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APA in the News - Archive

 

2022

 


Driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
September 5, 2022. Lorraine Explains: The new 'normal' average prices of vehicles

Have used-car prices peaked? Some experts suggest they have, but the market may take a while to get back to sane

“Vehicle prices show signs of normalizing,” according to the most recent AutoTrader survey. What does that mean? It means the average price of a new car is $55,469 (an 18-per-cent increase over last year’s average) while the average price of a used car is $37,928 (up 32 per cent over last year).
...
If this is our new normal, the car market remains insane, and doesn’t look to be returning to something recognizable anytime soon. According to George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association (APA), the only reason new car prices aren’t soaring even higher is that they carry a published MSRP. “Even without discounting, and almost no automaker rebates, the MSRP anchors the new vehicle price to a considerable extent. Based on that number, the average monthly payment for new with taxes and interest around 5 per cent is $900 with zero money down.”

Iny notes that used prices don’t even have that kind of governor on them. “The price for a low kilometre three-year-old lease return is currently almost equal to new; sometimes the difference is less than $1,000.” That blink-and-you’ll-miss-it difference in cost is being paid by buyers who don’t want to wait for new inventory. Iny agrees with Akyurek that used prices have likely peaked, as the market can’t sustain used vehicles costing the same as a new version for long.

Buyers are hardly the victims, however. The APA’s research points out that sometimes, car buyers are their own worst enemies. “Overbuying seems almost universal. Almost every personal-use buyer could manage with something in the class of a Honda Civic or a Hyundai Venue, but that is not where the market is heading.” Instead, demand for SUVs and pickups remains high. Iny points out that, “Even EV buyers have migrated from early ‘sensible’ models like the Leaf and Volt to fantasy-class purchases like the F-150 Lightning and Teslas.” He says manufacturers that tried to offer more rational choices have been met with disinterest.

 

 

Continue Reading on the Driving.ca website

 

  

 

 


The Globe & Mail - Jason Tchir
August 7, 2022. My insurance company wants to write off my car. With used car prices soaring, can I make them repair it?

Our 2007 Buick was hit by a flatbed truck while parked in a shopping plaza... The car was assessed... as needing approximately $3,800 in repairs. Based on this quote, Intact declared the car a “total loss,” ended our coverage for a replacement rental and offered a $4,500 payout – $4,000 for the value of the car and $500 for HST. In my conversation with the body shop, they confirmed that the damage was cosmetic and 100 per cent fixable.... Why would they write off a car that can be repaired? Can we make them fix it? – M., Ontario

Insurance companies have a right to write off your car in Ontario – and there’s no way to make them fix it instead, insurance experts said.

“In the Ontario Automobile Policy (OAP1) used by all auto insurers in the province, the right to repair or replace rests solely with the insurance company,” said Alex Gemmiti, service team leader for Mitchell & Whale Insurance Brokers Ltd. (Mitch), an insurance broker based in Whitby, Ont. “In a strict sense, the insurer can choose to either repair or replace, regardless of the value of the vehicle or cost of repair. Normally they will pay the lesser of the two.”

So why would an insurance company decide to write off a vehicle with just cosmetic damage?

Anne Marie Thomas, director of consumer and industry relations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), which represents the insurance industry, said... “I can tell you that if it costs more to repair it than what it’s worth, the insurance company will write it off.”

George Iny... of the Automobile Protection Association, an automotive consumer advocacy group based in Toronto, said insurance companies will typically write off a car if the cost of repairs is 70 to 80 per cent of the market value.

Easier to write off?
“Most consumers are happy with the decision [to write it off] when repairs are that extensive because they don’t have the same level of confidence in a substantially rebuilt vehicle,” Iny said.

Unfortunately for those drivers who have kept their “old, boring sedans,” such as Buicks, Chevrolet Impalas and Ford Crown Victorias, in tip-top shape, low demand for these vehicles means their value is considerably less than more popular SUVs, Iny said. So they tend to be written off with relatively little damage.

“These vehicles could give many more years of service, are hard to duplicate in equal condition, and are usually worth less than $7,000,” Iny said...

“Your insurance policy is designed to put you in the same financial position you were prior to your loss,” Thomas said.

The rules vary by province. While they’re similar in most regions, there are exceptions. In Quebec, for instance, an insurance claim allows for the “reasonable cost of repairs.”

“In exceptional cases like this one, [we’ve] argued [in Quebec] that ‘reasonable’ could even exceed the market value of a vehicle, and insurance companies have accepted it,” Iny said.

 

Continue Reading on the Globe & Mail website

 

  

 

 


The Montreal Gazette - Paul Delean
August 1, 2022. If car insurance requires anti-theft system, you can blame the thieves

If theft rates remain high in the Montreal area, car owners can expect to see more insurers requiring the installation of protective devices, says the director of the Automobile Protection Association.

Q: My insurance company has made a TAG anti-theft system mandatory for the Honda CR-V I am getting...

 A: Actually, it isn’t all that surprising, according to George Iny, director of the Automobile Protection Association (APA). CR-Vs are the most stolen vehicle in the Montreal area, and it’s reasonable for the insurance company to require a quality anti-theft system in vehicles they cover, he said...

“Car dealers can’t be trusted to install something effective (on their own),” Iny said. “In other places, where the insurance requests aren’t as explicit, they often sell junk..." Iny said CR-Vs are largely being stolen for export, and thieves who take them might park them somewhere for a couple of days to see if there is a tracking device...

Continue Reading on The Gazette website

 

  

 

 


Wheels.ca - Vawn Himmelsbach
July 30, 2022. The legacy of The Club: Decades later, it’s still stopping car thieves

This old school anti-theft device is still around and making things harder — but not impossible — for car thieves.

Advertised on television, The Club became a pop-culture icon back in the late 1980s and early 1990s—and even a punchline to jokes. But several decades on, The Club is still around as a successful auto theft prevention device.

For those not familiar with it, The Club — is looks like an oversized bicycle lock — is attached to a steering wheel, making it impossible to turn a vehicle even when it is running.

That means this analogue device can’t be hacked and is a hassle for thieves to remove, although it is not impossible to do it. Thieves have used everything from bolt cutters and hacksaws (to saw off the steering wheel) to liquid nitrogen (to freeze the lock and then hammer it off) to circumvent The Club.
...
Vehicle theft is on the rise in the GTA, in part due to automotive supply chain issues that have created severe vehicle and parts shortages. Toronto police data shows vehicle theft increased by 61 per cent from Jan. 1 to May 23 over the same period last year.

“It’s been professionalized,” said George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association (APA). Thanks to high demand in overseas markets, professional auto theft rings export stolen cars for much more than they’re sold for in Canada.

They might also steal popular makes and models for their parts or use fake vehicle identification numbers (VINs) to sell stolen cars to unsuspecting buyers. Cars may even be stolen for the express purpose of committing another crime.

Among the top 10 brands targeted by thieves in 2021 are the Honda CR-V, Lexus RX350 and Toyota Highlander, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, which compiles annual statistics on vehicle theft. There’s also constant demand for replacement parts for popular brands such as Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, said Iny.

 

Continue Reading on the Wheels.ca website

 

  

 

 


Driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
May 30, 2022. Lorraine Explains: Why does buying a car suck?

While there has been a perhaps predictable shift in consumers moving more of their transactions online, it appears even for something as expensive as a vehicle, there may be no going back for traditional dealerships. People have found a way to maintain more control during a purchase that too often pitches into the unsavoury.
...
George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association (APA) had no qualms about diving in.

“After taking delivery of a vehicle, people are more likely to talk about the back and forth with the salesperson and manager over the price and financing or leasing, usually perceived as a sparring match, than will rhapsodize about the amazing test drive or fabulous vehicle demonstration, or great dealership architecture. That suggests that a good part of the emotional experience during shopping centred around not getting taken — a negative.”

