Join Date: Jul 2005
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I should add that, until Renault, I've never had the same brand of car twice. Though the wife was hooked on Fords until she got the first Clio.
A huge influence on my decisions to date has been dealer service. My experience so far has been:
Audi: They're prepared to look after you, but expect to take a second mortgage out for a spark plug.
Ford: "Don't know, don't care" attitude - "It's an Escort, they do that!" I'd say my experience with Ford was the pits, but then I had a Vauxhall.
Vauxhall: A reliable car, let down by utterly appalling dealer service. When I eventually found a dealer that gave a hoot about looking after my car, the family run firm got taken over by one of the big chains shortly afterwards.
Mazda: Absolutely brilliant on the service stakes. My regular dealer would always push the boat out, and one I just happened to pop into looking for a part (storage tray for the spare DIN-E slot) gave me one he'd taken out of an MX-3 free of charge, as after all it was only going to end up in the bin. They made mistakes (cross-threaded a spark plug once) but owned up and made good. If they'd had anything remotely interesting when it came to replacing the 323F, I'd probably still be driving a Mazda today.
Renault: Service can be a bit hit and miss. Often it comes close to Mazda's high standards, sometimes it scrapes the depths of my experiences with Ford and Vauxhall. But their balance of product and service has been enough to keep me going back for more. Often, I feel that the dealers themselves are doing their absolute best, but Renault UK are playing silly buggers in the background when it comes to authorising warranty work.
I'm sure there are good Ford and Vauxhall dealers out there. More to the point, I'm sure things have changed (possibly for the better.) But poor dealer service made me write off both of those marques all those years ago, and it would take something pretty impressive to make me give them a chance again.
Currently in Horatio's garage:
2010 Laguna III Initiale.