Family’s $50,000 Jeep now worthless
A young family is warning Australians to "stay right away" from buying a Jeep after their $50,000 Grand Cherokee turned to dust.
Danny Lawrence, 31, and his wife Catherine, 28, had heard all the bad things about the notorious car manufacturer but they fell in love with the SUV.
The extra space was perfect for carting their special cargo around Newcastle - their son Parker and daughter Kailey.
The 2013 Grand Cherokee was bought from an authorised Jeep distributor in 2015 and was serviced on time, every time at the dealership despite the excess costs.
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 just over $47,500, which included the estimated labour needed. The parts alone would cost nearly $40,000.
They were advised to apply directly to the car manufacturer for some kind of "good will" or concession considering the engine failure was irregular and by no means a cause of the owner.
"And they came back and said there's nothing we're going to do for you at all," Mr Lawrence told news.com.au.
"There was no empathy, there was no 'we could try this or we can try that', it was literally just run-of-the-mill for them, which really put me off."
The rejections didn't stop there.
"We went to claim on insurance and they said they can't cover it because it's a part failure and it falls back on Jeep - it's their responsibility to fix it."
Danny has tried seeking independent mechanical advice hoping someone could drastically reduce the price to get his family car back on the road.
But this also failed. "No one will touch it," he said.
"I thought I could buy a second hand engine but I'm yet to find a mechanic that is willing to do it because Jeeps are notorious if you put in parts that aren't from that car because it won't run.
"So now we're left with no car, we've got a mortgage, we've got two kids and it's a large amount of money for us to lose just like that."
News.com.au reached out to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles - who manufacture Jeeps - but the company said it would not be commenting while the complaint was being processed by Fair Trading.
The once-loved family car is gathering dust in a garage somewhere in the Hunter Region and the Lawrences perception of the American car manufacturer has changed.
"We had heard things about Jeeps but the car was great and we would actually stick up for them quite a bit," Danny told news.com.au.
"I wouldn't touch it in any way shape or form. If anyone I knew were thinking about buying a Jeep, I would tell them to stay right away.
"My outlook has completely flipped from what it was to what it is now just due to the experience."
Danny says in Newcastle it's near-impossible to get anywhere without a car, so they've had to borrow money from family and friends just for Catherine to be able get the kids to and from school. Thankfully Danny now has a work car.
And to compound the financial stress, there was a traumatic blow to the family earlier this year.
"My (18-year-old) brother had a car accident in April and was left with a serious injury so we've been supporting my mum because she's a full-time carer now while he's in rehab," Danny said.
"It's been terrible, and we're even more financially struck down because of that."