New Shape Vectra

Discussion in 'Vectra' started by Donald Thorburn, Jan 1, 2004.

  1. Since Buying my new shape Vectra last December I have had less than a happy
    years motoring.

    I've had a new steering rack, a new handbrake lever, new foam in the drivers
    seat, a new clutch brake and accelerator pedal assembly (Because the spring
    on the clutch pedal went, but Vauxhall couldn't just replace the spring) and
    an adaptation to the front spring to stop the metal grinding noise when I
    went over bumps, and last but not least I'm onto my third steering rack,
    well I will be if Vauxhall admit that the one they replaced 6 months ago has
    gone now aswell.

    I would except it if I was driving the car like a maniac, but it's just
    ordinary driving that I'm doing.

    Has anyone else had as many problems as I've had? I'm meeting a area Manager
    from Vauxhall in a couple of weeks - what line should I be taking with him?
    any suggestions would be much appreciated.


    Donald Thorburn.
    Donald Thorburn, Jan 1, 2004
  2. Donald Thorburn

    Steve Knight Guest

    Since Buying my new shape Vectra last December I have had less than a
    All new models from all manufacturers suffer niggly faults - especially in
    year 1. However, even though you have bought the first edition of a new
    model you seem to have been particularly unlucky.

    Legally, your transaction is with your local dealer and not with Vauxhall.
    If this went to court, you'd have to sue the dealer not Vauxhall. Clearly
    your dealer feels that it cannot pacify you and it's decided to get
    Vauxhall's help. Vauxhall are doing the right thing (they usually do) by
    stepping forward to assist.

    I think you're within your rights to ask your dealer (with Vauxhall's help)
    to buy your car back off you. They may argue against this but when you list
    the problems (not least, 3 steering racks) and the time and inconvenience
    this car has caused you, you might be able to persuade them.

    Don't expect them to give to a brand new car as a replacement as this is
    betterment which you are not legally entitled to.

    The problem here is that year 1 depreciation is steep on all new cars and
    the Vectra is among the worst, losing 50% plus; usually you hope to spread
    the cost of initial depreciation by keeping the car three years. The trick
    will be to get a better price than the car's trade value to compensate you
    for your time and trouble and for having to pay two lots of year 1
    depreciation consecutively.

    However, I think the difference between the actual value of your car now and
    what you'd need to get for it to make changing cost-effective will be much
    more than Vauxhall are likely to offer.

    If the dealer and Vauxhall agree to buy back your old car they'll doubtless
    try to get you to buy a replacement at the same time. They'll offer you an
    overall 'cost to change' and you'll have to decide whether you feel that's
    good value.

    So, the first thing you must ascertain, because it's the starting point for
    all financial calculations, is the trade value of your car. If you let me
    know the exact model and mileage I'll value you it for you from Glass's

    I think your dealer should sell you your new car at cost price: it costs the
    dealer nothing, after selling you a dodgy car it should be keen to keep you
    as a customer and it's already earned well from lucrative warranty work
    (paid for by Vauxhall) repairing your current car.

    Then onto the price they pay you for your old car... you'll have the trade
    value I've given you to compare with. If the dealer only offers the trade
    valuation I've given you'll know that Vauxhall aren't offering anything.
    Don't let Vauxhall tell you that the dealer selling you the car for cost is
    the same as them offering you something - it's not, they're still making
    money at this price.

    You need to ensure that the final cost to change is sufficiently low to
    persuade you to buy another Vectra. If it were me, my starting point would
    be a new car for cost, less the trade value of the old car, plus enough from
    Vauxhall to compensate for having to pay two lots of year 1 depreciation

    Unfortunately, I just can't see Vauxhall coughing up that much. If you're
    interested and you post details of your car, I'll do a few rough figures for

    What Vauxhall will be keener to offer (and you may have to settle for this)
    is extending the warranty - little help if you don't plan keeping the car
    after 3 years. Possibly you may persuade them to refund a year (or more)
    interest paid on car finance.

    Whatever happens, next time don't buy a new Vectra - the depreciation is
    just too steep. There are plenty of year old Vectras at the auctions for
    around £7,500, you should be able to get one from a dealer for around
    Steve Knight, Jan 2, 2004
  3. Donald Thorburn

    R. Murphy Guest

    I'd be very interested in knowing why the steering rack was replaced - what
    were the symptoms?

    I've just had the same on my Astra -cost to VX was £650. Reason? - on the
    service they spotted an oil leak and decidied a new "steering assembly" was

    But if this turns out to be a common fault, I'm going to start getting
    worries ..

    Incidentally my previous car was a cavalier with power steering - after 7
    years and 120k - no problems with it at all - no leaks, whines, going out of
    track - just a couple of perished bushes at 90k. Just the kind of boredom
    you want!

    So are we going backwards in the designs?
    R. Murphy, Jan 2, 2004
  4. Donald Thorburn

    Stephen B Guest

    You could take the long term approach regarding customer satisfaction and
    retention. I have owned 3 vectras from new (2 SRi's 1 GSi) and work for a
    company who had up until recently been Vaux through and through.

