Wednesday, June 27, 2007
A "Sheronda" called from the Saturn Customer Assistance Center in Tennessee, from 931-486-0012, although she would not identify any number other than the main queue number. Saturn acknowledged the open NHTSA investigation (ODI # EA06009). She claimed that the type of response given is unlike Saturn, and maintained that Saturn was on the forefront of taking care of issues or recall campaigns when the need arises. Obviously not, or else there would not be hundreds, if not thousands, of other2001 L-series owners facing the same problem.
I was told a new review of the case would begin, and promised an answer by 5pm Central Standard Time tomorrow, June 28, 2007. I was asked what I thought was "fair" - my reply was quite simply that Saturn needs to pay 100% of the cost, and issue a recall. Saturn knew about the timing chain problems in the 2001 L series before we purchased our vehicle on June 23, 2001. They most assuredly knew about the problems during the entire warranty and extended warranty periods. The 2003 service bulletin acknowledging the change in design was during that period, yet at no time while the vehicle was Serviced by a Saturn retailer (both Saturn of Fairfax and Saturn of Manassas, for the entire vehicle life) was the timing chain ever inspected or the design change implemented.
The Timing chain should have lasted well beyond 200,000 miles, well beyond the scheduled maintenance to replace it at 90,000 miles. It failed at 84,700. Entirely unacceptable.
We are 10 weeks and a day without the use of the L200. The loss use by the amount of the prior loan payment for that time would be $1000. ($400 per month x 2.5 months)
She did "apologize for the delay", and took pains to note that the car was outside of all warranties - true but irrelevant in light of Saturn's negligence in the matter. Had Saturn done due diligence from the start on the timing chain problem, it would have been fixed under warranty for myself and most others. The only reasonable course of action is for Saturn to issue a recall for the timing chain problems, and make it right for every Saturn owner who was forced to pay out of their own pocket for such repairs.
So the question looms - will Saturn and GM do the right thing? Or will they force the hand to further action?
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
The clock is still ticking - will GM answer the call?
NHTSA Action Number:
GENERAL MOTORS CORP.
Year : 2001
Component : ENGINE AND ENGINE
Date Investigation Opened : June 6, 2006
Closed : Open
Summary: ON DECEMBER 12, 2005, ODI RECEIVED A DEFECT PETITION (DP05-008) REQUESTING THE INVESTIGATION OF TIMING CHAIN FAILURES THAT COULD CAUSE STALLING IN SATURN VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH THE 2.2L (L61) ENGINE. ODI OPENED PE06-006 ON JANUARY 24, 2006, WITH 24 VEHICLE OWNER COMPLAINTS THAT ALLEGED A BROKEN TIMING CHAIN CAUSED THE VEHICLE TO STOP OPERATING. ON APRIL 12, 2006, ODI RECEIVED INFORMATION FROM GENERAL MOTORS (GM) CONCERNING TIMING CHAIN FAILURES IN APPROXIMATELY 412,000 MODEL YEAR (MY) 2000 THROUGH 2003 SATURN L-SERIES AND ION VEHICLES WITH 2.2L ENGINES. GM'S RESPONSE INCLUDED 1,020 OWNER COMPLAINTS AND FIELD REPORTS CONCERNING TIMING CHAIN FAILURE, INCLUDING 228 THAT ALLEGED THE FAILURE CAUSED THE VEHICLE TO STALL WHILE DRIVING. GM ALSO PROVIDED WARRANTY CLAIM DATA THAT SHOWED 1,902 SUBJECT VEHICLES RECEIVING TIMING CHAIN REPAIRS, INCLUDING 261 WHICH INDICATED THAT A STALL WHILE DRIVING RESULTED FROM THE FAILURE. THE GM COMPLAINTS, FIELD REPORTS AND WARRANTY CLAIMS THAT DID NOT CONTAIN SUFFICIENT INFORMATION TO DETERMINE THAT A STALL WHILE DRIVING OCCURRED WERE CATEGORIZED AS "OTHER" INCIDENTS. GM STATED THAT THE MAJORITY OF THESE INCIDENTS