A Shattering Tale

Sir,

In view of all the glowing publicity and praise surrounding the Japanese cars which are being sold in the UK at the moment I feel I ought to relate to you the saga of my Datsun, and the broken windscreen. It puts all tales of British manufacturers' poor service into perspective. After all, with all the credits the British press have been handing out, the odd debit will not come amiss.

I bought my Datsun 180B Estate last August in England, and took it to Germany, where I am serving as a teacher. The car is insured in England and carries British Army registration plates... which means that to all intents and purposes it is still British, even though it is running in a foreign country, Germany.

According to the road test in Motor on August 27th last year, the car should have been fitted with a laminated windscreen. As you know laminated windscreens do not shatter when they break. When the windscreen on my Datsun shattered last October it not only shattered, but also fell Into the car cutting the hands and legs of my front seat passenger. The fragments of glass were tiny and razor sharp.

Since that time I have had to put up with service that can only be described as abominable. The facilities that Datum offered in Germany were abysmal.

Although the car was bought in the UK, Datsun GB refused to help me. Local agents non-existent. Help from so-called main agents nil... "It will be faster it you get the windscreen yourselt" reply trom Datsun UK. The car is being run in Germany and Datsun service is Universal. "Universally what?" I asked myself. Datsun UK had washed their hands of the matter.

Datsun Germany took the matter up. I have now been without a screen for two months. "Yes we have windscreens, but not tinted. Have a clear one because the tinted ones will take a long time to come." They promised before Christmas, and I needed the car over Christmas. The clear screen arrived at my nearest "local" agent on January 16ath... my Christmas holiday ruined. Atter three months ot trial and tribulation I managed to get a screen fitted at a cost to me of £150. Although the shattering happened on the open road with no other vehicle about and Datsun refuse to accept liability tor it.

The windscreen fitted by German experts is in the process of coming out at the moment...

The moral seems to be never take a British-bought Datsun overseas as you may find the cost of the trip wildly inflated by repairs, even assuming you can get them done at all. It took well over two months to find a Datsun windscreen in Germany and three to get it fitted. BFPO 32 JOHN LITTLEWOOD

(Buy British, perhaps? Ed.)