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Midsize Sedans 2.0

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  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,343
    I went to a Saturn dealer the other day to finally take a look at this much acclaimed "Aura XR." Or so-called "acclaim."

    You won't be hearing any acclaim from me. Here's why:

    Pros: The car is well-built overall with SOME good materials, and fairly decent fit and finish (though not impeccable). I liked the car, it's a good car inside and out.

    Cons: Back the drawing board for GM!!!! During my test review (I didn't even have to drive it) the storage container door left of the steering wheel opened when I pushed it, but it wouldn't close. After several fumbling attempts to close it, I tried to concentrate and get it closed, then the salesman came to the rescue and tried to get it to stay shut, but it wouldn't; it had to remain in the opened position forever more (or until it gets some warranty work).

    I have to say, this might be a MINOR issue being a storage container door in the dash/console area left of the streering wheel, but ANY issue whatsoever with defects and breakdowns PRIOR to the test drive is totally 100% unacceptable.

    I mean... if it's already falling apart before mile #1... what the hell is going to happen at mile #100, let alone 1,000, or 100,000.

    GM needs to learn to use ALL quality parts, and not piece meal it. I think the Aura is a Frankenstein; in that their are signs of quality craftsmanship and materials, but their are also remnants of the GM of old.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    That last line makes me wonder... Is it fully transferable?
  • I use that little compartment all the time. I have never had any problem with it.

    Is it possible that a customer before you might have inadvertently broken it?
    If it is open when you try to exit the vehicle it is possible for your left knew to bump it, which may brake it if hit hard enough.

    Not saying it couldn't be improved though.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,343
    Did you also see the part about having Chrysler inspect the vehicle within a 60 day window every 5 years or your warranty evaporates?

    Did you see the part where you have to be the original owner?

    Did you see the part where it has to be determined to be a "defect in materials or workmanship?"
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,343
    it's possible the door was inadvertantly broken by a previous customer, but is it likely?

    Either way... if it broke with limited use as a brand new car (it was not the demo model either), then it stands to reason it was not built to last, or built strong enough for its own positioning.

    As for that particular car, if indeed it was previously wrecked..... they had managed to close and shut the container door before I pushed it to open it, so it couldn't have been "fully" broke until I "tested" it.

    I bet 98 out of 100 customers wouldn't even think to "test" things like that (storage door) during their test review/drive, and if they had chosen to buy it, wouldn't have found out about the defect until it was too late and the contract was already signed.

    I am one of the 2 out of 100 that will check for signs of quality or lack thereof in things like buttons and container doors, armrests, bins, compartments, etc.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    To be fair, I've been skeptical of some of what andres says, because we know he loves his Honda, but the Saturn Aura I sat in at the IAS had this compartment broken too, I believe. I couldn't get it to close.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,343
    Loving Honda and what they've done for me and my friends does not mean I'll automatically hate GM/Saturn.

    Although I will admit, my experience with the Chrysler/Dodge bomb/lemon of a product from the mid-90's will make me have a harsh and critical eye for anything American.

    But I do believe I'm precisely the type of customer the domestics will have to win over. And it is people like me that will go into a Saturn Aura/Malibu looking for signs of cheapness and low quality, something to criticize and find wrong.

    However, it should be the Domestic's mission to not allow that to happen. I can't criticize thin air. They have to provide me with the subpar product or parts to find and look for. Since I've bought a domestic lemon before, and had a Honda that actually had a few warranty issues, I know exactly what kinds of things to look for in a quality well-built automobile.

    For example, VW stayed at the bottom of the heap (even though Audi is at the top of the heap for me and in my book) because the VW loaner they gave me during my day of service/maintenance; (which used to be free by the way) had a defect where the sensor light kept saying my driver's door was open even though it wasn't. This is an unacceptable defect in an almost new loaner, and just further solidified my contention that VW has no QC and Audi does. Same thing with the Aura's issue.

    To the salesman's credit, when I told him "this is a salesman's worst nightmare," he admitted to the Aura having two common issues, one being the storage door I found defective, and the other being the latch/closing/locking mechanism for the center cup holder console cover. The latch seemed to just be "barely" holding.

