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2005 ctsv
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Discussion Starter #1
Sorry for the long post.

I bought a 2009 Black/Black CTS4 DI about a month ago. I have had some problems and now have a big concern and I am looking for some advice and maybe to alert others of a problem. I have had it for four weeks and have already been back for three concerns, first was pre-existing scratches that we did not see because I bought it at night. They were able to wet sand them out so it wasn't a big deal. Exactly 7 days later my drivers seat developed a nasty squeak every time I moved forward and back. Fixed, not a huge deal.

Now before I get into the big issue I want to give a little history. I bought a new V1 in 05 and then had an SRX for a little while. I really like GM and especially Cadillac. I also don't want to come across like I don't like the car because I really do. I just am very disapointed with the quality so far. Ok, here goes. We had a ton of rain here in Chicago last week and last Saturday I was washing the car and was on my knees cleaning the rocker panels when I noticed a line of thin paint (brown) in the "character line" on the lower doors. It went all the way from the fender through both doors on both sides. You can only see it in the direct sunlight. I immediately took it in and the sales manager immediately thought it was something else and tried to use a wax cleaner on it. He told me to open up a case with GM and see what they can do (which I did and they told me to go back to have it looked at by the service manager). I then brought it in during the week and the service manager looked at it and immediately went to the body shop manager and they said they would repaint the effected panels.

Since then I have taken a shop light around the car in the garage (I would advise you all to do the same, especially with Black cars) and have found areas all over that have thin paint (brown speckles). A really noticible spot is behind the door handles. I have attached a picture of one, and they are all the same. Other areas are the drain lines on the roof and various areas all over the car. Use a bright light.

I told them (gm rep and service manager) that I don't want a repainted car and that I shouldn't have to expect a car to be repainted a 1000 miles. I said I want them to take the car back and give me a new one and I will pay the milage rate for the miles I put on. I don't know if this will work (I really doubt it). I talked to a family friend who is a body shop manager at a Honda dealer and he said he wouldn't do it but to get the problem in writing. If it was just the lower door lines I wasn't going to have it repainted but now I am seeing it all over and I am getting really upset. What do you guys think? For those of you who may discover you have the same problem I am sorry because if you are like me it will drive you nuts.

The picture is taken in direct sunlight with my phone. So you can see that it is rather obvious.
 

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CTS 08
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Weird. My 08 has good black paint. I don't know what to tell you. Lemon law may be your best bet, but the nuances of each state are different. I think your first step should be a sit-down with the dealer's overall manager wherein you try to get him on your side.
 

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2009 CTS DI AWD Premium
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585 Posts
I am sorry to hear this happened to you. I would open a case with Cadillac Assurance. I would document it all with pictures and a video camera, with someone else present to witness what you are talking about. I would meet with an attorney (someone is does lemon law would be great) and draft a very nice letter and fax it to the dealer, Cadillac, and then see who might meet with you--both regional Cadillac person and the GM from the dealer. They should work something out with you. I wouldn't want the car, and I wouldn't want it repainted. This is just me, of course, as I am no lawyer. Of course, there is also the BBB and state's attorney general. I can't believe they wouldn't do something to make you happy. These sorts of paint issues are unacceptable.
 

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2009 Black Cadillac CTS Direct Injection RWD
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273 Posts
Sorry to hear about your situation.

I will try and give you some insight of what I have gone through and hope it will help you with your journey. I had a 2008 CTS which was a lemon, all electrical problems. Long story short, it is very tough and a long process getting another car from GM. Now granted, it took two months and a lot of patience, but I now have a 2009 CTS.

My advice to you:

First, always be as polite as possible. Even when you are livid with a situation or how dumb a person working there may be, don't show it. Be super kind and don't raise your voice.

Second, in order to get any where with GM in the process to get a new car, you need to get everyone on your side at your dealership. I am talking about your salesperson, the service manager, the parts manager, and the gm of the dealership. You have to get everything documented and literally have them tell you that they support you and will fight for you. I say this because it happened to me. The district manager of GM will contact them and hear what they have to say.

Third, establish a relationship with the dealership. Tell them that you are not looking to go through the whole process of getting a lawer and sewing. It is bad for both sides and takes way to long. Tell them that you love your car, but just want one with a proper paint job. Tell them that you paid X amount of dollars for a "Cadillac" and that the car deserves to be the best it can be. Let them know though that although you dont want to go the lemon law routine, but if you have to, you will.

For things I have found. The lemon law varies in each state, I know in Jersey, you really need a problem with a car documented more that three times for the same problem. i.e. electrical, electrical, electrical. I don't know what the law is in your state.

