burdge Law Office
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemon Vehicles Since 1978.


Find Your State's Lemon Law by Clicking Here.

Tuesday

Feds Investigate Stalling Cavalier Model

Federal safety investigators are looking into the 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier after receiving dozens of complaints about fuel pump failure and stalling. Apparently GM has admitted to getting over 150 complaints, including some crash reports.


Nhtsa, the federal safety department which oversees vehicle safety and mandates recalls in the US, repoorts that GM has "identified accelerator motor brush wear" in the fuel pump assembly as the reason behind the stalling/no start/hard start complaints.

Meanwhile, consumers just want cars that run right. If you've got a stalling Chevy or any other lemon car or truck, call us. Helping consumers get rid of lemons is what we do every day.

You pay good money for what ought to be a good car or truck and you don't have to put up with a bad one.

Burdge Law Office
www.NewCarLemonLaw.com
Helping Consumers Win Lemon Law Cases Sinced 1978

"It's what we do. It's what we have always done."

Monday

An international group of journalists has given GM 4 of the 6 finalist slots in the North American Auto Show's North American Car of the Year and the North American Truck of the Year for 2008.

The 3 cars making the 2008 finals are the Cadillac CTS, the Chevrolet Malibu, the Honda Accord.

The 3 trucks making the 2008 finals are the Buick Enclave, the Mazda CX-9 and the Chevy Tahoe.

Voting journalists came from 46 US and Canadian publications and media outlets, including MSN Autos, the Toronto Star, Car and Driver Magazine, AutoWeek, the Chicago Tribune, MotorWeek, USA Today, Autoline Detroit, Edmunds.com, Road & Track magazine, the San Jose Mercury News, Consumer Guide, the Boston Globe, Automotive News and Fortune magazine.

The Car of the Year and the Truck of the Year will be announced next week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. To be nominated the vehicle had to be either "all new" or "substantially changed" from the last model year.

Nailing that many finalist slots proves that the designers at GM are on the ball but good looks aren't the only thing needed to pull US cars out of a sales slump. Quality and good prices are needed too. When US automakers learn to balance all three facets, then they'll retake the marketplace.

Until then, the factories will keep making lemons and we're be right here to help you get rid of your lemon car or lemon truck. Helping consumers fight manufacturers who build lemons is what we do every day. If you've got a lemon, let us help you get rid of it. Call or email us today.

Sunday

Bad Sales Can Mean Good Deals

If you're looking for a good deal on a new car or truck right now, the first place to look should be at who's selling hot and who's selling not. Low sales figures can mean that the seller is hungry to improve their numbers. After all, it's all about making money and if a dealer isn't selling, they aren't making money. Desperation can drive prices down.

On the other hand, a dealer that has a showroom full of customers probably won't be so willing to make you a great deal. After all, there's a line of other customers behind you and they see their chance to make that profit off someone else.

Now on the other hand, some of the lowest sales numbers come from models that clearly were not designed for mass, affordable appeal in the first place. Instead, their market target can be an expensive (and thin) slice of the market where consumers are willing to pay upwards of $50,000 or $60,000 or much more for a luxury set of wheels. So, you have to look at the "price factor" when you consider the slow sellers, too.

Still, there's some logic to slow sellers mean a chance for discounted prices. So here's the list, according to Forbes Magazine, of the cars and trucks that were the best (and the worst) selling models in the last year.

First, the worst selling models. These are the ones where you can probably get a good deal.

1. Cadillac XLR, only sold 1,525 and is down 42.7% from a year ago.
2. Mazda B series, 2,363 and down 35.3%.
3. Isuzu Ascender, descended to third place with only 2,523 sold and is down 40.3%.
4. Jaguar X-Type sold only 2,599 and is down 44.2%
5. Jaguar S-Type, 2,973 sold and down 44.3%.
6. Audi A8 and S8, at 3,092 units sold they are down 27.2%.
7. Porsche Boxer, only sold 3,148 and is down 21.5%.
8. Lexus SC430 sold 3,311 and is down 33.2%.
9. Isuzu i290 and 370 model sold only 3,575 and is up 21.1% from last year's sales numbers but still so small that it comes in at #9.
10 Jaguar XJ, selling 3,637 units, it still sits at a 11.2% sales decline from a year ago.

