Episodes

  • If you’re thinking about buying a Kia Seltos - here’s everything you need to know.

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    As usual, Kia conscripted its on-call dynamics wizard to do his mad, Jedi voodoo and turn the conventional vomit-spec South Korean suspension into what is actually an outstanding platform to drive on our preposterously crap ‘Strayan roads.

    The drive program on the launch was on mainly these B and C roads around Noosa, and I’d have to say the body control and steering feedback is excellent. So, big tick there.

    There was probably 90 minutes of freeway driving as well - it’s quiet and composes at 110.

    Interestingly enough - this vehicle has a next-generation motor driven power steering assistance system. That means an electrical servo motor provides the steering assistance. It detects input from you, and a computer tells it how much to help. That’s when you’re turning in.

    But when you’re on the way out of a bend, MDPS typically defaults to ‘off’ and the self-centring steering effect you feel (If any) is just mechanical control feedback.

    But in this system, the motor also provides self-centring feedback assistance. It’s really excellent.

    Here’s the range. You get S, Sport, Sport+ and GT-Line in order of increasing appeal and price. 2.0-litre CVT only on S and Sport. 1.6 Turbo only on GT-Line. But you can have either engine in Sport+.

    So the fuel economy powertrain is available in the first three variants. The performance powertrain on the top two. They overlap at Sport+.

    Here’s how you tell the four variants apart like an automotive ninja. (This is gunna help at the dealership when they jam one under your snout for a test drive - if you know this, you cannot be bullshat to about which one you’re driving. And before you say it in the comments: ‘bullshat’ is the past participle of the verb ‘to bullshit’.)

    The poverty S model rolls on steel wheels. That’s dead easy to spot. If you’re looking at a Seltos with alloy wheels and a folding key, it’s a Sport.

    If it’s got 17-inch alloys and a pushbutton start it’s Sport+ and if it’s got 18-inch alloys (with a bright red highlight around the hub) and a head-up display, it’s a GT-Line.

    There’s more safety gear on Sport+ and GT-Line, but you can get that on S and Sport for $1000 as an option.

    So, I’m not going to bore you with the spec sheet - but the salient observations arising from the spec sheet are:

    S is a real poverty pack. Anything that can be removed to cut costs basically has been, and this is done primarily to appease the great cheapskates of the automotive universe: Fleet managers.

    It’s a big step - $3500 - to go from S to Sport, but it’s well worth it for a private owner. You get alloys, a full-sized spare, the big centre infotainment screen, SUNA live traffic and 10 years of free mapcare updates (and, I’m assured, there are no strings attached to that - you just get the updates when they’re available).

    Sport+ is the pick of the range - because you get adaptive cruise and the better safety gear standard. Plus front parking sensors, nicer interior, proximity key. And it’s $5500 cheaper than GT-Line, which is loaded with all the nice toys, certainly, but do you really need all that stuff? Probably not.

    I’d strongly suggest you buy the 1.6 turbo if sporty engaging driving matters to you. The CVT that goes with the 2.0-litre is a little bit frustrating for enthusiastic driving. It displays this noticeable re-engagement lag, getting on the gas when you clip an apex and want to start feeding the power on smoothly.

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    Today's question:

    "New cars have a build date and a compliance plate. If a car has an August 2019 build date and the same year for compliance, how can it be a 2020 Model? My daughter is buying a car and it is supposed to be a 2020 model but both plates are showing 2019. Your help please." - Daryl

    There are four dates: the build date (which is self-explanatory - that’s when your car rolls off the production line) plus the compliance date (when the compliance plate goes on) the Model Year (or MY) and the first registration date.

    Build date - easy. Compliance date - that really just tells you which version of the regulations the car complies with. There’s all these compliance standards for everything from emissions to the placement of headlamps and tail lights. We call them ADRs (Australian Design Rules).

    These days, ADRs are really just cut-and-paste Retardistani or Eurotrash regulations (called FMVSSs or UN ECE regulations, respectively). There might be the odd exception, but the regulations are essentially globally homogenised to reduce compliance cost in particular markets.

    Compliance regulations evolve over time, so the compliance plate basically draws a line in the sand and says ‘here’s the time stamp for regulatory compliance for this vehicle’. Compliance date really doesn’t matter much to owners.

    Then there’s Model Year - which does a lot of people’s heads in. This concept of Model Year was invented by the Retardistanis, which explains a lot. So, in general, a MY20 (2020 model year) cars start getting built in the fourth quarter of 2019.

    It’s completely arbitrary. MY19 cars can be identical to MY20, or there might be a refresh, or a minor spec upgrade with 2020, or MY20 could herald the introduction of an all-new vehicle. Often, there’s no change.

    Historically, the fourth quarter adoption of the following model year was to give sufficient lead time to things like TV advertising. This was in, like, the 1950s, when things took time - before the world got hooked on crack and because the delight we experience daily.

    And then there’s first registration date - which is when you buy the car. Pretty simple.

    So, right now, in October 2019 you can be looking at an MY20 car built in August 2019. 

