View Full Version : Land Rover.....Minor rant

01-10-2005, 01:46 AM
Since my wife bought her little Freelander a few weeks ago, I have a few observations to make. The day after she bought the vehicle I made a trip to my closest Land Rover Dealer, newly established in Waukesha, WI. This is a Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo dealer, owned by a company with several dealerships in the Chicago area and an established dealership in Glendale, which is an area of Milwaukee.

Upon entering, things are still obviously being set up, despite having been open for a few weeks. I was going to buy a key ring for her, not a difficult item to find. Wrong! They have accessories and goodies for both Jaguar and Volvo all over the place, but upon asking for a Land Rover key ring I draw a blank. Nothing. Not a single Land Rover related item anywhere in the building, except for the vehicles and some brochures. Hmmmm. The parts guy offers to check the Glendale store to see if they have any. Things are looking up. They have, fourteen to be exact, but he does not offer to get one sent over for me. Customer service? Not here. Nothing. So, I drive down to Glendale and walk in the showroom.

There is a very pretty girl behind the reception desk, engaged in what is obviously a private phone call...ignores me as I walk in. The only other person nearby is the service manager, I know this because it says so on his office door. I walk around, not for too long, but long enough without being aknowledged that if it were a coin toss between a Range Rover or a Lexus SUV the Japanese marque would have had another convert. Okay, I wasn't going to buy a new Rangie, but I MIGHT have been for all they knew. There were only a few items in the locked glass cabinet, none of which were the keyring that I wanted to buy.

The girl has finished her phone call, and finally asks me if there is anything they can help with. I state my case, and she pages someone, a lot attendant from the looks of things, who takes the part number of the key ring that I want and disappears, coming back shortly with the correct item and a printed invoice. I take this to the girl to pay, and go on my way rejoicing. Almost.

The thing is, Land Rovers have been plaqued with reliability problems, caused by dodgy parts suppliers. This on its own would be bad enough, but combined with the apparent indifference of its dealers (at least in the Milwaukee area) I fear for the future of the marque in this country.

This, and the almost total lack of any accessory item available for purchase, especially for the Freelander. You can't even buy rubber floor mats for it from the dealer, and this for a vehicle that is supposedly off-road capable? Even if one never took it off-road, as will happen to most, in a Wisconsin winter we need the darn things, with all the slop that sticks to your shoes when you get in the car. They have them in the UK, in fact more goodies than you can count, but over here? Forget it!

Okay, rant over.

01-10-2005, 02:39 AM
Hi Steve,

Hold onto your wallet when you get the car serviced! (Unless things have changed since the last time I was there.)

My Discovery is a '97, so it was built during the time BMW owned Land Rover. They also designed the Freelander before selling the company to Ford. I don't know if things have changed much since Ford took over, but I'm not wild about the styling of the Ford-designed Range Rover or LR3.

My dealership was generally quite helpful and anxious to sell me accessories, and followed up carefully with service reminders, etc. However...

Whenever I got one of the factory trained master mechanics working on my car, they did the job quickly and correctly. But, this seldom happened. Most often often the work was done by "trainees" or "lot boys" who didn't do it particularly well. Virtually every item they touched on my car needed followup. Examples:

The running boards they installed as a part of the original purchase were loose and literally falling off by the time I got home (no washers, no locknuts, no locktite).

The driver's window motor went out and was replaced under warranty. In the process of replacing it, they damaged the paint and the door panel. The window was not adjusted properly in the tracks, rattled around if not fully up and jammed when raising.

A burnt out fog light was replaced... with an obviously very well-used unit. (Supposedly these are sealed units, but I've since learned how to take them apart and repair them myself).

The rear sunroof was replaced, and the roof was dented in the process.

It never cost less than $500 to have the car in for scheduled warranty service. Sometimes a lot more.

After the 3 year warranty period ended, I found an independent LR specialist shop and now have them do the work I'm unwilling or unable to do myself. They are a good deal less expensive than the dealer, but more importantly any work they've done has been consistently far more well done.

I actually paid them for an hours time to totally inspect the car top to bottom a couple months before the warranty ran out, and then took it to the dealer and had most of that work done while still covered. It was a lot! I also had the more complete 60,000 mile service done on the car at that time, although it only had 30,000 miles on it.

There are several online specialists in LR accessories and parts, which have more than any dealer because they carry both OEM accessories and aftermarket manufacturer items. Sometimes the aftermarket stuff is both less expensive and better quality. I recommend https://www.roverconnection.com/, https://www.roversnorth.com/ and https://www.roverparts.com/ There are other good companies, as well.

Rover Connection, in particular, is a good source of OEM parts. They save you a lot by ordering from Canada, primarily saving the hefty import duties charged on auto parts from England to the U.S.

I hope this helps improve your Land Rover experience. I really like my Discovery and plan to drive it for a long time!

01-11-2005, 08:32 PM
Thanks for the input. I have bookmarked each of those websites. I'll have to see how outrageous the costs will be for the Freelander. Still, it's the wife's toy, and it's what she wanted. Plus, she will be paying for it /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

01-13-2005, 02:42 PM
Welcome to the Wunnerful World of British Car Ownership. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

The more thing change, the more they remain the same. Just after WWII, British cars had 75% of the import car market.

Typical British quality control and service (both, obviously, oxymorons) reduced that to less than 10% of the import car market.

Looks like they're just keeping up with British tradition.

01-13-2005, 10:21 PM
Seems that way......mind you, BMW are having their share of problems lately too. Problems with cars overheating, etc and the new 7-series being slammed in the press.......