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APA in the News - Archive

 

2021

 


CBC Maritime Noon - Bob Murphy, Carolyn Ray
March 19, 2021.

Live winter storm report with meteorologist, Tina Simpkin, mystery disease in NB and on the phone-in: car advice from George Iny with the Automobile Protection Association.

Listen to the broadcast here. The segment with George Iny begins 13min into the recording.

 

  

 

 


CBC Marketplace - Katie Pedersen, Rosa Marchitelli, Greg Sadler
February 19, 2021. 'My car's on fire': Drivers fear for their safety as years-long recall rollout drags on

CBC Marketplace and Go Public investigation reveals flaws with Canada's recall system

Hyundai and Kia drivers say they fear getting behind the wheel of their own cars — with the risk of engine fires and failures hanging over their heads.

The recalls on millions of these vehicles have dragged on for years — starting in 2015 with more models and years still being added...

Each recall names very specific models and years, often excluding cars with the exact same engine, only to add those vehicles and others months or years later.

CBC producers interviewed drivers with sudden engine failures and fires, yet their Hyundai and Kia models were not on any recall list. Some of those interviewed said their car engines died or caught fire without warning, even after an early detection system meant to warn drivers about a possible fire or engine failure was installed...

Jason Levine from the Center for Auto Safety said the so-called Product Improvement Campaign should never have been given the green light in the first place. The auto safety advocacy group petitioned the U.S. government to investigate Hyundai and Kia engine fires back in 2018.

"It's not even a question of whether it works or not, it's a question of what is it designed to do? And what it's not designed to do is prevent the fire," he said.

"It's a software solution to a hardware problem."

Safety advocate George Iny said, "We need to have, I would say, a wary eye over this recall."
...

 "We depend to a considerable degree on the goodwill of the car maker," said George Iny, director of the APA.

He said Hyundai and Kia took way too long — more than six years — to issue more than 20 recalls for a similar problem...

Continue reading on the CBC website

 

  

 

 


The Globe and Mail - Matt Bubbers
January 12, 2021. How to decide which model of used car to buy

The short answer to the question “Which used car should I buy?” is that there’s no short answer. There are hundreds of thousands of used cars for sale right now in this country, and they run the gamut from good to bad to very, very ugly. The only way to figure out which one to buy is to do some homework.

The good news is that you don’t have to be a car person to figure out the answer. It’s not difficult, but it takes time. Sorry, there are no shortcuts, short of lucking into a hand-me-down from your relatives.

“You need to be clear-eyed about what your emotions are and accept the fact that you want to take some surprise and delight with your vehicle purchase,” said George Iny, director of the Automobile Protection Association (APA), a national consumer-advocacy organization based in Toronto and Montreal. A car is a big purchase, but most people aren’t strictly rational about it, which is fine, as long as you understand that going in.

If you are strictly rational, driven solely by value for money, Iny said you should look for a reliable mid-size sedan like the 2016-or-later Hyundai Sonata. “A mid-size sedan, that’s the best value right now,” he said. But in his experience advising car shoppers, nine out of 10 people will say no to that idea; there’s not much surprise and delight there. People want what they want. (During the pandemic, Iny found that car buyers have actually become more emotionally driven, more focused on wants than needs. You only live once, right?)

Still, be realistic about your needs, advised Brian Murphy, vice-president of research and analytics at Canadian Black Book (CBB), a company that tracks used-vehicle prices. Is it worth driving a full-size pickup because you’re thinking about maybe towing a boat someday? Probably not. If you have two children and a dog, a subcompact SUV is going to be too claustrophobic, but a huge SUV will feel ungainly downtown and rack up hefty fuel bills.

A word of caution about prices. As a result of the pandemic, used vehicles are in short supply across Canada, which means prices are higher than usual, Murphy said. Good used cars aren’t on the market for long, so once you’ve done your homework, be ready to act fast. 

Continue reading at the Globe and Mail website

 

  

 

 

 

2020

 


CTV News - Ross McLaughlin & Espe Currie
December 1, 2020. Can your electric car go the distance?

Electric vehicles are increasingly popular as consumers seek clean energy solutions and cash in on government incentives. But they can still have drawbacks, depending on how you use them.

It seems simple – charge it up and take off. That’s fine if you’re sticking close to home, but Erik Minty was hoping to do more with his 2018 Nissan Leaf.

“The main issue is you can’t take it on long road trips in the summer,” he says.
That’s because the battery heats up while charging, and heats up even more on the “quick charge” setting. That’s what Minty used on a recent summer road trip in the B.C. mountains, and the battery got too hot.
...
George Iny of the Automobile Protection Association says the Nissan Leaf uses a cheaper air-cooled battery system which has caused problems for some owners. Many other electric vehicles use a more expensive liquid-cooled battery system.

“The Leaf has a primitive battery-cooling system,” Iny says, adding that the car is good for urban trips. “But it’s definitely not a long-distance tourer. It’s not your choice if you need range.”

McLaughlin On Your Side reached out to Nissan, which tested the battery on Minty’s Leaf and said it found nothing wrong.

Continue reading and watch the report on the CTV Website

 

  

 

 


The Globe and Mail -Jason Tchir
November 30, 2020. Will over-the-air updates mean I’ll have to pay monthly for heated seats?

Some day, you might have to pay monthly for Netflix, Spotify – and your heated steering wheel.

But that’s not happening anytime soon, at least not in North America, BMW says.

“In Canada, that doesn’t exist – there are no plans for that,” says Barb Pitblado, BMW Canada spokeswoman. “Canadian and U.S. vehicles are already equipped with [more options than cars in Europe], so we don’t feel it’s necessary.”

In July, Business Insider reported that BMW was launching “digital personalization,” which would let owners add certain options through software updates.

But that doesn’t mean that BMW will start selling subscriptions for options – including heated seats and adaptive cruise control – that were added to cars in the factory, Pitblado says.
...
In the near future, when the temperature drops to -20 C, could you get e-mails or texts from your car company asking if you want to add heated seats?

“It would be more like: Wouldn’t it be nice to have the Winter Package you didn’t order last summer with your new car?” says George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association (APA). “Just $19.95 a month for heated seats, steering wheel and mirrors.”

While car companies don’t offer subscriptions for those sorts of options yet, they might eventually, Iny says.

“For an electric vehicle, this could be one way to compensate the automaker for the lost business in replacement parts for service and repairs, compared to a gasoline vehicle,” Iny says. “It will also make comparing [new car] prices even more tricky than it is now, since the monthly fees will likely not be factored into the advertised price and will vary between brands.”

There are other ways car makers could try to use this tech to make money. For instance, if you sell your car, automakers could take away features you’ve paid for and make the new buyer pay for them again.

Tesla has already been criticized for removing features, including enhanced Autopilot, from used vehicles, Iny says.

Continue reading at the Globe and Mail website

 

  

 

 


driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
November 23, 2020. Lorraine Complains: FCA Canada ditching owner arbitration opens up maybes

It’s a big announcement that will disappear beneath the headline waves rapidly. That’s unfortunate because Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) pulling out of the Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan (CAMVAP) is a big deal — even if you’ve never heard of CAMVAP. Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and Fiat owners, you might want to pay attention.

CAMVAP is a Canadian car owner’s second-last line of defence if you’re battling a manufacturer over a vehicle you believe is defective.

When you’ve reached the end of your options (and your rope) trying to make a manufacturer fix or replace your vehicle, or even acknowledge that something is very, very wrong, this is where you end up.

Established in 1994, CAMVAP is voluntarily funded by manufacturers. The exceptions are BMW, Mini, and Mitsubishi, who handle their claims in-house. Essentially, CAMVAP handles claims made by consumers who are experiencing ongoing problems with their new(-ish) vehicle’s “assembly or materials, or how the manufacturer is applying or administering its new vehicle warranty.” To resolve the disputes, they provide impartial arbitration: they bring a representative of the manufacturer and the complainant to the bargaining table.

Resolutions can be reimbursement for repairs already made; paying owners’ out-of-pocket expenses; an order for repairs; a buyback; or a finding of no maker liability. The decision is binding. If you go this route, you give up a chance to take your case to court.
...
The Automobile Protection Association (APA), a non-profit consumer advocacy group, has long been critical of some aspects of CAMVAP’s processes, while acknowledging it could best be improved from within — by those manufacturer members, for example. President George Iny is blunt about FCA’s decision, however: “FCA is among the automakers with the least reliable vehicles and most hard-nosed customer support.”

“FCA is a CAMVAP frequent flyer and loses more arbitrations than most other automakers,” says Iny.
“Consequently, losing the CAMVAP recourse means an FCA owner loses a potentially useful option in a relationship that is already tough from the outset.”