PROBABLY OCCURRED WHILE THE VEHICLES WERE PARKED "SINCE THE TIMING CHAIN IS MORE LIKELY TO BREAK DURING HIGH CHAIN LOAD SITUATIONS, SUCH AS ENGINE STARTUP." GM'S DATA SHOWED ELEVATED FAILURE RATES IN APPROXIMATELY 20,500 MY 2001 L-SERIES VEHICLES PRODUCED DURING A FOUR MONTH PERIOD FROM NOVEMBER 2000 THROUGH FEBRUARY 2001. THE TIMING CHAIN FAILURE RATE IN THE VEHICLES BUILT DURING THIS RANGE IS OVER 10 TIMES GREATER THAN THE REMAINING SUBJECT VEHICLE POPULATION. OVER ONE-THIRD OF GM'S TOTAL COMPLAINTS AND FIELD REPORTS (34.3%) AND WARRANTY CLAIMS (38.2%) INVOLVED L-SERIES VEHICLES BUILT DURING THE 4-MONTH PERIOD, WHICH ARE ONLY ABOUT 5% OF SUBJECT VEHICLE PRODUCTION. FOR THE MY 2001 L-SERIES VEHICLES BUILT DURING THE 4-MONTH PERIOD, THE 36-MONTH FAILURE RATE FOR REPAIRS INVOLVING STALL WHILE DRIVING IS SLIGHTLY UNDER ONE PERCENT. HOWEVER, IF THE INCIDENTS CODED AS "OTHER" ARE ADDED, THE 36-MONTH FAILURE RATE RISES TO NEARLY FIVE PERCENT FOR THOSE VEHICLES. ODI AND GM ARE CONTINUING TO ASSESS THE NUMBER OF COMPLAINTS AND WARRANTY CLAIMS CODED BY GM AS "OTHER" THAT INVOLVE INCIDENTS OF STALL WHILE DRIVING. GM'S STATISTICAL MODELING OF THE FAILURE DATA INITIALLY CONCLUDED THAT THE FAILURE RATES WERE DECLINING WITH AGE AND MILEAGE FOR ANY SET OF WARRANTY DATA ANALYZED (E.G., STALL WHILE DRIVING, OTHER OR
COMBINED). HOWEVER, SUBSEQUENT ANALYSIS SHOWED THAT THE FAILURE RATES ARE INCREASING. BASED ON THE HIGH COMPLAINT AND WARRANTY RATES FOR TIMING CHAIN FAILURE IN THE 4-MONTH PRODUCTION PERIOD FOR THE MY 2001 L-SERIES VEHICLES, AN ENGINEERING ANALYSIS HAS BEEN OPENED TO FURTHER ASSESS THE FREQUENCY OF STALL INCIDENTS DUE TO TIMING CHAIN FAILURES IN THOSE VEHICLES.
3rd Mar 2007, 15:00
I want to encourage
everyone that had a timing chain issue with his or her Saturn to write to the NHTSA. When my chain broke last December (on a 50 MPH 2-lane highway), I wrote to the NHTSA to complain. Just this week (March 2 2007), the NHTSA responded for a request for additional information. They stated that the case has been re-opened do to the growing number of reported chain failures. They are especially interested in chains that broke while the car was on the road. (GM maintains it is not a safety issue as the chain usually breaks at start up.) While it cost ~$2500 to fix our car, I am more concern with the safety aspect. We came close on being hit when our chain broke. We need to give the NHTSA enough information to force GM to fix this
problem before someone gets hurt or worse. The NHTSA web site is
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Today marks four weeks since Jill Lajdziak, General Manager of Saturn Corporation, received a four-page letter by Fedex, along with a nine-page email thread, and several pages from NHTSA's ODI website, including my own complaint. Today, I sent a followup letter directly to Mr. LaNeve, also by Fedex, along with a copy of the complete prior letter and all attachments. Mr. LaNeve had received a copy of the prior letter on Tuesday, May 29th by certified mail, as had Mr. Wagoner and Mr. Clarke.
We shall see if Mr. LaNeve will respond - it will be delivered tomorrow, Friday, June 22, 2007.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
Label/Receipt Number: 7179 9941 7650 0902 0749
Delivered, May 29, 2007, 12:02 pm, MANASSAS, VA 20109
Acceptance (APC), May 25, 2007, 9:30 am, FAIRFAX, VA 22030
So it does not appear they refused the mail delivery, but one has to wonder why the return receipts from Detroit arrived two weeks ago, yet the local one is still missing. And it further illuminates the lack of communication from the local entity since then, with the only paper being an advertisement of lease rates on new vehicles that was received on June 12, 2007.