Not getting taken. There’s also no denying Iny’s note that buying a car is an emotional experience. It’s why you’ve seen friends or family members end up with a radically different car than the one they told you they were seeking, or maybe why you’ve done it yourself. Price is less of an issue with seemingly endless loan terms — eight, nine years — whatever it takes to get your monthly payment to a manageable level.

Never, ever see a car price as just a monthly payment. Add it up. Cost in the financing. Stop ripping yourself off before someone else even gets you to sign a contract.
...
Are any extras worth it? According to Iny, “prepaid maintenance which is not limited only to the luxury German brands, and full coverage automaker extended warranties” are worth consideration.
...
Oversight and regulation in the auto sellers’ industry are not nearly as robust as they should be. The concept of being forced to take a dealership’s financing was news to many, and yet it is legal. Consider this lengthy quote from Iny:

“Regulators are stuck in the mindset of warning letters and small fines, which non-compliant dealers correctly perceive as a manageable cost of doing business. Regulators should be suspending dealer licenses. APA saw the risk of having your dealership closed for two weeks in the event of a COVID outbreak resulted in an extraordinary level of public health compliance by franchised dealerships. But compliance was not up to the dealer regulators— it was up to public health authorities who considered dealerships no more entitled than other retailers. NO dealer regulator has so robust an approach to marketplace activity in Canada. And all of them fear that the dealers will misuse the political power of their associations to push back against the effective enforcement of retailing standards.”

 

Continue Reading on the Driving.ca website

 

  

 

 


Toronto Star - Leah Golob
May 23, 2022. Car prices are through the roof. Here’s how to get one without going broke

Prices and financing rates are up, and supply is scarce. Here’s what to look for — and what to steer clear of.
...
George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association, also recommends holding on to your car if you can.

“It’s roughly the worst time to be buying right now,” Iny said.

“If there is a chance for you to find somebody good in the repair trade to look after your current vehicle, bring it up to date on its maintenance. Don’t just go in randomly now and then for an oil change. Go get the owner’s manual out and find out at your time and mileage what work is needed on the vehicle, and consider that you might be driving it for another year or six months,” he said.

When it comes to leasing in the meantime, Canadians won’t have much luck either, Iny said, as leased vehicles won’t be in any greater supply than new ones.

If you absolutely can’t wait and need new wheels now, Iny said consumers can look for better value in the new car market with a compact car, like a Honda Civic, Honda Elantra, Subaru Impreza or Toyota Corolla.

“These are sophisticated vehicles with low running costs and you still get them out the door nicely equipped for under $30,000 before tax,” he said.

“This is a segment that the domestic carmakers have left because nobody’s buying — or that was their perception. So although that’s good advice, it’s not advice the public is following to any great degree.”

Canadians seem to like bigger vehicles, Iny said, such as SUVs with all-wheel drive, which tend to cost more and are in shorter supply.
...
As for used cars, Iny said the market is experiencing volatility because buyers who can’t find a new vehicle are now also looking for something used, further fuelling price hikes and competition for vehicles.

“Anything that’s five of six years old or less is selling for historically unheard of prices.”

Consumers can likely safely buy older cars because vehicles now tend to last longer and require less maintenance than they have in the past, said Iny.

If you always only bought a three-year-old car with 50,000 kilometres and that was your limit, you could probably go up to a five- or six-year-old vehicle with about 80,000 or 90,000 kilometres without too much of a loss in utility or function, he said.

If you go this route, Iny said it’s best to buy based on a vehicle’s condition rather than simply choose the cheapest vehicle in a given model or year.

“Go for something with lower mileage at a higher price than comparable vehicles, because it’s almost always cheaper to buy something that is in top shape than it is to buy something that’s average and then pay to bring it up to top shape,” he said.

Consumers should also get a vehicle checked out by a mechanic before sealing the deal, Iny said, adding it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do so in the current market. It can take a day or two to get an appointment with an automotive shop, and buyers will now sell the car up from you to the next person because they don’t want to take the risk that it won’t pass an inspection, he said.

 

Continue Reading on the Toronto Star website

 

  

 

 


Driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
May 2, 2022. Forced financing: a new upsell that might send you walking away from a car

Imagine you’ve finally found your dream car. Oshawa resident Tami Hamilton and her husband were thrilled to find a 2017 Subaru BRZ Sport Tech on a local dealer’s lot. For the auto enthusiasts, it was to be their long-awaited “fun” car... Their experience with their sales rep was smooth. “He was terrific,” said Tami. “The trouble came later.”

“Once we were in the finance office, we were told we had to take financing on the car. I said we didn’t want or need financing. We just wanted to purchase the car. We had the money.”

Instead, what played out was a dog’s breakfast of excuses, manipulations, and while not illegal, certainly questionable reasons why they had to take the offered financing.

“He (the dealer’s business manager) told us doing it this way protected us from wholesalers. He said wholesalers are going around buying up stock, so this was to protect real customers. He told us there was a problem paying upfront due to COVID concerns, but of course, it would have been a bank draft, not cash. I asked if there would be fees for financing, and he said of course. I asked if this was standard protocol, and he said Subaru was fine with it. He said I was the first “problem” he’d had over this, though we later were told they’d lost five sales already over it. He said if we didn’t buy it, someone else would. He wasn’t worried. I asked if those costs could be deducted from the sale price of the car. He said no...”

“I said I wanted my deposit to be everything except for the seven months of financing they were forcing on us. I was told they would not take more than half the price of the car as a deposit, I had to finance the rest. I was also told I couldn’t cancel the loan until the seven-month point because they would lose their fee from the lender. He made me sign a paper that said if I closed the loan before seven months, they would charge my credit card $750 to make up that fee. I asked them to use my bank, CIBC. The papers came back with BMO on them...”

George Iny at the Automobile Protection Association (APA) says it’s not uncommon. “Some dealers are being sneaky because the supply of new vehicles is limited, and some mass-market manufacturers don’t want them selling new vehicles for more than the MSRP. By financing a new vehicle through a lender, the dealer can collect a healthy commission from a third party that escapes the scrutiny of the carmakers. For used vehicles, making financing mandatory boils down to greed and ineffectual enforcement by dealer regulators...”

The dealership has not responded to an enquiry asking if this is indeed their policy, but Subaru Canada stepped up immediately. “We have been troubled since learning of the situation and do not condone the actions taken by the dealership’s finance and insurance office in this instance. We do not stand behind forced measures and are addressing this matter with the individual dealership to ensure these actions do not reoccur.

 

Continue Reading on the Driving.ca website

 

  

 

 


MoneySense Magazine - George Iny
March 14, 2022. Car parts backordered, not available -- now what?

My 2021 Kia Seltos was involved in an accident. It has been at a repair centre for almost two months waiting for replacement parts and they recently contacted me to say it will take another two months. The parts required appear to be pretty basic for a front-end collision repair...

I am facing an outlay of $4,000 for a rental while my vehicle is in the shop. The manufacturer should provide me a rental car or forgive my payments until those parts arrive. If they sell a vehicle, they have to make sure that parts are available when needed or provide a loaner—or just don’t sell it.

—H.P.

...Consumers occasionally report long parts delays to the Automobile Protection Association. Among the major brands, Tesla (collision repair parts), Toyota, Kia, Ford, Ram, Jeep and Fiat accounted for a higher proportion of complaints in recent years. This is usually a consequence of cost cutting or weak internal management. Complaints about unavailable replacement parts increased significantly in 2021/2022, due to supply chain distruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shipping bottlenecks.

The auto manufacturer’s obligation for late car parts

Michael Turk, a lawyer consulting to APA members, provided the following guidance concerning the automaker’s obligation to provide replacement parts:

“Nothing in Ontario’s statutory law specifically addresses the issue of replacement part availability, but there is an implied warranty that parts be reasonably available. The obvious place to start is compensation for loss of use. I’m not sure how the courts are going to deal with COVID—there may be an argument for force majeure in circumstances that are probably beyond a manufacturer’s control. Even then, a judge could determine that ‘We agree with you but what did you do to compensate your customer?...’ (In situations like the one with your Seltos, the automaker is able to deliver the same components to their plant to assemble new vehicles, so the parts clearly exist—and those vehicles are being shipped to Canada, so the shortage of parts for a collision repair appears to be surmountable.)...