The numbers back him up. In 2019, 29 FCA files resulted in 15 buybacks. Ford had 35 cases and 13 buybacks. Honda: 23 cases, 11 buybacks. FCA rightfully claims that “based on the last three years of vehicle sales, which is the amount of time CAMVAP includes in its program parameters, less than 1 per cent of FCA vehicles have been subject to CAMVAP arbitration.”

George Iny puts that number into perspective, however: “I should hope less than 1 per cent of FCA vehicles would be involved in an arbitration. That metric works out to about 2,000 arbitrations a year, which is several times larger than all of CAMVAP combined.”

Continue reading at driving.ca

 

  

 

 


driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
November 16, 2020. Lorraine Complains: Customer Satisfaction Surveys make new-car buying worse

Customer satisfaction surveys. Order anything online, and you’ve probably been sent one to fill out. Made a change on your cell plan? Same. I delete most of them. I bought your product, and now we’re done. Like many, unless I have something to bitch about, I don’t bother. It’s not necessarily helpful for the corporate entity, but it is human nature. Most companies get that and let you be.

Unless you buy a car. Now, you will be relentlessly hunted down to fill out this somehow all-important survey. Not just that, you will have a salesperson beseeching you to give them a perfect score for that customer satisfaction index (CSI).

What? A perfect score? No matter what?

It wasn’t always this way. According to John Raymond, a long-time dealer principal and now a consultant for the Automobile Protection Association (APA), the creation of the customer satisfaction surveys began in the early 1990s. “The genesis had good intentions. It was a way for brands and dealers to engage with customers, to be closer to them. Had we fulfilled the promises we’d made? Was the retail experience a good one for the customer?” A good CSI score would reflect that.

The data collected meant the buying experience could be tweaked to make customers more comfortable, to discover things that otherwise might have gone unnoticed. “CSI scores are a way for the manufacturer to extend their agency into the retail experience. They have contributed to an improvement in how salespeople behave in front of customers,” explains George Iny, president of the APA. “Over time they have driven some of the more aggressive retailing practices underground...”

Sounds great. So where did it all go so, so wrong? “When they started tying those CSI ratings to incentives,” says Raymond. Instead of a tool to create a better buying experience, to locate weak spots in sales or service interactions, they instead became more stick than carrot...

“CSI scores are used in a punitive manner to deny dealers bonus money. The established ‘average’ scores a dealership has to maintain are unrealistic,” says Iny. “I’ve never seen one under 82 per cent and they’re usually at 90 per cent or 95 per cent just to avoid any penalties.” That is why your salesperson is begging you for a perfect score. Perfect. You haven’t even seen the thing yet, and the person in front of you is almost crying...

As you tick off some version of the standard range (very dissatisfied, dissatisfied, neutral, satisfied, very satisfied) who wouldn’t linger over “Well, it was fine, but the coffee tasted like drek, so I’ll just tick neutral on the time I had to wait for them to process my paperwork,” and that’s where the dealership goes into spasms.

To that sales rep or dealer, a “passing” grade is basically an A. An A they may or may not have earned, or earned yet, but one that is being bullied or guilted out of you. Again, the origins of the survey were good, but we have lost the plot. And, if a brand is developing its programming based on information extracted this way, what’s the point?...

Continue reading at driving.ca

 

  

 

 


CityNews Calgary - Jackie Perez
November 16, 2020. Mandating electric cars, Canada

Another shot has been fired against the internal combustion engine (ICE).

The mostly French-speaking province of Quebec, and second most populous in Canada, has ordered that from 2035, all new cars sold in the province must be electric.
...
While the plan includes speeding up roadside charging stations, George Iny of the Automobile Protection Association says laws and rebates aren’t enough for consumers to make the switch. Quoted by CTV News he said “You need an infrastructure, you need answers for people who live in apartments and other dwellings because the current, haphazard way of putting chargers in onesies and twosies on street corners will never do the trick.”

Continue reading on the Radio Canada website

 

  

 

 


CTV News Montreal - Matt Grillo
November 14, 2020. Goodbye, gas guzzlers: ban on sale of gas vehicles in Quebec by 2035 expected to be announced Monday

visit website to watchGasoline-powered vehicles could be off Quebec's roads within 15 years, as the provincial government is anticipated to announce an ambitious new environmental plan this week.

The anticipated announcement was welcomed by environmentalists on Saturday.

“It's a big step forward,” said Equiterre mobility analyst Andreanne Brazeau. “It sends a strong signal to the auto market and to consumers as well.”

According to a La Presse report, Environment Minister Benoit Charette will announce a ban on the sale of new gas vehicles by 2035.

The province currently offers a rebate of up to $8,000 on sales of electric cars, but George Iny of the Automobile Protection Association said consumers will need more than subsidies to make the switch.

“You need an infrastructure, you need answers for people who live in apartments and other dwellings because the current, haphazard way of putting chargers in onesies and twosies on street corners will never do the trick,” he said.

The plan could have effects outside the environment. Automobile mechanics teacher Yves Racette said people in his profession will have to adapt to new technology.

“You need to be, first of all, secure and you have to take your security really seriously,” he said. “You have to get all this knowledge for not getting zapped. There's a lot of people that are used to what they're doing right now. Electric is putting a challenge on them.”

Continue reading this article on the CTV News Montreal website

Related reading: Quebec will ban sale of gas cars -- but first, will spend $6.7 billion on five-year green recovery plan

 

  

 

 


Driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
November 9, 2020. Lorraine Explains: Buying used? Get a Carfax, but beware what it might miss

Buying used can be a great way to get a terrific deal on a car. It can also be an excellent way to unwittingly take a problem off someone else’s hands. What you’re aiming for is harm reduction: how many leaks can I seal off and hope I got them all?

Whether you’re buying privately or through a licenced dealer, the best place to start is with a Carfax report on the car.

Virtually every vehicle from a dealer will offer one, and any smart private dealer will do the same thing. It costs $40 without a lien check, $55 with one. The report should be current, and if the car you’re considering doesn’t have one, you can get one yourself.

Until March of 2018, you obtained vehicle history reports from (usually) either CarProof or Carfax. CarProof was a Canadian data source, Carfax was an American one. Now, they are under one banner: Carfax Canada. The Ministry of Transformation in Ontario (MTO) has a Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) for $20. You still need an independent mechanic to check over the vehicle before you buy. Why so many multiple layers? It’s sort of a take on the “Swiss cheese model” of risk management — you hope a risk that gets through a hole in one slice is covered by another.
...
Unless you get an independent technician to check it out for you. The Automobile Protection Association (APA) did a study funded by Industry Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs in 2013 to ascertain just how complete those Vehicle History Reports (VHR) are. They brought in an expert tech to compare damage disclosed in readily available services versus the damage in the actual car. As we noted, CarProof and Carfax are now known as Carfax Canada. The APA inspected 133 cars.

The differences across the country were revealing. In Quebec at the time, “Desjardins had 25 per cent of the auto insurance market in Quebec; [they] do not report any collision information to third-party services,” says APA president George Iny. “At that time, another one of the top five Quebec auto insurers did not report collision information to CarProof and Carfax either.”

Instead, they use police reports, but with only two boxes to check – damage over $1,000 and damage over $2,000 – you have no way of knowing how far over $2,000 that damage was.

Things were far better in Vancouver, with the CarProof (again, now Carfax) picking up 90 per cent of collision damage. It even picked up some vandalism damage the tech missed, as well as replaced windows and some cars’ use as daily rentals. Ontario hit up the middle: the original CarProof report picked up 70 per cent of what the tech discovered. In Ontario, make use of information collated by agencies like the APA (naming and grading used-car sellers) and OMVIC and its “busted” list.

Continue reading at driving.ca | Read the APA's report from 2013 [PDF]

 

  

 

 


CityNews Calgary - Jackie Perez
October 8, 2020. From hail damage to COVID-19, Calgary man shares tough car buying journey

From the hail storm driving up demand to parts shortages because of COVID-19, finding a new car has become such a challenge for one Calgarian.

It’s been months since the hail storm ripped through Calgary’s northeast, many still dealing with the aftermath that damaged not just their homes but their cars too.

“It was really bad actually. My SUV had $25,000 in damage and it was all cosmetic. The windshield was gone, the sunroof was smashed and dents all over.”

Karmjit Khamba started looking for a replacement car for his family but found it tough looking for a minivan new or used that was within his budget.

Continue reading on the CityNews Calgary website

 

  

 

 


driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
October 6, 2020. Lorraine Explains: COVID-19 complications from the car-seller's side

COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns may have created changes for insurance companies as well as challenges in mechanical maintenance for car owners.

But what about for people buying cars, and those who sell them?

OMVIC, Ontario’s vehicle sales regulator, teamed up with the Automobile Protection Association (APA) to do a study on how dealerships are responding to the new world order, and how consumers are reacting to that response.

