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Subaru buyers in U.S. caught up in right-to-repair fight over autos

18 Comments
By MATT O'BRIEN

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18 Comments
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Once the car is paid for, it's owned.

If Subaru doesn't like that, they can buy it back.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Did the lady in the article wear her car out in three years? You'd think they would last a bit longer than that, given how much they cost.

If features are dropped, car owners should do some research and consider refurbishing their vehicle instead of buying a new one. The same thing happens with software. Before you update/upgrade, if it isn't automatic, you should check to see if they have removed any features from the newer version.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

One of the main issues I see here is the consumer being removed from the loop little by little by technology and thus having important decisions taken out of their hands. This is a big issue.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

No one is forcing them to buy a Subaru. If you don't like it but a different car. The policy of prioritizing dealerships for maintenance is nothing new. When I bought a Honda Accord back in the 80's they clearly stated that if we don't come to the dealership for regular maintenance especially in the first two years, it could null and void certain parts of the warranty. Your choice.

If you know a good private garage or mechanic, good for you but so many of them are dishonest and lack the expertise for working on certain cars.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

 “If the only person who can fix a car, because of a data standpoint, is the dealership, the consumer has lost the choice.”

Consumer has a choice which car to buy

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Customers should be informed first and foremost rather than be blindsided.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

If features are dropped, car owners should do some research and consider refurbishing their vehicle instead of buying a new one.

The features were not dropped from the Subaru line. They are disabled on cars sold in one state because the state passed a law requiring the auto makers grant access to independent shops to all of the car's features. Those features the lady complains are missing are all still available in Subaru's sold in the other 49 states. I used to like Subaru but this disgusts me.

Btw, this is a problem with modern motorcycles too. Many bikes today cannot be serviced without a dealer-only computer hooked to it. There are work arounds for some things but not everything.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Consumer has a choice which car to buy

It is an across the board problem with every make of car, and most motorcycles too. I can't even replace the battery on my cell phone any more, you have to take it to a factory authorized service center. You see this with major appliances too that have their own proprietary microprocessors.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

No one is forcing them to buy a Subaru. If you don't like it but a different car. The policy of prioritizing dealerships for maintenance is nothing new. When I bought a Honda Accord back in the 80's they clearly stated that if we don't come to the dealership for regular maintenance especially in the first two years, it could null and void certain parts of the warranty. Your choice.

No. In the US that is illegal. This is nothing new. Chrysler tried to force customers to have their cars serviced exclusively at their dealers during the 1960s when they were offering a 5 year / 50,000 mile warranty. The US Congress wasn't having any part of that and in 1975 passed the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act which prohibits auto manufactures from voiding warranties if a customer takes their vehicle to an independent shop or even performs their own maintenance. The manufacturer has to prove customer or shop negligence caused a failure before they can refuse to honor a warranty.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Desert TortoiseToday  12:23 pm JST

No one is forcing them to buy a Subaru. If you don't like it but a different car. The policy of prioritizing dealerships for maintenance is nothing new. When I bought a Honda Accord back in the 80's they clearly stated that if we don't come to the dealership for regular maintenance especially in the first two years, it could null and void certain parts of the warranty. Your choice.

No. In the US that is illegal. This is nothing new. Chrysler tried to force customers to have their cars serviced exclusively at their dealers during the 1960s when they were offering a 5 year / 50,000 mile warranty. The US Congress wasn't having any part of that and in 1975 passed the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act which prohibits auto manufactures from voiding warranties if a customer takes their vehicle to an independent shop or even performs their own maintenance. The manufacturer has to prove customer or shop negligence caused a failure before they can refuse to honor a warranty.

I'm Canadian. So not no. The US is not the rest of the world.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Consumer has a choice which car to buy

It is an across the board problem with every make of car, and most motorcycles too. I can't even replace the battery on my cell phone any more, you have to take it to a factory authorized service center. You see this with major appliances too that have their own proprietary microprocessors.

Yes.

Buy something else.

Manufacturers will listen if no one buys their products anymore.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I take the car to the dealer, pay 4,000 for a computer diagnostic printout

Why not get your own scanner? You can get tools that provide a comprehensive diagnosis for around a hundred bucks on Amazon. Just whack it in the OBD2 port and boom, there's 4,000 yen that doesn't go into the pocket of your neighbourhood scam artist, I mean mechanic.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The point everyone seems to be missing, if 2 companies are allowed to do this, more companies will follow. Where will it stop?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'm Canadian. So not no. The US is not the rest of the world.

It's fine that you're a Canadian, but did you miss the part of the article where this issues is specifically in Massachusetts, which is in the USA? You're right, the US isn't the rest of the world, but this article is entirely about Subaru's operation in the USA.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

How do other car manufacturers deal with this? Hard to believe that it is only an issue for Subaru and Kia.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How do other car manufacturers deal with this? Hard to believe that it is only an issue for Subaru and Kia.

I think they are waiting for the court hearing the case to rule before taking any action.

I can tell you to work on a modern BMW, car or motorcycle, a shop has to buy an $11,000 diagnostic computer that only works on BMWs and has to pay a subscription and be on-line to BMW AG to perform maintenance on the car. I have seen the system, it is very useful and easy to use, but a shop has to amortize the cost of the computer and subscription, which isn't cheap either, across a lot of cars to make it pay for itself. And obtw, every car manufacturer has their own unique and similarly expensive diagnostic computer for their cars. Harley Davidson has their own and nobody but a dealer can buy it. Luckily you don't need it for most things but for certain things there is no commercially available substitute for the Harley Davidson computer. The only commonality across manufacturers is OBDII, and that is because it is emissions related. Smog testing stations had to be able to access all cars with a single software for the smog check. OBD1 and OBD2 were driven by the California Air Resources Board btw. California made it a law that all cars had to have that standardized software connection and it ended up becoming a global standard.

On a separate note, one of my doggies just ran into my office, farted noisily and ran out ! Dogs.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is about the revenue stream. When business had me working in the USA for four years a decade ago, I bought a new Toyota and a new Subaru at the same time. The Toyota warranty servicing costs were $100 to $200 at the Toyota dealer. Subaru's warranty servicing costs (the ones at the 15,000 mile and 30,000 mile points) were over $600 each time at the Subaru dealer. (It depressingly reminded me of the Japanese sha-ken payment every two years.) There was no functional difference in what they provided; the difference was in my decreased owner satisfaction for the Subaru. The Subaru dealer helped itself to a hefty fee in exchange for the stamp in my warranty book.

Now the dealers and manufacturers are starting to make new owners pay a subscription cost per month for features like the remote turn-on feature and others controlled by computers. $10-20 per month, from every driver, for each feature, for the lifespan of the car - well, that's a nice dependable revenue stream (which probably will be hard to turn off for several months after you sell the vehicle. I expect to be fighting with them or the credit card company to get them to turn off the automatic payment or automatic charge, when they are dilatory about halting it and allow a couple months' extra lucre into their hands.)

I hope car buyers will rebel against these robbers!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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