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Home  /  July 2020  /  Comment

You ask, we deliver.

You’ve been asking (well, sending abusive emails) why have we stopped shining a light on the carmakers ripping off wood ducks. Well, as in every corporate response to a COVID-19 stuff-up, we’re blaming you.

Yup, you clearly haven’t been driving enough in this time of the coronavirus that has its ecological origin in bats in the Rhinolophus genus but is also related to the viruses found in dromedary camels (no point in asking one hump or two?) for the usual poor-quality manufacture to show up and then have the maker’s service staff dole out the regular poor treatment of consumers that led to Rocket Rod Sim’s ACCC taking whatever action it can (but don’t hope for much help on an individual basis or from your state Civil & Administrative Tribunal).

But then like a bolt of lightning from the sky (or in the case of Usain and daughter named Olympia Lightning Bolt) came reader Gordon from Queensland who, wait for it, has a problem with his 2019 Mazda CX-5 Diesel. Be still my beating heart.

As the 15 regular readers (one of whom is my eldest son, as opposed to the two daughters and youngest son who have yet to find out that I have been appearing on the John Durie section of this glorious paper and multimedia platform for the past 15 years) and one friend know, from September 2017 I have been warning the buying public not to drive or buy a Mazda CX-5 because of both safety (ie: you and your family could die) and cost issues.

Now before you send me more emails about the great experience you have had with your CX-5 and my apparent hatred of the good folk at Mazda (a shout out to all at Global HQ: 3-1 Shinchi, Fuchu-cho, Aki-gun, Hiroshima, particularly chairman Masamichi Kogai (65) and our own local CEO Vinesh Bhindi, currently under lockdown in Melbourne) let me just point out I currently race (unsuccessfully) a Mazda, have owned a Mazda BT50 which I loved and some of my best friends are Mazda owners. But the CX-5 has a drive shaft disengagement problems and oil accumulating in the sump issues.

Now Mazda first deal with any problems by telling their dealers to say: “We’ve never seen these problems before.” Then, if you persist, the dealer will say: ‘‘Mazda are providing engine replacements outside warranty where there are problems like yours.”

Then if you say that’s not a solution, like reader Gordon did, the dealer will tell you: ‘‘Ring Mazda customer service.” You will ring them and be told after two weeks that ‘‘the engine was running to specifications and your request for refund or replacement is denied’’.

Gordon takes up the story from here. “I then wrote to ACCC, who advised me that they only dealt with “broad national issues”, another way of saying that they have not bothered to read my complaint, which made clear that Mazda have been selling defective diesel engines since 2012 and fix them, as required by Australian consumer law, only when they have no other alternatives.”

I have read many writers’ views: that ACCC are ‘‘time-wasting navel-gazers’’, ‘‘lazy incompetents’’ and ‘‘have trouble aligning the buttons on their cardigans”.

Tell us what you really think Gordon.

If then you contact a motoring writer for help the journalist will contact Mazda PR operative Sonia Singh who will say: “Mazda does not comment publicly on matters relating to its customers.”

Over the past few years I have tried really hard to do something about this.

Dealers tell me they are embarrassed by what head office tells them to do and service staff will often apologise to owners for Mazda’s appalling behaviour. OK Gordon and others, over the next few months we’ll step up the campaign and see what we can do for you.

In other big news, Hamo didn’t win the Austrian GP but came second only to be moved down two places when he gave Red Bull’s Alex Albon’s car another shove. It was a great first race for the season. Only 11 finishers, only some drivers taking the knee with Hamo and most teams suffering from the enforced rest over the last few months. It’s all on again tomorrow with Hamo a sure thing this time.

Look if you want a really bulletproof car sign up to Worldwide Auctions September 5 COVID-free bid-fest.

Worldwide’s Jo Snyder is as excited as me to let loose that three of the celebrated stainless-steel cars built for Allegheny Ludlum Inc. (the biggest US maker of stainless) will go under the hammer.

In 1935, Ford and Allegheny made a solid stainless-steel car, a Deluxe Sedan, to showcase the extreme durability and aesthetic appeal of the new material. The two later got together to make a 1960 Thunderbird and 1967 Lincoln Continental Convertible.

All the cars were well used and are in perfect condition, particularly the stainless-steel exhausts. Don’t be put off by the fact that John DeLorean’s DMC DeLorean had stainless body parts, just buy them because you never have to paint them.

Talking of Toorak Tractors, Townsville Taxis, Double Bay Discos and Leeton Landies: isn’t it time you took your four-wheel driver on the track?

Look you probably are the gun at mud, boulders, bogs and blinding dust but what about how to safely drive it at speed? Well if you live in NSW, the NT or Queensland (if you live in Victoria, you’re stuffed, if you live in South Australia that’s a pity, if you live in WA good luck and one day Tassie will join the mainland) our very own Phil Alexander (who took a Mazda RX-7 to ninth at the Nurburgring) will teach you all you need to know or just hoon (safely) around Wakefield Park on August 16, for just $395 for the day (diesel only, strict 75db noise limit-standard exhaust).

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