While most dealerships were totally shut down for about a month, as openings began it was evident almost everything had changed. Like most sectors, the auto industry took a profound hit as sales (and parts availability) plunged. In spite of this, sellers scrambled to adapt, and sales are recovering at an encouraging pace. Covering the period March 18 to August 30 of this year, the survey is a three-pronged approach to directly address all the main players: buyers, salespeople, and dealers.

Dealerships have stepped up to meet protocols surrounding health and safety, following guidelines that OMVIC has set forth based on both provincial and federal government recommendations. Sanitizing high-touch surfaces, adding plexiglass inserts where necessary, social distancing and masks have all led to 80 per cent of buyers surveyed saying they felt comfortable in their buying experience.
...
“It’s an impressive result when you stop to consider the complexity of an auto sale or lease transaction, and the need to adapt to highly varied shopper behavior ranging from consumers who conducted the whole transaction remotely (8 per cent) to those who visited three or more locations (20 per cent),” says APA president George Iny.

Franchised dealers scored higher than independents, which isn’t surprising when everyone is being tasked to find more resources in challenging times. Some 13 per cent of buyers wanted more buying options, saying they hurried their purchase because of safety concerns. Dealers pivoted quickly, and things like being able to sign a deal online (previously not allowed) were quickly put into play. Scheduled appointments for both car buying and maintenance have become the norm.

One finding was almost inevitable: fewer test drives are taking place. Roughly 46 per cent of new car buyers in this time frame made their purchase without taking a test drive, as did 38 per cent of people purchasing a used vehicle. Only 16 per cent of the latter camp had a salesperson along for the ride — previously almost unheard of. While this number has been declining for years, it’s still rather stunning. Making a purchase this big, that can’t be returned, and not taking it for at least a cursory spin?

 

Continue reading at driving.ca

 

  

 

 


CTV News Vancouver - Ross McLaughlin
September 14, 2020. BMW Mini fire highlights need to report to regulators

On July 25, Timi-Lee Skingley was driving home to Kamloops on the Coquihalla Highway just hours after picking up her 2018 Mini Cooper S Countryman from servicing at BMW Mini in Langley. She says she felt something was wrong and pulled off the highway at the Britton Creek rest area.

“As soon as I stopped then you could see the black smoke,” she says.

Skingley says she lifted the hood and saw flames shooting up near the back corner of the engine on the passenger’s side and soon the vehicle was completely engulfed in flames.

“I had enough time to shut off the car, (and) grab my purse,” she says.

The car was still under warranty and Skingley had just picked up it up from the service department where she had taken it in after complaining about lagging and hesitation while driving up hills. According to the paperwork, the dealership had run a diagnostic and had test driven the Mini, but could find nothing wrong...

Skingley contacted McLaughlin On Your Side when she says she felt that BMW wasn't taking the issue seriously or standing behind their product. She wanted the company to take responsibility, forgive the remaining loan on her vehicle -- $34,916 -- and allow her to use money from her insurance claim to buy another car.

“There is a presumption that the auto maker has a duty, first of all, to investigate and may be responsible for that loss and they should make their customer whole,” says George Iny, executive director of the Automobile Protection Association...

“Why does BMW get paid for a faulty product?” asks Skingley...

Recalls have been issued over the years for various fire hazards on several models but newer models, including Skingley’s 2018 Mini Cooper, were not part of those recalls.

“In Canada, one of the issues we’ve seen is a failure to report these incidents,” Iny says.

He says that often vehicle fires get reported to insurance but don’t get reported to Transport Canada regulators, which can investigate to determine if there’s a bigger problem. The government agency can investigate possible defects which can lead to manufacturer recalls.,,

Over a two-year period, in 2018 and 2019, ICBC received seven fire claims involving Mini Coopers, not including Skingley’s 2018 model. Transport Canada received six reports, with all Minis older than five years and under a fire hazard recall. As for other BMW models, ICBC had 75 fire claims while Transport Canada received just 14 reports, with only one covered by a fire hazard recall.,,

The Automobile Protection Association says you should never rely on insurance companies, police or even the manufacturer to report vehicle fires to regulators. You need to file a complaint yourself.

Iny says if insurance companies are successful in recovering costs from a manufacturer, it’s often settled with a confidentiality clause.

“APA’s position is that’s a very bad thing from a public safety standpoint,” he says...

Transport Canada told CTV News it has no open defects investigations related to fires in BMW or BMW Mini vehicles.

 

Continue reading on the CTV website

 

  

 

 


driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
August 31, 2020. Lorraine Complains: No heated seats for you? Car subscriptions are coming

BMW is either being cutting edge, or inching towards a rocky precipice.

In July, the company announced it would be charging owners of new vehicles if they wanted access to some features, like heated seats and adaptive cruise control. You pay a subscription fee, they do a software change, and voila! Warm bums for everyone! They tout it as a good thing, that customers can get features they want. I already get features I want in a car, and I prefer to pay once, when I buy them.

George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association, credits Tesla with getting us used to the idea of total immersion in the interaction between car and manufacturer, often at no charge. There are bumps, though.

“We’re already at the point where if you don’t accept Tesla’s updates because of a malfunction in the operating system of your car, more and more features become inoperable, and ultimately the car may go out of service,” Iny says. Just like my computer.
...
Ron Corbett, a consultant with the APA is blunt: “Needing a subscription for something like heated seats is like the current super-proliferation of micro-niche cable subscriptions, where people will get so frustrated dealing with so many different services and vendors, they may go back to rabbit-ears,” he said. “Car buyers may just give up and start buying used.” Within a few years, that may not even be an option if manufacturers adopt the subscription model. New owner, new credit card number.

Continue reading on the driving.ca website

 

  

 

 


Wheels.ca - Mark Toljagic
August 18, 2020. Buying Used in a Pandemic

The good news for consumers is that demand for used vehicles is expected to slow later this year once the pent-up buying has been dealt with and inventory shortages are settled.

Shoppers anticipating a hero’s welcome at car dealerships for venturing out during the pandemic may end up feeling a little disappointed these days.

Here’s why: the auto market is showing remarkable buoyancy this summer after a dreadful first half of 2020 that saw Canadian new-vehicle sales collapse by 34 per cent due to the COVID-19 lockdown. With sales volumes approaching pre-pandemic levels again, dealers have begun withdrawing some of their discounts and incentives, much to the surprise of consumers.

“People were expecting insane deals. But incentives, while good, have not gone through the roof,” says consumer advocate George Iny, who is executive director of the Automobile Protection Association (APA). “Nobody foresaw the strong demand for vehicles this summer. We’re impressed with buyers’ confidence right now.”

“The early fear of the pandemic was that consumers would not return to the market,” he adds. “The perception is that it would be like the 2008 recession, which took a long time to resolve.”

 

Continue reading on the Wheels.ca website

 

  

 

 


The Globe and Mail - Jason Tchir
July 19, 2020. Why should I have to pay taxes on a used car?

In every province except Alberta, you have to pay provincial sales tax when you buy a used car.

Depending on the province, that means you'll pay as much as 15 per cent in provincial tax on a private sale – and that's way too taxing, experts say.

"Consumers sell vehicles at a loss," said George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association (APA), in an e-mail. "Private sales for which no profit is made should incur no sales tax in a GST or HST system."

Since taxes are complicated, here's a quick Sales Tax 101.

When you buy a used car through a dealer, you have to pay both the 5-per-cent federal sales tax (GST) and the provincial sales tax, the same way you would if you bought a new car.

That’s because the used-car dealer is a commercial business. It means you could be paying, tax-wise, anything from 5 per cent in Alberta, which doesn’t have a provincial sales tax, to 15 per cent in the Atlantic provinces, where there’s a 10-per-cent provincial sales tax.

In Ontario, for instance, you’d pay the 13-per-cent HST – the combined 5 per cent GST and 8 per cent PST.

Continue reading on the Globe and Mail website

 

  

 

 


Driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
June 22, 2020. Lorraine Explains: What happens if a car isn't driven for a long while?

Whether it's your car in the driveway or older inventory at a dealer that you might buy, you need to take extra steps to ensure it is in good condition

Many of us parked our cars while working from home or riding out the lockdown. We saved money on fuel, saved mileage on the vehicle, saved on repairs, and maybe even on insurance.

Get ready to meet what could be the hidden costs to saving so much money.

Like airplanes and racehorses, cars are built to be in motion. They need their lubricants heated and circulated to flush out particles, and their moving parts need to move to avoid seizing. Instead, for month after month now, many of the cars we own and those sitting on dealer lots have been stagnant.

Chris Muir, a professor at Centennial College as well as an independent mechanic, has been back at the toolbox since school ended.

“Business is booming, and we’re definitely seeing the downside to cars that have been sitting,” he says. “Brakes are number one. The world ground to a halt during the salt months, and we’re seeing a lot of corrosion on exposed drums and rotors. We’re doing lots of brake jobs.”