To the APA’s knowledge, Quebec’s Consumer Protection Act is unique in Canada, as it creates an obligation to provide replacement parts to a consumer. Article 39 of the Act states that “Where goods… are of a nature that requires maintenance, replacement parts and repair service must be available for a reasonable time…”

The requirement has been used successfully by consumers appearing before the Small Claims Court Division in Quebec to recover the cost of renting a replacement vehicle while waiting for parts to arrive.

Now let’s take a look at some steps a consumer can take:

Backordered parts for collision repairs

When it comes to insurance repairs, collision parts can be backordered for weeks, until the customer times out their insurance-paid replacement vehicle.

Debbie Arnold, a registered insurance broker with Sound Insurance in Ontario, reports that “Loss of use” insurance endorsements to cover courtesy vehicles vary significantly and are either limited by the number of days or dollar value.

Fifteen days, or $2,000, are on the short end with 30-days or more offering greater security. Arnold suggests that if you’re approaching the end of the loss of use coverage, contact your insurance adjuster. Under current circumstances, with delays more common, there may be some flexibility, or they may be able to assist you or work something out with the body shop while waiting for parts to arrive...

Parts delays for mechanical repairs, car warranty repairs

Mechanical parts backordered at the dealership are frequently available in the aftermarket from independent suppliers, or even as used parts. However, car dealers are unable to obtain a reimbursement from their manufacturers for using non-original components on a warranty repair in a pinch, even if they’re of like kind and quality. Consequently, they may not check to determine if any are available. That’s little comfort to the vehicle owner who may be paying for a rental vehicle or is doing without personal transportation.

If the delay is long or very uncertain, it’s worth checking for a comparable part in the aftermarket and have the vehicle taken to an independent shop for the repair, or paying the dealer to complete the repair with non-original parts...

What to do for your vehicle
For a parts delay of several weeks or months, it’s reasonable to ask the automaker for a no-charge courtesy vehicle. If you have not already written the manufacturer...

 

For the complete article Continue reading on the MoneySense website

 

  

 

 


Driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
March 4, 2022. Lorraine Explains: What you need to know to navigate today's murky used vehicle market

“The APA is recommending consumers wait out the market if they are able to until supply improves a bit in winter 2023, but most people are not interested in that advice,” says APA (Automobile Protection Association) president George Iny.

It’s the same message you’ve been hearing from all of us for two years and it’s frustrating to have to keep delivering it. But this industry — every industry — has never experienced so much turbulence from so many directions at once...

If you have a leased vehicle right now, you’re in a good position.

Cody Green, based in Vancouver, is the founder and co-CEO of Canada Drives, an online car buying service. “If you have a leased vehicle and can purchase it outright, you likely should, as there’s a strong chance you can buy it for less than its fair market value,” he says.

When a seller is telling you to keep your car, it’s likely good advice.

George Iny agrees.

“You could be looking at cash in your pocket or money toward your next lease of $2,000 to $5,000 or more, depending on the vehicle and mileage.”

That positive equity is a new thing for most of us. Better yet, “if your leased vehicle has accumulated damage, there is a good chance the dealer will absorb it when they take in the vehicle. You can avoid the damage appraisal process which is sometimes stressful and prone to exaggeration,” says Iny.

The APA also has a service to help members out.

“...Over the next decade, there will be significant upward pressure on the prices of all vehicles to fund the switch to hybrid and EV propulsion. The APA predicts a situation similar to the 1970s, when vehicle prices increased dramatically to pay for the new crash safety and emissions equipment introduced on vehicles...”

“Don’t follow the crowd when looking for a used vehicle,” Iny suggests. “Since everyone wants a pickup or SUV, consider a compact car or midsize sedan. To stretch your dollar, it may be worth going back five to seven years, instead of the old sweet spot at three to four years. Most people are not interested in this guidance and favour an SUV or pickup, price be damned.”

Continue Reading on the Driving.ca website

 

  

 

 

 

2021

 


Driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
September 9, 2021. Transport Canada promised to fix 'phantom vehicles' by this month. But have they?

You’re driving down the highway at night. Maybe in a storm. All of a sudden, your windshield is full of the car ahead of you, and with not a tail light in sight. What the… then you realize the culprit: the driver is chugging (or speeding) along with just their daytime running lights on. Because their dashboard is lit up, they are clueless that they are invisible to those around them. Transport Canada in 2018 named them ‘phantom vehicles,’ and vowed to fix the problem.

Effective September 2021 — now — all new vehicles (cars, trucks, SUVs, 3-wheeled vehicles, motorcycles and heavy trucks) will have to be properly lit, front and back. Yay, right? Hold your confetti. We’re getting no such thing.

It is a menace that turns from annoying to deadly in the time it takes Canadian weather to change its mind. Canada mandated daytime running lights (DRL) to be standard as of November 1, 1989. Ideally, drivers would pull on their entire lighting system...

There have been consistent failures to alert people to their dark rear ends across nearly every other manufacturer and random models and years.

Historically, Toyota and Honda have been among the worst offenders, but we can’t omit the transgressions of Mazda, Ford, GM…hell, nearly everybody who didn’t design their cars to light up the rear as a default across their lineup. Too many manufacturers have a dashboard that lights up, making it easy for drivers to assume that everything is fine... Add in bright urban streetlights, and people don’t think about it.

After 1990, “backlighting the gauges and the gradual conversion to electronic displays in the years that followed resulted in unintended consequences,” explains George Iny with the Automobile Protection Association. Illuminated dashes took away the reminder that the full lighting system wasn’t on. It’s now rare to find a car with a darkened dash.

Most modern headlight stalks now include an “auto” setting, but you have to have it set in that “auto” mode for your full headlight system (including rear lights) to be triggered by the sensors when lighting drops... People lend their car to others; people get their car cleaned; people drive rentals; that setting can easily be turned off without a driver noticing. And off you go, meek little DRLs leading the way, your rear as dark as Satan’s heart.

 

Continue Reading on the Driving.ca website

 

  

 

 


Toronto Star - Mark Toljagic
August 28, 2021. Kings of resale: Nine vehicles that have the best value in Canada

Thanks to a shortage of new vehicles right now, Canada is being strip-mined of its used cars and trucks to help alleviate demand in the United States. And that means Canadian consumers will pay more for their next used vehicle.

The phenomenon has always been around, with exports of used cars fluctuating with the currency exchange rate. What’s different now is that the need for Canadian vehicles is acute due to a “perfect storm” of supply-and-demand issues.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year forced automakers to close assembly plants temporarily. However, when the factories reopened, demand for cars skyrocketed as buyers with government cheques in hand looked for a way to get around that didn’t involve transit.

At the same time, the microchips used by the auto industry were diverted during the shutdown to other consumer goods that became more popular during lockdown, such as student laptops and 5G smartphones...

The turmoil has prompted car shoppers to take a second look at the used auto market. Consumer demand has driven up the average used car price in the U.S. by a whopping $7,583, or 32.7 per cent, in June compared to one year ago.

Exceptional demand and higher prices in the U.S. have fuelled Canadian vehicle exports southward, boosted by an 80-cent dollar. More than 39,000 used vehicles were trucked to the U.S. in May, compared to 15,000 a year earlier — a 160-per-cent increase in export activity.

“Stretch your current vehicle out until November. The model year will change over, and demand will drop seasonally from December to February,” advises George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association consumer advocacy group. “We expect the winter price drop to be small this year, but you’ll have a better chance of finding something you like.”...