    So - four different dates. And here’s where you need to look out, and protect yourself. At trade-in time, the dealer is likely to use the build date to talk you down on price. If he gets this bullshit proposition across the line, and you buy it, he adds another year’s worth of depreciation to the trade-in equation and guts you just a little bit harder.

    Then he details the car and sells it as a 2020 model. Because … hey, there’s a body of evidence in support of the thesis that car dealers are just immoral cocks.

    Just be firm.

    Right at the moment there’s a potential minefield out there. Holden, for example, has thousands of cars on ice, essentially rotting away in paddocks because nobody wants them. I’m sure you can buy an allegedly brand new 2017 model if you look hard enough.

    Volkswagen is defecating in its trousers right now, too, because they have a surplus of unsold 2018 Touaregs on hand - so you’ll get a discount there if you achieve ‘polite arsehole’ negotiator status.

    But on these old ‘brand new’ shitheaps, the problem is: trade-in. What’s the benefit of saving five grand up front if the trade-in costs you an additional $5k in depreciation? You would have been better off in a brand new, brand new car.

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    The 2.0 biturbo engine has to work a lot harder per unit capacity, and when you look at its power delivery, it’s fair to say that it’s delivering only slightly more power than the 3.2 up to 3000rpm (where the 3.2 peaks, at 147kW). 

    The 2.0 revs 25 per cent higher and delivers another 10kW when it gets there (157kW at 3750rpm), which is a significant increase, but not earth-shattering. It’s seven per cent more power.

    So, when the 3.2 is making its peak power, it’s delivering about 45.9 kilowatts per litre. At full noise the 2.0 is delivering 78.5 kilowatts per litre. So, per litre, the little engine is working 70 per cent harder. They’re revving it higher and pumping more air in as well. Because that’s how you do it. Power is proportional to revs, if you can maintain the torque production, and more air equals more fuel, equals more torque.

    There’s no evidence that this heavier workload is going to lead to premature wear or failure - because you can hedge against that in R&D. But it’s working hard, and if you go that way, keep the services up to it - and maybe change the oil more frequently than you need to if you drive it in harsh conditions - because turbos are very hard on oil.

    Also, the 10-speed auto is likely to make for smoother delivery of tractive effort in most conditions. In a sense it’ll amplify the additional torque at the crank in the 2.0 at just about all the common driving speeds. The extra ratios really just allow the engine to be at the ‘Goldilocks’ revs for each permutation of load, demand and road speed. When I say ‘load’ I mean ‘driving uphill’ or overtaking against inertial resistance, and when I say ‘demand’ I really just mean how hard you’re pressing on the accelerator.

    This greater availability of ratios will also be better for fuel economy when you’re not driving hard. That’s evident in the official fuel tests, which involve laboratory standardised very conservative driving: 7.4 for the 2.0 and 8.9 for the 3.2. If you drive them like you stole them, or sling something really heavy behind, and expect fuel economy to plummet, and the 2.0 will be line ball with the 3.2.

    The 2.0 is slightly lighter overall, too - about 33 kilos. Not enough to make a real difference, but a bit less mass over the front axle.

    The engines themselves are pretty closely matched up to about 3000rpm - but the 2.0TT does have a slight edge. You can tell that just by looking at the peak torque figures for each engine.

    On the downside the 2.0-litre, 10-speed powertrain is relatively unproven because it has not been deployed in market long enough to draw long-term reliability conclusions. The 2.0 was released in July 2018. So at this point - 15 months in, on the 2.0 biturbo Ranger experiment - we don’t really have any data about the long-term viability of that powertrain. It hasn’t been a disaster yet, however.

    The 3.2 five-cylinder/six-speed is, on the other hand, a low-stressed engine and it’s been a fairly problem-free package.

    If it were my cash, I’d but the 3.2 right now - and the difference in price would go a long way to funding the hard cover and bullbar. But you should take them both for a drive and see if you think the 2.0TT is significantly better for you.

    If you’re a ‘go with the flow’ kind of driver, the 2.0 is probably going to be overkill - in the sense that you won’t be exploiting the engine’s maximum performance very often, if at all. Certainly the towing assignment here is reasonably conservative in the context of the vehicle’s maximum tow capacity (but 2.7 tonnes is still a very heavy thing…).

  • Here are six of the best contemporary Tesla ‘own goals’:

    ONE

    Currently trending on Google: the term ‘Tesla Summon fail’.

    Unfortunately, the internet is filling up with inconvenient videos following Smart Summon going horribly awry. Just search ‘Tesla Summon fail’ on YouTube and be amazed.

    Teslas running themselves into the garage, Teslas smacking themselves into some other car, or just acting flat-out retarded because the system cannot cope with the complexities of reality.

    To Electric Jesus I would pray: ‘Lord, how about you stop beta-testing dogshit tech that’s little more than a nice idea, on the public?’

    TWO

    Model X’s power front doors feel resistance upon opening, perhaps when frozen solid by ice, a black obelisk pops out to break the ice and free the door, and then retracts in two or three seconds.