Next on the list? “Suspension components, control arms, U-joints. You can hear squeaks and rattles if they’ve started to seize up.”
...
As well as that car in your driveway, there have also been thousands – both new and used – sitting in dealer’s lots. According to Automobile Protection Association (APA) consultant (and former dealer principal) John Raymond, many vehicles arrive at a dealer’s lot about three to six weeks after production. The average time they sit on that lot is about two months, which means when shopping, we may be looking at a car that has been sitting far longer than the actual lockdown.

Like nearly all retailers, dealers have been hit hard. There have been fewer, if any, staff to maintain what were once standard protocols. Ideally, cars on a lot are moved around regularly – which tests the brakes, too – and their batteries are checked.

Continue reading on the Driving.ca website

 

  

 

 


Driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
June 8, 2020. Lorraine Explains: Want to buy a car? Now might be the best time

New or used, bottom-dollar prices are turning the auto industry into a buyer's market 

When is the best time to pull the trigger on that car purchase you’ve been mulling over? Now...

Dennis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants rightfully notes the unprecedented times we are living in...

“However, following the estimated 74.6-per-cent decline in April … May’s year-over-year decline can evoke a touch of cautious optimism [in] a badly damaged marketplace,” he says. In other words, as sales start to recover, it’s time to take advantage of all the goodies that manufacturers are throwing at you if you’re in the market for a new ride. By most estimates, come fall, a soft market will be firming up.

Dealerships are open for business, though, like everything else, in a very changed environment. Touch surfaces will be sanitized constantly (in vehicles and showrooms); distancing will be maintained; and while you no longer need to make an appointment in advance in most cases, it’s still a good idea...

Right now, you’ll be seeing incentives for free financing (or close) and months of payments extended. For motivated shoppers, those are great ways to save money or kick the cost down the road a little. According to president George Iny, the Automobile Protection Association (APA) “expects that the lost production in 2020 will require automakers to trim their incentives or raise prices in the autumn.” Coupled with an anticipated shortage of some models, look for prices to head back up...

Buying a former rental car is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you know what you’re getting. The problem George Iny has is that rental cars don’t report collision damage to Carfax...

Continue reading on the Driving.ca website

 

  

 

 


Calgary Eyeopener - David Gray, Angela Knight, Paul Karchut
May 25, 2020. Karchut on Cars - deals during the pandemic

Here's a report by Paul Karchut of the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio on manufacturer incentives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

With so many car companies competing for your dollar, now is a very good time to buy a car. Paul Karchut looks at some of the deals on offer.

Listen to the report on the CBC website.


Related: [coming soon] The APA highlights notable deals for the month of June

 

  

 

 


Driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
May 18, 2020. Lorraine Explains: When lockdowns lift, where will new car sales come from?

Big discounts, leery transit users, grounded airlines — dealers have several incentives that might draw new buyers, but can the auto industry capitalize on all of them?

The 2016 Canadian Census survey (the most recent available) shows nearly 16 million of us commute for work. Of that, 74 per cent drive; another 6 per cent are passengers.

The COVID-19 lockdown flipped those numbers up in the air, of course. Work-from-home orders and punishing rises in unemployment made the downtown cores of some of the largest cities in the world look like ghost towns.
...
George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association (APA), disagrees with me. “The allure and ease of no payments until January 2021 for a new vehicle will be very appealing. The template for new vehicle promotions after distancing is six months payment-free with low guilt-free interest rates,” he explains.

“The risks are a debt load for a vehicle you didn’t plan to acquire, and negative equity. Your vehicle will continue to depreciate during the no-payments period, but the loan won’t. You will be even more upside-down with a 90-month loan that had no payments for the first six months than with an 84-month loan.” Iny thinks people will do this, and he’s probably right. I still think they should not.

Ron Corbett, a consultant with the APA, goes even further. “I can see a crash in the non-commercial pickup truck market, which is especially worrying for the Detroit Three as they are such massive money-spinners,” is what he figures.

“The crossover thing might stay relatively strong but move toward the Qashqai-Tucson end of the segment, with the RAV4 and CR-V having grown too expensive. People who are unwilling to buy cars may migrate to things like the Kicks, Venue, etc., to have the look they want at the lowest possible price.

 

”Keep reading at Driving.ca

 

 

 

 

 


Calgary Eyeopener - David Gray, Angela Knight, Paul Karchut
May 1, 2020. Karchut on Cars - COVID relief

Here's a report by Paul Karchut of the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio on how to get auto insurance discounts and postponing car payments in light of COVID-19.

Highlights:

i) For insurance, a "negative endorsement" is available. A larger discount is available to a 2-car household that has stopped driving one vehicle, and converted the second from commuting to pleasure-use only.

ii) Ford appears to be correcting its practice of penalizing customers who request a payment holiday. This is a result of media pressure brought to bear on the automaker in Quebec (APA got Radio-Canada and La Facture to shame them after Ford's ads promising relief ran here).

iii) The President of Mazda Canada makes a surprisingly generous statement to the effect that cost is not a priority when it comes to providing relief to their customers.

Listen to the report on the CBC website.

 

 

 

Related COVID-19 Articles

Leasing and Suspending Finance Payments

Directory of Manufacturer Contacts

Expiring Warranties & Repairs

Personal Automobile and Property Insurance

 

 

 


Driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
April 27, 2020. Lorraine Explains: How to sell your car in a battered economy

...Many of us trade in one car when we purchase a new one from a dealer; many of us wonder if the trade-in amount is fair. There are several ways to ascertain what the worth of your used car is, but you have to remember you can’t have it all.

Your car actually has two values: wholesale and retail. A dealer is going to give you a version of wholesale, and if they keep it in their stock, will sell it for retail. That margin is where they make their profit and cover company overheads, as well as the costs of prepping it, cleaning it and bringing it mechanically up to date. They may also unload it at auction.

There are a lot of tools at your disposal to determine what your car is worth. Many sites like AutoTrader, VMR and Canadian Black Book have built-in calculators that let you to drop in your information and send you back your vehicle’s approximate value. Why approximate? Most people believe their car is in excellent shape — many of those people are wrong.

John Raymond is an automotive consultant (who helps the APA). He offers a good overview of how to get ready to sell your car:

  • Clean your car up. A professional detail is a good idea.
  • Consider your timing. The best time to sell a convertible is in the spring; if you’re throwing in a set of winter tires, make sure you highlight that.
  • Browse sellers’ sites for cars like yours in your region. Compare condition and mileage. This will give you a range to work from.
  • In Ontario, you must have a Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP). You can order it online or get it at the Ministry of Transportation for $20.
  • A Carfax report provides a buyer with more information about liens, crashes and odometer readings. Though either side can get one, as a seller it adds to your transparency. As a buyer, it’s an added layer of safety.
  • Dig out your service records. Proof of service will help you get closer to your asking price. Proof of how old the tires are can boost your price if they’re new, as can that new brake job...
  • Photos. Take lots and lots of decent photos. If you’re lousy with a camera, get someone else to take them. Present your car in (literally) the best light, but also be honest about damage...
  • Do not hand your keys to someone.
  • If they want to pay an independent mechanic to get your car on the hoist, it makes sense for you to allow it. Nobody should buy a used car without doing this...
  • The safest way to accept payment is to go with the buyer to their bank for the transaction. Fraud is high, protect yourself.
Keep reading at Driving.ca

 

 

 

 

 


The Globe and Mail - Jason Tchir
April 6, 2020. Can I put off car payments and insurance premiums because of COVID-19?

If you have to miss a payment because of COVID-19, don’t put off asking for help...

Many companies, including the major banks, might let you reduce or delay payments if you don’t have a steady paycheque because of the pandemic. But the policies aren’t always advertised. They’re not automatic, either – you’ve got to let companies know what’s going on... Normally, missing car payments could lead to extra charges, a damaged credit rating and even repossession. But right now, the major banks and many car companies are letting customers defer loan payments until later.

Hyundai was the only company that gave specifics about its program. It’s offering deferrals for up to three months on loans and a one-month deferral on leases... Also ask if you’ll have to pay extra interest on the payments you’re delaying. If you do, your total loan could cost you more.

“The policies don't say it clearly, but the suspension of payments may attract additional interest charges due to the longer repayment period, which is understandable,” said George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association (APA), in an e-mail... Nissan, Toyota and Mitsubishi, for instance, say interest won’t keep building while you’re deferring payments. Companies also say that your credit rating won’t be affected.

Companies are offering deferrals on lease payments, Iny says. And if your lease has ended and you can’t bring your car back because you’re self-isolating – or if you’re in Quebec, where dealerships have closed – some companies are extending leases...

Insurance Payments

...With COVID-19, most insurance companies are offering 30-day deferrals, Mitchell says.

