Buyers of new Holden cars report the most faults in the first four years, a consumer advocacy group has found.
More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of Australians who bought a new Holden experienced at least one problem in that time, CHOICE reported on Monday.
Ford ranked second-worst, with 65 per cent of new car buyers reporting at least one defect, followed by Audi with 62 per cent.
The results were unsatisfactory for all brands, with no brand scoring a complaint rating of less than 44 per cent. Two-thirds of all new car buyers (66 per cent) reported experiencing problems in the first four years, with the average fault costing $1295 and 31 hours to fix, CHOICE reported.
“The research findings convey the very real sense that car companies are off-loading sub-standard new cars on consumers and then using lawyers to fight consumers, forcing them to pay more to have their new cars fixed,” CHOICE chief executive Alan Kirkland said in a statement.
A Holden spokesman told The New Daily the company was unhappy with the results and was dedicated to improvement.
“While these survey results are impacted by a wide range of factors over a number of years, and we’re yet to understand the full detail of the report, Holden’s performance needs to continue to improve. These are not results that Holden is happy with,” the spokesman said.
“Our customers are a critical focus area and Holden has been making enormous efforts to resolve issues for customers as quickly as possible. Holden is also proactive and quick to market with customer satisfaction or recall campaigns if we believe we may have identified an issue that could affect customers.”
Minor and major faults
Most were minor complaints that would not prevent the car being driven. By far, the most reported fault was bluetooth connectivity (21 per cent of complaints), CHOICE found.
But 14 percent of respondents said they faced major problems and 21 per cent said they faced more than one problem.
The results were based on a survey of 1505 Australians between 25 December 2015 and 21 January 2016, which CHOICE said was representative of the nation.
The consumer group noted that no other type of product has such a high complaint rate in Australia as cars.
CHOICE is using the survey results to campaign against car brands that attempt to gag consumers who experience faults.
Another key finding was that 16 per cent of consumers who reported at least one problem with their new car were made to sign confidentiality agreements before the vehicle would be replaced or refunded.
“This research shows that car companies are trying to cover up the scale of problems with new cars by forcing consumers to sign non-disclosure agreements in order to get problems fixed,” Mr Kirkland said in a statement.
“This practice is totally unacceptable when cars are such a significant purchase and problems may relate to vehicle safety.”
The better brands
In contrast to the high fault rates of Holden, Ford and Audi, other popular Australian brands rated better in the CHOICE survey.
New Mazdas had the lowest rate of complaints (44 per cent), followed by Honda (49 per cent), Toyota (50), Suzuki (51) and Subaru (53).
Despite much recent controversy, the Jeep brand ranked equal-fourth with Volkswagen, Nissan and Hyundai on 61 per cent.