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Monday, March 02, 2009 

Yeah, it's got a Hemi.

And that's all it's got.

In December of '05, Tim bought a 2005 Dodge Magnum brand new, but not before doing tons of research. He checked out every available source of information on every imaginable detail of the vehicles he was interested in. He wanted something semi badass that would perform but get decent gas mileage. It had to look cool, it had to be American, and it had to be big. Dodge claimed that the Magnum had 340 horsepower and 390 lb ft. of torque, which is impressive when you consider that it was also supposed to get 25 mpg hwy and 17 city. It also came with a 7 year 70,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty, according to the dealer. The base price was about $30,000, but you couldn't find a "base" model. Everything on the dealers' lots had the bells and whistles: navigation system, leather, etc., and they were priced somewhere in the neighborhood of $34,000, if memory serves.

Tim hemmed and hawed so long that by the time he settled on the Magnum, it was the end of the model year. He started shopping at dealers in Mississippi and Louisiana, but most of them wouldn't come off the price of a 2005 even though the 2006's were setting on the lot already. He finally found a dealer in West Point, MS who had the exact car he wanted and agreed to sell it for $28,000. They made a deal over the phone and Tim drove to West Point the next day to pick it up.

In the first year alone, the car was in the shop two or three times. There has never been a major problem, but tons of smaller ones. The navigation system stopped working, the transmission started puking fluid, the air conditioner quit, and it turned out that the tires were defective; they wore out at 8,000 miles. The nav system, transmission problem, and a/c were all covered under warranty, and we were invited to join a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer of the tires. On top of that, the car got nowhere near the promised gas mileage, and we would know because Tim tracks it obsessively and calculates the mpg at every fill up. The best he has ever gotten was 20 mpg, and that was on the highway under perfect conditions. It was after a drive from here to Memphis with the cruise control set. Forget the mileage in the city-- it's as low as 12 sometimes, but usually averages around 16. It's hit 17 a few times.

Last week, the speedometer quit working. We also noticed that the back windows were slow to roll up, which makes no friggin' sense because they've probably not been rolled down a dozen times total. Tim took it to the dealer and dropped it off, thinking it should still be under warranty. The dealer he bought it from told him the warranty was good for 7 years of 70k miles. Turns out that too was a lie; the warranty was only for 3 years or 30k miles. It has 31k miles on it, and turned 3 years old in December. The dealer also told us it would be $752 to replace the speedometer, $300+ to fix the window motors, and that it needed a tuneup-- to the tune of another $400. The total was almost $1600 for shit that A) should've been covered by warranty and B) shouldn't have been broken in the first damn place.

When Tim first called the dealer, they told him it would be a week before they could even look at the car. Then after they called with the prognosis, the asshole literally laughed at him when he said it should be under warranty. Tim said, "So you think that shit's funny? Park my car and don't turn a wrench on it. I'm coming to get it." The dude said fine and hung up.

What a bunch of fuckshits! No wonder Chrysler is going under! When someone comes to you to spend $30,000, you can't lie to them about what they're getting and what they can expect of it, then tell them to fuck off when they show up with a problem. You NEVER hear about these sorts of problems with Toyota or Honda or other foreign cars.

As a last resort, Tim called a Chrysler complaint line. At first, the guy told him there was nothing he could do since the car wasn't under warranty. Tim asked him if he thought it was okay that he's had all these problems with the car, discovered that he's been lied to multiple times, and that he was now being told to piss off. The guy said that wasn't his judgment call to make. If it had been me on the phone, I would've told him my thoughts on Chrysler going under.

The guy finally said he'd call the dealer and see what he could do. We expected another response of the "fuck off" variety, but the dealer called back and said that if we paid up front for the repairs of the windows and the speedometer, Chrysler would send us a check for $1,000. We told them to go ahead and do the repairs, but my fear is that this too is another lie. We'll see if the check comes in the mail, but I'm skeptical.

Either way, we're done with Chrysler. And if they go under, it's because they earned it. Good riddance. Next time we buy a car, we won't sacrifice quality for loyalty.

And folks wonder why so many people buy foreign cars. It infuriates me that our tax money is going to subsidize (among oh, so many things) Crysler and GM because they're unionized, even though they make a crappy product.

My brother won't buy anything but a Honda Accord - usually gets one that has 100,000+ miles on it and keeps it 'til it has about 300,000, then gets another. My husband bought Ford trucks for over twenty years, then finally saw the light this last time and got a Toyota truck. The last three autos I've bought have been Hondas, and I haven't had a minute's trouble out of any of them.

When the US automakers start making cars that can claim the same quality, I'll be glad to switch.

Maybe you can check into the "Lemon Law."

What a nightmare!! We bought a brand new 2002 Saturn L300 to tow behind our motorhome. We had heard how good the cars were and the service departments.... we had a lot of little stuff happen all the time and it seemed like it was in the shop every week. The biggie was our alignment - it kept wearing out tires. Saturn did adjustments - put 2 new sets of cheap tires on - put a more expensive set of tires and still the problem persisted. My husband told them to give him free tires for life since they couldn't seem to fix the car and they said "no" so we sued them under the lemon law in CA and got all our money back!! Over $15,000. that we had paid them for 3 years and we bought a new Ford Focus for cash. We haven't had any trouble out of that car but I would have gone Honda or Toyota if they could be towed 4 wheels on the ground without a lot of work.

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