Lucky you. It’s the car consumer’s friend here fighting for truth, justice and The Weekend Australian way. But, don’t worry, we will still look at Max Emilian Verstappen’s surprise win at Red Bull Ring last Sunday, and why Hamo, Dano and Valo didn’t even finish. There’s also a special investigation into the Coopers Beer Ambassadors at today’s Adelaide Beer & BBQ Festival, and we ask the big questions, such as: “Is this just a ploy to divert attention from the Kensington Hotel’s South Australian Living Artists Festival?”
Now I know finding out that the Kensi is not only hosting an art exhibition but is serving Kilikanoon Wines and canapes on the opening night just like real galleries do is like finding out that Dr John Harvey Kellogg invented Cornflakes to minimise excitement, sexual arousal, and masturbation. He really was against serial sex. (Sorry.)
But you know the Kensi has the Royal Warrant as official supplier of battered barramundi, chips, garden salad and aioli ($23) to Harry and Meghan. And Michael McMichael has another Royal Warrant as official supplier of BMW servicing and nude portraits to all of the Windsor family past, present and future so it should come as no surprise that Kensi’s owners, former chalkie turned publican Peter Hurley and business and life partner Jenny, have decided to move into the art caper. Sources close to the liquor industry (the bar person at the Kensi) tell me because Michael is the pub’s biggest customer, that creates a conflict of interest and none of his paintings can decorate the Kings Room or the Corner Bar. Well that’s some good news.
Anyway, last year, ACCC boss Rocket Rod Sims put the car industry on notice about how badly it treated car buyers. In particular Rod said “the ACCC is concerned about other potential Australian Consumer Law compliance issues in the new car retailing industry. This includes statements provided in logbooks and service manuals prepared by some car manufacturers that are likely to mislead new-car buyers about their consumer guarantees when it comes to servicing and repairing their car”. Far be it from me to put words in your mouth Rod but what you’re saying is people don’t have to get their new car serviced by the dealer that sold it to them. They can get someone like Michael McMichael Motors or David Dye’s Perth 3MW to do it, probably cheaper and better.
Because servicing has the highest margins in a dealership (64 per cent on service, 21 per cent on parts and 7 per cent of new car sales), dealers desperately want your business. Of course, they also want to avoid paying for anything themselves, which is why Rod tells the story of a woman whose new car was having transmission problems. The dealer blamed her driving style and told her to drive “more like a man”. It’s why Mazda has consistently denied there is a dangerous problem with the drive system on the CX-5. Until recently, Mazda service managers told owners “this is the first time we’ve seen this problem”. A few owners have been told lately that it’s an engine-mapping problem. In the US, some Mazda dealers are actually replacing the transmissions on CX-5s. Well there goes the “we’ve never seen this problem before” story.
But despite Rod’s warning, at least one factory-owned Porsche dealer has been warning its new car buyers that if they don’t service the car, there will be no warranty. And TV host and 4x4 magazine publisher Pat Callinan has been doing a bit of ACCC-type investigations himself. In the current issue Pat reveals that Ford has recalled 73,000 Rangers and Mazda 20,000 BT-50s, for catching fire. Pat also tells us that Clayfield LNP member Tim Nicholls said Australian 4WD Hire was allegedly running a scam charging customers unreasonably high amounts when the vehicles broke down, and threatening legal action if the customer didn’t pay up. Tim described Australian 4WD Hire as carrying out “a relentless, systemic and well-rehearsed fraud” on 4WD vehicle hirers.
And in one for our bike-loving editor, Ducati North America has recalled some 2017-2018 Ducati Supersport, and Supersport S motorcycles because they may catch fire as well.
In much better news, good to see racer Grant Denyer win a Gold Logie for Family Feud. He is a serious and very brave driver with 16 wins and 57 podiums in 240 races and his fair share of bad crashes.
Talking of serious drivers, last Sunday, Mercedes were set for a cruisy one-two finish with Val Bottas taking his first pole for the year and Lou second on the grid. But bad boy Maxie Verstappen had other plans, delivering Red Bull’s first ever win at the track they call home. The reality is that despite fitting new aero gear to their cars giving them a big advantage, the Merc bosses have been spooked by the Ferrari comeback and are making really stupid decisions.
When the virtual safety car was out, any sensible team boss would have called the car in for a grease and oil change. But not Merc strategy boss James Vowles or top man Toto Wolff. They left Lou out there to lose the race and the championship lead. And there’s the reliability problems. Val had to bail on lap 14 with hydraulic issues and then Lou was off on lap 63 with fuel pressure problems.
With a possible one-two finish for Red Bull, birthday boy Dan Ricciardo also had to pull out with a broken exhaust.
Tomorrow we’ll see if....