 

Continue Reading on the Toronto Star website

 

  

 

 


CTV News Montreal - Rob Lurie
August 20, 2021. Car prices soar as demand for new and used cars remains high

Car dealer Izzy Hutman says the moment he posts a used car on his website, his phone starts ringing.

In all his years in car sales, he’s never seen anything like it.

“I have customers waiting for cars,” he says. “The cars come in, we prepare them and we just phone the clients on the waiting list.”

Cars are a hot commodity as of late — especially used ones.

A global shortage of microchips has led to slowdowns on the assembly line for new cars, increasing the demand for used ones.

The pandemic has also made more people want to get behind the wheel rather than take public transit.

“They don't want to take buses, they don't want to take public transport of any sort, even taxis. They're afraid to go in because somebody may have been in there and sneezed,” says Hutman...

But even at these prices, there’s no shortage of shoppers — largely because many Canadians increased their savings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Bank of Canada estimates there is around a hundred billion dollars of additional money in savings accounts. So what do you do when you have extra money? You spend money on things,” says Baris Akyurek, marketing expert from Autotrader.ca.

 

Watch the report on the CTV News website

 

  

 

 


Ask Moneysense - George Iny
August 18, 2021. What’s the cause of sudden acceleration in a Subaru Legacy?

Question: Sometimes, when I take my foot off the accelerator and put it on the brake, my car, a 2019 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Limited, accelerates suddenly. It stops only with a hard push on the brake. After this happened several times, in February 2019, I took the car to the dealer and left it for three days to diagnose and correct the problem. The dealer could not find the cause, even after I went for a drive with their director of after-sales operations. His conclusion was that, inadvertently, my foot remained partly on the gas pedal when I transferred to the brake pedal because I was wearing heavy winter shoes. I was very doubtful but I had little choice but to accept this verdict...This morning, the same thing occurred twice...

F.
Toronto

Answer: Your dealer’s inability to diagnose the issue is not unusual, as is their apparent failure to involve the manufacturer early on...

Like other modern vehicles, Subarus are equipped with an event data recorder (EDR), separate from the engine control module (ECM or sometimes ECU), that is supposed to capture situations in which a customer pressed on the brake yet the vehicle continued to accelerate. Subaru Canada has regional technicians with the training and electronic equipment to retrieve those codes, as does Transport Canada for most brands. This equipment and capability rarely extend to the car dealer, whose diagnostic equipment focusses on powertrain performance issues and emissions compliance, but not performance of the airbags, seat belt tensioners, or brake and throttle in the moments prior to a collision. All modern passenger vehicles record some information of this nature. However, dealers will not necessarily flag an event for their manufacturer to investigate; instead, it’s the unhappy vehicle owner who escalates their complaint to head office in an attempt to obtain those resources.

I reviewed your situation with Eli Melnick, an engineer and defect investigator for insurance claims who provided the following perspective on your situation:

“I feel for this guy but, crazy as it sounds, he’ll have to collide with something to trigger an event and enable evidence data to be downloaded. The dealer is trying but typically they won’t do anything unless they can experience the problem. Dealers cannot access the EDR. Even some Canadian importers once had to send the encrypted files overseas to head office. We can do it using an aftermarket tool and training. You need to know how to interpret the data—it’s pretty cryptic. In certain late model cars, we can even download video images from the front camera.”

If you haven’t already done so, you should report the incidents to Transport Canada, which will record your complaint...

Most auto insurance companies are not interested in this sort of fact-finding unless the incident resulted in a large property loss or significant personal injuries. In that case, they may be interested in discovering the cause of the alleged event as a precursor to making a claim from the automaker. For damage limited to the vehicle, it’s usually cheaper and more expedient for them to consider the incident an at-fault claim by the owner. The vehicle owner, who may be desperate for clarity in the days after an unintended acceleration event like yours, usually has little influence.

(Here are some possible causes of sudden acceleration:)

Floor-mat interference with the pedals

...The first recommendation when having experienced a sudden unintended acceleration incident is to check that there is only one mat in the driver’s footwell and that you have not placed a winter mat over the carpeted mat delivered with the car, which can increase the likelihood of interfering with the pedals.

Furthermore, original equipment winter mats from many automakers frequently have a retention system, usually one or two eyelets or clips to prevent the mat from sliding forward and interfering with the pedals; that’s a failsafe most aftermarket mats, which are designed to fit a variety of vehicles, don’t feature. And many original-equipment mats are now shorter than the aftermarket variety.

Pedal error
The most common sudden acceleration complaint involves one event, in which the driver just sat down inside the vehicle or had just rotated their body to reverse the car... Incidents are usually reported in parking lots, driveways, garage entrances and car washes. From the driver’s perspective, it feels like the brake pedal sank to the floor (as if the brakes failed), or that the pedal is not responding. The likely cause is applying the wrong pedal. It happens more often than most people think, and it doesn’t take much misalignment of the torso or legs to occur...

Read the complete answer at Ask Moneysense

 

  

 

 


CBC News 
July 1, 2021. Starting July 1, if your car breaks down on a busy Montreal street, you'll have to call police for a tow

New rules are being put into effect to address 'climate of violence and retaliation' among towing companies

Next time you get into an automotive accident or your car stalls and blocks traffic on a major thoroughfare, you will have to call 911 to request a tow truck.

Starting July 1, Montreal police will introduce 10 "exclusive towing areas" on the island of Montreal, and drivers will be forced to use tow services that correspond to those areas at a fixed rate.

According to a news release sent out by the SPVM (Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal), this only applies to vehicles "involved in an accident or that have broken down and block traffic or are dangerous."

If your car breaks down in a parking lot or a quiet side street, then you can call whatever service you want.
...
George Iny, executive director of the Automobile Protection Association, a non-profit consumer protection group, says this move will benefit clients.

He told CBC there have been problems within the industry for years and this may help regulate the services.

Continue reading on the CBC website

 

  

 

 


The Globe and Mail - Ted Kritsonis
June 25, 2021. Buying a used car privately? There’s an extended warranty for that

Extended warranties on used cars are a big business. Dealerships routinely offer them for a fee, or roll them into the sale price, but GuardTree is targeting the private market with a monthly subscription-based model.

As recently as 2018, research by CarFax found that 47 per cent of shoppers looking for a used car online were more interested in vehicle listings that included warranty coverage. Another 33 per cent who bought certified pre-owned vehicles from a dealer cited the warranty as a factor in their purchase. Statistics Canada data show that sales of used cars have been rising steadily for some time, particularly through e-commerce channels. (Online sales of used cars jumped by 48 per cent from 2018 to 2019 alone.)
...
George Iny, executive director of the Automobile Protection Association (APA), feels the claim limit isn’t substantial enough, but says that GuardTree’s decision to exclude luxury makes and models is a good step to “stretch your repair dollar,” as is its policy specifying that used parts may be included in repairs.

“The list of included components is impressive and covers electric vehicle (EV) batteries and hybrid components that other companies won’t touch, but a $5,000 claim limit for an EV battery problem is too low,” Iny says.

The APA has scrutinized the automotive insurance industry in Canada, and Iny says warranties can vary by province. For example, several provinces permit selling uninsured warranties, meaning if the dealer or vendor offering coverage closes down, there’s no way to get your money back. Independent warranty companies and dealers use fine print to their advantage when marking up the price of a vehicle or omitting certain key points in the coverage, he adds.

Continue reading on the Globe and Mail website

 

  

 

 


Global News - Anne Drewa
June 18, 2021. Shopping for a new vehicle? Why the semiconductor chip shortage is making certain models hard to find

If you’re shopping for a new set of wheels, a specific vehicle model may be hard to find, especially if it’s a truck or SUV.

Automakers around the world have been forced to halt or slow down production thanks to a global shortage of semiconductor chips.

Semiconductor chips are used to power a variety of vehicle features, from power steering and backup cameras to emergency braking systems. Right now, car dealer lots are facing low inventory as they patiently wait for chips to arrive.

