We purchased a new 2000 specification Disco II V8 Auto ES from Southern Land Rover in Johannesburg South Africa..

A few weeks later after a terrible grinding noise from the engine, we had to limp the vehicle to the dealership for help. It turned out that a bearing which formed part of the ACE (Active Cornering Enhancement) system failed.

We also complained that the car would not accelerate smoothly in all gears. This was passed off as being a lock up issue with the auto gear box and all the autos did this. Whereas this may be the case it is most disconcerting to have this happen and embarrasing to have to explain this phenomenon to passengers who notice it.

The vehicle also has a loud droning noise at various speeds. This was passed off as being the ACE pipes vibrating against the body. Some cars are quiet and others are noisy. Something else embarrasing to have to explain away to passengers.

We received a recall letter from LRSA (Land Rover South Africa) to say that there was a pulley that needed replacing as it was prone to disintegration. This was done at the 10000km service.

Recently the ACE warning light on the dashboard came on. We noticed that all of the hydrolic fluid from the ACE reservoir had leaked out due to a burst hose. The dealership asked for the car to be towed in which it was. The next morning the dealer principle called to say that they crashed the car (pictures above) while towing it in the workshop. It appears that the car hit the corner of a wall. As you can see from the pictures there was extensive damage to the bonnet, fender, bumper, nudge bar, headlight and other components in the engine bay not visible in the picture.

The dealership supplied a loan vehicle and undertook to repair all of the damage. I indicated that given all of the previous problems, the current ones as well as the crash that I would not be happy to receive this vehicle back and requested a replacement. I also indicated that I would be prepared to make a usage contribution to a new vehicle as the crashed one had done 12000km. The owner of the dealership refused indicating that the best he could do would be to do a favourable trade in. When pressed for the details of the trade in he would not commit saying that he would only deal with this in the new year (this was in November 2000).

Not being happy with the situation I elevated the matter to the MD at LRSA. After receiving no response I then sent a fax to the CEO of Ford SA (Ford now own Land Rover). Eventually I received communication from a technical person who said that there was nothing LRSA could or was prepared to do as the matter was between myself and the dealership, missing the point about the problems with the vehicle which was not a dealership issue.

I then attempted to arrange a meeting with the MD of LRSA again. Her PA indicated that she would be going on leave the next day but would leave an urgent message for her to contact me. This was in December, I am still waiting. When I called the PA to find out why I was not called by the MD she was shocked and passed me on the national sales manager. He sympathised with my story and arranged a meeting with the owner of the dealership.

On arrival at the dealership it seemed to be more like an inquisition than a meeting. There were 3 people from the dealership, the national sales manager and myself. They claimed that despite gross negligence on their part, they were under no obligation to repair the vehicle which they did anyway and that I was being unreasonable in my request to have the vehicle replaced even with a contribution on my part. I explained that I could have just sold the vehicle without meeting with them and then told everyone why which would be damaging to the brand as well as the dealership. The owner of the dealership then indicated that he had been to court before to obtain injunction's against customers who said bad things about them. The meeting then ended with the dealership agreeing to see my vehicle with a view to supplying me with the favourable trade in deal.

This proved to be the last straw which necesitated the construction of this web site. They offered R20000 less than the market value of the vehicle and then added the R20000 back as the favourable deal. I took the vehicle to another dealership who offered more than original one including their R20000. They also said that the ES was in great demand and any dealership should offer within R500 of their offer.

Earlier this year I received a form letter from the International CEO of Land Rover thanking drivers of the marque for being loyal to the brand. I figured that he should know about the above as it seems that Land Rover in the rest of the world don't really care. It has been two weeks since this letter was faxed and I again have had no response. I also called his office to confirm that they had received the fax which they did.

February Update

I eventually received a response indicating that the various faxes had been received and that the CEO would respond by the 29th January. This did not happen and I received another response saying that he was away but would definitely respond by the week ending the 4th February. When this did not happen I emailed to find out why. Turns out that although all our correspondence to date has been by fax and email, they decided to reply by post. I had a fax copy sent to me.

The CEO basically said that he agrees with the findings of Land Rover South Africa. It was claimed that I ignored the dealer's offer. They attempted to rip me off in a situation where they offered to give me compensation. The CEO chose not to comment on this ripoff, the negligence issue that caused the crash, the lack of response from management at Land Rover South Africa, the poor way in which matters have been handled etc. etc. Now who is ignoring what?

In summary.

Land Rover are still producing vehicles with many inherent faults and leaving it up to the owners to uncover them.

Whereas the odd scrape or bump does happen at a dealership the above was gross negligence.

In attempting to resolve problems you get shunted from pillar to post, ignored, insulted, threatend with legal action and then they attempt to rip you off with ridiculous offers as their attempt at compensation.

The culture of ignore/screw the customer seems to exist right through the group as indicated by the lack of response when elevating the problem internationally. And then when they do respond do not respond fully.

I hope that you will find the above useful when deciding which 4x4 to buy.

If you have any comments or would like to have anything added to the site please email me at worst4x4xfar@mighty.co.za.