    Unfortunately there’s a hole in the Icebreaker big enough for a five-year-old girl’s finger.

    Her name is Milana Izzetov. She did what kids do, inquisitively enough, and the Icebreaker turned into a finger breaker and little girl trap. It took an emergency crew two excruciating hours to free Milana Izzetov from the Tesla Icebreaker.

    THREE

    Remember when EJ called Vernon Unsworth a pedophile? Unsworth is the Thai cave rescue hero and a Member of the British Empire.

    EJ offered Unsworth his hastily constructed, dodgy minisub, which Unsworth dismissed as (quote) “a publicity stunt”.

    Billionaires hate being dismissed, so EJ called Unsworth a (quote) “pedo guy” on Twitter, and Buzzfeed says he also called Unsworth a (quote) “child rapist”.

    Buzzfeed says, earlier this month, that instead of ‘EJ Billionaire’ just paying the guy off quietly, and shutting this down with an NDA (ie, the smart move) it emerges that EJ (and/or EJ’s team) hired a private detective and paid him a lazy $50,000 to dig into Unsworth…

    ...presumably to uncover any hidden ‘pedo’ gems which might be buried there, in the past.

    The glace cherry on the icing on the “pedo guy” cake of private investigation is he's actually a convicted criminal who stole about half a million US dollars from the company he co-founded. He was convicted and served 18 months of a three-year sentence.

    FOUR

    Investment luminary Ben McGarry of Totus Capital makes a compelling argument based on data that Tesla stock fits into the category he describes as (quote) “fads, frauds and failures”. Poor governance is one of McGarry’s red flags.

    “In 2018, Tesla's board of directors was the second highest-paid board in the USA. Elon's brother Kimball, a chef, was paid $6.8 million to sit on the board last year.” - Ben McGarry, Totus Capital

    It just made me wonder: Can you see how Kimbal Musk might possibly add US$6.8 million worth of value to Tesla?

    FIVE:

    A 57-year-old paid-up member of Electric Scientology recently crashed his Tesla in Austria.

    It caught fire, because lithium-ion batteries are quite enthusiastic at that.

    The road was closed, but to make the vehicle safe for transport, they had to bring in a special container. And, by ‘special container’ I really mean ‘ersatz portable swimming pool’.

    A 24-cubic metre steel box 6.8 by 2.4 by 1.5, designed to hold a burning EV sitting in 11 tonnes of water (11,000 litres).

    SIX Semi? What Semi?

    And finally, the Semi. The mighty Semi. It’s still not here. Supposed to be here right now. Walmart and Pepsi have slapped down big orders… and the Church of Electric Scientology is now saying … your flight to heavy hauling EV heaven has been delayed … by about a year.

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    ‘Holden posts lowest monthly sales since 1948.’ Kinda says it all, really. Just 2863 sales in September - lowest result in 71 years. And that’s after Detroit disinterred and re-animated Dave Buttner - it was all very ‘Frankenstein’. 

    Incidentally, February, April and July this year were also record monthly lows for Holden. I’m sensing a pattern. And that pattern would be that not even Deadpool’s dad, the former boss of Toyota Shitsville, can pump water out of the bilges fast enough. The iceberg was just too big...

    Expect more Holden dealership closures in coming months as the brand continues to slide further into obscurity. And whatever you do, don’t buy one - in an environment like this, you’re setting yourself up for a resale disaster.

    Tung Nguyen. And the Academy award for best male porn star name ever by a motoring journalist, goes to the Carsguide news editor, Tung Nguyen - yesssssss!

    Anyway, Deep Tung (as I would call Mr Nguyen if we shared an office) Deep Tung went on to transcribe Holden’s bullshit excuses for dropping the ball so badly in September.

    According to a Holden bullshit excuse monger, there was a delay selling some Colorados to fleet and rental customers. Deep Tung also transcribed this epic bullshit excuse:

    “...and a significant sell down of dealer demonstrator inventory as a result of our demonstrator clearance sale.”

    If a Holden bullshitter had ‘explained’ this to be, I would have retorted with ‘How ill-informed do you think I am?’

    See, sales figures don’t actually track sales. Of course. The car industry is in fact a movie I would call ‘Bullshit Inception’ - it’s bullshit inside bullshit inside bullshit - little Russian dolls carved out of bullshit - all the way down to the quantum level.

    Sales figures actually track registrations. So, when a month looks like going bad, for a carmaker, the mother ship tells all its dealers to go out and register, like, 10 cars. 

    If you’ve got 200 dealers, that’s 2000 additional registrations that get chalked up as sales, and they go on the books as demonstrators even though most never get driven.

    Then the mother ship pays the dealer a back-hander to sell the demonstrators at a discount, seeing as it’s no longer worth as much as a new car. So, essentially, that makes the carmaker look better in that month, but it engineers an even bigger slump the next month, potentilly, and it is therefore a very short-term sales strategy.

