NSW 2012 Opel Lemon Car Nightmare - What to do?

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now


8 February 2020
I purchased my car brand new in 2012. I have always had it serviced at the dealership, which was Holden, as 1 year later Opel left Australia and all service and warranty was taken over by Holden.
My first issue arose on 15.4.14 regarding the cooling system. From that date onwards, the car has been back to the dealership for cooling system issues alone over 16 times. It has had multiple parts replaced, and those same parts replaced again and again. I won’t go into great detail with this as it has been so many times.
During this period up until now, the car has had several oil leaks and has had further parts replaced separate to the cooling system issues. In the last 2 months, the car has started having cooling system issues again. Coolant reservoirs have been replaced etc, the car was leaking oil again, having to replace the oil sump, level sensor and oil return pipes. I have just replaced the water pump, top and bottom hoses, thermostat and drive belt. Thinking it was finally fixed, drove the car and it switched off, restarted and drove to dealership. Was told the Charge Air Pipe needs replacing, it is on back order in Europe, and probably won’t get one until March 6, 2020. All up now, from 30,000KM when I first started having problems until now, including regular servicing, the car is pushing 40 separate times back to the dealership. Many of the cooling system issue parts were under warranty as they were breaking and needing replacement within the part warranty period.

After approaching Holden on many occasions about why this car has so many issues I was told that “they don’t know”, and a few days ago I was told by the service manager, “I don’t usually say this to customers, but perhaps you need to get another car”

During December 2017, after dealing with Holden Customer Care for an extended warranty, refund or replacement, and to no avail, I lodged a complaint with the ACCC, as I had exhausted all avenues. At the ACCC, I mediated with a Holden representative, and the best they could come up with was 2 free services and a $500 Coles Myer gift card, as I was told that I probably would not have much luck with my case in no uncertain words, so I took the offer.
From December 2017 up until the period now being 2020, the car is now starting to experience the same problems again as well as many others. I truly feel this car is a lemon, and yes now it is 7 years old, but reasonable longevity of the vehicle has not occurred onwards as far back as January 2014. I would never have bought the car if I knew I would be in this position some years down the track. I am unsure what consumer rights I can access, whether some form of refund or replacement would be appropriate, or whether I just sell the car to someone for them to deal with, which is not in my nature. I would never want someone to go through what I have gone through. At the end of the day, the product is not of acceptable quality, in many regards is unsafe, is not long lasting, and has so many faults that it just does not meet consumer guarantees.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you with what I could possibly do next. Many thanks,

Kind regards,



Well-Known Member
16 April 2015
Opel was not a popular (or reliable) brand in Australia and had many quality problems to say the least. It made the Camira look good
At seven years old, the dealership is under no obligation to help you.

A vacuum and wash, then head down to do a trade-in is the best advice you could get.

John R

Well-Known Member
14 April 2014
@Jayson83 - Unfortunately, I agree with @Ozwarlock67's suggestion, sell the Opel and move on. I think you'll struggle to get any additional resolution from Holden at this point.