“Every insurance company is saying ‘hey, we won’t cancel you,’” Mitchell says. “But nobody knows how that will be documented and affect your rates going forward.”

When you call your insurance company and ask for a deferral, ask when you’ll have to pay it back and how your rates might be affected.

Aviva Canada, for instance, says, “If they choose to defer their payment and pay it later as agreed, there will be no impact on their future rates nor will it go on their record as a non-payment.”

If you’re not driving to work because of COVID-19, you could also ask for a rate reduction, Mitchell says.

British Columbia is letting people defer payments by 90 days while Saskatchewan says it’s working with people who can’t make payments right now. Manitoba has suspended penalties for late or missed payments.

 

Continue reading on the Globe and Mail website

 

To learn more about postponing payments on your auto lease or auto loan check out the APA's complete information  

 

Related articles

Extended Warranties & COVID-19

 

 

 

 


driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
March 30, 2020. Lorraine Explains: Are car dealerships an essential service?

In this era of who-knows-anything-anymore, announcements and edicts are tumbling from up top faster than a store runs out of toilet paper.

In Ontario, the premier issued a state of emergency, and you could tick off the essential services easily: hospitals, fire halls, ambulances, grocery stores, gas stations.

But there were far more, and their inclusion raised some eyebrows.

Liquor stores, construction sites and car dealerships garnered some attention. Other provinces are struggling with similar challenges, and most of the closures come down to wording — wordings that change to keep up with a deadly virus that knows no boundaries.

Continue reading on the driving.ca website.

 

 

 

 

 

 


driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
March 13, 2020. Due Diligence: Be careful signing that new car sales contract

There are three kinds of people in the contract-signing world: those who read every line and ask a hundred questions; those who take a cursory look over the sea of small print, fail to find any really glaring problems and sign away; and those who just sign at the Xs as indicated by an eager sales rep.

Those last two categories? This column is for you.

Buying a car, whether it is a high-end luxury one or an entry-level subcompact, is a big purchase. You probably don’t do it every day, and you’re also probably excited about getting into your new ride. You might not be aware that you are signing a complicated document, likely without a lawyer (unlike when you did your mortgage or divorce), and there are a lot of pitfalls if you aren’t careful. 

 

Continue reading on the driving.ca website.

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Globe & Mail - Neil Vorano
March 5, 2020. Why don’t more drivers consider all-weather tires?

With a long winter here in Canada that has seen plenty of snow, the good news is that spring is just around the corner. Of course, many of us won’t see green grass for another couple of months, but you’ve got to have some hope after a snow-filled winter.

The bad news is that, according to a survey just last year from the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC), 25 per cent of Canadians won’t have used winter tires on their vehicles this season. Even though that’s down considerably from 65 per cent in 1998, it means that there are still some Canadians out there who don’t realize the safety benefits of using winter tires; some are just ignorant, but some also can’t afford the initial cost of buying a separate set of tires, wheels and the added balancing and installation costs. That’s not an excuse, but for some, it’s a reality.

But in just the past few years, another option has been gaining traction (excuse the pun): all-weather tires. Don’t confuse these for all-seasons, which are only really good for three seasons. All-weathers can be used in the summer, but are also officially rated for winter driving conditions and even come with the severe-service three-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol on the side, so they can be used in Quebec, where winter tires are the law.

 

Continue reading on The Globe & Mail website.

 

 

 

 

 

 


CBC News - Yvonne Colbert
February 13, 2020. Toyota's paint-peeling problem to be covered under 'unprecedented' extended warranty for certain models

In what one automotive expert calls an "unprecedented" response, Toyota has announced details of a plan to fix vehicles with peeling white paint, a problem that has plagued the automaker for years.

Toyota... said its "warranty enhancement program" will cover several models of vehicles with blizzard pearl or super white paint manufactured as far back as 2008.

The move comes in response to complaints from Toyota owners like Prospect, N.S., resident Rachael Mosley, who said the peeling-paint problem on her 2011 RAV4 has only worsened since she first told CBC her story in September 2018...

The program covers the following years and models of vehicles with the original blizzard pearl and super white paint:

2010-2015 4Runner
2008-2017 Camry HV
2008-2017 Camry
2009-2018 Corolla
2008-2017 Avalon
2008-2017 RAV4
2012-2015 Scion IQ
2011-2015 Scion XB
2008-2009 Lexus GX470.

The paint job on Jay Willyard's 2009 RAV4 has also deterioriated in the past year and a half. (Submitted by Jay Willyard)

The letter to affected customers said: "The covered condition may occur when sunlight over time degrades the adhesion between the factory-applied paint primer coat layer and the base metal electrodeposition layer causing the paint to peel from the metal body part."...

The program is broken into two parts. The primary coverage is in effect until Feb. 9, 2022, with no year or mileage limits. The secondary coverage kicks in after the primary coverage expires and is good for 10 years from the date the vehicle was first licensed, regardless of mileage...

The letter said people who have already paid for repainting should contact their dealer for "reimbursement consideration."

'Unprecedented' program

George Iny, with the Automobile Protection Association, said his organization is pleased with the automaker's plan.

"Under this program, paint delamination on a vehicle as old as 2008 is covered until 2022 — that's 14 years," he said. "Toyota's coverage is unprecedented for a warranty extension on defective paint, where the limit is usually about eight years."

He noted while Toyota was late to acknowledge the paint issue publicly, it "has been correspondingly generous with the time limit."

 

 

Read the full story on the CBC News website.

 

 

 

 

 

 


driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
February 3, 2020. Lorraine Complains: Surprise! It costs more to fuel an SUV!

Canadians are getting peeved with cars' fuel economy; 75 per cent buy light trucks anyway

“When Canadian consumers were asked what the main reason was for their dissatisfaction with their current vehicle, the most commonly cited concern was fuel economy.”

That’s from a press release from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants (DAC), which conducted a Light Vehicle Study of 4500 car owners. As cited in Canadian Auto Dealer, DesRosiers went on to call it a valid if unsurprising concern, given the public’s insatiable lust for bigger and bigger vehicles. It’s not valid, and it is surprising. How can you buy a vehicle that weighs twice what the gas-sipper next to it does and then bitch about your fuel economy?

The survey results are interesting in other ways. While nearly 21 per cent named “fuel economy” as their chief issue, 14 per cent struggled with technology and features. This is valid and unsurprising. If you get a car that is even a couple of years newer than the one you currently drive, you will sit in the driver’s seat wondering where to begin with all the screens and buttons and choices.

This will take some getting used to; this will need a few lessons; this will require your owner’s manual. The fuel economy? That’s right there in big black letters on a sticker in the window.

I’m aware of owner frustration with those numbers. While they are significantly better than they used to be in terms of transparency, you’d probably have to drive like Granny in the Looney Tunes Tweety Bird cartoons to achieve it. I get it. But they are useful as a comparative measure. Compare them to each other, and it’s quick to see if you’re craving something that will get you 6.0 L/100km, you’re going to get it in that Elantra before you’ll get it in that Yukon.

The upward trend toward buying bigger and bigger vehicles continues unabated. Yes, 2019 new car sales in Canada are down by 3.6 per cent over 2018, but light trucks are up by 1.6 per cent while passenger cars are down by 16.1 per cent.

“As far as the new vehicle market is concerned, year-end data is pouring in and almost all of it points to the same three words … trucks, trucks and trucks. Light trucks accounted for just under 75 percent of the market last year and in the last quarter were a few points higher than this,” says the year-end sales review from DesRosiers.

We are now at a point where 75 per cent of what Canadians buy is classified a “light truck.” The largest segment is the compact sport utility vehicles, but the next biggest is the large pickups. Automobile Protection Association (APA)... president George Iny has noted they consistently rank safety, reliability and environmental factors at or near the top of their buying list. But when it comes down to the wire? He says they always hinge on price.

 

Continue reading on the driving.ca website.

 

 

 

 

 

 


CBC Marketplace - Makda Ghebreslassie
January 31, 2020. How to rent a car without getting ripped off

Three cars, three teams wearing hidden cameras, and one car rental company location with a long history of complaints and overcharging What happens when we send in our Marketplace team with some savvy consumers to fight back against those extra fees? Watch the video below.

 

More information:

Company and government statements: Expedia and the Competition Bureau

Response from Economy Rent-a-Car Mississauga

Quick tips for renting a car

Video from CBC Marketplace

 

 

 

 


driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
January 27, 2020. Lorraine Complains: Canada is long overdue for a lemon law

Does Canada need a lemon law? Labelling bad cars “lemons” is hardly new; Wikipedia dates it back to a Volkswagen ad campaign back in 1960. Twenty years ago, people were still adhering to a magic percentage – roughly ten – of cars that were truly lemons.

More recently, as people started weighing less subjective “facts” and actually started doing some math, that percentage has slid to one.