    So, if you’re a proper journalist, the pro tip there would be to call them on it. Because this is what happens when you cook the books in August and it bites you on the arse in September. Because the fundamental problem is the cat’s out of the bag on Holden’s appalling conduct vis-a-vis the factory closure almost two years ago today.

    Clever advertising can’t right the ship. I know this because Holden even released a brand new advertising campaign at considerable expense, detailing the joys of Holden SUV ownership. A Holden Heist, they called it. ‘This is how we SUV.’ (As if ‘SUV’ is a fucking verb…)

    Very nicely shot. Expensive. Stabilized rigs on cars. Couple of nice drone shot inserts. Wouldn’t be surprised if they dusted off three or four Arri Alexas or the Red Weapon Heliums. (It’s very good, production-wise. Almost Hollywood. But, at the same time, nauseating.)

    It’s a bullshit concept. They’re selling vehicles nobody wants. Under a brand they burned. Most of us know the real Holden heist involved the Australian taxpayer - and not even the most accomplished ad agency in the world could shove that down my throat and make it taste like fois gras…

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    On the first of October I brought you Phillip Carlson, a Canberra-based engineer, who bought a shitbox Leaf in 2012. Today he says it’s down to just 40 kilometres per charge, or 25 in winter with the heater on. So it’s little more than heavily depreciated roadside furniture at that point.

    That shitbox has a design defect. There’s no heat exchanger protecting the battery. So it gets too hot, and it dies early - especially in warm environments, where the mercury regularly nudges 40 degrees C in summer, like where Mr Carlson lives.

    Unlike other EVs on the same evolutionary timeline those Nissan arseholes cut serious corners on R&D. And now they expect owners to pay.

    It’s basically impossible to cool those batteries passively, and it’s impossible to think those Nissan clowns did not know about this in R&D. Passive cooling won’t work. You cannot hang the batteries out in the breeze, for convection, because they have to be weather sealed and well protected against mechanical damage

    The battery installation is badly designed. They overheat and they crap out early.

    According to the ACCC, the ‘refund’ test examines the length of time it’s reasonable for the product to be used, and the amount of time it’s reasonably expected to tolerate use before failure. The warranty status is not part of the ‘refund’ test. Your shitbox Leaf can be out of warranty and you may still be entitled to a full refund if it fails badly enough, early enough.

    If I paid $53,500 for a car, as Mr Carlson did, I’d expect it to be useful for more than 90,000 kilometres and seven years.

    Instead of doing the right thing by customers and obeying consumer law, honouring the refund obligation, those Nissan arseholes dumped this steaming pile of bullshit into the laps of Leaf owners Down Under:

    “Nissan put in place a battery exchange program on April 1st for any customers of a series 1 LEAF where their Lithium-Ion battery no longer provided the owner with the capacity to support their driving range requirements.” - Ben Warren, National Manager for Electrification and mobility at Nissan Shitsville

    I’m no lawyer, but that certainly seems somewhat less than the law requires, at least to me.

    “Beyond the manufacturer’s warranty period, Nissan has introduced a subsidised battery exchange program for vehicles sold by its Australian dealers.” - Nissan

    Export-grade bullshit: Let us be quite clear about who’s subsidising who. Nissan is not subsidising the cost of premature battery replacement on shitbox Leafs. You are paying $10,000 - plus fitting. Therefore you are subsidising Nissan for the company’s shit R&D.

    These arseholes are profiteering from their own crap engineering. That’s grossly immoral and completely unethical. And you’re not even getting a new battery pack - my understanding is: it’s a refurbished one, on an exchange basis. And only if you meet some bullshit criteria.

    “Whilst the cost is above $10K after labour, it is a 24Kw battery and when you consider the costs of a home battery storage system of that capacity – it actually compares quite favourably.” - Nissan

    Exactly the same bullshit refurbished battery program, introduced at exactly the same time in Japan costs 300,000 Yen, which is only $4200 Shitsville dollars.

    Why is Nissan charging Australian Leaf owners more than double what the Japanese pay? It’s exactly the same battery in exactly the same car. If you’ve ever wondered what reverse-racism looks like, in the automotive industry, this is it.

  • Phillip Carlson bought a Nissan Leaf in August 2012, which cost about $53,500. It’s seven years old today, and it’s worth maybe $12,000 - if you can find someone dumb enough to buy it. Let’s let him tell the story.

    “I bought an electric car from Nissan with 5 years warranty on the battery. They claimed 175km range. From new I only ever got 120km. Now I can BARELY get 35-40km during winter or even 25km if I use the heater. The warranty says the battery is bad if it drops to 8 out of 12 bars, which mine has.

    “I took it in and they claim the battery is totally fine and there’s nothing wrong with it and gave me a $33,000 invoice for a new one!!!!! Nissan just won’t listen and I’ve run out of all hope. I paid $53,500 for this car and it’s pretty useless now.” - Phillip Carlson

    Here’s the official battery replacement quote from Lennock Motors in the ACT. $750 to replace the battery, an incredible $29,600 for the battery, you Nissan chumps. Plus GST: that’s $33,385 in total. On a shitheap worth $12k, on a good day today.