Some fuel that you can add to the fire when you sit down with the dealership:
You don't want a repainted car because:
1. You did not pay for a car to be repainted
2. Paint will never be the same as the paint that came from the factory
3. Resale value? Who wants a car that was repainted?
4. Painting means taking the car apart, which can mean paint overspray, or future problems with the car, aka leaks, creaks, loose fits
5. You paid for a car and it will be in the shop for x amount of days, weeks, etc. (Demand free rentals in any case)

If they do say they will give you a new car, don't put any money out of your pocket. Don't pay for the milage that you had on your car. Tell them the paint was faulty from the day you drove it off the lot. GM gave me the MSRP price for my 2008, and I could put that credit towards any Cadillac on the dealerships lot. I wound up going from a base model CTS to a loaded CTS. Put a little more money out of my pocket, but after driving my 2008 for a few months, I realized that I wanted a lot of the options that I originally didn't opt for. Thus, I got them the second time around with the 09.

All in all, it was a grueling process. A million trips back and forth to the dealership. Talking to a ton a people and a lot of headaches. Just remain calm and keep your foot down.

If you have any questions at all, I will do my best to answer them. Either post on this thread or PM me. If you want to give me a call and talk things over, just let me know...... been there, done that.

Best of luck to you and I really hope everything works out. Please keep us posted!
 

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2010 CTS-4 3.6 & 2008 SRX-4 V6
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I'd follow the above advice. It sounds like you got a lousy paint job and, like the previous poster said, you wouldn't have bought a car knowing it was repainted, so why would you settle for that now?

That being said, a repainted black car - if done properly - could actually end up being of a higher quality than a factory job. It wouldn't hurt you (IMO) to bring your CTS to a high end paint shop to get their assessment of (a) the quality of the factory job and (b) what could be done to correct the problem. If they reassure you that a repaint could give you a sharper looking ride, follow their advice - you might want to insist with GM that the job be done by a higher-end place than the dealer's own body shop.

Good luck.
 

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2019 CTS
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I bought a brand new 1989 Corvette and shortly thereafter found paint flaws. The GM rep advised against a repaint but they would pay for it if I elected to do so. Like you, I didn't pay to have a brand new car with paint problems so I elected to go with the repaint. It took 2 1/2 months for them to fully disassemble the car (the only way to do a repaint). Back then there were no loaner cars, so for almost three months I'm paying for a car with a bad paint job and no car. The car didn't go to their regular paint shop but a special shop on site that dealt with Corvette paint. When I finally got the car back, the paint was amazing. Not once did I stop somewhere that someone didn't comment on the depth and shine. The color was a midnight blue flip-flop color. ( it looked black in some light and dark blue in others.) The new paint was blemish free and better captured the effect of the color change.
I say all of this to make the point that even though the car now had a beautiful;better than factory paint job, it was such a hassle and left such a bad taste in my mouth that a month later I traded it in. Just too much bad mojo.
Again in 1995 I had a yellow vette convertible, and it too had paint problems. No repaint the second time, I learned my lesson.
No car is immune, at least not a GM car. I now only buy and take delivery in the daylight.
 

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2005 ctsv
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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you so much for taking the time and replying. I am going to follow your advice. I will be cordial, respectful and try to win them over with the right attitude. I will look into a high end shop and get their opinion (in writing). Does anyone know of one in the Chicago area? I will keep everyone posted. Thanks.
 

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09 CTS 3.6 Metallic Red, 11 Subaru Outback, 04 Malibu Maxx
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all good advice above...the one point I would make is that most state lemon laws cover manufacturer defects affecting the operation of the vehicle....in this case...the problem appears to be a poor paint job, which by itself is disturbing and highly frustrating for the consumer, however, it doesnt impact the safe operation of the vehicle....only the appearance of the vehicle....again...just a point of consideration....keep us apprised of the situation...
 

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2008 CTS 3.6L DI RWD, GMPP new engine 11/2013
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It's my understanding that many, if not most, state Lemon Laws cover any nonconformities that substantially impair the use, value, or safety of a vehicle after 4 or more repair attempts for a single nonconformity (3 unsuccessful attempts, plus 1 final attempt after the mfr is served notice), or more than 30 cumulative business days out-of-service for multiple nonconformities.
 

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2005 ctsv
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Discussion Starter #10
Typing on my phone so I won't write that much. Talked with gm rep and was told I have two options, get it repainted or I am on my own to take any actions I see fit. I took it to the dealer and the service manager took pics and he is going to send them and write an email. I asked the rep if there was any guarantee against loss of value and was told no. So basically they are willing to take the whole car apart and spend the money to repaint the whole thing and lose a customer for life instead of probably losing the same amount on buying it back as they will spend to paint it and make the customer happy. No wonder they are in the situation they are in.
 

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Sorry to hear about their response my friend. This is a hard call, as a good after market paint job can be better than factory, but if you go to trade it in, and they use a depth gauge, then they will know it has been redone. Did you check out the lemon laws in your state to see what the parameters are?
 

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Sedan de Ville, CTS
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You need to find the owner of the dealership.