“Normally, we would have 225 to 250 pickup trucks stocked at all times because we have both Chevrolet and GMC brands, and there’s been many times in the last six months we’ve been down to three or four,” said Peter Heppner, owner of the Preston Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac dealership in Langley, B.C.
...
“It’s a perfect storm. We haven’t seen shortages like this since the 1980s,” said George Iny, president of the non-profit Automobile Protection Association.

When it comes to pricing, Iny said car makers are quietly slipping in price increases.

“We are not seeing the same level of cash rebates as we did. However, I believe there will be much more inflationary pressure going forward because of the limited supply.”

The reduced supply is also driving people to the used car market where inventory is also low and prices extra high.

 

Continue reading on the Global News website

Find more information and tips on which cars are available here: Vehicle shortages predicted to last to the end of 2021

  

 

 


Driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
May 10, 2021. Why do we allow money laundering in the auto industry?

Canada has a money laundering problem, and nowhere is it more apparent than in British Columbia

If you head into your bank with $10,000 in cash and ask to deposit it, the bank must report that transaction to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada – FINTRAC. If you buy precious metals or stones with that much cash, the store must also report it to FINTRAC. Same goes for accountants, real estate brokers/agents/developers, casinos, securities dealers, life insurance companies, and money services businesses. If you plunk down a bag of cash to do business at any of these entities, it starts a paper trail to determine if said cash was legitimately come by.

But not car dealerships.

Canada has a money laundering problem, and nowhere is it more apparent than in British Columbia. Though there are multiple scams being run to clean cash obtained through illegal activity, the world of high-end cars is a favourite...

...Carey Smith (is) a Retired Detective sergeant with Halton Regional Police and later the Director of Investigations with OMVIC, Ontario’s sales regulator. He headed up a joint forces GST fraud investigation called Project Phantom – one of the largest in Canadian history. They found over $50 million of fraud over three sectors...

Organized crime funnels millions of dollars through car purchases. Some are the flashy headlines you read where someone tosses a duffel with $400,000 in it on a sales desk and walks out with a supercar. But Smith says more likely, it’s transactions involving multiple vehicles.

If an industry is listed on FINTRAC, any cash amount over $10,000 must be reported at the point of sale and its source traced. Vehicle sales are not on that list. The duffel bag money is deposited by the dealership at the bank; as long as bills of sale appear in order, the transaction moves along. “They’re often on cars that don’t exist,” explains Smith. “They don’t look at metal. If a dealer says, ‘oh, a wholesaler just cleared out all the junk on my lot’ and produces accompanying bills of sale, it looks legit enough. Often, they’re phantom cars.”

George Iny, president of the APA notes that dealerships see the scenario through a different lens. “Dealers want to sell cars. A cash buyer is welcome.” Iny goes on to address a stickier issue. “If it’s a franchised dealer, their concern is a cash customer not export new vehicles to China, the Middle East, the U.S. or another market where the value is higher. That would be a risk to their franchise if the automaker has restrictions on sales for export...”

Continue reading at driving.ca

 

  

 

 


Driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
April 26, 2021. Lorraine Explains: In a scorching used car market, is it worth it to sell or trade?

Whether it's a trade-in or private sale, here are some helpful tips to consider

Lorraine Sommerfeld Driving.ca In a hot used car market, do you trade in your car or sell it? Auto sales is one industry that has recovered fairly well from a year of this disastrous pandemic, but it definitely happened with a changed environment...

Used car prices have never been higher. ...if your usual approach has been to toss the keys of your old ride to the dealer as you pick up your new one, you might want to hesitate. While you can usually get more for your car than what a dealer is offering you, there are still some things to consider.
Do you need a trade-in appraisal?
“The APA has a trade-in appraisal service. In the GTA, John Wallischeck at Autolinks will appraise the car at his location and recommend a fair market value for the vehicle as a trade-in and a somewhat higher amount for a private sale,” says APA's George Iny. That distinction is important. It’s easy to ballpark what your car is worth by dropping it into Autotrader or Car Gurus, but keep in mind, it’s a reference for guidance on a retail price; if you’re trading it in, you will receive less. It can be difficult to get an appraisal because most dealers want to know you’re committed to buying before they’ll offer up a number...

Iny notes the upside to trading your vehicle into a dealer is the tax savings. “You pay tax on the difference between the prices of the old and new vehicles. For a used vehicle worth, say, $10,000, you would be saving $1,300 in sales tax. If you’re selling privately that means you’d have to advertise it at $12,000, less the expected discount, just to come out even with the trade-in value.” Another upside is not having the hassle of posting and dealing with strangers, something I personally won’t do.

Iny cautions if you’re switching brands, between domestic, European, and Asian. That Audi dealer doesn’t really want your trade-in Kia and will give you less for it, though they’d comfortably take a BMW off your hands. “You may get a better outcome if the dealership is part of a network that includes your brand, but you may want to ask them to have the appraisal done at their other store and take the vehicle over there yourself with the name of a person to see...”

...If you have a recent pickup or large SUV you’re in luck, because supply is tight and exporting to the U.S. has driven up prices — dealers are paying near Canadian retail for your trade.”

Continue reading at driving.ca

 

  

 

 


CBC Maritime Noon - Bob Murphy, Carolyn Ray
March 19, 2021.

Live winter storm report with meteorologist, Tina Simpkin, mystery disease in NB and on the phone-in: car advice from George Iny with the Automobile Protection Association.

Listen to the broadcast here. The segment with George Iny begins 13min into the recording.

 

  

 

 


CBC Marketplace - Katie Pedersen, Rosa Marchitelli, Greg Sadler
February 19, 2021. 'My car's on fire': Drivers fear for their safety as years-long recall rollout drags on

CBC Marketplace and Go Public investigation reveals flaws with Canada's recall system

Hyundai and Kia drivers say they fear getting behind the wheel of their own cars — with the risk of engine fires and failures hanging over their heads.

The recalls on millions of these vehicles have dragged on for years — starting in 2015 with more models and years still being added...

Each recall names very specific models and years, often excluding cars with the exact same engine, only to add those vehicles and others months or years later.

CBC producers interviewed drivers with sudden engine failures and fires, yet their Hyundai and Kia models were not on any recall list. Some of those interviewed said their car engines died or caught fire without warning, even after an early detection system meant to warn drivers about a possible fire or engine failure was installed...

Jason Levine from the Center for Auto Safety said the so-called Product Improvement Campaign should never have been given the green light in the first place. The auto safety advocacy group petitioned the U.S. government to investigate Hyundai and Kia engine fires back in 2018.

"It's not even a question of whether it works or not, it's a question of what is it designed to do? And what it's not designed to do is prevent the fire," he said.

"It's a software solution to a hardware problem."

Safety advocate George Iny said, "We need to have, I would say, a wary eye over this recall."
...

 "We depend to a considerable degree on the goodwill of the car maker," said George Iny, director of the APA.

He said Hyundai and Kia took way too long — more than six years — to issue more than 20 recalls for a similar problem...

Continue reading on the CBC website

 

  

 

 


The Globe and Mail - Matt Bubbers
January 12, 2021. How to decide which model of used car to buy

The short answer to the question “Which used car should I buy?” is that there’s no short answer. There are hundreds of thousands of used cars for sale right now in this country, and they run the gamut from good to bad to very, very ugly. The only way to figure out which one to buy is to do some homework.

The good news is that you don’t have to be a car person to figure out the answer. It’s not difficult, but it takes time. Sorry, there are no shortcuts, short of lucking into a hand-me-down from your relatives.

“You need to be clear-eyed about what your emotions are and accept the fact that you want to take some surprise and delight with your vehicle purchase,” said George Iny, director of the Automobile Protection Association (APA), a national consumer-advocacy organization based in Toronto and Montreal. A car is a big purchase, but most people aren’t strictly rational about it, which is fine, as long as you understand that going in.