    I note Nissan and other carmakers bitching and moaning about the lack of government support for EVs in Australia. And I’d suggest that if you’re a carmaker like Nissan, seemingly hell-bent on taking your small group of EV first adopters to the prison shower in this way, then you simply do not deserve any taxpayer support. You short-sighted mother-lovers.

    And I say this because that kind of behaviour ignores the fact that the easiest guy on earth to sell a new Leaf to is the satisfied owner of an old Leaf.

    This extortionate conduct hardly screams: ‘We’ll take care of you.’ Maybe it does - in a Bill Cosby way.

    And if you think that’s expensive, check out this $50,000 Jeep repair bill, on another car worth maybe $15k.

    So, let’s think about this, and what it really means, because the conduct of organisations tells you more about them than the statements they make.

    This is a tacit admission by Nissan that the Leaf is a disposable car. A $50,000 disposable car. Which doesn’t seem very environmentally sustainable to me.

    Obvious conclusion on the fucked-up cost of replacing this battery: For $30,000 you could buy about 20,000 litres of petrol. Which is enough to drive a Leaf-sized conventional car about 400,000 kilometres.

    So if you are buying your Leaf EV to save money on fuel, even if you are getting your electricity free from a fat rooftop solar array, every day, you better hope you get 400,000 kays out of the battery. #unlikely.

    If you don’t, you’re just kidding yourself. And the leaf is about $30,000 more expensive than a Leaf-sized conventional car. So make that 800,000 kays - to break even, financially. In what universe does that sound like a sound financial plan?

  • There’s a lot of Jeep apologists. Dozens of people suggested this was just a ‘rogue dealer’. Keep watching because I’ve got the smoking gun on that - it’s not a rogue dealer. It’s an entrenched rip-off strategy with Jeep. Smoking gun coming up: the evidence - shocking.

    This suggestion that $47,500 is just a rogue dealer, and Fiat Chrysler head office had no knowledge of such abhorrent practices: What a load of shit, in my view.

    Here’s the smoking gun. Two years ago, a guy named Michael e-mailed me, upset. His cup over-ran when his diesel Jeep shat itself at 58,412 kilometres, in an eerie prequel to the Lawrence’s recent meltdown.

    The Caroline Springs Jeep shitheap dealer dealt with that. The two dealerships (Newcastle and Caroline Springs) are separated by 1000 kilometres. These events are also separated by almost two years in time.

    Those shitheads in Sunshine quoted the following: $8900 for the high pressure pump. Six injectors at $2500 apiece - that’s $15,000. Left and right fuel rails at $2163 each. That’s $4326. Fuel injector lines $1267.

    Sundry parts: $1970. The total is a staggering $31,464.

    The Sunshine dealership was far more reasonable about the labour - at just $1820, which (I imagine) is around 15 hours at about $120 per hour. That’s only 50 per cent higher than it should be.

    Those pricks in Newcastle were proposing to fillet the Lawrences to the tune of $7000 for labour. An epic touch-up.

    But the parts … $31-and-a-half grand in Victoria, two years ago, versus $39-and-a-half in Newcastle, today. They’re similarly blown-out, I think you’d agree.

    And there’s no way head office could not know. Like, no way. Not that I can see.

    These are just two ripoffs we know about. How many poor bastards just copped it on the chin and coughed up because they needed to get their Jeep shithawk back on the road?

    This ‘rogue dealer’ suggestion is about as likely as the alleged ‘rogue engineers’ mooted at one point by those arseholes at Volkswagen, when all the time, the fish was rotting from Martin Winterkorn’s head down.

    There is no way senior people at Fiat Chrysler Australia can be unaware of dealings such as this. Consumers would be arcing right up to head office about repair cost, don’t you think? I’d love to see the AFP knock on Fiat Chrysler’s door with a warrant and test this hypothesis.

    Before I let you go: FCA did intervene a couple of days ago. They bowed to the media pressure and they turned the Lawrence’s $50k frown upside down by offering to repair the shitheap for free.

    In other words, they agreed to do somewhat less than obey the consumer law. Because make no mistake: Had they rolled the dice in court and lost, it could well be Princess of Poshtovia 2.0 - they get their $50 grand purchase refunded and make an application for costs.

    FCA is getting out of this one for about $10 grand - minus the media fallout, which I sincerely hope is unpleasant, and costs them sales. They deserve that.

    To Kevin Flynn, who runs FCA in Australia I’d suggest: you did try very hard to spin this up in the news to appear as if you were bending over backwards to be magnanimous, but in fact you do not deserve a standing friggin’ ovation, any more than the rest of us deserve pats on the back for no knocking over the National Australia Bank again today.

    You arseholes did less than the law requires for a breach of the ‘acceptable quality’ guarantee. And in that sense, you’re still getting away with it.

