Lauren is a senior ICU nurse at a Melbourne Hospital.
Intensive Care Units are not for sick people. They’re for people teetering on the edge between life and death with a tendency to the death side. All the gang in the medical caper are heroes and heroines but the teams in ICUs around this virus-ridden country of ours are right up there and on the front line of keeping COVID-19 victims ready to do a Boris with all the risks to their own health.
Lauren has to drive the 70km from her home to the hospital and back at all hours of the night and day. In the place where if you have a go, you get a go and where we’re all part of Team Australia, clearly Mazda didn’t get the email. Seventeen readers (been a surge with the old bloke giving out free subscriptions with every BMW service at the Global HQ of the Weekend Australian Racing Team and temple to nude royal family — except one, we’re looking at you Andrew — portraiture) and friend, you won’t be completely shocked to hear Mazda won’t reimburse the purchase cost of her 2013 Mazda 6 diesel station wagon or replace the vehicle following repeated failures, going into limp mode on and off freeways over the past 12 months. The dealership and Mazda Australia replaced the engine at no charge in February 2019.
“Since then the vehicle,” father-in-law Andrew writes, “has failed on six occasions, necessitating return to the service department at considerable inconvenience and expense. They have been unable to identify and fix the problem in a timely manner, having replaced the turbo sensor last Friday, road tested for 90km on Monday and, according to the service manager, things looking OK, more problems have arisen.
“The vehicle has had three further fault episodes since September last year requiring return trips to the dealership service department. The most recent occurred last Sunday! Fortunately, the vehicle did not go into ‘limp mode’ at that time,” Andrew said this week.
Of course, Lauren went to the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal in September last year and aren’t they right on the job. The hearing about Lauren, the ICU senior nurse who has to risk her life not only when she’s on the tools (ventilators and resuscitator bags) but on the drive to and from the place where medical miracles happen, and Mazda, the manufacturer (cheerio call to chairman Masamichi Kogai and our own local CEO, Vinesh Bhindi, currently under lockdown in Melbourne), is on in September.
Lauren has had the “amazing” Iain Robilliard (our go-to independent engineer) on her side, but no doubt our friends at the Japanese car company will have their usual legal team cunningly hidden around the room.
Look, as we’ll see over the coming weeks, Mazda is the worst of the bunch, but there’s plenty of carmakers passing off dangerous lemons as the dream Zoom Zoom (or in this case Doom Doom). But, even this cynical, seen-it-all correspondent of yours has to say, trying to screw an ICU nurse (pay around $60k a year) ranks among the smelliest examples of corporate greed for a very long time.
Hopefully, sometime this year we will see the ACCC and Mazda court case play out. Rocket Rod’s ACCC will have Vinesh Bhindi’s outfit in front of the beak over allegations it denied customers with serious vehicle issues their legal rights under Australian Consumer Law.
Rod alleges the 10 owners began experiencing faults with their vehicles within two years of purchase between 2013 and 2017. These faults allegedly included unexpected power loss and deceleration while being driven and resulted in repeated visits to Mazda dealers for repairs including multiple engine replacements. One vehicle was off the road for four months within a six-month period, the ACCC claims.
All cases like these normally settle. Let’s hope this one doesn’t.
Talking of lemons, the Yank regulators have ordered a recall of Chrysler Town and Countrys and Dodge Caravans and Nitros because the brand emblem and securing nuts may be projectiles.
Talking of incredibly beautiful cars, in 1987 Adelaide collector, racer and generally serious all around person Graham Sharley decided to build a replica of the 1955 Grand Prix Mercedes-Benz W-196, a type designed by brilliant factory engineer/driver Rudolf Uhlenhaut, made famous by Juan Manuel Fangio, whose teammates included the late old mate Stirling Moss.
Built by a big team of top engineers with the svelte curves of the lightweight magnesium/aluminium body, it was crafted over a year by master fabricator Graham Smith of Bellbrae Paint & Panel.
A real one of these went for about $35m seven years ago, but none of us here have a way to value this very usable masterpiece. Tony Parkinson at Penny’s Hill Wines is handling the sale. My guess is it’s probably faster than the current Fezzers that were both lapped by Hamo last week.
Now I want you to spare a thought for the Sultan of Stepney, the King of Kensi, the person so good they named him twice, Michael McMichael. As you know, Mick has put a lot of time and effort into developing the TV show based on this column. It was to feature all the team here including the Casanova of the south coast, the woke Moke-driving Mark Southcott, the motorcycle riding temporary Australian John Lethlean, and our own big boss who once drove a Ford Zephyr across Europe. But in one swoop, Patrick Delaney, CEO of our own Foxtel (watch all the F1 action on Kayo) dashed his hopes: “Who wants to see drunk old codgers talking about old cars and Mokes on TV?”
But Mick has bounced back. In an exclusive interview on the phone from the Kensi’s front bar, Mick said: “Forget about TV, that’s old media. We’re going to become social media influencers. All you do is talk about, say, driving the new Feezer Roma or Mark’s Moke that was also used as a cage for great white shark diving in South Australia and whooska the dollars flood in. I just have to figure out how to get on the Google”.
Finally, apologies for being slow on answering your emails. For some inexplicable reason 17 of you have generated hundreds which are taking a while to read.