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The Future of California Lemon Law

  Norman Taylor & Associates
  August 31, 2011

Don’t panic, the Song Beverly Act, California’s Lemon Law, is not going anywhere soon. As far as the future, it depends of how far forward you are willing to look. Twenty five years from now the number of Lemon Law cases could be 75% of what there are today. There are a number of reasons why Lemon Law cases could be much less in the future. Two of the reasons that stand out are statistics and technology.

Let’s look at the numbers first. Depending on whose data you use, modern automobiles may have as many as 15,000 components. Some experts say less, some more. It depends a lot on who does the counting. There are those who don’t count the components inside of sealed units. We favor the idea that any component that can fail, whether it is inside a sealed module or not, should be counted.

For example: Some of the components inside one of the many control computers have components so small they aren’t visible except with a good microscope. Nonetheless, the failure of one such component may render the whole computer defective. Therefore, regardless of the size of a component we think it must be counted. Remember, when it comes to the lemon law, it’s all about the defects. It isn’t unusual for a modern automobile to have 40 or 50 computers all connected together by a network – more components.

Suppose you reduced the number of components by one half or more. Statistically that would be 50% fewer chances for a failure. That’s one possibility.

Like it or not, we are rapidly approaching a time when our cars will be either partly or wholly electric. If you remove the reciprocating engine (what most cars have now) from a car, you will have reduced some of the causes for lemon law cases that occur now. Without a gas or diesel engine the transmission also will be much less complex. For a number of reasons the push toward battery operated automobiles and trucks is underway, and no amount of corporate foot-dragging by those who have an interest in engines driven by fossil fuels, is going to prevent it from happening. Practically everyday companies are forming whose products are the result of discoveries made at the many university laboratories working on battery technologies alone. The real question is how many more components would be needed for this technology?

Will it take twenty five years for these companies to make batteries that will drive a car 300 miles or more on one charge? Doubtful: It would be very surprising if it took ten years, however the change over will probably take longer. It will happen here in the United States first, and in Europe probably at the same time. Here we have the most restrictions on energy. It really doesn’t matter if we have ample reserves of oil and gas, restrictions on acquisition and use will prevail. Countries like China and India have no such restrictions.

It is as we said a numbers (statistics) game. Fewer components equal fewer failures; direct correlation. It shouldn’t be surprising if warranties also are longer. As far as the Lemon Law is concerned, statistics still come into play. The larger the number of any product manufactured the greater the chance that some of them will be defective. Some of these defects, just like the problems that occur today, will be unrepairable and people will need our help seeking the remedies allowed under the California lemon law. Norman Taylor & Associates will be here ready to help as long as we are needed.

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