When poor quality effects the consumer, checks are warranted

Underscoring the value of the motor industry is essential, explains journalist, Iain Robertson, not least because of its status as a major employer but also because of the reliance we place on transport for our personal mobility.

In much the same way as we will justify the choices that we make in respect of the cars that we drive, when they let us down, or start to cost a lot more than was ever intended, the hollow ring of doubt can become ear-piercing. Of course, there are innumerable valid reasons for a lump of metal, plastic and glass that is asked to start and stop at will, that must accelerate like a scalded cat on demand and yet be parked outdoors in all weathers, just awaiting the next assault, to fail when least expected.

When our cars let us down, the Basil Fawlty moments occur and, while the majority of us will not seek out a branch of wood, with which to thrash the poor thing, the metaphorical influences exist. However, there are many motoring factors that can influence and play on our minds and a recent survey, carried out by vehicle leasing specialist, OSV Ltd, highlighted some of them.

It is worth pointing out that around 40% of the British car-buying public raise zero complaints about their motorcars…but a 60% ‘fail-rate’ suggests that something is amiss in the car scene. The following are some of the key consumer regrets:

1. Buying ‘unreliability’
A sizeable 20.8% of the customers surveyed had regrets about their car-buying decision, because it had not been as reliable as they had expected. Although unspecified, the problems range from electric windows not closing and central locking being inoperable, to engine, or transmission breakdowns. The complaints were reported on cars from new, up to four years of age.

2. High running costs
Stated as 12.6%, those people had discovered that the actual running costs of their cars were significantly more than had been anticipated and even exceeded their initial budgets. While some of the complaints can be levelled at unexpected rises in the cost of living, the legally quoted MPG figures are often a country-mile greater than the user recorded fuel returns. It is a situation that is being remedied at present and a more realistic range of statutory results will soon be introduced.

3. Paying over the odds
9.4% of motorists felt that they were ripped off, when buying their cars new, or used. It is understandable, when car manufacturers promote the models as being ‘priced from’, when the act of personalisation can add up to 50% increase to the invoice bottom-line, a factor at which German carmakers are highly adept. Yet, when some manufacturers can create BOGOF deals for their business customers, yet the private buyer struggles to obtain a free set of car mats, it is an understandable complaint.

4. Depreciation
No less than 9.2% of the survey respondents said that they were utterly dismayed with the falling residual values of their cars. The UK car market is almost unique in that it has a motor trade to deal with and the trade sets values. The most recent casualties tend to be any Volkswagen Group products, which have been marked down in a wholesale manner, in the wake of the exhaust emissions debacle. However, the overall position has not been helped by the vast number of people acquiring vehicles on PCPs and private lease programmes that have been underwritten initially by the carmakers.

5. Colour
While discussion about colour can harbour racist overtones, a modest 3.8% of car buyers stated that they regretted buying a certain colour of vehicle. Some of the problem lies in the artificial light of new car showrooms. What appears glistening might not always be gold.

Naturally, quality issues also lie behind many of the stated problems and, ISQA possesses enormous experience in the field of automotive Quality Assurance, from which its various clients have benefited immensely over the years. Quality of the right sort applies as much to consumer feedback and its presentation as the engineering of production items, rest assured that taking stock of quality remains central to what the company delivers today and its impact in the future.

‘Make Quality Count!’

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