General Motors has recently issued a recall for Chevrolet Corvettes from
the 2005 through 2007 model years, because the roof panel may blow off.
The problem stems from a defect with the adhesive bonding and removable
roof panel to the frame; if the bond breaks, the roof panel could go flying
off while driving. The recall affects 22,100 vehicles.
This problem has apparently been known about for some time—General
Motors had previously run a “customer service campaign” for
it. But it’s not uncommon for a manufacturer to go as far as possible
to avoid a recall, and this particular model of Corvette has obviously
been no exception.
“We’ve had several cases with customers who were complaining
about the top, “said leading California Lemon Law attorney Norman
Taylor. “It’s interesting to see how long it’s taken
GM to recall the part.”
Taylor has much experience in such matters. He has been a California lemon
law specialist since 1987, and he and his firm, Norman Taylor and Associates,
have handled over 8,000 cases for consumers with a 98 percent success rate.
Recalls can affect hundreds of thousands of vehicles and cost a manufacturer
tens of millions of dollars. Beyond even those costs is the damage done
to the manufacturer’s reputation.
“Needless to say, manufacturers will do almost anything to avoid
a recall,” said Taylor.
GM’s “customer service campaign” falls under what Taylor
calls a “secret warranty,” just one of several tactics a manufacturer
will use to sidestep issuing a recall. Under this strategy, a manufacturer
will pay for repair of a particular defect in a particular kind of vehicle,
even after the warranty has expired—but only for those customers
who are sufficiently aggressive in their complaints.
“Manufacturers issue secret warranties in response to defects that
have occurred in a widespread pattern,” Taylor explained. “These
defects may have otherwise led to recalls. Manufacturers call them ‘warranty
adjustment policies’ or ‘goodwill gestures.’ In the
trade, they are called ‘secret warranties’ because they are
communicated only to the company’s regional offices and dealers,
but never to consumers.”
The lesson to be learned is, don’t wait for the vehicle recall, because
it may never happen. If you think you may be driving a lemon, contact
a qualified lemon law attorney right away.