Statistics released by Choice have revealed that two-thirds of new car buyers find faults with their motor within the first 5 years of ownership. As if this wasn’t bad enough, research also suggests that one in six of these consumers have to sign a confidentiality agreement in order for the manufacturer to fix or replace the vehicle.
If you feel that you or someone you know is in the same situation and could be saving money instead of repairing a faulty car, maybe it’s time you go back to the manufacturer. National consumer laws will be reviewed and changed this year and we want to know what is being done to protect consumers money in situations like this and what faults classify your car as a ‘lemon car’.
Choice looks at a wide variety of products and hasn’t seen this high level of faults in any other product it assess. Their research also suggests a staggering one out of six problems meant the car was un-driveable. The major culprits were Bluetooth as well as electrics and batteries. Along these newer faults lie the traditional ones e.g. brakes, engine etc. with 14% of new cars having major issues in these areas. The report by Choice looked at data from between January 2011 to January 2016.
The Queensland Government for example have been holding an enquiry into defective vehicles and as a result is pushing for stronger national laws. The ‘lemon law’ they are asking for would result in a seller having to offer a replacement car after a limited number of failed repair attempts.
Toyota within the Choice report had 50% of its cars reported with faults, whilst Mazda, Choice’s recommended vehicle had slightly lower rates of 44%. Below is an image of the manufacturers with the worst record to date with ‘lemon cars’.
The worst piece of information that I learnt from this entire ‘lemon car’ issue is that the majority of people who didn’t receive repairs or returns on their faulty vehicles were women, who at times were even denied a resolution.
If you find yourself in this situation always return to the source e.g. your dealer to complain and if they try to ignore you until after your warranty period as some dealerships have, get serious and escalate it to manufacturer level.
The cost implications as per the Choice report stated that Australian new car owners spent roughly $860 and 31 hours of their time trying to resolve these issues. Beyond the direct cost of repairing the vehicle, most owners also incurred costs of a further $440 in lost wages from having to miss work. This means that the total amount you could lose for buying a dodgy car is a further $1,300, with little evidence to suggest that you will get the problem resolved hassle free.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
If you are scared to buy a new car fearing what might prove to be a big waste of hard earned cash then you will be happy to know that in 2018, Australian motorists across the country will most likely be able to bypass dealers and import cars from overseas. In February this year the Federal Government announced that parallel imports of new cars are part of its plan to change the Motor Vehicle Act. There will be strict requirements of course, but as long as your intended vehicle adheres, you can import new or second hand cars and motorcycles from certain foreign markets. The import criteria is as below:
- Right hand drive.
- Less than 12 months old.
- Less than 500 kilometres on odometer.
- Initially sourced from Japan or United Kingdom.
This offers consumers in all areas to save money, because this now providers the Australian consumer with hybrid car options which are considered too niche for Australian importers. It allows enthusiasts to get their hands on cars such as the Subaru WRX STi S207 or the Nissan GT-R Nismo.
Luxury car buyers will also have the chance to save a tonne of money. The Porsche 911 Turbo in Japan costs $161,000, whilst in the UK $156,000 brand new. Compare that to Australia’s starting price of $217,800 there’s over $50,000 in saving to be had or over $100,000 with the Mercedes-AMG GT, which is $315,000 in Oz compared to $199,000 in UK.