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Letter to Nissan concerning the paint coming off my 3.3 year old $30,000+ car

TomD

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#1
Was at a gas station early Dec and did a double take when I glanced at the roof of my 2009 Altima 3.5SE with 35,000 miles. There was a dense series of cracks in the paint radiating across the roof. At first they were barely noticeable but they have since deepened and the same pattern starting on the hood and trunk. Body shops have told me that the paint is in the process of failure. This was at the 1st of December, about 4 months past the 3 year warranty period, which ended in late July. The dealer said yeah, that a problem and recommended that I open a case with Nissan consumer affairs. I did so and was expecting a meeting with a Nissan rep or at least an inspection by the dealers shop. Nope! Apparently Nissan doesn't consider it important the reason that paint is coming off one of their relatively new cars as much as the fact that they managed to safely skate by the 3-year mark. The remedy is a repaint of the entire car, worth now somewhere north of 100 oz of silver.

I received a written reply, the contents of which can be condensed into a couple of bullet points:

* Your warranty period was up

* Sucks to be you

Here's a letter I'm sending via certified to the "Regional Consumer Affairs Specialist" who blew me off. I'll be curious to how it is answered. Thinking heavily to possibly taking this one to a lawyer.

Anyone got any suggestions?


January 14, 2013

Suzanne F******
Nissan Consumer Affairs
(via certified mail)

Case: 102*****
VIN: 1N********

I am in receipt of your letter dated Dec 20, 2012 denying remedy to me for the premature paint failure on my vehicle by virtue of the fact that my vehicle was four months past the warranty period (but within mileage limits) when I first noticed the situation developing. I'm not sure that the fact that the date of my first notice of the situation relative to the warranty period was ever in contention.

Here is a quote from within your communication: "Nissan carefully considered your request during a review of all the available facts pertaining to your specific situation." Emphasis mine.

Concerning that statement, I would appreciate your response as to whether it was determined that the premature paint failure on my vehicle was caused by a latent defect in the manufacturing process or by environmental or other conditions beyond the control of Nissan. I would be especially interested to know that, if the determination was made, how this determination was performed without inspection by Nissan. Or was the determination of whether the paint failure was due to a defect in the manufacturing process deemed to be unimportant to the resolution of this care.

Is it the policy of Nissan that paint failure on their vehicles at three years and four months after date in service is an occurrence unworthy of research to find the causative agent? Is it the policy of Nissan that serious and expensive, but latent, defects in their vehicles are the entire responsibility of the owner if happenstance has it that the defect is not noticed until after the warranty period?

I look forward to receiving your written reply on this matter.


Regards,

TomD
 

Professur

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#2
Class action .. the only way you'll get anything. Get a few hundred other owners and make a stink.
 
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#3
They could ask for documentation proving that you "properly" maintained the paint. Did you use Nissan Approved products when washing and waxing? Tom, they can come up with a plethora of reasons to stick the blame on you.
 

jogslvr

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#4
Nissan use to make a decent auto, I thot. Maybe 2009 was a bad year for grapes so we got lemons. My wife and I traded off our 2009 Nissan Quest at around 35K miles because the rear wheel bearings wore out in that amount of highway miles. Not cover and warranty and an expensive fix.

We had the same thing happen on an a new Yukon with Chinese bearings before the Nissan. We've about given up on quality autos in the 30K-40K price range.

I told her off the bat that we shoulda bought a Dodge! :cheerful: Currently driving a Chevy and waiting for it go south as we approach 30K miles.

I believe they are engineering these premature failures on purpose as they seem pros at failure just after warranty expires.

I know a guy making a great living fixing up early 90's vehicles for resale. He paid me good bucks for my 90 Dodge Ramcharger but I wish I had never sold it.
 

DodgebyDave

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#5
You could always put a large rebel flag decal over that spot and 01 on the doors.:ban-cha:

Seriously though, and what they are counting on, is that you'll just get it fixed and go away. Because it's the cheapest thing to do.

I would dig around on the Nissan owner's forum(s) and see if some fool is already on an Anti-Nissan crappy paint crusade. At this point to get satisfaction that is what is required. I'd suggest going fishing, selling the Nissan.

