What is the worst car make? Lack of Reliability and/or support

Looking for forum members to share there experience of vehicle ownership with regard to reliability and manufacturer support.
I will open the topic with my opinion that Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep (FCA) in my experience is the worst make when considering the reliability of the car and the apathetic dealer response.
My daughter purchased a used low KM Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4 a couple of years back, to tow her horse float and to be able to navigate muddy paddocks. The vehicle has had underwhelming reliability and subject to a number of compulsory recalls.

The dealer network is largely disinterested in doing the recalls, the car is currently subject to a airbag module recall because of a serious fault that can cause the airbags on some cars can to randomly deploy whilst driving without warning and although the recall was announced in the USA in 2012 Fiat Chrysler Australia (FCA) keeps fobbing her off with excuses about spares availability for over 2-3 years. In my opinion they are hoping the car will end its normal service life due to milage before they have to do it.

The car needs constant attention due to various sensor and electronic gadget and computer module failures and it now has travelled around 270,000kms, by comparison my wife has a KIA Magentis which has nearly 300,000kms and it has only every needed scheduled servicing done since it was new. it has never suffered any warranty claims or other inservice breakdowns or failures or needed any repairs. we live in the country and do long distances in our cars.
I maintain all my family members cars in accordance with the published service schedules, if my daughter was forced to pay a FCA dealer for the rectification of the number of failures and repairs it has required it would have sent her broke, or she would have traded it in or otherwise disposed of it long ago.

Look on Utube for the many hundreds of videos from upset FCA vehicle owners upset at the unreliability of their cars and the lack of support from FCA, some have gone as far to publicly destroying their vehicles to shine bad publicity attention on FCA.
I think the ACCC has the most amount of complaints per vehicles sold for FCA vehicles by a wide margin and the common thread is lack of support.

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I strongly recommend John Cadogan’s videos. He’s an engineer who tells it like it is and calls a spade a bloody shovel.

These specifically relate:

Top Twenty Lemon Cars


Which New Cars Should You Buy on 2016?

and 2017.


Yes John Cadogan video’s are not only informative but also very entertaining, and a must for anybody considering a new car purchase.
What I am looking for is a little different I am hoping forum members will share their experiences, mainly the bad ones to help others avoid manufacturers who don’t support their cars and for their cathartic value.

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We have a Renault purchased new from Waverley Renault in April 2014. As alluded to, the dealer is as important as the manufacturer. The vehicle had a small number of issues including one that required a lot of diagnostic work to find the underlying problem. The standard of service and support we received was exemplary. It has capped price service for 3 years, and they have not tried to up-sell on the annual visits.

I would buy another Renault from them in a heartbeat. (sorry for the all-positives so far @tndkemp :wink:

Now for the other side, I will loudly affirm that any vehicle imported by ATECO should be avoided at all costs. ATECO is a trading company not a car company. We bought a new 2009 Citroen when ATECO was the importer (and of Fiat, Alfa, and Maserati among other low volume cars). The support was abysmal. ATECO and the dealers gave much lip service and little action in our experience. ATECO trashed the Citroen name (and Fiat, Alfa, etc) almost to extinction. The Citroen importer is now Sime Darby who also does Peugot. S.D. are trying to resurrect Citroen, support has improved, and they have been decent to deal with but S.D. were honest in telling me it is not economic to keep all the parts in Australia so air freighting from France happens. Most other marques ATECO had have also moved on but it takes years to recover; their current product list should say it all - http://www.ateco.com.au/ateco/homepage.htm

Two thumbs up for Subaru in my experience - now 8 years along. Stark contrast to previous 30 years of other makes (Ford Saab Holden Mercedes) car ownership. Their strategy (sales and service) that it is not about this car that they sold you but the next that they want to sell you seems to be working for us. And the best car yet by far too.


My post in the forum concerns a VW Golf GTI . It was not my own car but a friends daughter’s vehicle . The first new car she had purchased . A present to herself for gaining a much deserved promotion at her work place . I myself had a VW Polo GTI in the past . Only 5 of this variant of the model were imported into Australia , factory lowered , spoilers etc . Thank god they only imported 5 . A disaster . I don’t include it here because it was purchased second hand from the dealer .

Back to the Golf . She purchased it new with a three year warranty . I met her with her father about 3 weeks after purchase and it had been back to the dealer once with what she was told , by the dealer , with a few new car 'niggles " They all have them according to the dealer . She asked me what thought of the car . I lied and and said it was great but added to trade it in within the warranty period . Under no circumstances keep it longer . It had a DSG gearbox so that wrung alarm bells for me . Over the next three years she had it serviced as per the hand book but it had to go back quite a few times with gear box problems . More " niggles " maybe .

She did not trade the vehicle in and kept it over three years . At three years and approximately four months the gear box let go big time , not uncommon with VW DSG units . She had it trailered back to the dealer and was told it would cost in excess of $8000 to replace the gear box . She paid to fix it then 3 months later traded it in on a Mazda 3 . No problems have occurred with that vehicle . She never pursued the issue of the gearbox failure with any other party except the dealer . I guess like me she realises time is a valuable commodity so why waste it going any higher up only to be disappointed as I was with my VW Polo GTI when I complained about it higher up the VW chain of command .