If you are strictly rational, driven solely by value for money, Iny said you should look for a reliable mid-size sedan like the 2016-or-later Hyundai Sonata. “A mid-size sedan, that’s the best value right now,” he said. But in his experience advising car shoppers, nine out of 10 people will say no to that idea; there’s not much surprise and delight there. People want what they want. (During the pandemic, Iny found that car buyers have actually become more emotionally driven, more focused on wants than needs. You only live once, right?)

Still, be realistic about your needs, advised Brian Murphy, vice-president of research and analytics at Canadian Black Book (CBB), a company that tracks used-vehicle prices. Is it worth driving a full-size pickup because you’re thinking about maybe towing a boat someday? Probably not. If you have two children and a dog, a subcompact SUV is going to be too claustrophobic, but a huge SUV will feel ungainly downtown and rack up hefty fuel bills.

A word of caution about prices. As a result of the pandemic, used vehicles are in short supply across Canada, which means prices are higher than usual, Murphy said. Good used cars aren’t on the market for long, so once you’ve done your homework, be ready to act fast. 

Continue reading at the Globe and Mail website

 

  

 

 

 

Selected articles from 2020 and prior

 


driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
October 6, 2020. Lorraine Explains: COVID-19 complications from the car-seller's side

COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns may have created changes for insurance companies as well as challenges in mechanical maintenance for car owners.

But what about for people buying cars, and those who sell them?

OMVIC, Ontario’s vehicle sales regulator, teamed up with the Automobile Protection Association (APA) to do a study on how dealerships are responding to the new world order, and how consumers are reacting to that response.

While most dealerships were totally shut down for about a month, as openings began it was evident almost everything had changed. Like most sectors, the auto industry took a profound hit as sales (and parts availability) plunged. In spite of this, sellers scrambled to adapt, and sales are recovering at an encouraging pace. Covering the period March 18 to August 30 of this year, the survey is a three-pronged approach to directly address all the main players: buyers, salespeople, and dealers.

Dealerships have stepped up to meet protocols surrounding health and safety, following guidelines that OMVIC has set forth based on both provincial and federal government recommendations. Sanitizing high-touch surfaces, adding plexiglass inserts where necessary, social distancing and masks have all led to 80 per cent of buyers surveyed saying they felt comfortable in their buying experience.
...
“It’s an impressive result when you stop to consider the complexity of an auto sale or lease transaction, and the need to adapt to highly varied shopper behavior ranging from consumers who conducted the whole transaction remotely (8 per cent) to those who visited three or more locations (20 per cent),” says APA president George Iny.

Franchised dealers scored higher than independents, which isn’t surprising when everyone is being tasked to find more resources in challenging times. Some 13 per cent of buyers wanted more buying options, saying they hurried their purchase because of safety concerns. Dealers pivoted quickly, and things like being able to sign a deal online (previously not allowed) were quickly put into play. Scheduled appointments for both car buying and maintenance have become the norm.

One finding was almost inevitable: fewer test drives are taking place. Roughly 46 per cent of new car buyers in this time frame made their purchase without taking a test drive, as did 38 per cent of people purchasing a used vehicle. Only 16 per cent of the latter camp had a salesperson along for the ride — previously almost unheard of. While this number has been declining for years, it’s still rather stunning. Making a purchase this big, that can’t be returned, and not taking it for at least a cursory spin?

 

Continue reading at driving.ca

 

  

 

 


CTV News Vancouver - Ross McLaughlin
September 14, 2020. BMW Mini fire highlights need to report to regulators

On July 25, Timi-Lee Skingley was driving home to Kamloops on the Coquihalla Highway just hours after picking up her 2018 Mini Cooper S Countryman from servicing at BMW Mini in Langley. She says she felt something was wrong and pulled off the highway at the Britton Creek rest area.

“As soon as I stopped then you could see the black smoke,” she says.

Skingley says she lifted the hood and saw flames shooting up near the back corner of the engine on the passenger’s side and soon the vehicle was completely engulfed in flames.

“I had enough time to shut off the car, (and) grab my purse,” she says.

The car was still under warranty and Skingley had just picked up it up from the service department where she had taken it in after complaining about lagging and hesitation while driving up hills. According to the paperwork, the dealership had run a diagnostic and had test driven the Mini, but could find nothing wrong...

Skingley contacted McLaughlin On Your Side when she says she felt that BMW wasn't taking the issue seriously or standing behind their product. She wanted the company to take responsibility, forgive the remaining loan on her vehicle -- $34,916 -- and allow her to use money from her insurance claim to buy another car.

“There is a presumption that the auto maker has a duty, first of all, to investigate and may be responsible for that loss and they should make their customer whole,” says George Iny, executive director of the Automobile Protection Association...

“Why does BMW get paid for a faulty product?” asks Skingley...

Recalls have been issued over the years for various fire hazards on several models but newer models, including Skingley’s 2018 Mini Cooper, were not part of those recalls.

“In Canada, one of the issues we’ve seen is a failure to report these incidents,” Iny says.

He says that often vehicle fires get reported to insurance but don’t get reported to Transport Canada regulators, which can investigate to determine if there’s a bigger problem. The government agency can investigate possible defects which can lead to manufacturer recalls.,,

Over a two-year period, in 2018 and 2019, ICBC received seven fire claims involving Mini Coopers, not including Skingley’s 2018 model. Transport Canada received six reports, with all Minis older than five years and under a fire hazard recall. As for other BMW models, ICBC had 75 fire claims while Transport Canada received just 14 reports, with only one covered by a fire hazard recall.,,

The Automobile Protection Association says you should never rely on insurance companies, police or even the manufacturer to report vehicle fires to regulators. You need to file a complaint yourself.

Iny says if insurance companies are successful in recovering costs from a manufacturer, it’s often settled with a confidentiality clause.

“APA’s position is that’s a very bad thing from a public safety standpoint,” he says...

Transport Canada told CTV News it has no open defects investigations related to fires in BMW or BMW Mini vehicles.

 

Continue reading on the CTV website

 

  

 

 


CBC News - Yvonne Colbert
February 13, 2020. Toyota's paint-peeling problem to be covered under 'unprecedented' extended warranty for certain models

In what one automotive expert calls an "unprecedented" response, Toyota has announced details of a plan to fix vehicles with peeling white paint, a problem that has plagued the automaker for years.

Toyota... said its "warranty enhancement program" will cover several models of vehicles with blizzard pearl or super white paint manufactured as far back as 2008.

The move comes in response to complaints from Toyota owners like Prospect, N.S., resident Rachael Mosley, who said the peeling-paint problem on her 2011 RAV4 has only worsened since she first told CBC her story in September 2018...

The program covers the following years and models of vehicles with the original blizzard pearl and super white paint:

2010-2015 4Runner
2008-2017 Camry HV
2008-2017 Camry
2009-2018 Corolla
2008-2017 Avalon
2008-2017 RAV4
2012-2015 Scion IQ
2011-2015 Scion XB
2008-2009 Lexus GX470.

The paint job on Jay Willyard's 2009 RAV4 has also deterioriated in the past year and a half. (Submitted by Jay Willyard)

The letter to affected customers said: "The covered condition may occur when sunlight over time degrades the adhesion between the factory-applied paint primer coat layer and the base metal electrodeposition layer causing the paint to peel from the metal body part."...

The program is broken into two parts. The primary coverage is in effect until Feb. 9, 2022, with no year or mileage limits. The secondary coverage kicks in after the primary coverage expires and is good for 10 years from the date the vehicle was first licensed, regardless of mileage...

The letter said people who have already paid for repainting should contact their dealer for "reimbursement consideration."

'Unprecedented' program

George Iny, with the Automobile Protection Association, said his organization is pleased with the automaker's plan.

"Under this program, paint delamination on a vehicle as old as 2008 is covered until 2022 — that's 14 years," he said. "Toyota's coverage is unprecedented for a warranty extension on defective paint, where the limit is usually about eight years."

