Phil Edmonston's Lemon-Aid New Cars and Minivans 2005


440 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 0-14-301637-7
DDC 629.222205




Reviewed by Steve Pitt

Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.


GM and Ford are banks on wheels that get their profits from lending
money, not from selling cars. The companies are run by executives hoping
for a fat pension before the Japanese change the locks.

Customer relations is the Japanese automakers’ Achilles heel. Dealers
are spoiled rotten by decades of easy sales and have developed a “take
it or leave it” showroom attitude.

For more than 30 years, Phil Edmonston has been putting the squeeze on
shoddy car manufacturers, unethical car dealers, and consumer protection
associations that only pretend to protect the public. These two volumes
are the latest in a long series of hard-hitting, highly entertaining,
and very effective Lemon-Aid consumer guides. Each book starts with an
overview of the state of the motor vehicle industry.

SUVs, Vans, and Trucks opens with the section Deadly Secrets, and its
chapters “The Death of Detroit” and “Dealer Deceit.” The next
section, Get the Best for Less, contains the chapters “Who Can You
Trust,” “Unnecessary Options,” “Getting a Fair Price,” and
“Selling Your Trade-In.” Cars and Minivans begins with a section
called Dealers, Drivers, and Defects, and its chapters “2004–5
Winners and Losers,” “GM Transmission Poor
Performance—Bulletin,” “Best Tire Choices,” “Honda V6 Engine
Leaks—Bulletin,” and “Additional Contract Clauses.” A second
section addresses how to get customer satisfaction in the chapter
“Legal Rights and Wrongs.”

Both volumes include a large middle section that looks at individual
vehicle models; Edmonston devotes a mini-chapter to each. First, he
rates the subject vehicle from one (not recommended) to five (above
average) stars. Then, he provides information on the vehicle’s strong
points, weak points, model history, road performance, safety defects,
cost analysis, quality and reliability, service tips, and secret
warranties. Each guide includes “secret” performance bulletins that
car dealers would prefer that customers never see. Edmonston also lists
various ways a customer can motivate car dealers to make things right.
Sample complaint letters and Internet gripe-sites are included.

If you plan to buy a new vehicle, or are having trouble with one you
have bought, these books are both indispensable and fun to read.


Edmonston, Phil., “Phil Edmonston's Lemon-Aid New Cars and Minivans 2005,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 12, 2024,