My wife bought a Mercedes A class - second hand, though fairly low mileage. It was brilliantly designed, like the Tardis, bigger on the inside than the outside. It was comfortable and, with the 2 litre engine, surprisingly quick. But despite being assembled in Germany (most Mercs are, I believe, assembled in the US), its build quality reminded me of nothing short of the Leyland atrocities of my youth. It had constant problems which, though it didn’t “fail to proceed”, had it regularly and expensively in the shop. I wish we’d known of Mr Cadogan’s work back then.

We traded it in on a Kia Rio 2-door, a sporty little black number with large wheels and low-profile tyres. The Rio’s now some 4 years old and as tight as the day we drove it off the lot. The build quality is what we would have expected of the Merc - absolutely superb. It’s been mechanically flawless. The work they’ve done on the suspension is amazing - it’s tight and, despite being of entirely modest power, so much fun to push into corners that my wife rarely lets me drive it. The six speed manual is a delightful gearbox, well mated to the little engine which spins smoothly and freely up to its redline.

Re Subaru, I’ve had several over the years and they’ve been excellent. I picked up a 2003 Forester for the kids to drive when they’re in town for $2k with over 240,000 km on the clock, and it’s brilliant.

Jeep, brought to us by FiatChrysler, keeping up their best customer support.

Our friends at the Betoota Advocate may have been following Jeep’s history also. :wink:


Given it’s history Chrysler perhaps should have known better;

Inspired? Chrysler purchased AMC which included Jeep (Willy’s) in 1987, once famous for

And was followed by a marriage with Fiat in 2014, once famous for

Now famous for?

The company’s portfolio includes automotive brands Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, and Ram Trucks.

So it’s much more than the Jeep brand to be wary of??


Back in the 1970’s & 1980’s, Wheels magazine regularly awarded Alfa Romeo and Jaguar equal bottom place at 76 for their unreliability.

However, my favourite story was when FCA had the temerity to demand that the unfortunate victim who bought one of their piece of junk Jeeps who ran his Destroy My Jeep campaign place a full page apology in a national newspaper/

He contacted the Chaser team who created an absolutely brilliant ad following which FCA crawled back under their rock.




Had a very bad experience with a new,
Ford Escort Ghia, years ago.
It had got good reviews in the Royalauto
mag. and been nominated Car of the year
in some other publication.

I had no end of problems with mine, always something to be fixed, and mechanics seemed to be unfamiliar with the model and would mess it up at every service, even the Ford ones.

It had a peculiar choke: needed the gas pedal to be pumped if the motor was cold,
but not if it was warm/hot. The biggest problem was that it had a mind of its own
as to when it was cold or hot, and it would
strongly object if I got it wrong: leaving me
stranded for a long time with a flooded engine.

One day, as I was driving I could feel the car losing power, so I pulled to the kerb
to stop a while. The motor kept idling
nicely so I reversed to get back onto the
road. But flames were coming up where the car had been, and also up to my side door. I got out from the passenger door
and got away as fast as I could expecting
the car to blow-up at any minute.
Someone had called the Fire Brigade
and they put out the fire.
The car was a write-off.
In a way I was glad to be rid of it,
never got a car from the Ford company


A little press never seems to hurt.


But is this the best outcome?

Will this simply revive the dead parrot long enough for it to die somewhere else? :thinking:

I’d prefer my money back!

Modern science is yet to reverse the rotting of a lemon, although they can apparently unboil an egg.


Absolutely disgraceful.

Who would ever contemplate buying a Jeep or any other FCA piece of junk?

And a dodgy dealer charging labour at $170.50 an hour makes GP’s look cheap.


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The article places a disintegrating fuel pump as the issue rather than a true lemon.

It is possible it was this part only caused the problem rather than the whole engine…it is however concerning that a disintegrating fuel pump should cause $50K engine damage.

Maybe they might get another 6 years motoring before the next fuel pump disintegrates.


$50K for an engine, fuel tank and fuel lines seems very excessive even if indeed all those parts needed replacing. Prices I can see online for a complete remanufactured engine are around $4k to $5K (mostly fitted for this price but I will say it is unfitted), fuel lines were around $300 but I will allow $1K, and I’m not sure a fuel tank would cost the remaining $30K of parts even if replacing if needed wiring looms. Labour was separate and seemed priced at market rates for the 40 hours required.


I wonder if this the reason why Jeep vehicle sales have dropped from 30,000 vehicles in 2014 to

7000 in 2018 . One wonders .


Dated from an archived forum thread from 2001 in the US, there was a claim a 60 minutes episode reported a $20,000 car would cost $125,000 to build from the dealer’s parts department.

On that basis a $50K engine for a $50,000 SUV seems in line. I’ll not comment further on the automotive business model.

Disclaimer: I had booked a VW Jetta or similar in Houston, USA. Due to a major conference and the impact of tropical storm Imelda there were near zero rental cars in Houston. My VW Jetta look-alike more than passingly resembled a Jeep Wrangler. Aerodynamics of a brick - the computer showed 30-35 MPG in town, 20-25 MPG at 55 MPH, at 15 at 75 MPH - although I quite enjoyed driving it for the week although getting in and out was a bit of a chore.


I’ve never bought a new car in my life, and never will.
However, surely Jaguar must be about the worst- the oft repeated story has always been that you cant just buy one, you need to buy 2 of them, one for the spares!


Forbes suggests Jeep has a dedicated following

And this to say about the product,
Jeep is by far the most profitable brand worldwide for FCA, the most valuable piece of the company, and the piece of the company that every buyer of the brand has coveted.