    The increasing unreliability of their cars and the plummeting depreciation
    suffered by them has swayed my company, for the first time ever, away from
    buying Vaux.

    I myself have bought a BMW - few grand more, few lightyears better (in my
    personal opinion), assuming you can put up with immediately being branded a
    'BMW driver' with all the implication contained therein.

    I did try to mention that i wasn't overjoyed with my last vectra, a £21k
    GSi, but was actually told at one point that Vaux did not really care about
    the man in the street - most vectras go to companies anyway!!!

    You can but try, and best of luck.

    Stephen B, Jan 2, 2004
  5. Donald Thorburn

    Steve Knight Guest

    The increasing unreliability of their cars and the plummeting depreciation
    This is not true in my experience, having worked at a Vauxhall main dealer.

    And the 'increasing unreliability of their cars' you mention is not
    reflected in reliability surveys where they seem to perform the same as

    Vauxhall depreciation is no worse than it always has been for non-prestige
    marques. In terms of depreciation it is inadvisable to buy a Vectra (or
    most other non-prestige motors) new, but used they represent decent value
    for money.
    Steve Knight, Jan 2, 2004
  6. Thank You for your reply.

    I will be in touch direct.

    Donald Thorburn, Jan 2, 2004
  7. Thank You


    Donald Thorburn, Jan 2, 2004
  8. Thank you


    Donald Thorburn, Jan 2, 2004
  9. Donald Thorburn

    Steve Knight Guest

    I'm driving a 1.8 club 5dr hatch Manual petrol with 21k on the clock.
    Well I'm pleased to hear that you have a good dealer, contrary to popular
    opinion they do exist and I'm sure they're most embarrassed about selling
    you this car; they'll lobby Vauxhall to do the best for you. Vauxhall are
    keen to keep long standing customers and I hope they'll do the right thing
    in your case.

    This is quite a long email I'm afraid, but should give you the info you

    Having done the figures I think you're in with a shout of getting a
    replacement car from Vauxhall for a fair contribution from you - but,
    realistically, this will have to be more than the £1,000 you suggest.

    Firstly, let's value your car: 2002/52 Vectra 1.8 Club 5dr manual 21k miles

    Current trade value using Glass's Guide with cross-reference to actual
    auction prices: £7,600.

    So, let's put your loss on depreciation into context of the usual three
    years of ownership:

    Cost new: £14,755

    Current value after 1 year: £7,600

    Projected value after 3 years, 60k miles: £6,400*

    Total depreciation over 3 years: £8,355 = £2,785 pa

    * This has to be a guess because as yet there are no 3-year-old new-shape
    Vectras to use as a comparison. However, it's an educated guess and I'm
    fairly confident about it.

    Obviously the depreciation in year 1 is by far the steepest. If you replace
    your car now by buying another Vectra you'll be paying two lots of year 1
    depreciation consecutively, I think this is very unfair and Vauxhall ought
    to be looking to help ease this burden.

    Usually you'd expect to spread the total depreciation bill over three years,
    equivalent to £2,785 pa. So in a perfect world I think Vauxhall and the
    dealer should, between them, give you a new car with a contribution of
    £2,785 from you.

    As you can see from these figures, getting a replacement car for just £1,000
    contribution from you would be 'betterment'. You can argue that you deserve
    some betterment as compensation for your trouble, but legally you're not
    entitled to it. Getting Vauxhall to cough up what we want may be difficult
    enough so it's important we start from a realistic position.

    A new Vectra 1.8 Club 5dr manual retails at around £15k on the road
    (standard car with no options). I've just obtained two quotes from online
    car brokers for UK supplied cars from UK main dealers for £12,206 - on the
    road including delivery and £145 road tax.

    At this price both the broker and the dealer will be making a small profit
    so the actual cost price to the dealer is probably between £11,700 and
    £11,900. Some large dealers will actually sell cars to fleets and brokers
    at cost or even 0.5% less than cost because they live off the volume bonuses
    paid by Vauxhall for shifting vast numbers of cars.

    For the purposes of our calculations, let's assume the cost price is £12k;
    the dealer will be able to sell you a car for this without losing a penny
    (and he shouldn't have to lose money, it's not his fault the car's dodgy).


    New car: £12,000

    Your contribution (equivalent to 1 year's depreciation): £2,785 -

    PX valuation required for your old car: £9,215

    Actual PX value: £7,600 -

    Vauxhall contribution to do the deal: £1,615

    I think this is a fair deal for both sides. It's only fair you pay for your
    use of the car for 12 months and the way I've worked out depreciation allows

    for this. You pay your fair whack (what you'd have paid anyway if you
    didn't change the car) and you get rid of a problem motor.

    £1,615 is not so much that it will make Vauxhall wince too much, so should
    be do-able. If you can get more than £1,615 off them (and you must try!)
    you're doing well. Maybe, getting £2,000 would be fair, this would allow a
    few hundred quid to compensate you for your time and trouble. You should
    also ask your dealer to throw in the first service free - this costs them
    very little is a fair gesture of goodwill.

