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Did you know you can buy a really good toaster for $29?

Choice, the leading consumer advocacy group in Australia, recommend the Kambrook 2 Slice wide slot toaster. The folks at Choice say: “It’s excellent at producing the same toast colour cycle after cycle, good for browning evenly, good at toasting frozen bread, very easy to clean the crumb tray and the exterior is very easy to clean.”

Best of all, if the 2 Slice wide slot catches fire, doesn’t start or stops mid-toast you can return it and get your money back. In other words, you have more consumer rights when you buy a $29 toaster than you do when you buy a $40k or $200k car.

And talking of fires, if you are one of the 16,850 Australians who own a BMW X5 or X6, there’s a pleasant surprise coming your way this winter. Yup, forget turning up the aircon: the plug connection from the wiring harness to the blower controller may short circuit or overheat, causing a fire. Product Safety Australia says: “A vehicle fire could increase the risk of an accident, serious injury or death to vehicle occupants, other road users and bystanders, and/or damage to property.” Here’s another car you need to park outside while you wait for the fire brigade.

Now let’s go back to 2017. BMW of North America issued two recalls of one million cars. That only came after an ABC News (US) investigation discovered “dozens of incidents in which the luxury cars caught fire even though owners reported they had parked their cars and turned them off”. After initially saying they were unaware of any such incidents, a BMW spokesman said the company had investigated the fires brought to its attention by ABC News and has “not seen any pattern” related to a “product defect”.

BMW told ABC it had nothing to apologise for. In a written statement, it said that with almost five million BMW vehicles on US roads, such fire incidents were rare, and based on its investigation, “we have not seen any pattern related to quality or component failure. Vehicle fires can result from a wide variety of external reasons unrelated to product defect.”

A spokesperson suggested several other potential causes of car fires other than a manufacturing defect, including a lack of maintenance, improper maintenance by unauthorised mechanics, aftermarket modifications, rodent nesting and even arson.

Seven months later BMW recalled the cars. ABC reported that BMW had looked into the problem in 2007 and performed tests in 2011 and 2012. In 2018 South Korea’s Transport Ministry fined BMW about $14m after a five-month review concluded that the German carmaker deliberately tried to cover up technical problems and moved too slowly to recall vehicles after around 40 of its cars caught fire. BMW recalled 172,000 cars. As you know there’s always a fire when there’s arson around. Anyway, BMW have now got round to voluntarily recalling some of the same cars here. Remember the deal our man at the wheel, the Hon Mick McCormack, has with the automakers: when suppliers become aware of defective or unsafe products, they can conduct a voluntary recall to remove the product from the marketplace, even if the recall is years after they have told other governments about their defective or unsafe products and only includes two of the models recalled. Seriously, isn’t it about time our government looked after the safety and investments of Australian car owners. The easy answer is for Mick to stop sucking up to carmakers who actually don’t make much here any more and give the job to Rocket Rod and his Justice League at the ACCC. Pity car drivers don’t vote.

Just to show you how fair and balanced we are at the world’s premier multimedia platform (and don’t forget I own two Beemers and the Sultan owns a garage full but come to think of it maybe the clutch I blew at Phillip Island was really due to rodents or fire not my bad driving?) let’s hear from reader 13, Queensland Industrial Cladding’s Lachy Pegler (need a new clinker shed? Ask Lachy for the WART discount).

A 2006 Ford GT.

A 2006 Ford GT.

Yours to buy online from Goodings next month is a final year model in concours condition with less than 1km on the speedo. The GT came from Ford Special Vehicle Team SVT founded by John Plant of Ford Marketing, Janine Bay of Ford Mustang Program Management, and Robert Burnham of Ford Truck Program Management and set up as a skunkworks. Ford Europe sent an original GT40 to Dearborn to inspire the designers. SVT manager John Coletti told Forbes magazine this month: ‘The original designs (they were) working on were essentially Audi TT knock-offs … they looked like an upside-down bathtub to me.

“We went to [CEO Jac] Nasser to share our concern. Jac asked for a review around the first clay. After listening to J Mays spew a lot of bull about how the clay was a modern interpretation of the original design, Jac told J, ‘I want that clay to look like that car,’ pointing to the GT40. And he reinforced his statement with a closing, ‘J, do you understand what I want?’ ”

Ford GTs at the top end have dropped a bit in value to an average of $460k. Expect to pay a lot more for this one.

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