Wednesday

Chrysler Selling Viper ?

Rumor has it that Chrysler is looking for a buyer for its Dodge Viper division.

The hand-built sports car attained a lot of high praise since it's debut at the 1989 Detroit auto show and Chrysler has made about 25,000 of the hot sports cars since it came out in 1992 but its sales peak was five years ago and it's been waning ever since.

Calling its move a "strategic review" of the Viper division, potential buyers were not disclosed.

The 600 hp supercar is built in Detroit and production employs 110 workers who hand assemble each car. The pain-staking effort is probably the reason we have only had one lemon Viper case since they started coming out of the factory 16 years ago.

The one thing that is clear is that Cerberus, the new owners of Chrysler, are looking to sell assets and build up some cash, as seen by the two Detroit office complexes recently put on the market. Given the marketplace right now, that's probably a smart move. Too bad the Viper may be sacrificed to feed the bigger cash cow at hand.

If that happens and Viper is gone, owners should keep in mind that their factory warranty is from Chrysler and not from some new owner who may or may not care enough or may or may not have the assets to fund warranty claims sufficiently. So, if you've got a Viper with a problem, now is the time to get it in the dealer's shop, while the warranty is still not an issue.

Burdge Law Office
www.NewCarLemonLaw.com
Because life's too short to get bit by a bad Viper

See what your state's Lemon Law says by clicking here.

Tuesday

Massive Dometic Rv Refrigerator Recalls

Dometic makes thousands of refrigerators that most motorhome manufacturers use in their Rv's. Now they're recalling thousands of them.

The 2 door refrigerator made by the Dometic Corporation is reported to have a defect in the "boiler tube." Pressurized coolant solution there can be released into an area of the unit where an ignition source exists, they say. Plain English? There's a gas flame there and is the solution leaks, then fire can erupt. That's not good in any vehicle and it can be deadly in an Rv.

Thousands of motorhomes are equipped with the Dometic 2-door fridge and if your's is one of them, call your nearest dealer right away and find out if your motorhome is on the recall list.

This is a deadly defect so don't take a chance. If you've got a lemon and you can't get your dealer or the builder to take care of you, then call 1-888-331-6422 Toll Free or email us right now. Squashing lemon Rv's is what we do. Everyday.

Burdge Law Office
Because life is too short to put up with a bad Rv.

Wednesday

Baltimore Sun Quotes Burdge on Lemon Laws


The Baltimore Sun newspaper reporter's Dan Thanh Dang interviewed Lemon Law attorney Ron Burdge on Motorcycle Lemon Laws for a recent news article. She also blogs for the newspaper on Consumer Interests.

Focusing on a typical motorcycle buyer's defective bike, the Motorcycle Lemon Law article included a discussion of "Do's and Don'ts" to help consumers become more aware of how to handle a bad bike dispute with the manufacturer and dealer.

Speaking of common misperceptions and misunderstandings, Burdge said "Most people think they are automatically covered but the amount of lemon law coverage you have might depend on the number of wheels you have. Four wheels? You're probably covered. Three? Probably not. Two wheels, it's 50-50. A lot states don't cover motorcycles."

That's one of the problems with some state lemon laws. There's no real uniformity of vehicle coverage. Some states only cover cars and trucks. Others add light Rv's. Some cover motorcycles and a few state Lemon Laws will coverAtv's too. Some states require that you be a resident of their state in order to use their state Lemon Law, even if you bought the vehicle there. Other state Lemon Laws don't require residency. Some states require a useage deduction from your refund while others don't.

You have to be careful not just on what you buy but also where you buy it. If you live in a state whose Lemon Law doesn't cover motorcycles, then for now our advice is don't buy one there. Look around for a nearby state Lemon Law that will cover them and that also doesn't require residency in order to use their law. That way you don't waste your money.

The odds are you won't get a bad bike, but if you do, you can get terribly stuck if you don't have any Lemon Law rights.

Meanwhile, if you've got a lemon motorcycle, email or call us now. We know how to get rid of them. It's what we've been doing for 30 years.

Monday

Ford and Mrs. Fields Cookies


Times are tough when the sweet tooth of Ford's Mustang isn't enough to get buyers up off the couch. We've talked before of Ford's dismal sales numbers lately, but you know the economy sucks when Mrs. Fields Cookies files bankruptcy and Hershey jacks up the price of a candy bar.

Like Henry Ford, Debbi Fields started her own business doing what she knew best. Her famous homemade cookies won her legions of fans. Despite the bankruptcy filing, the company, founded in 1977, will keep on baking and dealing with rising fuel and food prices as best it can.