  • o, the Lawrences buy a 2013 Grand Cherokee shitbox - used - from a shitbag Jeep Dealer - and they buy is a couple of years old, in 2015. Henceforth, they get it serviced on time - every time - from the shitbag dealer, who bends them over in the time-honoured tradition of inflated pricing for that. Because they can.

    So, this is all sounding like a really nice story - hardly worthy of my time - until one day recently when the Lawrence’s seven-slot shitheap takes its first big, steaming dump in traffic, and coasts to a halt, inelegantly, at the roadside. Yesssssss!

    Non devil-worshipping Danny Lawrence takes his zombiefied Jeep back to the arsehole dealership. Things aren’t looking too bad even at this point - they’re making noises about replacing the battery.

    That’s ‘only’ about $600. See what I mean about the pricing? That’s $478.41 - for a friggin battery. And almost $100 to fit it. And lubrication is extra.

    Then, and this is the bit I really like, they inform Mr Lawrence the fuel pump is cactus, and - added bonus - the debris from its trouser-pooping proclivity has migrated downstream and destroyed the fuel injectors. Oops-a-daisy.

    There are of course sundry additional costs associated with resolving these newfound issues:

    That’ll be $47,500. Yessssssss! Let’s just call it $50k. If you’ve ever wondered why the friggin’ defibrillator in a dealership is located in the service department, that’s pretty much it.

    I just checked, and the value of a 2013 Grand Cherokee Laredo is about $22,000 Shitsvillian micro-buckeroonies today. It was about $50k new. The repair cost is roughly double the current valuation.

    Now, as if things couldn’t get any worse for the non devil-worshipping Lawrences. But they did. The shitbag Jeep dealership failed nicely to honour its obligations under the legislated ‘Acceptable Quality’ Consumer Guarantee, and they passed the buck smoothly back to the Death Star itself - the importer of Jeeps in here Shitsville. FCA - Fiat Chrysler Arseholes.

    So, basically, the dipshit dealer advised the Lawrences to apply to Fiat Chrysler Arseholes for a quote-unquote “goodwill concession” - even though that hasn’t been part of consumer law since 2011. And, I note, Darth Vader never handed out too many of those.

    It’s easier to get a refund on a fucking toaster in this country - even though the same legislation pertains to toasters and cars. Some car brands still think they’re above the law. Probably because the ACCC has no balls.

    As I understand it, it is entirely illegal for dealerships (or any other retailer) to fob you off onto the importer in this way - but I’m no lawyer.

    Fiat Chrysler tells the Lawrences to eff off, on the goodwill front, predictably enough.

    And it gets worse, because every independent mechanic Mr Lawrence approaches runs screaming from the proposition of placing their hands upon this disaster - because Jeeps are notoriously such dodgy shitheaps to work on.

    So, the once mighty Lawrence Grand Cherokee is currently zombiefied, and unlikely to return from the Twilight Zone any time soon. And none of this helps the Lawrences get from A to B on a daily basis, of course. This is a big hit for an ordinary family.

    The law says products must be reasonably durable. That’s regardless of warranty status. This means (as I see it) that a well maintained car should simply not shit itself within six years if it’s been serviced properly. And if it does, this must be the manufacturer’s problem, not yours.

  • If you own a Nissan Pathfinder R52 - please accept my sympathy. Nobody deserves that. But in ‘get even’ news, class action specialists, Bannister Law are considering taking Knee-sun out behind the woodshed over the appalling CVT transmission in the Pathfinder, which in my view, should be retrospectively renamed the ‘Shat’.

    Some names: they just fit like a latex glove, don’t they? Bonus points for being the past participle of the verb - you don’t see that very often in car names.

    According to the lawyers:

    "We have received reports from registrants that: 1. the CVT is prone to causing sudden, unexpected shaking and violent jerking (ie. juddering or shuddering) when a driver attempts to accelerate; and 2. there exists other issues with acceleration."

    If you’ve been ‘Shat’ on in this way, Bannister Law wants you to register online at bannisterlaw.com.au/nissan-cvt-investigation 

    Remember what Volkswagen did for the reputation of dual-clutch transmissions? Like, Dresden on the morning of 16 February 1945? Well, those chumps at Knee-sun essentially managed the same thing with the R52 Shat, or Pathfinder, in respect of CVT reliability.

    In the six long years Nissan has Shat upon owners, this noteworthy vehicle received numerous industry accolades. My personal favourite was its inclusion in the coveted top 30 used cars ‘never buy’ list from Consumer Reports. The R52 Shat made it to number 17 on that particular hit parade. The ‘never buy’ list. Well done there.

    The Nissan Shat also made Consumer Reports top 10 worst cars list in 2014. Another highlight. That’s a real anti-achievement. Knee-sun also achieved ‘least reliable Japanese brand’ status in that year - yesssssss! With Consumer Reports nailing the coffin shut once and for all by categorising the Shat as being at (quote) ‘the bottom of its class for reliability’.

    The designers of the Shat/Pathfinder/whatever cannot even hope to blame some third party transmission manufacturer for that vehicle’s pants-pooping proclivity.

