[FoRK] Re: In the market for a new car because of my stupidity

Wayne Baisley < baisley at alumni.rice.edu > on > Sat Jun 17 18:09:58 PDT 2006

Some doofus wrote ...

> I've been very happy with my Buick Centurys.  Granted, they don't corner 
> like a Cooper, but mine've been trouble free over the last decade or 
> so.  Lots of features and value for the money.  And quiet.  If I were 
> looking for a new car, I'd look at the LaCrosse or Lucerne.  But my '01 
> Century won't need replacing for a long time.

This sums up the sad state of Boo-ick nicely ...

Buick: Isn't It Time for a Real Car?
By Bob Elton

Anyone remember Buick? You know; "doctor's car", big, expensive, 
highly-styled, just this side of a Cadillac? Well, today's Buick is going head 
to head with… Hyundai. No really. Even Hyundai's website knows the truth. It 
compares their new Azera Limited to a Buick LaCrosse. And here's the really 
strange part: the Buick kicks the Azera's ass. This triumph would be all well 
and good for GM if anyone was actually buying a Buick, but they aren't. At 
last count, on average, each Buick dealership sold eight new cars per month. 
Eight. Something's very right here, and something's very wrong.

Let's look at that comparison again. At $25,535, a Buick LaCrosse is cheaper 
than the $27,495 Azera Limited. That's almost two grand less than the import 
before you begin bargaining with the dealer (So Ricky... how many new Buicks 
did you guys sell this month?). And don't forget that GM sweetens the deal 
with 2.9% financing. Or how about Buick's flagship, the new Lucerne? At 
$25,990, it's still about $1500 less than the Hyundai. The Lucerne has 
features Hyundai hasn't even thought of (yet): rain-sensing wipers, heated 
washer fluid, OnStar, etc. The Lucerne also has a much larger cabin and the 
quietest ride this side of a casket. And portholes.

Some buyers might choose the pricier Hyundai for its mileage. Wrong answer. 
The Azera Limited's EPA rated mileage is 18mpg city, 27 highway. The LaCrosse 
clocks in at 20/30. That's 11% better fuel efficiency across the board– 
despite the fact that the LaCrosse is the bigger car. The even larger, more 
luxurious Lucerne (remember?) scores an EPA rating of 19/28, besting the 
smaller Hyundai by 5% city and 3% highway.

So why is Hyundai thriving and Buick on the ropes?  (Read the rest of it to 
find out, if you care <http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=996>.)

But if you want something a bit more road-pwning, you can't go wrong with the 


Car Dealer's Suit Alleges Mercedes Roadster Is a Dud
A dealer claims the $1.7-million car is a dud and wants his money back. 
Mercedes USA denies culpability.

By Ronald D. White
Times Staff Writer
Published June 15, 2006

It was a sweet ride turned sour: a $1.7-million Mercedes-Benz roadster that 
died after cruising 10 blocks.

That works out to $170,000 a block — perhaps the most expensive test drive on 

On Wednesday, a high-end Los Angeles automobile dealer sued Mercedes-Benz and 
DaimlerChrysler, saying they sold him a silver, two-door lemon.

"It's the mother of all lemons," said Mark Johnston, co-owner of Grand Prix 
Motors. Nearby, in the small Mar Vista showroom, rested his handmade Mercedes 
AMG CLK-GTR roadster.

Designed to safely travel at nearly 200 miles per hour, the 12-cylinder, 
612-horsepower beast was out for its first spin with a prospective buyer in 
2004 when the oil light came on, the gears wouldn't shift properly and the car 
shuddered so violently that the windows came unglued, Johnston said.

Subsequent appeals to Mercedes-Benz and affiliate HWA produced a mechanic who 
examined the vehicle. He took oil samples and parts back to Germany, never to 
return, according to the complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, 
which claims breach of contract and negligence, among other things.

Next came a trip to a Mercedes repair facility in Florida, where technicians 
determined that a new engine was required; Mercedes and HWA wouldn't pay for 
it, the suit says.

Mercedes-Benz USA in Montvale, N.J., denied responsibility.

"The customer bought the vehicle directly from Germany. He imported it 
himself. It's not certified for sale here. It's a race car, period," Mercedes 
spokeswoman Donna Boland said. "We don't import it and we don't have the 
ability or the parts or the training to service it."

Despite its alleged misadventures, the car was buffed to perfection Wednesday 
as it starred in a news conference flanked by lemon trees, numerous examples 
of the sour fruit and an attorney from New York law firm Fulbright & Jaworski. 
Attendees sipped lemonade.

The roadster, with a ground hugging clearance so tight that it couldn't clear 
a pizza delivery box, was one of only six produced since 2002.

The vehicle's wide body sweeps back at a rakish angle and sits on low-profile 
tires wider than a child's 12-inch ruler. The driver must first remove the 
steering wheel to have enough room to climb inside.

The suit could face a tough fight. Even the lawsuit described the purchase 
agreement Johnston signed as a "nonintegrated and highly ambiguous written 
agreement" with HWA, which has collaborated on the building and design of 
several Mercedes race cars.

Johnston had hoped to sell the car for more than $2.5 million. Now, the 
45-year-old car dealer wants a refund of the purchase price, plus $300,000 in 
related costs.

In addition to DaimlerChrysler and Mercedes-Benz USA, he is suing HWA and 

"It's still a piece of art," Johnston said. "It's just a piece of art that 
doesn't run."

Copyright © 2006, The Los Angeles Times

So, what did you get?


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