I bought my 2008 Mustang GT about a year and a half ago with the intent of keeping it on the road for as long as I had done with my old ’91 Trans Am (which lasted to almost 250,000 miles.) The first sign against it, though, happened over the past few days.
FIRST – You should know that this is my second Mustang. I had a 2005 Mustang GT, but after a couple of years of intense training at the local college parking lot, Shannon (my wife) couldn’t learn to drive a stick shift. Hence the new ‘Stang we purchased that I currently own is an automatic.
When I bought the ’05, it was a used car and after the purchase it exhibited a minor mechanical issue. The good news was: the car was still under warranty. The bad news came in the level of service I recieved; it was weak compared to what I had become used to from General Motors after the three Pontiac Firebirds I owned (’88, ’91 and ’94.)
I brought the ’05 Mustang to Velde Ford in Vero Beach, Florida and while they DID fix the problem, the attitude of the sales team there really turned me off. While talking to an employee (while waiting for my car) at the dealership about the mechanical problem the Mustang was having, the answer I got was, “well, that’s why you should always buy a Ford from a Ford dealer!”
Way to stand by your product, asshole.
Needless to say, the car was fixed and I decided never to return to that dealership… even for service.
HENCE – when it came time to buy the 2008, I started shopping at Sunrise Ford in Ft. Pierce, Florida. They were nice enough, but nothing on the lot seemed to really excite me – so I turned to the Internet to do my shopping. I found a car that Shannon and I both liked in Royal Palm Beach. It was 80 miles away, but worth it to us if it was exactly what we were looking for.
We drove down to Al Packer Ford West to see the car in person. It was a BRAND NEW black Mustang GT with silver racing stripes on it… and it had an automatic transmission. It was raining that day, but we could tell the car was a perfect fit for our needs so I signed some paperwork and handed over some cash… and let Shannon drive home the new car.
A couple of days later I noticed some water spots on the racing stripes. I wasn’t too worried since a good coat of wax would probably take care of it, but a couple of months later (and a couple of waxes later) the spots remained. The Mustang, mind you, has lived in my garage since the day it came home. Sensing an issue, I put in a call to Al Packer Ford and spoke to my sales guy (who had scored the easiest sale ever since the Internet did all the work for him.)
The sales guy told me he would have to check to see if his dealership put on the stripes or if the factory had and get back to me. This worried me because I had bought the car BRAND NEW – and no one made mention of ANY after market upgrades during the sale. To my knowledge, the stripes were factory.
Well, I played phone tag with this guy for MONTHS, but never got an answer beyond “I have your name on my desk here, but I’m still looking for an answer.” Over a year later I am learned why he was dodging the issue.
LAST WEEK I bit the bullet and went to the local Ford dealership (Velde Ford) to explain the problem. The guy in service (John M.) was very sympathetic, and jumped immediately at the opportunity to try and help. He checked the racing stripes and said that they were, in fact, covered under warranty. He took my VIN to run it and I sat in the waiting room for almost thirty minutes.
John returned and explained that the racing stripes were NOT listed as something from Ford on my VIN… which left me confused. I had bought a BRAND NEW CAR – so how did this happen? He told me to bring in my sales info from when I bought the car in to him on Monday and they (the dealership) would use that information to show the stripes were factory installed and (thus) covered by warranty.
SO THIS PAST MONDAY I brought my files to my office with the intention of bringing the info to Velde Ford during my lunch and just get the car fixed. As I sat at my desk that morning, I took a few moments to review the paperwork. NO WHERE did it say my car had racing stripes. I put in a call to Al Packer Ford West and asked to speak to the Sales Manager. The gentleman I spoke to seemed willing to help get a copy of the correct invoice info and fax it to me before I went to Velde Ford for lunch.
If only it were that simple.
Instead of a fax, I got a call back from the sales manager stating that the dealership (NOT Ford) had put the racing stripes on the car. They were covered under warranty, but I would have to take the car to them to get it repaired by their vendor down the street.
As you could probably guess, I was not thrilled at this prospect.
NEXT STEP: I called Ford directly at (800) 392-3673 and spoke to a call center employee by the name of Becky. Becky was useless. After I explained the problem she exibited the same sort of “that’s your problem” attitude I experienced at Velde Ford all those years ago. She did NOTHING to even attempt to help or find a solution.
SO I CALLED BACK AGAIN and spoke to nice gentleman by the name of Freddy. I tried to bypass Freddy and asked to speak to a supervisor or member of management. He said he could get me someone, but would really like the opportunity to try and help. He took my information (something Becky didn’t even take the time to do) and looked up my car in his computer using the VIN. Freddy explained that he would call Al Packer Ford and see if they would be willing to pay Velde Ford to do the repair so I wouldn’t have to drive 320 miles (there and back… twice) to fix the car. After sitting on hold for about 10-15 minutes, Freddy got back on the line and said the dealer said no and that I would have to drive to to Royal Palm Beach.
YOU’D THINK IT COULDN’T GET ANY WORSE… BUT IT DID. I called the sales manager of Al Packer Ford West again and he forwarded me on to the manager of the local shop that would do the repair. The gentleman at the custom shop said it would take “at least three days to get the old stripes off.” I called the sales manager at Ford and he agreed to supply a rental car during the time. Hence the plan was made for Shannon to take off work and drive down the next day.
Once she got there – things went south… fast. The custom shop manager said there was a miscommunication and that they couldn’t fix the car until next Monday. He just wanted to see the car to confirm if the stripes were painted or decals.
THE EXPECTATION WAS THAT SHANNON (THE CUSTOMER) SHOULD TAKE THREE DAYS OFF OF WORK AND DRIVE A COLLECTIVE 480 MILES TO HAVE THE REPAIR DONE.
The custom shop and the dealership both expressed this – and only AFTER I ARGUED did they agree to pay for a rental car and allow Shannon to leave the Mustang with them.
So what kind of rental car did FORD supply as a temporary replacement? A TOYOTA Camry. Seriously.
So now my car is sitting in Royal Palm Beach waiting to get repaired… and I am sitting here thinking about why the American car companies are shocked at their decline in business with service at this level.
I love my Mustang – and it has been a great car. If this is the level of service I can expect, though, then this will be the last Ford I will own. I’m big on brand loyalty and when Pontiac was “doing it right” I bought three of their cars.
If someone from Ford Motor Company reads this, I’d love to hear from you in a reply or via email at me@TomCroom.com.