August 7, 2013
Subaru of America, Inc.
P.O. Box 6000
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034-6000
Attn: Amber Anglin, Customer/Dealer Services
RE: Service Request Number 1-2896985085
Dear Ms. Anglin:
After receiving your response to my letter I sent in December, 2012 (enclosed), I debated whether or not I should bother continuing this correspondence. However, I did pin your letter to the bulletin board in my office, and I couldn’t get one particular line out of my head: “We are very sorry if this is not the answer that you had anticipated.”
Then, this morning I had an exchange with a friend and fellow Subaru owner who is currently shopping for a new car, but not a new Subaru. In her own words: “As you may know, I’ve had two Subaru Outbacks…and changed mechanics when I move. I always ask them to keep an eye on the head gasket and they always say ‘Such a good car except for that chronic problem. Why doesn’t Subaru fix it?’”
In your reply, you mentioned that in “2004 Subaru issued a campaign called WP-99” for models built between 1999 and 2002. Since this information does not apply to my vehicle, I will assume this was an attempt at obfuscation.
Then apparently Subaru did acknowledge the problem because you go on to say that most 2002 and all later models received an “updated head gasket design.” Clearly, this fix was a failure. Head gaskets do not fail before 100,000 miles on any quality car designed by competent engineers operated under normal conditions.
No, you are correct. Your letter did not contain the answer I sought. I had hoped the answer would fall along the lines of Honda’s when Accord fenders rotted away prematurely: Replace them. No charge. Or when the tires on Ford Explorers exploded: Replace them. No charge. Or when my Jetta’s door windows collapsed inside the doors: Fix it. No charge.
In an industry that has existed more than a century, most companies have largely figured out how to build a reliable internal combustion engine. One as well-regarded as Subaru should have finally figured out how to make head gaskets last at least the average life-span of any given car — which is today pushing 200,000 miles — long before 1999. This is not a new technology.
A company that places a high value upon the integrity of its brand and customer loyalty backs the quality of its engineering, and when presented with a letter such as mine, provides a much different answer. Perhaps a little corporate pride would compel you to admit you sold a defective product and to bend over backwards to keep a customer happy. Your commitment to customer loyalty is as much a failure as your head gasket design.
No company ever went out of business for being too fair to their customers.
I will be forwarding copies of these correspondences to the relevant state and federal agencies.
We met today with Cecelia’s teacher for the second of the twice-yearly parent-teacher’s conference. I’m happy to report that we have nothing bad to report. Without resorting to annoying parental bragging, Cecelia’s academic performance review gave us nothing to worry about. At least that’s one thing that won’t keep us up at night.
As we did last year, we discussed her behavior in class. Last year, her teacher described Cecelia as her “buddy,” who always helped out in class and was, by most measures, a little angel. At this point, I had to stop her and ask, “Are you talking about our Cecelia?”
Her teacher and others since have assured us that kids tend to act out more around their own parents. I rack my brain trying to remember if I did the same at that age to no avail. I must consider myself lucky if indeed she acts more civilized around others, but once in a while, I wish she’d at least pretend she didn’t know us.
At today’s conference, no behavioral issues came up so I had to ask. Again, no problems there. Yes, I know we should be grateful, but almost daily Cecelia and I lock horns over something. If only we could have a stretch of a few days where everyone just got along.
A few years ago, I asked a co-worker who had older daughters, “At what point can you go out and do something with your girl that doesn’t involve a lot of yelling and screaming?”
He thought about it for a while, and said, “Twelve years old.”
Ugh. Four more years.
But then, the teen years set in…