Meanwhile Hershey, on the other side of the country, announced an average 11% price increase, for much the same reasons as Mrs. Fields.

And Ford? Well, total sales for July 2007 were down almost 12% from a year ago and light truck sales dropped 22%.

If it was just Ford, you could argue it's quality and brand issues. But when cookies and chocolate sales are hurting, and profits are down everywhere, the economy is a problem far beyond Detroit. Ford can work on quality, I suppose, but there's not much you can do to improve Mrs. Fields' cookies.

It all comes down to profits, money, quality and the economy.

For Hershey and Mrs. Fields, just as for Ford and GM and Chrysler, turning the economy around is what it will take to improve the bottom line in the US marketplace. Until then, buy carefully.

And stay away from manufacturers who try to take away your legal right to go to Court when their cars turn out to be lemons, too (are you listening Hyundai?).

Got a lemon? Call or email us. We know how to squash them. That's what we've been doing since 1978.

Thursday

Cheap Cars and Costly Cars

If you just look at the MSRP, it's pretty easy to figure out what car models are the cheapest ones to buy, according to Bankrate.com, and we think they are right to also consider things like insurance and fuel cost, which together can easily be double the cost of the purchase itself. Still, the list points to one common factor: they're small cars. And the costliest cars? They tend to be the big "luxury" brands from Europe.

Hybrid cars can drive down the overall fuel cost, but price remains the biggest single chunk of the cost of ownership, with fuel cost coming in second if you ignore depreciation (which might not matter if you keep the cars a lot longer than normal anyway).

Later, we'll list the costly cars in this article, but here's the cheap car list, from the cheapest to the not so cheap to own:

1. Honda Fit, whose MSRP is just $13950
MSRP: From $13,950
Taxes and fees: $1,336
Depreciation: $9,172
Finance interest: $2,870
Insurance: $7,021
Fuel cost: $10,297
Maintenance: $2,885
Repairs: $654
Total: $34,235
2. Chevy Aveo, $11460
MSRP: From $11,460
Taxes and fees: $1,183
Depreciation: $8,979
Finance interest: $2,386
Insurance: $7,021
Fuel cost: $10,809
Maintenance: $3,567
Repairs: $713
Total: $34,656
3. Hyundai Accent, $10,775
MSRP: From $10,775
Taxes and fees: $1,215
Depreciation: $9,326
Finance interest: $2,314
Insurance: $7,724
Fuel cost: $10,863
Maintenance: $2,724
Repairs: $569
Total: $34,375

Details for the cars that follow can be seen on the Bankrate.com site by clicking here.

4. Toyota Yaris, $11,550
5. Nissan Versa, $12,990
6. Scion xB, $15,750
7. Pontiac Vibe, $15,310
8. Toyota Corolla, $15,250
9. Kia Rio, $10,890
10. Suzuki SX4, $14,770

On the other hand, if you've got money to burn then it's pretty easy to identify the more common cars that you can spend it on. so here's that list, too:

1. Mercedes CL class
MSRP: From $103,600
Taxes & fees: $11,609
Depreciation: $93,785
Finance interest: $27,323
Insurance: $18,997
Fuel cost: $23,264
Maintenance: $5,988
Repairs: $2,742
TOTAL: $183,707

2. Mercedes S class
MSRP: From $86,700
Taxes & fees: $9,070
Depreciation: $80,842
Finance interest: $23,114
Insurance: $22,930
Fuel cost: $22,827
Maintenance: $5,857
Repairs: $2,541
TOTAL: $167,181

3. Mercedes SL class

MSRP: From $95,900
Taxes & fees: $9,108
Depreciation: $78,633
Finance interest: $23,211
Insurance: $24,182
Fuel cost: $22,844
Maintenance: $5,963
Repairs: $2,793
TOTAL: $166,734

Details for the other money-burners can be seen on Bankrate.com by clicking here.

4. Audi R8, $112,500 (yeah, but a car so cool you can't even find one)
5. BMW Alpina S7, $115,000
6. BMW M6, $100,300
7. BMW M5, $83,900
8. Audi S8, $93,300
9. Mercedes G class, $88,200 (go figure, a dressed up LandRover is what it looks like)
10. Audi A8, $70,690

So, you think that Malibu is a lemon, huh? How would you like to have a Mercedes or BMV or Audi that cost you an arm and a leg and it won't run? And, we've had cases against all three of them.