What’s the actual number of cars sold that are lemons? Who knows?

...“Warranty law is a provincial area of responsibility under our constitution. No province has a lemon law,” explains George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association (APA). He mentions that in the past, both Ontario and British Columbia had drafts of lemon laws made, but nothing got out of the blocks.

In Ontario, “the manufacturers got the dealers (always a powerful lobby because they’re in almost every riding) to help them. The automakers promised something better to the Ontario government, and we got OMVAP, which later morphed into CAMVAP,” says Iny.

Iny believes dealers shot themselves in the foot when they pushed back against establishing a lemon law. Buyers sometimes forget they may buy from a dealer, but their warranty is with the manufacturer. When everything is going well, that line is hazy and rarely questioned. But when something slides off the rails, it devolves into a game of who did what, when, so sorry, not my problem. Dealers should want a lemon law so they can effectively, definitively and quickly help their customers.

If you write to me asking for direction with a car you’re having issues with, looking to CAMVAP is one of the few things I can tell you to do. I also know as I say it how difficult it will be to get satisfactory results. The Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan sounds promising, but it’s no panacea for several reasons.

CAMVAP is supposed to provide a fair sounding board for a consumer who believes they have a lemon, to have it bought back or to otherwise be made whole by the manufacturer. Their results show about 30 per cent of their outcomes result in a buyback (adjusted for depreciation); another 30 per cent results in further repairs or recompense for previous repairs; and the balance the manufacturers win, so the complainant goes home empty-handed.

 

 

Continue reading on the driving.ca website.

 

 

 

 

 

 


driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
January 20, 2020. Lorraine Explains: Are modern car shows irrelevant?

Do we still need car shows?

Various manufacturers have been sneaking out of them around the globe in recent years.

Mercedes-Benz cut ties with Canada’s smaller shows – Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Quebec City – in 2018, but also announced it’ll be skipping the bigs: Toronto and Montreal for 2020.

It’s also taking a pass on the granddaddy of them all, Detroit, which is now moving to the more-hospitable climes of June instead of January for the first time this year.

Who else has previously ditched Detroit? BMW, Mazda, Audi and Porsche. Volvo has been missing in recent years, and Audi just announced last week it will also not be attending the New York show, though it will be in Toronto.

Volkswagen opted out of the Paris show the last two years running, with its group head Dr. Herbert Diess making a flat declaration: “Motor shows are dead. They are a product of the 1960s and they are not as relevant anymore. They’re not delivering what we want and they’re not delivering what car buyers want.”

Well, OK then. Is he right?

...In some parts of the world, attendance is in a freefall: Paris, which alternates with Frankfurt for hosting every year, saw attendance tumble from 810,000 in 2017; to 560,000 in 2019. Toronto, however, maintains a strong attendance record usually impacted only by weather.

Car shows have traditionally been about two things: first, press days ahead of the opening, where journalists flock to discover all the new wonders that have been kept under wraps. Light shows, music, booming announcements and whisked sheets; we race from reveal to reveal, desperate to be the first to launch news of the newest and greatest to the cyber-world, as if we’re about to see the Ark of the Covenant instead of a redesigned spoiler...

But that is only one side of car shows. The other is arguably more important, the second thing they’re about. The public days bring thousands of vehicles to hundreds of thousands of consumers. People who are looking, people who are letting their kids run off some steam, people who love cars — but people who are also buying. As Ron Corbett with the Automobile Protection Association so succinctly puts it, “they are consumer shows first and while they can be useful PR venues, the consumer aspect of the shows is paramount and ignoring that many cheque-waving potential buyers seems foolhardy.”

Ultimately, manufacturers have to care most about the opinions of people who buy and live with their cars, not those they hope to persuade for a few hours or days. Car shows remain the single best way for interested buyers to see, at least, the most cars under one roof in a few hours. Whether their research is starting here or this is the final step, it is an opportunity to connect.

Manufacturers will decide what works best for them, but I hope car shows continue to evolve to make that connection. It’d be a shame to see them go.

 

Continue reading on the driving.ca website.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Global News - Anne Drewa
January 13, 2020. Ford owner calls for lemon laws after vehicle in repair shop for 16 weeks

A B.C. woman wants financial compensation from Ford Canada and out of her contract with the automaker after she says she was sold a faulty vehicle.

Sarah Timmins says she purchased a brand new 2018 Ford Escape Titanium SUV only to have it end up in the repair shop for months.

“This car is definitely a lemon,” said Sarah Timmins. “I’m not hopeful that they are going to be able to fix it.”

Timmins says the issues started in September 2019 when her vehicle broke down while driving to Calgary to visit family.

“We phoned Ford to say we need roadside assistance. They showed up, they checked our battery. Battery was fine, but I had 97 alarms on my Ford App registering for faults and the car wouldn’t start,” said Timmins.

The Trail, B.C., resident says the Ford dealership eventually got the car back up and running, but days later Timmins says the vehicle went dead again.

“There has been so many modules put in, wiring harnesses, new computer, new battery,” said Timmins.

“Now they are saying the dash isn’t working at all. It’s not getting better, maybe worse even,” she added.

 

Watch the report and continue reading on the Global News website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019

 


Wheels.ca - Mark Toljagic
December 27, 2019. Have Diesel Cars Lost their Lustre?

Talk about smoking deals. Diesel cars are beginning to languish on dealer lots as consumers shun oil-burners in formerly diesel-mad Europe.

Whether it can be pinned on Volkswagen’s “Dieselgate” fiasco, World Health Organization warnings or the pleas of a certain 16-year-old Swedish activist, diesel car sales have been declining on a continent where diesel exhaust has long been a familiar fragrance.

Diesel-car market share dropped to just 29 per cent across the European Union according to the latest figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. Four of Europe’s largest markets recorded double-digit declines, with Spanish diesel sales dropping by 34.7 per cent, Italian demand shrinking 24.5 per cent, UK sales down 20.8 per cent and demand in France slipping 12.6 per cent.

Diesel engines typically powered more than half of the EU’s private vehicles for many years, but they began to lose their lustre after gasoline engines adopted some of diesel’s best technology.

“Diesel share in Europe peaked in 2011, well before the VW Dieselgate issue,” points out Al Bedwell, global powertrain director at LMC Automotive, a leading source of auto industry market intelligence based in Oxford, England.

 

 

Continue reading on the Wheels.ca website.

 

 

 

 

 

 


CBC News - Yvonne Colbert
December 27, 2019. What a court ruling against Volkswagen means for consumers with warranty issues

Volkswagen Canada won't be appealing a small claims court ruling that requires the automaker to pay almost $8,000 to a Nova Scotia man for rust repairs on his vehicle.

Nine Mile River resident Ranulph Hudston took the giant automaker to court after it refused to honour a 12-year corrosion warranty that was part of his new car purchase in 2007. Initially, the company made repairs when rust first appeared in 2014. However, when new rust surfaced in 2017, Volkswagen rejected his claim and said it was not covered by the warranty, even though two technicians told him it was.

"I really don't think they had grounds to appeal, but I was expecting they didn't want to let this decision stand unappealed," Hudston said.

Small claims adjudicator Shelly Martin dismissed Volkswagen's list of possible reasons for the corrosion, including bird droppings and shoe buckles, and awarded Hudston the $7,886.40 he requested for repairs.

Company spokesperson Thomas Tetzlaff told CBC News that while Volkswagen was not appealing, "we stand by our warranty determinations and will continue to honour the terms of our applicable warranties."

 

 

Continue reading on the CBC News website.

 

 

 

 

 

 


CBC News - Yvonne Colbert
December 9, 2019. Lax regulations mean automakers can 'bury' reports of vehicle fires, says advocate

When Alan Bassett picked up his new 2018 GMC Sierra from a dealership in Alberta on July 19, 2018, he had no idea it would be a flaming heap of metal less than 30 minutes later.

"I heard a pop and my wife, who was driving ahead of me, pulled off [the road] and shouted, "Get Out! You're on fire!" Bassett said. He then pulled over and "watched it burn to the ground."

Bassett, who lives in Turner Valley, Alta., said the fire first appeared under the hood on the driver's side and engulfed the vehicle within three minutes.

"I couldn't believe that something I had paid fifty-some thousand dollars for 30 minutes ago was going up in smoke," he said.

Bassett filed an insurance claim and a week after the fire, GMC told his insurance company to cancel the claim. The automaker made a deal to replace the truck and took it to investigate, but Bassett doesn't know what that investigation revealed.

 

 

Continue reading on the CBC News website.

 

 

 

 

 

 


CBC News - Rosa Marchitelli
December 8, 2019. Car owner forced to replace engine twice within weeks despite safety recall

A B.C. man says he's in "disbelief" after learning he'll have to swallow the cost of replacing his SUV's engine — not once, but twice, within weeks — despite the vehicle being part of a major recall that was issued before the breakdowns.

