Men smash sledgehammers into a Maserati car outside the Qingdao International Convention Center in Qingdao, east China's Shandong province.
(Photo: STR AFP/Getty Images)
(USA Today) -- The images from China are so startling -- and so painful to watch -- that you almost forget about the larger statement that was trying to be made: poor customer service.
It's a subject familiar to many car owners. Your dealer just won't listen to you. You complain about a problem with a new car, or take it in for service, only get to get it back without any improvement. Same rattle. Same glitch in the stereo. Same whatever.
That's why we appreciate the point being made by one angry Chinese new-car owner -- who happens to have enough money that he can burn it to make a point. He hired four guys last week to take sledgehammers to his $420,000 Maserati to protest poor customer service. Or at least that was the story told to photographers gathered with the crowd outside the Qingdao International Convention Center, where an auto show was in progress inside.
We know what the poor owner must be feeling. We once had a new Chevrolet with an engine that would simply die in traffic. Once it left us stranded in the California desert. Months went by and we had no resolution. The magic moment came when we took it to a dealer in Virginia, where we had moved, and it was fixed yet again -- only to stall in the car wash as a waiting room full of customers watched in despair.
It was then, and only then, that the service department handed the car over to its best mechanic and had him drive it for days until the car stalled on him. He found and fixed the problem for good -- a fuel-pump issue from when the car was manufactured.
Problem resolved, but not without a lot of grief. Now, if we had only taken a sledgehammer to the car.