No matter what you pay for it, your new car or truck should be built right. When it isn't, we can help squash your lemon. After all, that's what we do. Everyday.

Wednesday

Cadillac Charges and Mitsubishi Goes Mousey

One way to measure car manufacturing plans is to count platforms. And when you do that, it looks like Cadillac is planning to charge ahead and Mitsubishi plans to cut back production big time on its Eclipse and Spyder models.

A car's "platform" is the vehicle's basic structure. Think of it as sort of the car frame and several models are usually built off the same platform. That way the manufacturer saves money by building several very different-looking model vehicles that actually are all built on the same frame.

So, the theory goes, when a manufacturer cuts back on the quantity of units of a specific platform it is building, that usually means they plan on cutting back the number of cars being built that use that platform. So, for Mitsubishi, they cut back platform production over half of what was built in the same 6 month period a year ago. But for Cadillac, they upped the CTS-SRX-STS platform production by 151%.

These are the two extremes with lots scattered in between. The results are curious.

Platform cuts include BMW's Z4, Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky, and the PT Cruiser. Platform increases include the Chevy Malibu, Pontiac G6, Saturn Aura, VW Jetta, and the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger.

The Malibu has been a hot seller since its redesign, so that increase is no surprise. Odd, though, is the sharp looking Solstice and Sky cutbacks. The pricey Z4 may not surprise some, but the PT Cruiser has been a long-selling cost effective money-maker for Chrysler. Perhaps the model is just getting tired.

What the numbers show is that the manufacturers are tweaking future production in light of market changes constantly. So, the question is, when are they going to go electric? All these gas sipper changes are only a temporary fix for fuel price issues that will never go away. Many people don't recall the gas production cutbacks imposed by the Middle East that caused gas station lines and high prices back in the mid 1970's. There was a rush to build fuel-sippers to fill a short-term market demand back then, and here we go again.

In the long run, the only way to fix the fuel issue is to start building cars and trucks that simply use less fuel. As for us, frankly higher fuel prices may hurt our pocketbook right now, but the lessons they can teach us for the future can be invaluable, if we only listen better this time around.

Meanwhile, if you've got a lemon you want to get rid of, email or call us today1-888-331-6422 Toll Free . Whether it sips gas or sucks it big time, they ought to build them right in the first place. If your's isn't one of them, we can help you get your money back or a new car for free. Call us now.

Burdge Law Office
www.NewCarLemonLaw.com
Because life is too short to put up with a lemon.


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

Thursday

You Can Tell the Economy Sucks When ---

Even Toyota is feeling the pain from a lousy US auto-industry downturn.

Leasing problems have contributed to some pretty painful profit (or lack of it) numbers in Tokyo, where Toyota Motor Corp. reported a 38.9 percent drop in operating profit. How would you like to take a 39% cut in your pay? Not a good thing for anyone.

Toyota was rising to take over the number one spot from GM for motor vehicle sales and now has been hit by falling vehicle values as it takes back thousands of off-lease cars and trucks that it can't resell for what was the projected lease-end value back in the glory days of leasing. That's a lesson Chrysler already learned the hard way when it announced it was getting out of the leasing business altogether, much to the loudly-voiced dismay of its dealer network, some of whom are reported to have pushed more than 80% of their sales through leasing arrangements. Moody's Investors Service downgraded its ratings of Chrysler LLC further into "junk" status and warned that it might cut it even lower. It's now 7 levels below what Moody's calls "investment" grade. I don't know what that means, but it doesn't sound good.

But it's not just leasing numbers that is hurting Toyota. Even the normally hot-selling and gas-sipping Prius sales are slipping (3.9% through July compared with the same period of 2007). That's a sign that the dismal economy in general is hurting Toyota sales beyond the luxury and low-mpg vehicle lines.

Still, the numbers aren't as bad as GM, where they took a $2 billion painful hit in the first quarter at the same time Ford was writing $2.1 billion off its books.

But don't fret for Toyota. Their profit was still at a hefty $3.93 billion, according to Automotive News reports released Aug. 7, on a revenue of $59.2 billion. To help cope with the fallilng numbers, Toyota cut its sales target by 200,000 units while the Toyota corporate suits said the North American market was in a "challenging situation" right now. Yeah, right. No kidding, guys.

If you can avoid buying a new car, you might be better off keeping that money in your pocket for now. And if your dealer is giving you the run around on repairs, now's the time to be careful.

Got a lemon and can't get satisfaction? Call or email us right now. The economy may be tough but we can help you out.