He noted while Toyota was late to acknowledge the paint issue publicly, it "has been correspondingly generous with the time limit."

 

 

Read the full story on the CBC News website.

 

 

 

 

 

 


CBC News - Matt D'Amours
May 19, 2017. $17M settlement reached in lawsuit targeting Eastern Townships gas 'cartel'

A 10-year legal battle has resulted in a $17-million out-of-court settlement between a group of Eastern Township motorists and a number of gas retailers in the area.

The class-action lawsuit involving residents of Sherbrooke, Magog, Victoriaville and Thetford Mines sought damages from a so-called cartel charged with criminal price fixing by the Competition Bureau...

The bureau said the gas retailers — individual operators who ran their stations under the banners of Shell, Esso, Petro-Canada and Irving Oil — called each other to agree on prices.

The $17-million settlement, which two-thirds of the companies and retailers named in the class-action lawsuit have agreed to, could translate into a reimbursement of about $40 each for 200,000 residents after legal fees and other deductions.

"By the standards of a class action, that's actually relatively significant on an individual level," said George Iny, executive director of the Automobile Protection Association, the group spearheading the lawsuit. "The settlement today is a very big step forward in the action. It's a very tough battle." The money may be paid in gas cards, direct mailers, or money off at the pump, Iny said...

  Read the full story on the CBC website.

 

 


CBC News - Riley Laychuk
April 17, 2017. Another customer claims Winnipeg car dealership owes her money for trade-in

Another customer has come forward claiming a Winnipeg car dealership owes her money following a CBC News story about a Brandon couple who claim to be owed more than $28,000.

Warren and Mary Houle told CBC News their story about a trade-in deal with SRT Auto earlier this month.

They were quoted a trade-in value of $28,157 for their 2013 van, which they understood would be applied to the outstanding loan for that vehicle.
...
George Iny, director of the Automobile Protection Association — which lobbies for auto safety standards and promotes consumer information — said some dealers use over-valuing trades as a sales tactic.

"What you do is inflate the trade-in value, then you pack two loans on to the price of the next vehicle," Iny said in a phone interview from Montreal.
...
Iny reviewed two bills of sale provided by CBC News. Both the Houles' and Richard's bills of sale show the value of their trade-in listed as equal to the lien payable on their initial loans.

He said in both cases, the purchase prices appear to be inflated.
...
More oversight needed

Iny said the best course of action in this situation is to contact Manitoba's Consumer Protection Office. Cases like this, he said, are signs that current rules and regulations need to be better enforced.

"I think the root of the issue is the level of oversight. Regulators just don't get out there. They don't put themselves in the shoes of one of the customers they regulate," Iny said.

 

 

Read the full story on the CBC website.

 

  


Maclean's - Julie Cazzin
March 31, 2017. Even Ford Motor Co. is concerned about Canadians’ car loan debt

Ford Motor Co. has joined financial regulators in raising concerns over Canadians’ appetites for longer-term loans to finance the purchase of new vehicles. Regulators have warned in recent years about debt-burdened consumers taking advantage of loan offers that leave them in a negative-equity situation where they owe more on the car than it’s actually worth.Mark Buzzell, chief executive officer of Ford Canada, told media in an interview at the Vancouver auto show this week, that Canadian automakers are selling 41% of their vehicles with loans of six or more years. It’s not uncommon to see loans stretch out to eight or nine years, with interest rates still sitting at near-record lows.Ford says it is moving to reduce the number of sales it makes at longer terms, but it’s hard when the rest of the industry is doing so. “We really are trying to limit the trade cycles to shorter terms, but at the end of the day we have to stay competitive,” Buzzell told Bloomberg News...

 ...Automakers—not just Ford—are concerned, says George Iny, car analyst and director of the Automobile Protection Association. “They’ve told regulators two or three times now that they are concerned that car buyers are overburdened and carrying a lot of debt forward from a previous financed vehicle when they go into a dealership to finance a new one.”

 

Last year was a record year for auto sales with 1.95 million in vehicles sold and Iny points out that there’s two key reasons for that. “It’s been fuelled by low interest rates coupled with longer financing terms of 84 and even 96 months that many car dealerships are offering, just to make the sale...”

In many ways, we are starting to witness the same kinds of problems in the car market that are seen with real estate. Low interest rates and tiny monthly payments are causing home buyers to over extend themselves to the brink. This same problem is now surfacing in the car-buying market...

“It’s good to limit your financing to 72 months and if it’s not possible for you, at least be aware that you shouldn’t be financing unpaid payments from your previous car,” says Iny. “Don’t roll the old debt onto the new loan, which people get talked into doing quite often.”

So, don’t stretch your bi-monthly or monthly payments to get something newer or bigger. Instead, stick to what you were originally going to buy and if the monthly payment is lower than you can afford, “take that difference and do the smart thing,” says Iny. “Save it in a Registered Retirement Savings Plan. You’ll increase retirement savings and get a refund as well.”

 

Read the full article on the Maclean's website.

 

 


Wheels.ca - Mark Toljagic
January 16, 2017. Exploding Sunroofs: What can cause it, and who's to blame?

Frustrated drivers who were told by dealers to put their broken sunroof claim through insurance are pushing back by getting industry regulators involved. In one example spurred by owners, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating reports of spontaneous sunroof breakage in 2011-14 Kia Sorento models.

NHTSA has reviewed similar complaints by owners of other vehicles, and has sent information requests to four additional manufacturers: Ford, Volkswagen, Hyundai and Nissan. In reality, no automaker appears immune to the phenomenon.

Transport Canada has received a significant number of sunroof explosion complaints, and started two active investigations, one prompted by a Calgary realtor whose sunroof spontaneously shattered while driving his Buick. The dealer blamed an unseen rock, but when pressed, General Motors contributed $500 towards the $1,000 repair.

Faced with growing online evidence – and the gathering storm of class action lawsuits – manufacturers have begun to grudgingly admit that their auto glass may be defective. Some have begun honouring warranty claims and quietly recalling selected models.

Volkswagen Group is recalling some 2013-14 Audi A8 and S8 luxury sedans because the glass in the standard sunroof may shatter. Hyundai issued a recall on certain 2012 model-year Velosters for spontaneously exploding panoramic sunroofs. Jim Trainor, Hyundai’s U.S. public relations manager, suggested “defects with the glass” may be a factor.

For its part, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has not noted any increase in the number of insurance claims involving broken auto glass, and hasn’t opened a dialogue with manufacturers regarding spontaneously exploding glass.

“IBC has not been made aware of increases in claims resulting from shattered glass and, therefore, we have not engaged the auto sector on this,” says IBC spokesperson Andrew McGrath.

Consumer advocate George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association, says insurance companies have not been rejecting roof glass claims, even though they probably could challenge some claims or impose a premium surcharge on vehicles with glass roofs.

“You can be certain that the day the insurance industry imposes a surcharge or excludes coverage for the glass roof of certain vehicles, the carmakers will design a better roof.”

  Read the full article on the Wheels.ca website

 

 


CBC News- Joanne Levasseur and Katie Nicholson
December 7, 2016. Millions of Vehicles with Potentially Dangerous Recalls Still On Road

Millions of vehicles in Canada, an estimated one in six, have an outstanding safety recall, and auto industry experts say not enough is being done to fix them.

These include cars with safety defects that may result in crashes, injury or death, according to the manufacturers.

"It's just this complete circle of finger-pointing that's going on, and nobody's taking responsibility for the issue," said Kevin MacDonald, an Ottawa car dealer who is fed up with government and manufacturer inaction.

CBC News checked 200 vehicles currently for sale across Canada and found about one-sixth had recalls that remain unfixed or open...

There's nothing stopping Canadian dealerships from selling a car with an open recall. No provinces mandate that a car with an open recall must be repaired prior to registration, and safety or mechanical inspections do not require open recalls to be fixed...