    The Shat’s disgracefully under-cooked XTronic CVT is made by a company you’ve probably never heard of, called JATCO, and Knee-sun owns 75 per cent of JATCO. Which is roughly equivalent to crapping in your own loungeroom.

    So the Shat’s XTronic CVT is nothing more than an ongoing Knee-sun ‘own goal’.

    Reliability of JATCO transmissions got so bad around 2014, that subsequently disgraced RenaultNissan boss Carlos Ghosn walked down the hall to the JATCO boardroom one fateful day in about 2014, with a three-foot razorblade fully withdrawn from its scabbard, and he did not return until the blood ran about eight inches deep on the floor.

    It was all very ‘Kill Bill’. Tarantino would have been proud. 

    Anyway, if your appalling R52 Knee-sun Shat has been driving you progressively insane, these past few years, and you’d like a bunch of rabid lawyers to slip one into Knee-sun on your behalf, you might like to visit Bannister Law’s website and spill your guts, in much the same way as your Shat has been spilling its.

  • Three of Caradvice’s biggest cocks just got up and walked out. And they’re not coming back.

    The cocks in question, who made like Moses after the 10 plagues - even though that - guaranteed - never happened - were the so-called “founding team” at Caradvice: Alborz Fallah, Tony Crawford and (quote-unquote) “media personality” Paul Maric.

    So this is kind of interesting. Caradvice’s three biggest cocks become contemporaneously erect, and fly the coop in formation, yesterday. As symbolic ‘fuck yous’ go - it doesn’t get much more emphatic.

    I should point out that calling someone a cock is actually a mark of deep respect. The cock is a proud animal. If you’re top cock in the henhouse, all the roosters want to be you, and all the chicks want to do you. It’s an enviable position in which to be.

    These chaps are therefore fully-qualified, A-grade cocks.

    Recent history: Caradvice started out as nothing more than a bulge in Alborz’s underpants. He’d always wanted a hot pink Ferrari and to drive fast cars in exotic locations with lifetime platinum frequent flier status, while inflicting himself on innocent car enthusiasts, all on the car industry’s dime.

    He originally wanted to be a garage door installer - but that didn’t work out, so he fell back on almost-journalism.

    This secondary media entrepreneurial wet dream grew into an advertising delivery powerhouse. And despite the fact that I worked there as editor in chief for a brief period (not a good fit) - they finally sold it for millions to Nine Digital

    ...which is like Channel Nine, only more mentally retarded, and with no audience. Same sociopathic tendencies as regular broadcast TV, however, so that’s nice.

    Anyway, Nine also buys Fairfax, which owns Drive. They take Drive to the prison shower with the big digital cocks, and Drive emerges limping,  a shadow of its former self. (It’s just Caradvice with a different logo now.) And Nine’s digital cocks pat each other on the arse over a fine job well done.

    The long-term chief executive of Caradvice - he’s enjoying all of this so much that he just gets up and walks out of the building a couple of months ago. And they fill the void left by his departure with … some faceless Nine Digital beancounter.

    The unsinkable automotive ship - the RMS Advertising Delivery - is at this point bearing right down an iceberg you can see from space. Moments before impact, the big, founding cocks all sprout wings. 

    Caradvice can exist without the big founding cocks - certainly - but not as we know it. See, in the modern digital marketplace, where video is king, the brand is the key people. The audience has a relationship with the big cocks - but this is something a Nine Digital wonk is unlikely to appreciate.

    Like, you’re sitting here listening to me now. I’m talking to you. You’re … I dunno … on the crapper, cracking one off (one of life’s significant pleasures) … and here we are, spending this special time together. It’s kind of intimate, isn’t it? Only, not in a fag way. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

    Video equals personal connection. So, Caradvice just lost that. It’s intangible, but hugely significant. Which just points to an epic level of management mental retardation at Nine Digital. Well done there. You chumps.

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    My heart was as heavy as a field of butterflies in spring when the news lobbed on Monday that high-level [LOOK LEFT] cocks in Wolfsburg had signed off on allowing their inconsequential Arse-tra-alien subordinates to bend and stretch their way to a class-action settlement in the time-honoured game of prison shower Twister. Yesssss!

    Ze Chermans will kick the tin for up to $127.1 million for Dieselgate class action victims, who own (or owned) the company’s disgraceful, filthy shitheaps.

    If you’ve been dead from the neck up since about 2015, Dieselgate was, of course, the board-level criminal conspiracy, in which a decision was taken to kill people prematurely in the name of profit, by cheating emissions regulations and pumping up oxides of nitrogen in Volkswagen dung-box diesel exhausts.

    Oxides of nitrogen kill about 50,000 people annually in Retardistan. If you read the peer-reviewed study in respected academic journal, Environmental Pollution, you’d see they estimated fraudulent Dieselgate emissions causing 45,000 disability-adjusted life-years to be lost, at a cost of $39 billion US dollars (and that’s just in ‘Murica).