It is obvious that Mr. Tom Tellepson does not care about customer service - from the way he runs his dealership to the way he does not return calls, and does not return letters. It's a wonder he sells any cars at all.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
Saturday, June 9, 2007
Friday, June 8, 2007
Thursday, June 7, 2007
One begins to wonder if Saturn of Manassas is refusing to receive their mail - how else can one explain the overly extended delay on the green return-receipt card that should have been in hand a week ago or more.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Now that receipt by the three at GM (Chairman & CEO G. Richard Wagoner, Jr; President of GM North America Troy A. Clarke & VP of GM North America for Sales, Service & Marketing Mark R. LaNeve) has been confirmed, now we await a response. All three were signed for by the same person, a D. Anderson, on Tuesday, May 29, 2007.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Monday, June 4, 2007
One begins to question whether they are refusing to sign for their mail - and in the process deepening their sink into poor customer service.
This story is getting around - to more people and in more states than GM would care to admit. The more I tell the story, the more it gets retold, by people here in Virginia, and as far away as Florida, New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois. It spreads from there to Maryland, California, Texas, Massachusetts and Georgia. GM's failure to make things right with one customer will end up costing GM hundreds or thousands.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
One must wonder if Saturn of Manassas is refusing to pick up their mail.
Friday, June 1, 2007
Thursday, May 31, 2007
(Also posted earlier on the day on relantel.net)
In addition, Saturn has made it clear they do not care about customer service and customer satisfaction. They have also made clear they have no intention to respond in a like manner to my 4 page letter that was delivered a week ago by FedEx.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Quick links to the non-moved posts:
May 30: http://relantel.blogspot.com/2007/05/day-43-awaiting-gms-answer.html
May 29: http://relantel.blogspot.com/2007/05/will-gm-corporate-respond.html
May 25: http://relantel.blogspot.com/2007/05/saturn-ignores-letter-to-corporate.html
May 24: http://relantel.blogspot.com/2007/05/fedex-delivery-confrimation-to-saturn.html
May 21: http://relantel.blogspot.com/2007/05/saturn-refuses-to-take-responsibility.html
The quick summary to date is that Saturn has accepted responsibility, but will not assume 100% of the cost - they only offer a paltry 15%. Saturn chose to respond to a written letter by Fedex by a phone call from someone other than the addressee. Copies of the same letter are in the hands of GM corporate execs this week, awaiting response. Those copies were sent certified, return receipt requested.
Yesterday's mail did not contain the expected return receipt reply card from Saturn of Manassas, and no further contact from them has been had since Wednesday, May 16, 2007.
There is yet an opportunity for GM to make it right as far as the L200 is concerned, but they have shattered our trust in them, and that will take a long time to restore. I only pray that GM supports its Saturn VUE platform better.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
As noted here on Friday, the Saturn division of GM failed to respond in kind to a written request instead pretending to "note concerns" and insisting their head (Lajdziak) "reviewed" the letter, but saying so in a late afternoon phone call.
The Copies of the letter that went to the corporate level at GM should be delivered by the USPS today, Tuesday May 29, 2007. The copy that went to Saturn of Manassas (And thus, finally "informing" them of what corporate has been doing) ought to have been delivered to them on Saturday, May 26, 2007, and the return receipt card should be in my mailbox today.
Today is day 42 since the timing chain failure and resulting engine damage.
Friday, May 25, 2007
That letter, addressed to Saturn Corporation's General Manager, Jill Lajdziak, was delivered on the morning of Thursday, May 24, 2007. This same letter was copied to G. Richard Wagoner Jr, Chairman and CEO of General Motors Corporation; Troy A. Clarke, President of GM North America; Mark R LaNeve, GM North America VP for Sales, Service and Marketing; and Tom Tellepson, General Manager of Saturn of Manassas.
This afternoon, about 4:20 PM EDT, the aforementioned "Adrienne" called, stating that Saturn had received my letter, that Ms. Lajdziak had reviewed it (when asked if she had "read" it, this Adrienne repeated the "reviewed") and referred it back to "Adrienne". She then proceeded to claim that Saturn stood by their previous position - one which admitted responsibility but only offered a 15% discount. Either they are responsible or they are not - there is no in between.
When I asked that Ms. Lajdziak call me herself, I was told that "that would never happen" and Adrienne seemed disinterested when I informed her that Saturn's refusal would be publicized far and wide, and that they cost GM a loyal customer, as I will not buy another GM product again, since it is obvious that GM cannot be trusted.