If lemon law does not work, and if owner of dealership does not satisfy you, then you might just have to accept paint job. BUT...get the dealer to throw in free oil changes for life of car and the tire/wheel warranty, and ???
(wash jobs? annual detail). In return, you might have to take pizza for staff when you visit them on a regular basis--service writers, car washers, detail guy). Turn this thing into a very positive experience if they won't.
 

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You need to find the owner of the dealership.

If lemon law does not work, and if owner of dealership does not satisfy you, then you might just have to accept paint job. BUT...get the dealer to throw in free oil changes for life of car and the tire/wheel warranty, and ???
(wash jobs? annual detail). In return, you might have to take pizza for staff when you visit them on a regular basis--service writers, car washers, detail guy). Turn this thing into a very positive experience if they won't.
This advice appeals to me. Like your style, bigbird.
 

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I went thru this same ordeal with a new 1987 Chevy Silverado pickup that had so thin a paint on it you could see the gray primer blotches in the sun light. It was repainted 2x. The dealer never had a body shop so they contracted all work out. They sent it to this top notch shop who was well known for doing A1 work. Well as you may surmise, GM does not pay well for this (as the paint shop complained) so that shop had their worst painter do the work and it was a lousy job, over spray everywhere and dirt in the paint. After I complained to the dealer for about a month they agree to have it painted by another a1 shop and they did no better. Never removed the 1st painters over spray from trim and the paint just looked so terrible and started peeling within a month. After all that I was accused of being "too fussy" by the the service manager. After owning the truck for 7 months I traded it in and never bought another vehicle from the dealer and bad mouth them every chance I get even tough it had changed owners 2x in since, most of the same aholes I dealt with are still in charge.

My advice, live with it as is if you can. Pay off the car and trade it in. I regret ever letting the dealer paint that truck. No matter how good you think they will do, they rarely live up to your expectations.
 

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CTS 08
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Allow me to don my complainer/CPT Obvious hat here...

I think the OP has it right. Having owned Fords, Audis, BMWs, and GMs in the last ten years, the problem is in how they view customers. It seems to me that BMW and Audi were using the experience with my current vehicle to sell me another one of their own. They cared about whether I stayed a customer. Ford to a lesser degree, but still a positive experience. GM seems to only focus on the fact that they GOT your money, and as they cling to every cent with both hands, they lose sight of the fact that you'll need a new car someday and that you might just remember such treatment.
 

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Many moons ago, there was a guy who used to paint cars cheaply. First name was Earl. Can't remember last name. In fact, he and his coworkers developed a new type of paint job. Not sure what they called it, but others call it "fish eyes." He believed in putting 18 year olds to work.

He used to charge $19.95. I suspect he charges a few more $$ these days. Oh, yeah, last name is Scheib.
Every one of his paint jobs was....well, unbelievable." He even included dust on top of the vehicles at no extra charge. LOL
 

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Shame on GM for a shoddy paint job, but I don't even
leave a shoe store with a new purchase, w/o a very good
once over. Did you take delivery in the dark? I am not being
a dick-head, just trying to understand. It was your right to
refuse the vehicle, before it even left the lot.
I do hope your situation is rectified to your liking.
 

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2014 SRX Premium w/20" chrome
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Typing on my phone so I won't write that much. Talked with gm rep and was told I have two options, get it repainted or I am on my own to take any actions I see fit. I took it to the dealer and the service manager took pics and he is going to send them and write an email. I asked the rep if there was any guarantee against loss of value and was told no. So basically they are willing to take the whole car apart and spend the money to repaint the whole thing and lose a customer for life instead of probably losing the same amount on buying it back as they will spend to paint it and make the customer happy. No wonder they are in the situation they are in.
They gave you two options and it sounds like if you take option #2 they are prepared to stand ground. Personally, I don't believe you have much of a chance on getting a new car replacement. Usually in arbitration, a retailer must be given the opportunity to correct the problem. A re-paint is GM's opportunity to correct the problem. Their position is... We will fix the problem (re-paint the car) and incure the expense's. If the owner refuses we are no longer liable. It is a cosmetic defect and probably doesn't or won't receive a priority status.

If it were my car, like you, I would be really P.O.'d. I hope your able to get this thing resolved to your complete satisfaction. I too, would try every avenue avaliable, but if all fails....have the car re-painted. Just MHO

Good Luck
 

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so Scoutpilot, what I'm hearing is that this is your first GM product and your first Cadillac.. Based on what you said GM never did anything to earn your future business and this will be your last GM car.
 

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2005 ctsv
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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for all the replies guys. The flu kicked my ass this weekend (Don't think it was of the swine variety). Someone asked earlier if I took delivery at night. I did. I looked it over in the service area, but did not see anything. It is kind of weird how the paint works, if you are not in the right light and at the right angle it looks normal. That is why I didn't see it for the first couple of washes. Don't know what I am going to do yet. I will let you know.
 
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