Customer Annoyance Issue: The Malibu Tic

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Customer Annoyance Issue: The Malibu Tic

Customer Annoyance

Anyone else remember the “Malibu tic”?

I happened to see a 2001 Malibu run through the lanes the other week at my dad’s auto auction. (I love the live auction, there is nothing like it!)

Where the Toyota dealer dug it out from, I have no idea, but it was actually in pretty good shape.  Except, of course, for the Malibu tic.

Those 3.1 L engines almost all developed the infamous “tic”. GM called it a “customer annoyance issue”. You couldn’t arbitrate for it at auctions and the resale value was weakened drastically. It was a common problem that everyone was aware of and factored in when taking vehicles in on trade.

There were a ton of Malibus on the market and the problem become apparent quickly. You would have had to have been new to the used car business or ridiculously oblivious to the market to have not known to watch out for 3.1L Chevys, Pontiacs or Buicks coming in on trade or in the lanes.

But with an average of 43 new model launches every year since 1996 (sourced from a really good article worth checking out: BofA Merrill Lynch Car Wars), it is nearly impossible to keep up with frequent issues with incoming trade-ins, wholesale pieces or auction lane pieces.

Unless your reconditioning shops see 10s of thousands of vehicles every year.

Unless you wholesale 1000 cars/week.

And unless you’ve been doing it since 1972.

Get access to the “Common Problems” to look out for on hundreds of models. Now and only available to Accu-Trade’s Appraiser Pro subscribers.

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PS  – The Malibu sold for $300 to a scrap dealer

Sean Liptay once bought a snowmobile and it didn’t snow enough the entire winter to use it, even one time. So that boating season, he bought an umbrella… Sean has spent his entire career working with dealerships and their trade-in processes. The product sets that he is involved in are changing the automotive industry for the better.

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