I purchased my LRD in November 2015 from Lookers Bishop's Stortford. My partner had written off our car and we needed a new car quickly so I was offered an ex-demonstrator vehicle. I purchased with cash and a little less than a 3 year warranty.
Car had problems pretty early on. Lots of niggles in the first year. Lights coming on and dealership telling me it was an error. 2-3 visits in Y1 alone. Then the dreaded Service Light issue began.
According to my diary entries, the car was booked in for 'service light error' 10 times between February 2017 and June 2019. While the car was in warranty, Lookers covered the cost of the work. To begin with, they told me it was an error light. Then over time, they told me it was an oil dilution issue but gave me no further details. Then, as the end of my warranty period neared, they told me it was caused by my 'driving style'. As soon as my car went out of warranty, they charged me £275 + VAT to get the work done. During one of my final visits, they told me to keep the car at 50 - 60mph for at least 20 minutes. I have since had this confirmed by a second dealership who explained it as follows: "The regeneration takes place every 250 to 300 miles. The car tries it 4 times before it stops and puts the error light on. In order for the generation to happen, the car engine must be a high enough temperature so you have to run it at steady throttle above 50mph for at least 15 minutes." If you live in a rural area, finding a stretch of road - B-road or otherwise - where you can maintain a steady 50mph for 15 minutes without braking or gear changing is very challenging. It requires a 15 miles stretch of dual carriageway without roundabouts or traffic. 15 mile stretches of dual carriageway are rare. The car is only fit for being driven regularly on motorways but none of JLR's marketing or promotional materials give this impression. In fact, the car is shown driving on winding roads, beaches, in cities. Never on motorways.
The dilution / DPF issue is explained in detail in the JLR memo at the end of this blog. This was was sent to all dealerships. This memo (undated) now shows that dealerships are being advised to steer 'urban / rural' customers towards petrol models when purchasing the problem models. I was not advised to purchase a petrol model. In fact, the salesman advised me to purchase the more expensive Ingenium engine (I was right on the cusp of the new model introduction) because "it would hold its value better".
Going back to my situation. After my car went out of warranty and the dealership started charging me, I filed a small claims court case against Lookers BS. This is pending. My argument is that the car is not fit for purpose. I contacted Trading Standards who gave me the following advice:
"... under the 2015 Consumer Rights Act, the car must be fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality. This requirement extends for 6 years from the date of purchase. Do not contact the manufacturer but ask the retailer (from whom I purchased the car) to make good on my consumer rights ..."
I have filed this case with the small claims court and the case is pending.
Since then, I have borrowed a car from my parents and tried not to use my car except for motorway journeys. In spite of this, the DPF amber light came on in April 2019. I asked a local Land Rover mechanic to look at the car but he was not familiar with the Ingenium engine and couldn't work out the problem. Eventually, reluctantly, I took it to Taylors Dunmow (a JLR dealer) to have the problem investigated. Result: the entire DPF filter and pump needed replacing at a cost of £1,600 + VAT. Having discussed with Taylors, I now understand that the service light issue was the early warning that the DPF was getting clogged. By the time the light was coming on every 2 months, the filter was well and truly clogged and should have been repaired under my warranty. Lookers failed to alert me to the cumulative effect of the soot build-up and instead gave me the impression that it was just an oil change issue that was caused by my 'driving style'. In retrospect, I think the problem was well and truly underway when I purchased the car. It had 4,500 miles on the clock as a demonstrator and would never have reached regular speeds of 50mph for 15-20 minutes. I suspect they changed the oil and sold it to me knowing that the DPF filter was already starting to soot up. Lookers have also failed to honour a 5 year service plan which was agreed during the sales process. They claim there was no service plan even though my first services were all covered under the plan. STAY AWAY FROM LOOKERS.
To anyone who has one of the affected vehicles (see the list below), my recommendation is this:
1) If you have ANY dpf related issues - service light error, amber light AND you are within warranty, attempt to refuse the car under Sale of Goods. If this fails:
2) Keep a clear timetable of all issues and regularly download journey data for use
3) Before the end of your warranty period, ask your dealership to inspect the DPF and give you a written summary of its condition. If the condition is clogged, ask them to repair under warranty.
4) If all else fails, try taking them to court under Consumer Goods Act. Call Trading Standards so they can log all these problems and hopefully take action.
Further ideas to put pressure on JLR:
1) I suggest that car owners all submit a GDPR subject access request to their dealerships. This *should* allow you to see what data was logged during the initial sales conversation. I know that this data is logged because in one of my many conversations with Lookers, the manager said "I can see here you have a holiday home in xxxx". These access requests should reveal whether driving intentions were mentioned during the sales conversation.
2) My second thought is to create flyers detailing the issue to place on local cars of the same make and model. There are many, many more Discovery Sports on the road than when I purchased and I do not believe that the owners have been warned of the problem because I see them parked in local rural car-parks - i.e. short journey profile. I think a targeted campaign of flyers to warn newer owners to exercise their statutory rights while under warranty may force JLR to respond to this problem.
3) Final thought is to try and get this issue running on Twitter. There is no hashtag or forum available on Twitter but I think if we can all start tweeting every time we experience cost / error messages on these vehicles, we will steadily build a platform that will cause JLR problems. If anyone wants to discuss how to get this going on Twitter, please DM me under my name (on this post) and let's see what we can do.
I will update this post once my small claims case has taken place.