Owner not happy as Jeep backflips on $50k SUV repair bill
Jeep have agreed to repair a faulty Grand Cherokee for free after initially quoting a Newcastle family nearly $50,000.
Danny Lawrence and his wife Catherine's complaints about the inexplicable failure of their well-maintained car fell on deaf ears until a news.com.au article revealed the massive costs being demanded from a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles dealership.
"After talking with Danny Lawrence and assessing his vehicle, we've offered to repair the vehicle at no cost to the family," FCA chief executive Kevin Flynn said in a statement provided to news.com.au.
"We understand the family situation hasn't been easy, and we are committed to getting them back on the road as soon as possible."
The Lawrence family forked out $50,000 for a relatively new Grand Cherokee from an authorised Jeep distributor in 2015 to safely carry their son Parker and daughter Kailey.
But one day the family's only mode of transport spluttered and broke down on the side of the road.
Danny took the SUV back to the dealership in Newcastle who initially thought the battery had failed, but it was later discovered the fault lay in the fuel pump.
This is a basic part to replace, but the failure had spat bits of metal through the fuel system, destroying the engine.
The father-of-two couldn't believe what he was reading when he received a quote from the dealership for more than $47,500, which included the estimated labour needed. The parts alone would cost nearly $40,000.
The Lawrence family said they made numerous pleas to the car manufacturer for help while the Grand Cherokee collected dust, essentially worthless, until Danny was contacted by the CEO on Sunday.
The car was sent to Sydney to be assessed by engineers, and the family has been promised it will be back on the road in the next couple of weeks.
"Which is good and bad," Mr Lawrence told news.com.au.
"I'm still obviously nervous about what to do with the car, and if I want to sell it, it's going to be very difficult now."
He said the media attention about the family's plight and the condition of the car meant no one's "going to want to touch it".
"If I can't sell it then I'm stuck driving it and it could have more issues. I'm still nervous but I'm better than where I was a week ago," he said.
Mr Lawrence said the reason the family spent the extra money on the Grand Cherokee was to provide safety and comfort for his small children, but trust in the car was now gone.
"I had the kids in it last time we were stranded, and you want to feel safe that you can travel whether it's five minutes up the road or a long trip that you're going to be OK," he said.
"It's the second time that it happened, the last time it was the alternator and again we were stuck in the middle of nowhere.
"I'm thankful that we've got a result from it. I got hundreds messages from people in a similar situation asking where it's at and could I give some advice.
"It's not just me going through this (with their car) and it's not just Jeep."