    I'll admit even Audi had issues with it's latch on the "opensky" moonroof, which is just one of many reasons I never opted to get that feature in my A3. So it's not a death sentence, but it's enough to make a customer like me say "not yet, not quite, not so fast."
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    IMO, and I speak only to myself as an ex-die hard American car buyer, if GM wants to compete in this space it has to out-Honda Honda. There are die hard fans on both sides who would blindly purchase another model no matter how bad their ownership experience was. But for GM to seriously lure Camcordia/Funatia buyers over it has to do something above and beyond Honda and the other domestics. I wouldn't even consider a GM unless it had more than a 3/36 warranty. Honda, I wouldn't give a second thought with a 2/24 warranty.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,458
    >But I do believe I'm precisely the type of customer the domestics will have to win over.

    I don't think so. Some people are rabid anti-American car and proHonda people.

    I hope someone will go test a Camry and critique the cheap-looking and poorly fitted interiors I've seen. Take a _good_ look at the Honda Accord interior and whole automobile. I found the Civic to actually be more comfortable and better in re interior treatment when I plopped around the showroom a few months back.

    I recall Avalon having interior parts with problems when they came out. I don't know how long it lasted because that car didn't remain on my potential car list long.

    All cars have faults and problems. People often view things through a lens based on what they have liked in the past or currently drive. Anything else is alien in their perception and is _wrong_.
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    When I bought my leftover 05 Mazda6 Wagon in Feb. 06 it had $4k in incentives which came off of invoice with almost no haggling. It was too good of a deal to pass up.

    A month ago when we totaled it we got just over $15k from it. So that's about $3k less then I paid for it 19 months and 45k miles later. That's not terrible depreciation from what we paid, but from sticker (about $22k) .... well that's a different story.
  • But I do believe I'm precisely the type of customer the domestics will have to win over. And it is people like me that will go into a Saturn Aura/Malibu looking for signs of cheapness and low quality, something to criticize and find wrong.

    Where as the dash on my '07 Accord is about 4 different colors, faded over the passenger side airbag, and the gaps are not even. The leading edge of the tweeter cover is higher than the rest of the dash, and the drivers side one is crooked. My guess is it will squeak and rattle like my old one in a few years - hopefully after I am done with it. Hopefully it won't leave me stranded as often.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    I am looking at my program sheets from the past 12 months. Mazda did not introduce a $2000 rebate until the July/August.

    For most of the year here it was $1000 and then an additional $1000 if you took MAC financing. That was the deal when I bought in Jan. Maybe there are regional differences in rebates, other incentive, and even in the discounts that are needed to sell?

    When my co-worker (actually his daughter) bought there was an additional $1000 auto show rebate, for a total of $3000 in rebates. That was only for a couple weeks and dealer here had an ad

    Never saw such discounts up here, CT. My last 2007 Mazda6 was delivered last week, and sold for $200 below invoice plus the $2000 rebate.

    Wow, that is interesting that there would be that much of a difference.

    If it were not against the rules here, I could post a link to an ad from last April showing Mazda6 sport from $14,895 (the dealer does not seem to update their on-line copies of newspaper ads often), a free trek bike was also included. At that dealer one would have only needed to add a $99 document fee to that price and this would net a deal at $4500 below MSRP.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    I'm not saying GM sales have increased whatsoever due to the increased warranty length.

    That is actually exactly what you are saying, or at least implying. Here is what you said:

    Actually, your wrong, it is absolutely 100% true that a vast majority of GM buyers would be hesitant to purchase a GM product if not for the long warranty.

    So, if the vast majority (that is, well over 50%) of GM buyers would be hesitant to purchase a GM product if not for the long warranty, then they would not have purchased a GM product before the long warranty was in effect, correct? All those buyers must have purchased a GM product after the long warranty took effect, and since they wouldn't have bought a GM product prior to that, that represents a huge sales increase for GM.

    Which is not true of course. Which is why I don't think your original statement has any validity.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    At that dealer one would have only needed to add a $99 document fee to that price and this would net a deal at $4500 below MSRP.

