Is This a Ford Design Defect or Fair Wear & Tear?

QUESTION

 

(Via Twitter) @cadoges: In relation to your latest Volkswagen post, Ford Australia has a similar culture of denial surrounding customer service. Ford Falcon SR '08. Driver's seat plastic trim cracked. Very common. 100mm crack after only 20,000km. Outside warranty. Paid $114 to replace. Cracked again after 2000km/9 months. They say 'wear and tear'. Contacted Ford head office. They don't want to know.They say dealer is their 'eyes'. E-mailed service manager twice. No reply.

@Martin_Sanna (over several tweets)


ANSWER

 

Hi Martin, 

In my book (and I used to be an engineer) that's a textbook design defect. If something becomes defective over, and over, and over, and it's happening to a lot of vehicles, and they're not being abused, it's not wear and tear; it's a design defect. 

Face facts, the top 10 car makers all kick the tin (about $250k each) to have independent ratings agency ACNeilsen rate the reliability of their product. Ford and Holden are always down the bottom. Their cars are the least reliable. Volkswagen are also crap, comparatively. Full report on those findings are here.

Above: Defect, defect, defect, defect, defect, defect, defect, defect ... check. Another Falcon leaves the Ford factory (until 2016) - with all the quality assurance we've come to expect

Above: Defect, defect, defect, defect, defect, defect, defect, defect ... check. Another Falcon leaves the Ford factory (until 2016) - with all the quality assurance we've come to expect

These findings are supposed to be confidential - in fact the car companies sign mutually binding nondisclosure agreements so that the findings can be used only internally. The report above breached that agreement when it was leaked to Drive. 

 This story from Drive on reliability might also be of interest.

Bottom line: This is a $114 piece of plastic? What do you suppose it really costs to make? One dollar seems reasonable? So those arseholes at Ford are not only lying about defective design (by telling you it's wear and tear) - they are also happy to rip you off blind charging you an unconscionably high amount to fix it. That's a double-whammy of bastardry right there.  The consumer equivalent of being bent over without lubricant, and not even getting a reach-around.

And they expect you to back up and buy another Falcon? WTF? 

Better Options

Hyundai Santa Fe - same price as a Falcon; two more years warranty (plus unlimited kays). Hi-tech diesel power. More reliable. Better built. Just as safe. Better value

Hyundai Santa Fe - same price as a Falcon; two more years warranty (plus unlimited kays). Hi-tech diesel power. More reliable. Better built. Just as safe. Better value

Kia Optima - everything I just said about the Santa Fe (left) ... only it's a car

Kia Optima - everything I just said about the Santa Fe (left) ... only it's a car

 

 

Customers get turned away via exactly this kind of entrenched arsehole-ness (if that's a word). Extreme arrogance courses through the veins of both Ford and GM Holden. (They can't understand why you wouldn't buy another car ... just because they've been violating you. Really. They can't. It's a kind of corporate sociopathy.) In Ford's case, teetering on the brink of bankruptcy in 2009 wasn't enough to make it change its tune. Going bankrupt didn't disrupt GM's incredible sense of hubris either.  Customers? Who cares about them?

Yet customers get turned away. Then the factory has to close. Join the dots, Ford. Holden will close as well. Guaranteed. The one thing you never hear those fools say is that they made mistakes. (Almost like Federal Labour.)  And what they don't say actually tells you a lot.

Ford needs to realise there's no bottomless pit of customers to replace the ones they piss off.

Ford, Holden and Volkswagen are all 'Don't Buy' recommendations in my book. To turn that around, they'll need to make fundamental philosophical change. Hell will doubtless freeze over first. 

Sincerely,

JC

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