Monthly Archives: June 2012

Chevy Cruze Recalled — Twice

General Motors has finally relented to demands that they take a closer look at their Chevy Cruze and is now recalling more than 450,000 of them. All the Cruze vehicles which have been recalled are based in the United States and Canada. GM says it plans to modify parts that could cause fires in the engine compartment (something buyers have said has been happening.)

Nothing can ruin your Sunday drive like a fire in the engine compartment.

The second recall GM announced for the Chevy Cruze only involves about 61,000 Cruzes that may have problems with welds in the rear of the vehicles. Another problem with your Sunday drive might be the rear end breaking loose and cruising past you on the highway. Not that that has happened, but faulty welds can produce all manner of problems for vehicle owners and drivers.

The worst part of the story for GM (beside needing to recall almost half a million vehicles) is the fact that the Cruze is their second-best selling vehicle and has been touted by the company as a symbol of their resurgence as one of the world’s premier automobile manufacturers. Problems with the Cruze aside, it has proven to be popular with new car buyers who like it because it is sporty, futuristic and gets decent gas mileage.

Unfortunately, engine compartment fires and poor welds on the rear end are a different story. These are serious issues which owners are hoping the company can fix. The company hopes these problems do not set them back on their track toward continued success, but much of that will depend on how well they fix the problems for current owners and whether or not the problems with the Cruze line spread to other vehicles meaning it is a sign that their manufacturing and design process has further problems somewhere else.

Rental Car Companies Don’t Want To Fix What’s Broken

Safety advocates in Washington D.C. are reporting that three of the four major rental car companies in the United States are refusing to promise that they will not rent or sell vehicles which are defective or under recall. Only Hertz agreed to sign the pledge while Enterprise, Avis and Dollar Thrifty refused it outright saying they preferred to leave the matter up to consumers.

This is bad news for consumers and bad news for an industry which has come under increasing scrutiny following several major automobile recalls and an increasing number of consumer complaints. California Senator Barbara Boxer has been working with the four major rental companies (together they control more than 90 percent of the rental car market) to get them to simply agree they won’t rent or sell cars known to be defective. So far her efforts have been met with stiff resistance as three of the four major rental car companies jockey for position, trying to demonstrate they have the consumers’ best interests at heart.

However, refusing to commit to NOT selling or renting cars which are in need of repair or under recall seems like a far cry from having the consumers best interests at heart. In fact, it seems just the opposite.

Hertz was ready and willing to agree to the pledge as laid out by Boxer’s office, citing their responsibility to the consumers who rely on them to provide the very best service possible. This would seem like a no-brainer to most people who rely on customers to keep themselves in business, but apparently the major car rental companies have something else in mind.

For the consumer the solution seems obvious when it comes to renting a car which they know is not currently under recall nor in need of repair. How the other three car rental companies fare in this new business environment is much less obvious.

Classic Cars For Love And Money

Classic cars have been, still are and likely will remain a passion for a great number of automobile enthusiasts. The reasons for their hobby are varied. Some owners enjoy the design of specific models, others prefer certain model years for reasons of nostalgia while some, although just a select few, collect these cars because they have value.

Classic cars have been popular for more than half a century, although they have definitely increased in popularity the last few decades. Classic car shows abound, with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of classic car enthusiasts gathering at fairgrounds, parking lots or anywhere with space enough to host them to show off their vehicles, compete for awards (such as “Best in Show”) and basically talk shop.

The idea of purchasing a classic car as a future investment is not common among these classic car owners, however, but it does exist. Many of these cars, once they have been restored, have values several times higher than when they were new. Some cases classic cars are selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars because of their scarcity, while others sell for a few thousand dollars because although restored they are fairly common, meaning they retain their popularity and are not difficult to find and restore.

For the most part, however, these classic car collectors choose vehicles that hold special significance for them. Perhaps it was a favorite vehicle from their childhood, or the same car their grandfather owner. They buy them, restore and cherish them. The idea of selling their classic car at some future date “when the price is right” never crosses their mind because they love their car. It is something closer to a favorite pet, not an inanimate object. The very idea of selling it one day is abhorrent to them.

So, regardless of why they buy their classic cars it is a good bet that they plan to keep it for a long, long time.