The Associated Press recently reported that General Motors Co. is recalling
1.5 million vehicles worldwide. Hard not to think, "Here we go again."
This recall was rooted in a defect with the heated windshield wiper fluid
system that when it goes bad could eventually lead to a fire.
This recall affects several pick up trucks, sport utility vehicles, crossovers
and passenger car models from the 2006 through 2009 model years. Unfortunately
for GM this is the second recall for the same defect. Apparently the fires
continued to occur even after the first recall was accomplished.
GM has decided to disable the heated washer fluid system module that could
lead to fires. GM will pay owners and thsoe leasing the vehicles $100
each since the feature is disabled.
This situation is an excellent example of the curse vs. the benefit of
technology. Some years back Mercedes in a startling admission from their
chief technologist said they were removing a large number of computer
controlled functions from their new vehicles as they caused more problems
than the capabilities they provided.
"Complexity isn't a bad thing as long as it is matched by the
highest quality," says leading California lemon law lawyer Norman
Taylor. The facts bear out the truth of this statement.
That's not to say a manufacturer should pass on the extra features
such as the heated washer fluid system or the heated seats, or the air
conditioning that is made to seem like a cool wind blowing off the lake,
but if a manufacturer is going to sell vehicles with these features, they
should take more time, and test with greater care.
California lemon law statistics on a case by case basis would show that
perhaps fifty percent of cases were caused by complex technologies gone
wrong. There is a dollars and cents issue here that has a direct connection
to too many gadgets, to technology that is out of control. There is a
lot to be said for simple, and the loudest statement is that it costs
far less in the short and long term.