    That is a great deal. I am thinking that dealers need to get these vehicle off their lot to avoid paying $$ in floor plan. Also, depending on what incentive $$ that dealer gets from Mazda, selling those Mazda6's at that price just might be profitable, or at least break even. I have no idea what their pay plan might be. I know mine is not that good.

    I am sold out of 2007 Mazda6's.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    The new GM warranty is longer, but not in terms of time. It is useful only if one drives 20K miles a year and is wary of something breaking down three years down the road.

    And it isn't just warranty hype that people buy. It is also rebates, incentives, and purchase price. Some folks would not buy anything but GM vehicle, no matter what. And this applies to other brands too, although I think "import" brands actually may have a little less of it since a Toyota buyer may find it easier to move to Honda, Nissan or Hyundai and any combination of these. They may, however, avoid a GM or Chrysler or Ford product.

    Ask yourself, if you had to buy another car today, what brand would be on top? Of course, we don't buy cars based on one aspect, but what would be the primary driving force? Would it be warranty? Would it be quality? Would it be price? Or, would it be something else?
  • urnewsurnews Posts: 668
    ... if GM wants to compete in this space it has to out-Honda Honda. ...

    KD,
    What's true for GM is likewise true for Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai, Toyota, etc. All auto manufacturers have to out-Honda Honda in order to be truly competitive. My wife and I found that the 2007 SEL AWD Fusion ($27,105 MSRP) was more car for the money than a comparable Honda. Plus we liked the styling better.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    Well, it seems we are getting closer to an expected date for the 2009 Mazda6. Final allocations are due in February for MY2008, and that allocation will be produced in March / April. I suppose manufacturing transition will take place after that, and the new 2009's will start production. What does this mean? I am guessing, yes guessing, that the 2009's will start production in May / June / July and be on dealer lots by August / September. This is assuming that the NA Mazda6 will be built in the same plant it is currently built in, Flat Rock MI.
  • bug4bug4 Posts: 370
    andres3-- I sure understand your disappointment with the Aura. It isn't acceptable to have a part break before a test drive. However, I think a consumer who is particular and who really tests a car before purchasing might never find the best auto if they assume a car sucks because a storage bin door broke. I just bought an 08 Accord because, in my experience, it had the fewest number of things I didn't like. Really, ultra-picky people like us just have to pick the lesser or all the evils. No car is perfect.

    Its like the reviewer who says that Hondas are unreliable because he just bought a new one and the nav unit went out on his way home from the dealership. Yea, that sucks. But, is there any manufacturer that can build 400,000 products, all with 10,000 moving parts, and never have one problem . . . . Its true, the Aura storage bin is apparently a problem for many units. But, perhaps the storage bin door shouldn't determine the car's fate?
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Also, depending on what incentive $$ that dealer gets from Mazda, selling those Mazda6's at that price just might be profitable, or at least break even.

    Yes, I think that is the key. there are a couple dealers that will sometimes, toward the end of the month, have ads with great discounts. I've assumed that this is due to wanting to meet some sales goal for some sort of bonus from mazda.

    That price was from April, the point of the post was that in my area great deals on the 6 have been available for most of the year. They may well also be out of 2007s now. Prices like that were advertised here as early as late Jan.
  • tedebeartedebear Posts: 832
    That last line makes me wonder... Is it fully transferable?

    From the chrysler.com lifetime warranty FAQ section:

    Q8: What about second owners of the vehicle?
    A8: Subsequent owners or lessees, even if they are within the same family or business, are not covered. Successor business entities or persons to whom the vehicle is transferred by operation of law are also not covered. Chrysler offers extended service contracts for purchase for second owners of Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles.

    Q9: Why did you choose to make this program non-transferable?
    A9: Our internal research data confirmed that the transferability take rate (available on the 7-year/70,000-mile warranty program) was low. We are providing peace-of-mind to the original owner who made the investment in our Chrysler product. Our competitors, Hyundai/KIA/Mitsubishi that offer what was considered the benchmark in long-term powertrain warranty (10 years/100,000 miles), only extend it to the original owner. With the announcement of the Chrysler Lifetime Powertrain Warranty, Chrysler will be the new benchmark in long-term powertrain warranty.
  • tedebeartedebear Posts: 832
    Did you also see the part about having Chrysler inspect the vehicle within a 60 day window every 5 years or your warranty evaporates?