Over the years Jaguar has made a lot of great looking cars but in recent years their cars look more and more like GM knockoffs. The design originality and sexiness is gone, many say as they wonder why the Indian companies are bidding for a buyout from Ford when Jaguar sales are off by such huge numbers.

Now, if you want to know where you can probably expect to pay the highest price and have the toughest time getting any discount, here's the best selling models list.

1. Ford F series, sold 588,952 and even though the numbers are down 12.5% they are still the best selling vehicle out there. That's a little surprising given the mechanical problems and recalls that have plagued the F series for years, including the million-plus, multi-year recall recently.
2. Chevy Silverado, 526,575 sold and down only 2.4% from last year.
3. Toyota Camry, a long running consumer favorite, sold 398,868 and is up 6.4% in sales during the last year.
4. Honda Accord, with sales last year of 332,815 and numbers up 10.2% over a hear ago; I recall placing an order the first year the Accord came out and then spending months on the waiting list before giving up and buying a Ford.
5. Toyota Corolla, 317,796 units sold and even though the numbers are 4% less than a year ago, it comes in at the #5 spot on the best selling list.
6. Honda Civic, sold 278,764 with sales up 2.2%.
7. The Chevy Impala sold 270,504 and saw its sales rise 12.6%. It is the reason your Chevy dealer is smiling.
8. Nissan Altima, with 239,800 sold, the numbers are up 26.6% from a year ago.
9. Dodge Ram, curiously, sold 214,569 last year but it's numbers were off 29.3% from a year ago and it still ended up in the #9 spot. They're selling a lot less but still selling good.
10. Honda CR-V, sold 184,003 units and had the biggest increase in the last year, pumping the numbers up 34.9% from a year ago. The biggest percentage increase in all the top 10.

Of course whether you made a great deal or got a lousy one, it doesn't matter much if your new car or truck is sitting in the dealer's garage while you're making the next loan payment.

When you get fed up enough with your lemon, call us. Getting rid of them is what we do.

Thursday

Big 3 Fight for 4

Toyota USA sold more than Ford did last year, bumping Ford Motor Co. down to the No. 3 spot.

Last year Toyota sold 2.62 million cars and trucks last year while Ford sold 2.56 million, according to Automotive News Data Center statistics. General Motors remained No. 1 overall with 3.82 million vehicle sales and with a US market share of 23.7 percent. Toyota’s market share is at 16.8 % compared to Ford’s 16.4%. Chrysler is somewhere below that, folks.

Ford says it isn't worried though because part of its "new marketing plan" is to get the buying public to think good about Ford quality, which they admit hasn't been all that good lately. Yeah, no kidding. Ford's F series pickups are down 13% and Lincoln's dropped a hair under 22% in just the month of December. The Ford Explorer, once a biggie, saw its sales drop 18% in the last year.

“There’s a whole litany of reasons why customers can trust Ford,” insisted Ford's marketing chief Jim Farley recently. Farley reportedly plans on reaching customers by “shifting our message to reach out in a very humble and honest way to tell our customers what makes Ford special. We won’t be spending more money, just reallocating where we spend it,” he said.

Now there's an interesting remark. Okay, so they admit they aren't going to spend more money doing right by their customers who have bought Ford lemons --- they just are going to shift some money over to the advertising budget so people will at least think their lemon is special. So, folks, you too can have that special feeling while you're sitting on the side of the road waiting for that tow truck to come by.

How about just shifting that money over to designing and building them right in the first place, Ford? And maybe buying back the bad ones too, without all the argument and debate that Ford's hundreds of lawyers throw at consumers every day? That's what would make Ford special indeed.

If you've got a Ford lemon, don't put up with it. You paid good money for what ought to be a good Ford product and if they won't stand behind it, then let us help you make them take it back and get your money back. That's what we do everyday.

Burdge Law Office
www.BurdgeLaw.com
Helping People Get Rid of Lemons Since 1978

Find out what your state Lemon Law says by clicking here.