And he's not the only one facing thousands of dollars in repair bills for vehicles under recall.

In June, Rick Lingard's 2011 Hyundai Tucson's engine seized and died while he was driving down a major highway near Cranbrook, B.C.

"They showed me the engine after they took it out and there was a hole in it. It was destroyed," said Lingard, who lives in Nelson.

He paid more than $7,000 to replace it, opting for a used engine with 40,000 kilometres on it, through an independent mechanic, after a Hyundai dealership quoted him more than $10,000 for a new one.

A few weeks later, it happened again.

"The same kind of high-pitched rattle-y sound … and then all the lights came on again and — boom! I was in disbelief," he told Go Public.

Then, another twist: Just three days after the second catastrophic engine failure, Lingard got a recall notice describing the same problem.

The recall was issued in February, but the notice didn't arrive in the mail until August. Lingard says no one at two Hyundai dealerships he'd contacted about his engine breakdowns mentioned anything about a recall.

"To me, it's just irresponsible to the core," he said.

Transport Canada could easily fix the problem, according to one automotive consumer advocate, by forcing Hyundai to cover Lingard's costs. But the federal agency, says George Iny of the Automotive Protection Association, tends not to use the full extent of its powers.

 

 

Continue reading on the CBC News website.

 

 

 

 

 

 


CBC News - Yvonne Colbert
November 20, 2019. N.S. man takes one of world's biggest automakers to court — and wins

Most people might be hesitant to take one of the world's biggest automakers to court. But not Nine Mile River, N.S., resident Ranulph Hudston, who persisted in his battle to have Volkswagen honour its 12-year corrosion warranty.

The retired educator wouldn't take no for an answer when his 2007 Jetta started rusting and the company denied his warranty claim. He decided to take Volkswagen to Nova Scotia small claims court, and earlier this month won a judgment of $7,886.40 to pay for the repair costs.

"I was very surprised and very pleased," Hudston said of the court's Nov. 7 ruling. "As I read the decision, I saw a lot of what I put into the case coming back to me as the truth, and the truth coming through felt really good."

His win came despite a list from Volkswagen of possible causes for the corrosion on the Jetta's door sills and rocker panels, including tree sap, bird droppings, shoe buckles and an improperly stored seatbelt.

In her ruling, small claims adjudicator Shelly Martin didn't buy any of the excuses, saying she failed "to see how a seatbelt or footwear could affect the areas in question, as the site of corrosion is not easily in contact with footwear or a seatbelt."

The 12-year corrosion warranty was provided to Hudston when he bought the vehicle brand new in 2007. He first noticed rust on the left front fender when his Jetta was almost seven years old.

He went back to Hillcrest Volkswagen in Halifax, where he purchased the vehicle. He was then sent to a Volkswagen-authorized repair shop, which fixed most of the rusted areas and replaced the right quarter panel.

 

 

Continue reading on the CBC News website.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Global News - Erica Alini
October 26, 2019. Your car-loan payment may be way too high. Here’s what’s happening

George Iny recalled a woman who wrote in saying she was paying around $550 a month for her new 2018 Toyota Corolla on a seven-year loan.

“She doesn’t appear as anybody’s statistic anywhere, but obviously her household suffers because she’s paying $250 a month too much for that car,” reckoned Iny, who heads the Automobile Protection Agency (APA), a consumer advocacy group.

Perhaps the most egregious example he’s ever seen of an inflated auto loan is that of a man who owed almost $100,000 on a Chevrolet Volt, an electric car.

 

Continue reading on the Global News website to watch the news report.

 

 

 

 

 

 


driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
October 21, 2019. Is now the best time to buy a new car?

Traditionally, autumn has been a great time to get a great deal on a new car. New models are showing up in showrooms, and dealers want older models out of their lots and off their balance sheets.

Has anything changed? Generally, it’s still the time when many manufacturers debuting their new models, but it’s not cast in stone. If you have a specific model in mind, do some research to see when the new version will be debuted. It can be any time of year.

If you’re leasing, don’t look for big deals at model year-end. You’re essentially leasing a car that is already a year old, and that lowers its value when it comes back off lease — a value determined by the leasing company. Your monthly payments will reflect that loss of value.

Now is the time for those with cash in hand, and a specific vehicle in mind. According to George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association (APA), “the best deals for a cash or finance buyer are on a model that is being discontinued, or due for a significant redesign … large rebates of $4,000 or more are possible.” His warning? Discontinued vehicles frequently depreciate more quickly after they’ve been discontinued, so make sure it’s a car you really like, and one you plan on keeping. He cites the recent clearance pricing on the Chevrolet Cruze as an example.

A car sale is a lot like a duck: What you see on the surface can seem effortless, but there are a lot of machinations going on beneath. If dealers hit certain limits, they get bonuses and incentives a buyer doesn’t see. That car loan you applied for through the dealer to buy that car? They get a piece of that, too.

 

 

Continue reading at driving.ca.

 

 

 

 

 


CBC News - Yvonne Colbert
August 29, 2019. Toyota tight-lipped as Canada-wide parts snafu leaves customers fuming

It's been 57 days and counting since Halifax resident Catrina Brown took her leased Toyota Rav4 to a collision centre after it was damaged in a highway accident.... (Read More)

Yet, she still has no idea when the parts needed to repair her vehicle will arrive or when she will even be able to drive it again. "It's seemingly incomprehensible to me that a massive corporation like that can't get it together to find parts for their cars," Brown said in an interview.

It's a problem being experienced by Toyota owners coast to coast, one the company says is caused by a "planned systems transformation to provide an improved overall customer experience."

But it seems the "transformation" is having the opposite effect on customers left in the dark about when parts will arrive.

There's been a total lack of communication or effort to be transparent," Brown said. "I've had to do all the work of calling and trying to contact people to find out what's going on.'

Continue reading on the CBC website.

 

APA's message to Toyota owners

Toyota is changing from an old inventory tracking system to a new one. Toyota ran into serious bugs when the new system came on stream in June 2019: think Government of Canada Phoenix payroll system or the LCBO's new inventory management system, or Revlon's 2017 SAP implementation "disaster."

Toyota is a leader in inventory management, just-in-time delivery, and continuous optimization. This sort of service failure is exceptional coming from them.

Delays for parts reported to the APA can be over a month. Sometimes the parts are available from independent (non-Toyota) suppliers, but Toyota dealers are not authorized by the manufacturer to buy them if it involves warranty work.

When it comes to insurance repairs, collision parts can be backordered for weeks until the consumer times out their insurance-paid replacement vehicle. As reported by CBC's Yvonne Colbert, the APA has heard of dealers and body shops scrambling to get Toyota vehicles back on the road with some parts missing after collision repairs. Even simple repairs, like replacing a damaged rearview mirror or completing a brake service have been held up.

What Toyota needs to do:

More transparency -- problems of this magnitude don't go away quickly. Based on conversations with experts who are familiar with issues with large enterprise database projects, fixing this problem completely will take months. The lack of integrity in communicating with customers has been historically a Toyota Canada weakness.

Suspend lease payments for any Toyota leased vehicle that is off the road while waiting for parts.

Courtesy vehicle coverage for any Toyota vehicle off the road more than a day or two while waiting for parts.

Automatic authorization to dealers who want to order parts from non-Toyota suppliers for a vehicle that is off the road. Toyota should undertake to apply the Toyota warranty to these repairs and indemnify the dealers for the extra cost incurred.

What you can do:

Inform Toyota in writing if your vehicle is off the road. Don't wait, as anyone providing assurances cannot really be certain when parts will arrive. Ask Toyota to cover your expenses incurred because of the parts delay. Keep your records; the APA is hopeful that Toyota will eventually see the light and compensate customers.

Ask your Toyota dealer or independent repair shop to source independent parts or even used parts if they are available. This is almost always cheaper than paying for a rental vehicle over several days or weeks.

If you are having a Toyota vehicle repaired, make sure the shop has received the parts before they begin taking your Toyota apart. This may involve two visits, one for an inspection and a second for the actual repair after the replacement parts have arrived.

 

 

 

 


CBC News - Yvonne Colbert
August 2, 2019. N.S. man takes Honda to small claims court over recall buyback

A man from rural Nova Scotia has taken his complaint about a recalled Honda CR-V to court, suing the giant carmaker, a Bridgewater, N.S., dealership and a numbered Nova Scotia company in small claims court.

At a court hearing in Bridgewater this week, the case was adjourned until September as the adjudicator considers Honda's request to keep all documents filed with the court under seal after a CBC request to see them.

David Puxley, a 74-year-old retired air traffic controller who lives near Mahone Bay, was one of almost 84,000 Canadians to receive a Jan. 17 recall notice from Honda for 2007-11 CR-Vs sold or currently registered in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador.
...
The Automobile Protection Association, a consumer advocacy group, has a poll for the owners of these vehicles on its website.