The problem is that many Canadians don't even know their cars have defects. In a report released last week, Transport Canada told the Office of the Auditor General that manufacturers had difficulty identifying and contacting owners of recalled cars — especially in the case of older vehicles that may have changed hands...

Even owners of relatively new cars don't know about some recalls. Crystal Taillefer of La Broquerie, Man., is a case in point. She has lived at the same address since the day she bought her 2011 Dodge Journey brand new from the dealer.

Until CBC News told her, she had no idea that a recall had been initiated for a power steering hose defect that could cause a crash without warning.

"It kind of upsets me that I didn't hear about this for well over six months — and from somebody who's not the manufacturer," said Taillefer.

She knows her address is on file with her dealer. She has the Christmas cards and advertisements it sent her to prove it.

George Iny of the Automobile Protection Association said he has heard of other cases in which manufacturers' advertisements are reaching owners, but safety recalls are not.

"It's incredible, but the recall notice department of the car maker might not be speaking with the automaker's other databases," said Iny. "They're bringing people in for a spring special or for a deal on a brand new car, but safety notices — they do the bare minimum."...

Canadian law requires manufacturers to contact owners when there is a recall. They also must report the repair completion rates to Transport Canada. Unlike in the US, completion rates are not made public.

"It's the manufacturer's responsibility to make sure that you get as high a response rate to the recalls that they issue," said David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada, a group that represents car makers like Toyota, Honda and Nissan. "And I know manufacturers are going to extremes to try and do that."

Over at the Automobile Protection Association, George Iny isn't buying that. He doesn't think manufacturers are doing everything they can.

"They're cheap, and they're not motivated to bring these cars in [compliance] in all cases, so they'll tolerate low correction rates," said Iny...

Dealer feels stuck in the middle

Car owners aren't the the only people with trouble keeping a handle on open recalls. The people who sell vehicles are also frustrated.

Ontario car dealer Kevin MacDonald wrote to his industry association about toughening the laws around open recalls and better informing the public about defects. The industry association pointed him to the province. The province directed him to the federal government which directed him back to the province.

"All of these people agree with the severity of the issue," MacDonald said, "but they all would prefer to point at another party."...

 

Read the full article on the CBC website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


CTV - Ross McLaughlin and Sandra Hermiston
November 7, 2016. Ford owner fears for her safety after serious car malfunction

Kristen Chafe bought her 2014 Ford Edge because she thought it would be a dependable, sturdy vehicle. But the car only had about 23,000 kilometres on it when a major component... blew apart. Fortunately she'd pulled over just in time.

"All of a sudden I had a plume of smoke just exploded from my car," said Chafe
...
The power transfer unit, or PTU, which directs power to the wheels in all-wheel drives, had completely split in two.

George Iny with the Automobile Protection Association says Ford has known about problems.
"It’s a significant issue," he said. “The designs vary and this particular one seems to be undersized or under designed for the vehicles in which it is in"
...
Ford never responded to our questions about a possible defect either, only stating "there are no recalls open on the 2014 Edge for issues relating to this customer's concern."

Transport Canada told CTV News it has received complaints of leaks and poor performing Ford power transfer units, but added the complaints do not appear to have the characteristics of a safety defect issue.

So who's calling it a defect? Iny, for one.

"We are,” said Iny. “I do see a weakness in that unit absolutely because they are failing and it's expensive."

Iny says Ford should at least notify owners and offer extended warranties. Chafe’s warranty was extended but she wants greater assurances.

"They replaced the PTU but will this happen again?" questioned Chafe, "I don't feel safe."

The Automobile Protection Association says consequences could have been much more serious if Chafe had been driving at highway speeds when the failure happened.

PTU units could cost as much as $3,000 to replace.

Read the full story on the CTV Vancouver website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


CBC News
February 2, 2016. New Sask. laws will help car buyers avoid hidden fees 

Starting Feb. 1, auto dealers in Saskatchewan have to give buyers a "drive away price" that includes any fees and levies coming from the dealership. Those extra fees can range anywhere from $400 to $1,200. "There's a charge for paperwork, and there's something called a green tire levy," said Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association. "These things are all fake charges. They're made to look like payments to government..."

If you refuse to pay, dealers often refuse to sell you the vehicle. "Dealers are absolutely unrepentant about this stuff," he said. "We've done many, several dozen, visits with hidden cameras rolling. The explanations you get verbally are ludicrous, deceptive and sometimes fraudulent."

Iny said the hidden fees appeared around ten years ago, mainly because of tightening margins from car makers, squeezing the profits of dealerships.

Read the full story on the CBC website

 

 

 


Driving.ca- Lorraine Sommerfeld
January 25, 2016. Is your used car actually safe? Soon, it’ll be easier to tell 

Mechanics and used car dealers may be up in arms, but Ontario's overhaul of its safety certificate program is long overdue

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, goes the saying. But what if it is well and truly broken, and there are still voices not keen on fixing it?
That’s the upshot of the Ontario government’s recent introduction of changes to the automobile safety certificate program. You know safeties: those things a used car seller could hand to a buyer pretending it meant the car had passed some rigorous checklist, when in actuality, the list itself is dated and vague; it contains omissions big enough to drive a truck through. For curbsiders and other less-than-stellar types, you could usually find someone to supply a safety sight unseen for a hundred bucks if you knew which shade to look under....

The bigger issue for industry watchdog George Iny of the Automobile Protection Association is what the SSC isn’t: it isn’t a warranty. “Consumers will continue to confuse the inspection with a warranty,” he says. He would have liked to see several things that this long-awaited update didn’t deliver: real-time centralized record keeping, more transparency in the process and an inspection that goes beyond a visual one. He notes the original plans included an electronic barcoded record, which got lost along the way. He hopes the upgrade will continue to be evolutionary to be more effective to consumers.

Read the full story at Driving.ca.

 

 

 


CBC - Yvonne Colbert
January 19, 2016. Nova Scotia urged to adopt all-in pricing on vehicle sales 

A Halifax man annoyed about what he calls "hidden" car fees is calling on the Nova Scotia government to follow the lead of several other provinces and implement all-in pricing for vehicle purchases...

The Automobile Protection Association agrees. George Iny, a director with the non-profit consumer protection group, says a vehicle's advertised price should include all fees.
He called the administration fee "completely bogus," and said it covers a dealer's overhead costs. Other fees, such as the tire and rim warranty that includes nitrogen in tires, are grossly over-priced, he said.

"A dealer will charge $299 and throw in a warranty with it that might be worth $50 or $60," Iny said.

Iny said customers should be given the option of not accepting the tire and rim fee. But he said APA secret shoppers in other provinces have been told that's not possible because nitrogen is already in the tires.

Another fee that crops up is for etching security information on a vehicle windshield. Iny said it's little more than insurance the dealer buys to protect the vehicle when it's on their lot. "If the vehicle is stolen from their own lot they get some money back from the company … They put little stickies on the windows and maybe a few other places of the vehicle," he said. "They may pay $60 a car and you'll pay anywhere from $200 or $300 for it..."

When contacted by CBC News, a Halifax Regional Police spokeswoman said security etching information is not recorded on police databases or used by police to track stolen vehicles.

 

Read the full story on the CBC website.

Read the APA's Review of extra fees charged by new car dealers.

 

 

 


CBC - Raffy Boudjikanian
May 19, 2015. Dealer, Toyota kept Montreal widow on the hook for husband's lease

A driver's advocacy group is urging senior citizens who are 75 years or older not to sign car leases after the widow of a 79-year-old Montreal man who entered a five-year contract with a local Toyota dealership was told she would be responsible for the vehicle.

"Leasing is usually just a bad idea for seniors once you're past 75 years old and here's why: at 80 you have a driving test [administered by the Société des Assurances Automobiles du Québec]. If you don't make it, you're stuck with a lease on a vehicle that basically you can't use anymore," said George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association.

Iny said the APA has heard about a dozen complaints from seniors who feel they have been wronged by the automobile retail industry in the last two years. Read the full story on the CBC website.