- The Dog & Lemon Guide
"The Dog & Lemon Guide" is a car buyer's guide originally based in
New Zealand, now sold throughout British commonwealth countries and beyond. It was founded by mechanicand writer, Clive Matthew-Wilson. At over 1000 pages, it is claimed to be the largest car buyer's guide on the planet. The guide lists common faults and safety ratings for several thousand different vehicles. The terms "dog" & "lemon" are generic terms for bad cars in many countries. Unusually for a motoring publication, "The Dog & Lemon Guide" tends to avoid the petrolhead point of view and focuses instead on the motoring experiences of "ordinary" people. "The Dog & Lemon Guide" is also unusual in that it uses wit and sarcasm as a primary vehicle for communication. The guide refuses to accept car company advertisingand is widely seen as a threat by both the motor industry and much of the mainstream motoring press.
The book has come under fire from many car enthusiasts in its home market of New Zealand, with many bringing into question the accuracy of the information provided in the book and Matthew-Wilson's supposed bias towards Japanese makers – Toyota in particular – and against Australian and European cars. However, the guide's comments are often backed by hard data, such as the Top Gear [http://www.topgear.com/content/carsurvey/2006/] and German ADAC [http://www.dogandlemon.com/media/General%20Comments%20PDF/German%20Cars.pdf] customer satisfaction surveys, which placed many Eastern makes above European makes.
Other critics have questioned the way the guide tends to lump all European makes into one bad basket, pointing out that makes such as
Skoda, Porscheand Jaguarhave far better reliability records than makes like Peugeotand Renault. However, a recent reliability survey of 100,000 near-new cars by the U.K.-based consumer organisation Which?drew similar conclusions to The Dog & Lemon Guide [http://www.which.co.uk/reviews-ns/most-reliable-car-brands-2008/index.jsp] . Specifically, out of the 37 makes studied in the survey, the top nine were all Eastern, Jaguar was 13th, Skoda was 17th while Porsche was 26th. Except for Chrysler, at 29th, the bottom ten makes were all European. Other surveys have produced somewhat different results, but one consistent factor from all surveys is that Eastern cars tend to be significantly more reliable than cars from anywhere else. In this respect The Dog & Lemon Guide is undoubtedly correct, although European car enthusiasts have values that go beyond mere reliability.
For readers used to the glossy magazine advertising of expensive cars, it is a very revealing publication in that it cans/questions the safety and reliability of some of the more famous car makes in the world. The introductory articles on some of the car makers and their companies read like summaries of good opera plots.
"The Dog & Lemon Guide" created controversy by publishing articles like " [http://dogandlemon.com/media/General%20Comments%20PDF/Cars%20&%20Other%20Disfunctional%20Relationships.pdf Cars and other dysfunctional relationships] " by feminist writer
Germaine Greer, which included the line: "men abuse cars because they cannot separate the idea of abuse from the concept of love"." In another controversial article: " [http://www.dogandlemon.com/media/General%20Comments%20PDF/Cars%20&%20Nazis.pdf Cars & Nazis] ", the guide alleged that the US car industry actively supported Hitler and knowingly gave the Germans the technology to launch World War II.
"The Dog & Lemon Guide"'s
websitecontains the only English language translation of the entire Japanese domestic car safety recalls database. This information is provided free of charge and is widely used to investigate possible safety faults on Japanese vehicles imported second-hand from Japan. This information is frequently used by buyers of grey marketvehicles, who often have no other way of telling if their second-hand vehicles have been subject to unresolved recalls before export.
* [http://www.dogandlemon.com/ Dogandlemon.com]
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