    Dieselgate has now cost Volkswagen more than 30 billion Euros, in total, and several high-level Volkswagen and Audi arseholes have gone to prison. Others, of course, parachuted out onto their wallets, fortuitously to live happily ever after, presumably in a hot tub full of Veuve Cliquot. And high-class hookers. In countries that don’t extradite. And, let’s face it - if you’re going to be in prison, that’s how to do it.

    Even more of a side-splitter for me: Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda are doing this “without admission of liability”.

    I ask you: Could they actually harbour some hope against hope of looking any less like morally adrift mother-lovers? In fact, those disingenuous Volkswagen ‘Straya arseholes said, in a statement, that the $40 million (wriggle room) settlement would be a:

    “...significant step towards fully resolving the diesel lawsuits in Australia.”

    I guess that’s true - except for the people who became disabled because the excessive NOx gave them some life-limiting cardiovascular disease. But, really, who cares about them?

    The company droned on, seemingly without end:

    "The settlement, on a no-admissions basis, concerns five class-action lawsuits covering all affected vehicles in Australia. Volkswagen expects the proceedings will be concluded in 2020."

    If only Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda cars were as reliable as their corporate bullshit. Here’s my problem with this ‘zero admission of liability’ caper:

    If the cops kick in your door at 3am, they zip-tie you at gunpoint and tell you they think you really did kill all those children, and the Department of Public Prosecutions agrees, you get two basic options:

    One: Plead ‘guilty’ and go straight to sentencing. Two: Plead ‘not guilty’ and go to trial, where your guilt (or not) is established.

    What you specifically don’t get to do, when some dude in a wig says: “How do you plead?” Is get in wig-man’s face and argue: “Maaaate, look, I’m not sayin’ I killed all those schoolgirls, right - but just gimme … I dunno ... 8.7 to 12.7 years, we’ll sort that out, and that’ll be the end of it. I think you’d agree that’d be a significant step towards fully resolving this mutually inconvenient issue.”

    And yet - that’s kinda what’s happening here.

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    Toyota - the world’s leading manufacturer of boring vehicles - is succumbing to its own bullshit in a scary parallel. Cue George Orwell, because the company no longer even calls those who buy its cars ‘customers’:

    “Our guests know that Toyota will look after them and the overwhelming feedback we get on a recall of any major proportion is largely a big thank you from our guests for acting so quickly on an issue.”

    Sean Hanley - Toyota behavioural apologist and sales and marketing wonk, towing the company line in respect of a recent recall

    'Our guests’ - allow me to retort: If I buy something from you, I’m not a guest; I’m a customer. Legislation is ushered in to confirm my commercial status.

    So, I will not be downgraded to ‘guest’ by Toyota because of some social justice bullshit. I’ll remain here in ‘business class’ and be a customer,.

    Toyota spent recent years stonewalling on the issue of the DPF design fiasco in 2.8 diesel Hilux, Fortuner and Prado.

    Customers… Sorry: ‘guests’ - are having their ‘unbreakable’ Hiluxes break all over the former convict paradise, and Toyota’s response is to re-enacting The Emperor’s New Clothes. This is how the cake of bullshit gets baked.

    Glaciers advance faster than the fix for the actual DPF issue. You are forced to return to the dealer many times, before they will install a manual DPF burn-off switch.

    Perhaps the most under-done engineering Band-Aid I have ever seen. I really don’t see how this in any way addresses the fundamental underlying hardware deficiency.

    The Big T says - it’s all fixed now. Gotta keep shifting those new Toyotas.

    “Through all our learnings of previous-generation diesel technology, we believe that with the new vehicles and the manual burn-off switch, the communication with our customers - what DPF represents, how it works, what to look for, the support that we provide - we believe it is fixed.” - Sean Hanley

    How is this is a belief issue? ‘We believe it’s fixed.’ There’s no epistemic dimension to fixing a design deficiency. It’s not a matter of belief. Either it’s fixed or it’s not. It’s an entirely ontological proposition.

    This engine is also too easily ‘dusted’. A euphemism for the incursion of dust past the air filter, where it forces the vehicle into ‘limp’ mode.

    The mouthpiece says only 0.2 per cent of 170,000 vehicles have been ‘dusted’.

    Mr Hanley went on to explain (if that’s the right word) that this dusting business happens only in (quote-unquote) “extreme conditions” - as if this is in some way acceptable.

    Perhaps we should not forget we’re talking about filtering dust from air in a pipe.

    Dust is easy to arrange. Air filter integrity is easy to test. The fact that dust gets past 0.2 per cent of Hilux air filters is a design disgrace. The actual defect rate is of course much higher because many Hiluxes are never tested by entering extremely dusty environments.

    Toyota’s goodwill is in flames, and it seems nobody is yet reaching for an extinguisher. All they have to do is admit problems, address them fast, and be honest. It doesn’t sound that hard, but it is.

    The worst thing about Toyota’s bullshit is that they’ve apparently started to believe it internally - perhaps because it’s more compelling and palatable than the facts, which are that their engineering integrity and internal validation processes are slipping.

    If you’ve ever wondered why I don’t gush about Toyota, this is it.