APA president George Iny said the results show Honda's buyback offers are "all over the map."

Continue reading on the CBC website.

 

Has your car been affected by this recall? Fill out the APA's survey here.

 

 

 

 


The Globe and Mail - Jason Tchir
July 22, 2019. Do new cars really depreciate by 30 per cent when you drive them off the lot?

I’ve always bought used cars because I’d always heard that a car depreciates by 30 per cent the second you drive it off the lot. My dad used to say that, but is it actually true? I’m asking because I’d love a brand new SUV, but it seems a little irresponsible. – Cameron, Winnipeg

You should heed those warnings about depreciation – some cars do lose 30 per cent of their value during their first year on the road.

“Realistically, nobody buys a car, drives it off the lot and sells it right after,” says Andrew Tai, CEO of automotive marketplace Unhaggle. “But there’s some truth to the fact that, coming off the lot, there is meaningful deprecation.”

During the first year, the average depreciation for new cars is around 30 to 40 per cent, but most lose less and some lose more, according to the Canadian Black Book (CBB).
...
“There are now used cars subject to financing at dealer rates through a bank at 5 to 6 per cent,” says George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association (APA). “Total interest on the used car will be $4,000-$6,000 compared to zero on a new model.”

Continue reading on the Globe and Mail website.

 

 

 

 


Global News - Erica Alini
July 13, 2019. How to buy a car without getting swindled

Perhaps you’re a car enthusiast, one of those people who gaze at all shiny new vehicles with stars in their eyes, but also one of those who tend to blow far too much cash on the dealership floor.

Or maybe that’s not you at all. You just want something that will do the job and not break the bank — but you’re worried about buying a lemon.

Either way, purchasing a vehicle is a treacherous process, one in which you’ll likely encounter incomplete information and aggressive sales pitches. It’s easy to make a mistake. But a car is likely to be one of the most expensive things you’ll ever buy. And even after you’ve driven it off the lot, gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs — not to mention depreciation — will make it one of the major drains on your

Continue reading and watch the reports on the Global News website.

 

 

 

 


The Globe and Mail - Jason Tchir
July 8, 2019. When is it worth paying for a car repair yourself, instead of making an insurance claim?

If you make an insurance claim to save yourself from a financial scrape now, you could end up spending far more on insurance premiums down the road.

“Loosely speaking, if the cost to fix is under $2,000, it can be touch and go to claim it – and if it’s over $2,000, it’s worthwhile most of the time,” says Adam Mitchell, president of Mitchell and Whale insurance brokers in Whitby, Ont. “But step one is an estimate – you need to know how much the claim is for.”
...
If you’re paying for the damage to your car, or for damage you cause to other vehicles and property, the accident won’t impact your rates if you reside in provinces with public insurance such as British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

In the rest of Canada, most insurance policies require you to inform the company of any collision, even if you’re paying for the damage yourself, said George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association (APA), in an e-mail.

There are exceptions. In Alberta, for instance, you don’t have to tell your insurance company if the damage to your car was less than your deductible, as long as there were no injuries or property damage.

“If paying yourself, be aware that if a collision repair shop uses collision estimating software, it will likely trigger a report to an insurance database,” Iny said.

Continue reading on the Globe and Mail website.

 

 

 

 


CBC News - Yvonne Colbert
April 8, 2019. When Honda refuses to fix a recalled CR-V, it gets to decide how much it's worth

A Rothesay, N.B., woman whose Honda CR-V has been recalled says she's caught in a battle with the automaker after it refused to repair her vehicle and instead "pressured" her to sell it back for less than she believes it's worth...

The recall was issued Jan. 17 and affects almost 84,000 CR-Vs sold between 2007 and 2011. Transport Canada said it applies to vehicles originally sold or currently registered in areas of heavy road salt usage, including Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador....

George Iny, director of the Automobile Protection Association, said while some owners are happy with their buyback offers, his organization is hearing from people who are not.

"The buyout offers are all over the map," he said in an interview, calling the calculation process "opaque."

Some offers seem very generous, he said, while in other cases "it would be impossible to find a used CR-V on the market in the condition of the consumer's vehicle for the money they're being offered..."

Find more info about this, and contact the APA if you have been affected.

Continue Reading on the CBC website.

 

 

 

 


VICE - Anne Gaviola
April 3, 2019. Turns Out Millennials Won’t Kill the Car

Expert says young Canadians aren’t as ‘car crazy’ as previous generations, but they still drive as much.

If you go back a few years, there was a lot of hype around the fact that millennials weren’t “in love” with cars the way that boomers and other generations were. Surveys and focus groups showcased this younger cohort’s indifferent—or righteous—attitude towards vehicle ownership. The auto industry was also very anxious to understand what that meant for their ability to make money.

Turns out, a lot of that worrying was for nothing. According to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, car ownership rates across Canada are soaring (unlike the US, where they’ve tapered off in recent years) and there’s an increase in the number of young people (aged 35 and under) who are getting their driver’s licence. Most everyone is driving more cars longer distances. So millennials probably won’t kill the car.

Continue Reading on the VICE website.

 

 

 

 


CBC Go Public - Rosa Marchitelli
March 24, 2019. 'We would have been dead': Father outraged after engine fire puts family at risk

Chris Dietrich, his wife and three young children were asleep when they woke up to a neighbour pounding on the door to tell them flames were shooting out of their garage and closing in on the house.

The engine in the family's 2015 Hyundai Tucson had spontaneously burst into flames while parked in the garage.

"If it weren't for our neighbours, we would have likely been dead," Dietrich, from Ayr, Ont., told Go Public.

The fire broke out in the early morning hours of Feb. 4, after the vehicle had been parked for hours.

The company Dietrich hired to investigate found the fire started in the engine, but couldn't definitively determine why it started.

Dietrich is not the only one with an engine fire horror story.

Since Go Public first broke the story about delayed recalls on Hyundai and Kia vehicles for possible engine problems, CBC News has been bombarded with stories of spontaneous vehicle fires and catastrophic engine failures.

George Iny from the Automobile Protection Association credits that CBC News investigation with pressuring the South Korean carmakers into action.

'I got away lucky': Fire after engine replaced
Transport Canada has been investigating engine issues in Hyundai and Kia vehicles since September.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating to determine if the carmakers were too slow to fix faulty vehicles.

 

 

Read the rest of the story on the CBC website.

 

 

 


CBC Go Public - Erica Johnson
March 17, 2019. Tire warranty 'not worth the paper it's written on,' B.C. man says after manufacturer refuses to pay out

When the tires on Gerald Renaud's car wore out well before their advertised mileage, the Prince Rupert, B.C., man thought it'd be no problem to cash in on the warranty that attracted him in the first place.

After all, he thought, all the major tire manufacturers offer mileage warranties. And since, in his mind, he'd done everything right, he thought it'd be easy to qualify for the discount on his next set of tires.

Renaud couldn't have been more wrong.

"It's a marketing ploy, in my opinion," said Renaud, who bought tires with a mileage warranty claim of 112,000 kilometres, which wore out after 30,000 kilometres. "If this doesn't qualify for a warranty claim, what the hell does?"

"Tire warranties are fictional," said George Iny, the executive director of the Automobile Protection Association (APA), a consumer advocacy group. "It's a problem — and it's industry-wide."

Each tire company has its own standard for determining mileage warranty on tires, Iny said, and those claims are highly influenced by marketing departments.

On top of exaggerated mileage claims, virtually all tire warranties — offered by all the big brands, on the more than 200 million tires sold in North America each year — include restrictions and conditions that have to be met in order to pay out, he said.

 

 

Read the rest of the story on the CBC website.

 

 

 


The Star - Ellen Roseman
February 5, 2019. Making car manufacturers honour your warranty

Readers often write me about car problems. Since I’m not an expert, I consult with the Automobile Protection Association, a well-known consumer group founded almost 50 years ago by Phil Edmonston (later elected as the first NDP MP in Quebec).

George Iny, current APA head, keeps advocating for customers and publishing the popular Lemon-Aid car guides. So, I figured he would know about Alicia Ditchburn’s problem with her 2018 Honda Civic hatchback.

She bought the $20,000 vehicle last August. Early this year, she brought it back to the dealer to find out why it didn’t start properly.

“I got a call the next day, saying mice or rodents had chewed through my vehicle, and I owed over $1,000 to fix the car,” she said.

“I was told this most likely happened at the factory before I even had the car. I was made aware that the manufacturers used soy oil to wrap the copper wires.”

Ditchburn contacted Honda Canada CEO Dave Gardner, asking for the repair to be covered under the warranty. The case is currently under review.

 

Read the rest of the story on The Star website.

 

 

 

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