It also seems apparent that Ms. Lajdziak never read my letter. We'll see if the three in Detroit read it - each was addressed to the correct mail code for the particular individual, sent certified return receipt requested.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The intersection of the failure was High Point Ave and Norfolk Street in Richmond. I was making a left turn from a stop-sign on High Point onto Norfolk. Instantly, power was lost and the vehicle stalled. I was lucky not to have been hit, and was able to coast about a half-block, placing me on the right side curb on Norfolk Street, in between High Point Ave and MacTavish Ave, facing MacTavish.
A map of the location on Google Maps can be found here, and a satellite image of the area here.
Monday, May 21, 2007
We learn all of this after the timing chain failed at 84,700 miles, and subsequent searches of NHTSA investigations, findings and service bulletins. Saturn itself has stated that the chain is scheduled to be replaced at the 90,000 mile service - an implied warranty that the part should last at least 90,000 miles - but Saturn's filings with NHTSA all state that the failure is never supposed to happen while the vehicle is in operation.
Ours broke on April 17, 2007, in Richmond, Virginia, while pulling out of a stop sign. Instantly dead in the water, I had to wait half a day to be towed back up to Northern Virginia. Initially, the timing chain seemed the likely diagnosis, but upon review, the break during operation damaged the engine itself beyond repair. If I had not stopped to eat before hitting I-95, it would have broken on I-95 at highway speeds, increasing the chance of damage to life, limb or property.
It was taken to Saturn of Manassas, the same location where the car's entire service history took place, where between the local entity and corporate both have been dragging their feet - finally offering a 15% discount off of a warranty price on a new engine - an Insult. 15 percent on something that they are 100% liable. I suppose they wanted to see if we would accept that low-ball. The appearance is they were not concerned with RESOLVING the situation, but rather trying to drag it out into oblivion. Well, we would not accept it. The same local retailer who claimed to not have any clue what corporate was doing, even when corporate sent an email stating clearly that the local retailer's service manager, Tom Tellepson, was delegated to review the situation. (And we still have not heard from Mr. Tellepson, as even the 15% offer call was by the Service Clerk)
Saturn's "Customer Service" (in quotes as they apparently do not believe in it) area in Tennessee assigns "Area Managers" to a case - Managers who don't return calls timely, and assume that the customer is unimportant. This from a position that is supposed to be the liaison between the customer and the local retailer. Very poor at best in this role, this manager had trouble getting calls returned from the local retailer, and then we end up hearing the 15% insult from the local retailer's service clerk a full two days before the "area manager" called back, and even then, that was only after several subsequent emails to the main email@example.com address. Things are so shady there that you can't even get a last name or a direct phone number for one of these "managers", and when you ask for their supervisor, you are told that they have none. (Somebody had to hire them...) Finally when pressed, they give up the name of the "General Manager" of Saturn (purportedly a Jill Lajdziak), but the way they act, who knows if that is true or not. The "area Manager" could not (or would not) name the head of GM - that I found by accessing GM's 2006 annual report.
This particular Saturn was #2 of 4 we purchased new in the past 8 years. Our reward for loyalty to Saturn? A product that could not even make it to that 100,000 mile threshold - the instant-photo line-up at any Saturn retailer. And even with an admitted safety and mechanical defect, one which Saturn knew about from the start, Saturn, and by extension its corporate parent, General Motors, have refused to back their product. This in the face of their current vehicles bearing 100,000 mile warranties, and current brochures of theirs claiming "customer service" was key. Perhaps it would not be so bad if the part failed as Saturn stated in its prior NHTSA filings it should - at startup. That would have meant only a timing chain to replace. But Saturn's filings were at best inaccurate, for this very situation proved their prior filings wrong. So in their infinite wisdom, they would rather stick it to a loyal customer than admit that they were wrong. That they should have recalled the existing 2001 L-series models when they made the design change. There is a message for GM in all of this: loyalty cannot be blind, and it cannot be one-way.
This story will be retold, and they will be sorry they thought so little of customer service. Saturn and GM have in an instant shattered our confidence in them, and the safety of our remaining Saturn. So much for their claims in their current brochures, "you'll get as much attention after you're a Saturn owner as you did when you first walked in the showroom." or "There is a way to treat people like always." - it seems Saturn's true treatment has been revealed.
Complaints have already been filed with NHTSA and the Center for Auto Safety among others, and more will come. Letters to the aforementioned Jill Lajdziak, to the Chairman and CEO of GM, G. Richard Wagoner, Jr., and the President of GM North America, Troy A. Clarke, are awaiting response. They have a chance to make things right.