True Stories From A Former Car Dealer #18: Lemons

 
 
No dealership wants to sell a lemon, but at the time of sale, you have no idea how well a car is going to perform down the road. No automaker is immune to building bad vehicles. It happens with the cheapest vehicle sold and many that will set you back six figures.

I�ve talked many people out of purchasing Ford trucks with the 6.0 Powerstroke diesel engines. As a matter of fact, I did so on last Saturday�s Car Pro Show.

I owned my Ford dealership when the 6.0 came out in mid-2003. It was a disaster from the beginning. Making it worse, many of the customers traded their 7.3-liter trucks, one of the best diesels ever made, for a new 6.0.

I can�t count how many good customers I lost, and a number of large fleet customers who purchased this diesel. It was extremely frustrating for the customers to have to bring their trucks back time and again. Many customers used their trucks for work, and loaning them a car or a half-ton truck didn�t cut it.

It was equally frustrating for the Ford dealers. We tried so many different things to make them usable, only to see them pulling into the service drive once again. I can�t count the number of these trucks I bought back from customers who were at their wit�s end. Little did we know the replacement truck was likely to be just as bad. Some customers were willing to go to extreme measures to get their issues resolved.

Enter Mr. Steve Symonds in 2006. Steve had a 2004 F-350 with the infamous 6.0-liter diesel. He installed flagpoles and was best known for installing a 338-foot flagpole in Wisconsin, which at that time was the largest in the world. That record has since been broken, but an impressive feat to say the least. He had owned Chevys and Dodges, but decided to try a Ford.

He had purchased the truck at a dealership called Leadership Ford in Dallas, which later became Troy Aikman Ford, and it ultimately closed. Ironically, this was the dealership that I wrote about last week in The Sign, #17 in my True Stories From A Former Car Dealer series.

In the first five months of ownership, Mr. Symond�s truck had been in shop eight times in 20,000 miles, and the Ford warranty repairs totaled over $19,500 and it still wasn�t fixed. He decided to take matters into his own hands.