Or, donate the car to Top Gear for Clarkson to destroy and write it off your taxes, 'cause you know he'll give Nissan a royal black eye while doing it.
 

searcher

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#6
-------------------
 
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TomD

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#7
Nissan use to make a decent auto, I thot.
Me too, in the past 20 years I've bought 5 Nissan products, including one Inifinti. I now have a fairly new Titan truck in addition to the Altima.

But all the stuff you're talking about are, arguably, wear items. But no way in hell should the paint start coming off a 3 year old, well maintained, car. That is totally indefensible.
 

phideaux

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#8
In the 1970s, my father bought a new Oldsmobile (remember them? :haha:) and the paint peeled and started rusting through within 2 years. He went round and round with them and got nowhere. He corresponded with the head of GM, and told him he was never going to buy another GM car again in his life. (he hasn't, he's bought at least 5 Hondas since then,) They finally offered him a $500 discount on the purchase of his next GM car. :haha:

Tom, if you're really P.O.'d, for about $50 you can set up your own website NissanSucks.com or whatever and get some measure of revenge.
 
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#9
Did you leave it out in the sun?
 

newmisty

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#10
Was at a gas station early Dec and did a double take when I glanced at the roof of my 2009 Altima 3.5SE with 35,000 miles. There was a dense series of cracks in the paint radiating across the roof. At first they were barely noticeable but they have since deepened and the same pattern starting on the hood and trunk. Body shops have told me that the paint is in the process of failure. This was at the 1st of December, about 4 months past the 3 year warranty period, which ended in late July. The dealer said yeah, that a problem and recommended that I open a case with Nissan consumer affairs. I did so and was expecting a meeting with a Nissan rep or at least an inspection by the dealers shop. Nope! Apparently Nissan doesn't consider it important the reason that paint is coming off one of their relatively new cars as much as the fact that they managed to safely skate by the 3-year mark. The remedy is a repaint of the entire car, worth now somewhere north of 100 oz of silver.

I received a written reply, the contents of which can be condensed into a couple of bullet points:

* Your warranty period was up

* Sucks to be you

Here's a letter I'm sending via certified to the "Regional Consumer Affairs Specialist" who blew me off. I'll be curious to how it is answered. Thinking heavily to possibly taking this one to a lawyer.

Anyone got any suggestions?


January 14, 2013

Suzanne F******
Nissan Consumer Affairs
(via certified mail)

Case: 102*****
VIN: 1N********

I am in receipt of your letter dated Dec 20, 2012 denying remedy to me for the premature paint failure on my vehicle by virtue of the fact that my vehicle was four months past the warranty period (but within mileage limits) when I first noticed the situation developing. I'm not sure that the fact that the date of my first notice of the situation relative to the warranty period was ever in contention.

Here is a quote from within your communication: "Nissan carefully considered your request during a review of all the available facts pertaining to your specific situation." Emphasis mine.

Concerning that statement, I would appreciate your response as to whether it was determined that the premature paint failure on my vehicle was caused by a latent defect in the manufacturing process or by environmental or other conditions beyond the control of Nissan. I would be especially interested to know that, if the determination was made, how this determination was performed without inspection by Nissan. Or was the determination of whether the paint failure was due to a defect in the manufacturing process deemed to be unimportant to the resolution of this care.

Is it the policy of Nissan that paint failure on their vehicles at three years and four months after date in service is an occurrence unworthy of research to find the causative agent? Is it the policy of Nissan that serious and expensive, but latent, defects in their vehicles are the entire responsibility of the owner if happenstance has it that the defect is not noticed until after the warranty period?

I look forward to receiving your written reply on this matter.


