Protests sprung up over the last couple of days after new rules took effect January 1 in China making it illegal to drive through a yellow traffic light.
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China is the new land of opportunity as businessmen gain newfound wealth from its booming economy. However, some have learned the hard way that money cannot buy happiness.
Last week, a Porsche owner was upset that his Cayenne SUV, worth a reported 2.7 million yuan, suffered a string of problems during the 2 months he owned it. Claiming that the serious problem nearly caused him to crash on two occasions, the Porsche dealership of Shenzhen agreed to fix the vehicle. Unfortunately, the problem inexplicably continued to resurface.
Although the Porsche dealer offered the owner to swap for another Cayenne, the owner demanded his money back instead. Eventually, the Shenzhen Porsche dealer submitted to the Cayenne owner’s demands under the condition that he sign a confidentiality agreement and to not disclose why he returned his Porsche. However, the agreement fell through and the Porsche dealership chose not to take back the lemon Cayenne after all. Taking matters into his own hands, the Cayenne owner decided to return his Cayenne on a flatbed truck and staged a loud protest right outside the dealer doors.
While the situation is certainly negative publicity, a senior executive from a premium car brand believes that incidents like this one would barely affect sales. As the Chinese economy continues to prosper, the demand for high luxury vehicles will not slow down.
Last year, a similar protest story involved a disgruntled Lamborghini Gallardo owner that hired a bunch of men to publicly destroy his defective Italian sports car on China’s World Consumer Rights Day.
[Source: China Car Times]
Whether intentional or not, Subaru seems to be labeled as a “progressive” brand, and while their website contains the usual corporate gibberish about supporting and embracing “…the communities in which we live and work,” the company tends to put its money where its mouth is, openly supporting the LGBT community as well as motorsports and outdoors enthusiasts.
Now a group of women’s rights activists is challenging Subaru to stay consistent, by petitioning them to withdrawn from the Saudi Arabian market. The Middle Eastern nation is currently facing protests regarding their ban on female drivers, and the activists are admonishing Subaru for selling cars in the Saudi market, especially when a significant portion of Subaru drivers are female and their vehicles tend to be marketed towards women.
To its credit, Subaru has a history of making morally courageous but unpopular choices. One long forgotten instance was in the 1960s, when Arab nations threatened Japanese companies with a boycott if they chose to do business with Israel. Subaru ignored the ban, and the company has built up immense goodwill among Israeli motorists, with vehicles like the Impreza and Legacy have been wildly popular in Israel for decades. We wouldn’t hold our breath for Subaru to pull out of Saudia Arabia, but given the company’s history, we could be wrong.