According to Carsitaly,Fiat Chrysler Automobiles(FCA) sales have been on the decline since late 2015 in Australia. The truecause of this is unknown however the timeframe does correlate closely with some unsatisfied FCA customers publically complaining about their experience.
In late 2014 the now world famous ‘Destroy My Jeep’campaign started. Picking up traction in 2015 along with media attention and public funding. Another consumer went to music and created a Youtube sensation with hit songs ‘I Made A Mistake I Bought ALemon Jeep’ and ‘Gag Order Anthem: I’m Sexy and I Tow It’as a response to their experience with FCA.
Since then, there have been more Australians speak out about their experiences with FCA. Taking to social media to create Groups, Pages and public posts. Looking at the correlation between increase in public protest and the statistics listed with Carsitaly, you could assume there is a connection there.
So is it too late for FCA?
Other companies have managed to turn negatives into positives very easily like Suncorp Insurance back in 2011. With major flooding Suncorp Insurance saw the opportunity to do the right thing. They announced all Suncorp Insurance customers will be covered by the flood, while most other insurance companies started coming up with excuses why their customer would not be covered.
This approach by Suncorp generated a lot of new business. Why? Because they looked after their customers.
Coming back to the car industry, FCA has the ability to change direction. There is nothing stopping them from doing the right thing. In fact, there are laws in place that should be making them do the right thing.
If car manufactures handled complaints and complied with the Australian Consumer Law, their public image would improve. There are always going to be cases that “Slip Through the Cracks”, however based on a number of complaints received by Lemon Register it does appear there is no internal policy with most manufactures to handle complaints in accords to Australian Law. This means even “Text book” complaints havenot been resolved.
Buying a new car is a large investment. This means buyers spend time researching before they make a purchase. Common search phrases like ‘Jeep complaints’ or‘Jeep Lemon’ return endless results of negative consumer experiences. Many consumers when they invest big money will research both sides of the story and not just the car reviewer’s experience on track day.
No matter how many TV ads you pay for to counter negative media, it still works out far cheaper to do the right thing in the first instance and look after your customers. The sooner manufacturers realise potential customers are actively searching for complaints and negative feedback prior to making a purchase,the sooner they will see customer care is just as valuable as TV ads.