I grew up in Detroit during the good times. My father worked in the auto industry for 36 years. He was able to provide a stable, good, middle class life for his family and see both of his children through college. I was a loyal American car buyer until the late 70’s and the oil crisis. I bought my first Toyota in 1979. I felt a little bad about it at the time.
Over the years, I bought a few more American cars, but fewer and fewer as reliability in foreign cars improved and American cars’ dependability declined. Fast forward to 2016. I’ve owned foreign cars for decades. Now, retired, my husband and I decided that we only needed one “nice” car and a second car for running close-by errands. We decided that we didn’t need much—just a relatively safe car that would haul the groceries.
We started investigating the usual choices—Hondas, Subarus, Volvos, Toyotas, etc. There were several reviews that compared those cars to the various American choices. When we considered the cost savings, we thought well, what the heck, let’s go American.
We were delighted with the ride and ease of driving of the Chevy Sonic. Cute, great gas mileage. Shortly after purchasing, actually several hours later, we noticed the clock had mysteriously changed from the present time to a couple of days earlier and displayed a totally unrelated time. We took the car to the dealer who “fixed” the problem. As my husband was driving out, he noticed the time and date had already changed to the wrong time. He reversed course and went right back to the dealer. The service technician reset the time saying that it was now fixed. By the time mu husband got home, the clock was out of whack again.
A few days later, we made another appointment with the dealer to have another try. The service manager said that this might take a couple of days. A couple of days to fix a clock? Well, it’s a problem with General Motors, the tech said. So, two days later we picked up the car. No fix. Impossible. Really? But, we were given the opportunity to have 5 free years of OnStar.
Don’t get me started. This is not supposed to be a long blog. Right. OnStar. We were told to press the blue button twice and ask for the “Special Events Team” due to their “Radio Clock Display Issue.”
If I told you all of the calls, waiting in the car in 100 degree temperatures holding while people who had no idea about what we were talking about talked and transferred and finally gave up. No fix. No free OnStar. We had the paper work from General Motors that described the “Radio Clock Display Issue.” We pressed the buttons, we called, emailed, called again. Total time wasted at the dealer—six round trips, no car for a total of 3 days, on OnStar—49 minutes in the car on various holds, on email—an hour or so looking for answers, on the phone—more than two hours. Still no resolution. Oh, we’re supposed to call back on Monday. Again. We’ll see and let you know what happens with that.
GM, all we want is a clock that tells time. Please, is that so hard? Clocks were invented in 1656. I wanted to like my Chevy Sonic. It’s cute, drives easily, and has great gas mileage. I want to buy American. But, if this is the kind of customer service Americans receive, the quality of the car, well, we’ll see.