    Advice on negotiation:

    Clearly the first part of the discussion will be reaching an agreement to
    swap the car, once that's done it all hinges on what contribution they
    expect you to make – wait for them to make an offer before you say anything.
    If they come up with anything less than £2,785 we're in business. Even if
    their first suggestion is better than £2,785 (and I doubt it will be) - you
    should be able to negotiate this down a bit.

    If their suggested contribution is more than £2,785, it's time to show them
    you know what you're talking about.

    Don't wade in and start asking for anything unreasonable or they'll just
    clam up and you'll get nowhere. Realistically, your £1,000 contribution
    scenario was unreasonable. If you can get a new car for £1,000 I salute
    you, but I think you'll find insisting on this will be pointless and just
    waste time.

    Explain to them you feel your contribution should be a year's fair
    depreciation based on the three year calculation we've used above, not the
    actual depreciation in year 1. By all means make your first offer of
    contribution lower than the £2,785 I suggest, just don't go mad.

    If they don't go for this, lay out the figures as I've done above using the
    broker-derived 'cost' price of £12k as a starting point. If you do this,
    entering your own contribution of choice, followed by the actual trade value
    of your car (don't muck around with this, the value I've given is what
    they'll value it at) you get down to what Vauxhall's contribution should be
    (on my figures, £1,615).

    You can actually say to the Vauxhall guy: "Isn't it worth a mere £1,600 to
    keep a long-standing customer?" After all, only the dealer's selling the new
    car at cost - Vauxhall are still making a profit by selling the new car to
    the dealer at that price.

    Looking at the sums I think you'll be able to strike a deal. Vauxhall are,
    in my experience, gentlemen when it comes to these kinds of issues. At the
    end of the day, if you can get a new car for £2,785 you're doing okay,
    anything better than that is a bonus. And don't forget to squeeze things
    like free servicing into the deal if you can.
    Steve Knight, Jan 3, 2004
  10. Donald Thorburn

    Steve Knight Guest

    Having read all of what you have to say, it would seem that the figure of
    Well, you may not have to come up with £2,785, they may go lower and it will
    be interesting to see what they come up with. It's certainly worth asking
    the question. Maybe they'll suggest £2,000 and you'll have to consider
    whether that's affordable, possibly it's not. I can't see them going much
    lower than £2,785 - they may not even want to go that far, but if they're
    being fair they should.

    Like I said, the first thing to do is keep schtum and see what they come up
    with (whether you're discussing changing the car or what else they're
    prepared to offer instead). As with all negotiations they'll make their
    first offer low so you'll need to squeeze more out of them - this needn't be
    difficult, I'm confident that negotiations will be very friendly.

    There may be nothing wrong with keeping the car, it's entirely possible
    you'll never have another problem. However, I'd like to find out if they
    know the cause for the steering rack problem - is this a known issue with
    their steering racks or is there something about your car (probably
    impossible to work out what) which is chewing them up? If they say "It's a
    known issue, we bought a batch of dodgy steering racks and we're no longer
    using that supplier" that's more reassuring.

    In terms of what else to ask for:

    There are two parties involved here: the dealer who is not at fault
    (although he is legally liable) and Vauxhall who have built a dodgy motor
    (so are morally responsible).

    The Vauxhall area technical manager (doubtless the person you're seeing)
    probably won't want to just write a cheque as compensation, so getting
    things which the dealer would have to pay for (and would like a refund for
    from Vauxhall) like a stereo upgrade and free servicing might be a problem.

    That said, it's been a while since I was involved in these kinds of
    discussions so it's certainly worth having a go. Certainly a stereo upgrade
    costs the dealer a lot less than the retail price, the same with servicing,
    so it is a way for them to give you something of value without costing
    themselves a lot of money.

    You make a good point regarding warranty. In year 1 your car is covered by
    manufacturer warranty, in years 2 and 3 you're covered by dealer warranty
    which, whilst good, is
    not as comprehensive as the manufacturer warranty.

    I think it's entirely reasonable to expect Vauxhall to extend the
    manufacturer warranty to three years (and this would, presumably, include
    the full AA cover). Vauxhall should be able to make this change on their
    central computer which can be checked by any dealer you take your car to.

    I think at the minimum it's fair for you to say "I need a package that gives
    me the confidence to hold onto this car for another two years." From my
    point of view that would entail extending the manufacturer warranty and AA
    cover, plus your next two / three services (although it's fair that you
    should still pay for major items like tyres and brake discs when they wear

    So far, in terms of cash, we're talking peanuts so asking for a stereo
    upgrade might be the cherry on the cake which they can offer to 'close the

    They key thing in all negotiations is to have all the information up front
    so you know exactly where you stand and can identify a good deal when you're
    offered it. Hopefully, you should now have this - from both points of view:
    changing the car or holding onto it.

    It will be interesting to see what they come up with.
    Steve Knight, Jan 3, 2004
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