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Car makers don't always look out for California consumers

The number of cars manufactured each year has been steadily increasing. As millions of vehicles pass through the assembly line, there are bound to be some with defects or issues that are not discovered until their new owners drive them. Fortunately, California's lemon law protects consumers from being stuck with a vehicle that requires a lifetime of costly repairs or is simply unsafe to drive.

The lemon law requires a vehicle manufacturer to repurchase or replace a new vehicle when the owner has made numerous trips to the dealer for unsuccessful repairs of a defect. Some owners of the newest Subaru crossover SUV may be surprised to receive a letter from the auto manufacturer offering to replace their vehicles because of missing spot welds around the roof pillars. Spot welds are applied by robotics, and apparently, the software manipulating the process at one plant was improperly programmed.

As a result, nearly 300 vehicles came off the assembly line without critical welding components in their roofs. No accidents or injuries have been reported, and the defect was discovered when inspectors did a routine check of vehicles in a plant in another state. The manufacturer is issuing a recall of vehicles assembled in that plant and replacing any vehicles that are missing the spot welds.

While this is an example of a car manufacturer being proactive about a defect, this is not always the case. Often, a consumer is forced to return to the dealer again and again before seeking legal action to make the situation right. Even worse, a car owner or passenger may suffer injuries because of a defect. California lemon laws are in place for consumer protection, and skilled attorneys are available to assist them when the auto manufacturer does not resolve the issue satisfactorily.

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