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Radio call questions Subaru Forester gearbox

Response: Subaru says it has no records of major issues with the Forester's manual gearbox.

Subaru responds to radio claims of Forester gearbox issues

10 Apr 2013

SUBARU Australia says it is not aware of any major issues with the manual gearbox in its Forester SUV, despite talkback radio yesterday airing numerous complaints that drivers could not easily engage reverse.

A caller to Jon Faine’s weekly free legal advice segment on Melbourne’s ABC Local Radio 774 asked what she could do about the issue, which she said had bedevilled her Forester, of which she took delivery in September 2012.

The caller said she often had to try multiple times to select reverse gear and had gone to Subaru for rectification.

The company was said to have sent a person from its Subaru Docklands dealership to drive the car and the caller said this person also had trouble selecting reverse gear. After several exchanges with the company, the caller said Subaru offered to replace the gearbox.

However, it would allegedly only do so if the owner would sign a document stating that she would make no more claims regarding the new gearbox. She refused to do this and was asking the lawyer on Jon Faine’s program, David Whiting of Donaldson Trumble, what she should do next.

Faine took some other calls but, at the end of the segment, he commented that, “from the text messaging, it’s clear there is something wrong with the Subaru make of car”.

However, Subaru spokesman David Rowley said the company was not aware of any major issues with the Forester manual gearbox, and that it had been dealing with the customer for some time, according to customer relations records.

“We are aware of this customer. Our regional service manager is in the process of arranging a meeting to inspect and drive the car (again).” Mr Rowley said he had “elevated” the issue inside the company.

“We are more than happy to talk to any customers who may be experiencing issues. We do take them very seriously.” He also said that the company was not aware of any cluster of complaints about the Forester gearbox.

“I can confirm via our tech department, we are not aware of any other issues involving manual gearboxes,” Mr Rowley said.

“Our chief engineer says definitely there are no other reports of issues.” Mr Rowley said about 70 per cent of Foresters were sold with automatic transmissions.

“The majority are actually autos these days. But that doesn’t diminish the problem, if there is one.” It did appear from the brief segment on the radio that the caller was most concerned about the request she sign a document stating she would make no further claims on the company if the gearbox was replaced.

“I am not aware of that side of it,” Mr Rowley said.

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