    Certainly. There is an entire section in the warranty that explains the 60-day window FREE inspection that is required to maintain the lifetime warranty.

    Did you see the part where I said the word FREE?

    Did you see the part where you have to be the original owner?

    Certainly, once again. The lifetime warranty applies only to the original owner, as clearly explained in the first section of the warranty details.

    Did you see the part where I said clearly explained?

    Did you see the part where it has to be determined to be a "defect in materials or workmanship?"

    Absolutely. A component that fails, causing the engine, transmission or whatever to stop working is indeed defective. The parts and labor to repair or replace the problem are all 100% covered by the warranty - there is no deductible, unlike what you'll find with most extended warranties.

    Did you see the part where I said no deductible?

    Next question?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,458
    Thanks for your realistic point of view in your post.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Certainly, once again. The lifetime warranty applies only to the original owner, as clearly explained in the first section of the warranty details.

    Since most people sell or trade a car before it is 5 years old, most of the time, the lifetime warranty will not be used. So if Chrysler could make the cars undesirable after 5 years of ownership (numerous other defects that crop up in 5 years time), that would be to their advantage. I don't like the idea of that.
  • tedebeartedebear Posts: 832
    Since most people sell or trade a car before it is 5 years old, most of the time, the lifetime warranty will not be used.

    Well, the lifetime warranty isn't just for people like me who keep their cars for 10 years before getting a new one. It could also benefit anyone else when their basic 3 yr/36,000 mile warranty expires.
  • Since most people sell or trade a car before it is 5 years old, most of the time, the lifetime warranty will not be used. So if Chrysler could make the cars undesirable after 5 years of ownership (numerous other defects that crop up in 5 years time), that would be to their advantage. I don't like the idea of that.

    That is a valid point. My guess is when these cars start coming back off lease or what not and don't move, there will be a certified used program like BMW, VW or Honda that provides some type of warranty to subsequent purchasers. I wouldn't pay in the teens for a used anything with no warranty.
    **okay maybe an E36 M3/4 w/a stick but it would have to be really really nice, or maybe a Boxter if the 60k had been done...I digress you get the idea.
  • Thanks for the insider update avi. Any insight into whether the NA model is pretty much the same as the one shown in frankfurt? Current publications are still claiming that the NA version is significantly different even riding on a different platform.

    I know, in the past, you believed we will be getting something similar to Europeans with perhaps the 3.7L v6.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    Ask yourself, if you had to buy another car today, what brand would be on top? Of course, we don't buy cars based on one aspect, but what would be the primary driving force? Would it be warranty? Would it be quality? Would it be price? Or, would it be something else?

    I've answered these questions before here, but not for a while, so the answers are:

    * I don't buy a brand, I buy a car. I am brand-agnostic in buying cars.
    * Safety is my #1 criterion for my next car purchase, because of how it will be used and who will drive it and ride in it. I have other key criteria also, but if I had to pick a #1 it would be safety.

    A long warranty to me is a nice-to-have. So if two cars meet my needs pretty much equally, then I look at factors such as warranty to break the tie. I wouldn't, for example, buy a Malibu over an Accord just because the Malibu offers a longer (in miles) powertrain warranty. I'd have to like the Malibu as a car first.
  • And cars.com does one too.

    Motortend's ratings are surprising...

    http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/112_0802_midsize_sedan_comparison
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    Do you mean they are surprising because they're consistent? ;) Camry was MT's COTY last year, so their rating it on top now isn't all that surprising. And in this year's COTY, the Malibu out-scored the Accord, so MT would have really been inconsistent had they rated the Accord over the Malibu one month later. Altima? The Rodney Dangerfield of the mid-sizers perhaps.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    Got my January C/D yesterday and it confirmed that both the Accord and Malibu made their 10Best list for 2008.

    If sales of the Malibu can match the critical acclaim it's received so far, GM will have big winner on its hands.
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