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Record Car Sales – Record Lemons?

  Norman Taylor & Associates
  May 26, 2022

A recent article (click here to read) tells us that 2015 was yet again another banner year for auto sales. In fact, it represents a record for consecutive years of increased auto sales. Although the article doesn’t mention it, this record of successive years of increased auto sales was easier to achieve for the simple reason that 2009 or 2010 was the lowest auto sales since World War II. That’s right, the recession that hit us then hurt consumer confidence so much, very few people were willing to buy new autos – and hence the car sales crash. Although Norman Taylor & Associates does more than just represent buyers of lemon vehicles, this part of our practice felt the impact of that crash.

Inversely, we are now seeing the effects of record auto sales. In my 29 years of expertise in the area of “lemon law” I’ve seen the ebbs and flows of lemons as they reach the market. It stands to reason that the greater volume of autos sold means that more lemons will hit the road. It is a statistical certainty, and no manufacturer is immune from making a lemon now and then. The lack of quality factor plagues auto manufacturers from time to time, as we have all seen on the news most recently with VW, Ford, Toyota etc. that adds to the increase in the lemon numbers. As an example, Jeep had a horrendous transmission problem in the mid 90’s. We had many of those cases. In the early 2000’s BMW had a plethora of computer defects that they foisted on their public creating all kinds of operational problems. We had many of those cases. Today, as an example, Ford Motor Company has two major problems they have unleashed on their buyers which have affected many thousands of consumers – the MyFord Touch system and the transmission manufactured in their Focus and Fiesta models.

In 1989, the Center for Auto Safety in Washington D.C. put out a publication indicating that 1 in every 10 autos manufactured were lemons. This was a staggering figure! If this were still true today, California would have 200,000 lemons on the road just from sales in 2015 alone, which were slightly over 2 million. It is very difficult to measure just how many lemons are put on the road by manufacturers cumulatively these days because they are very tight-lipped about how many vehicles they buy back, or how many major complaints they receive from customers, or how many secret fixes their engineers are working on to remedy what could become an expensive recall. In sum they are tight-lipped about bad products they put on the road – knowingly. Yes, knowingly. In some instances, as litigation has proven in the past, some manufacturers’ bean counters determine the cost of doing business where they put out something that is sub-par or even life threatening versus spending enough money to get it right. That is tantamount to Russian roulette with consumer lives.

While we should all marvel at the advancements of technology, and applaud our auto manufacturer engineers for how they have improved everyone’s standard of living, it cannot and should not be at the expense of our safety, the value of our hard earned money and ability to use the product we purchased. That’s what we do here at Norman Taylor & Associates – we remind manufacturers that they must uphold the implicit promise with each sale that we can use their product, it has the value
we paid for it and is safe to drive.

If you are saddled with a lemon, or if you know someone who is, kindly refer them to Norman Taylor & Associates. Serving consumers for 29 years.

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