Regards,

TomD
You are retired right? Go get some blood! :bear_angry:
 

BarnacleBob

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#12
I am a retired Auto Dealer... your complaint is nothing new to the industry... the problem now occurs with most autos regardless of manufacturer... this is due to the paint itself... the EPA regulates the composition of the paint, which is "water based." The manufacturers have complained & lobbyed for changes in the inferior paint formula but so far EPA has not capitulated. I'm not justifying the manufacturers lack of quality, just stating why the quality is what it is..... Contacting legal counsel is a waste of time & money if as you have stated, the warranty CONTRACT AGREEMENT period has ACTUALLY expired.... BUT, if you are the ORGINAL trustee (owner) look deeper into the Regs surrounding the specifics of the warranty.... there was a time when paint was warranteed for 5 yrs\50k miles by regulation... but thats been several decades ago... good luck!
 

TnAndy

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#13
But no way in hell should the paint start coming off a 3 year old, well maintained, car. That is totally indefensible.

I agree. Had it happen to me on a late 80's Ford pickup I bought new. Paint lasted about two years, and started coming off in strips....paint didn't even bond to the primer. ( primer was the only thing that saved the metal....it WAS on there good ). I was doing something with some duct tape one day, dropped a piece of it on the truck cab top, not even pressed down, just landed there, and when I picked it up, a whole stripe of paint the size of the tape came with it.

Went to the dealer, they gave me a song and dance that went:

"Yeah....we can paint it....but we'll take off for the time/mileage you already put on the truck ( 2 yrs and about 25k miles....big deal ), but with what we charge, you'd be better off to go (away) get a body shop to paint it for you."

Which is what I did, never went back to the dealer again, nor will I ever buy a Ford product again.

But for what it's worth......if one starts down the road of looking for a quality vehicle, good luck. My current '03 Chevy 2500HD had the differential cover RUST OUT ......that last damn part you'd think would ever rust out on a truck......the oil seeped out of the flaking, rusty metal, and I ruined the bearings in the rear end before I figured it out.

But not to worry.....Chevy sells a "kit".....new cover, gasket, bolts.

THINK MINE WAS THE FIRST ONE THAT RUSTED OUT ?????
 

Ishkabibble

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#14
Why isn't your dealer going to bat for you? They have power; you represent only one selling opportunity every few years, but the dealer has the buying power of several thousand. You need to bark up that tree. Your relationship wasn't with Nissan, it was with the establishment you trusted to sell you a good car. The fact their supplier failed them should be an issue they address. If you end up having to strong-arm someone, strong-arm the dealer. Past a threshold, every iota of pressure you apply will be redirected to the factory rep, where the power to solve your problem is found. I'm not suggesting belligerence, only that you make it clear to the dealer that you're not leaving them alone until this problem is solved.
 

Tecumseh

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#15
You guys are making me nervous. I just got back from my local dealer - they are finding me a new truck. I am trading in my 2004 Explorer which still looks great and runs pretty well. The paint is perfect still.

I was told by this dealer that the people that they really go to bat for are the ones that have their regular maintenance done there - not even because they make money on them as much as marketing research indicates those are the MOST loyal customers.

I hope that it works out for you Tom - no way any paint (new EPA rules or not) should start to crack and flake after three years.
 

TomD

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#16
this is due to the paint itself... the EPA regulates the composition of the paint, which is "water based."
Along with EPA required alcohol killing small motors, I wonder how much of this sort of thing is going on. I read an article just a week or two back about how the rocket motors on US Air to Air missiles have become unreliable due to changes in propellent composition required by environmental regulations. I also know that there has been 100's of billions in termite damage because the effective and long lasting pesticides have been regulated out of existence.

Contacting legal counsel is a waste of time & money if as you have stated, the warranty CONTRACT AGREEMENT period has ACTUALLY expired
Not experienced in the auto industry but I know a lot about construction/development. Though most new building warranties are one year, there is a well established concept known a latent defect. This is a hidden defect that has been there since the construction but takes time to reveal itself and there is no other way to know. An example would be insufficient soil compaction in the footings that shows up 4 years later in cracking walls. Or buried debris pits that start sinking There is no limit to responsibility for one of these issues if it can be proven that the contractor did it.
 
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Area51

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#17
Well there's always the eye-for-an-eye approach. Take a walk through the dealership some night and scratch up a car roof. One way or another Nissan has to repaint one of their vehicles.
 

Strawboss

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#18
Get a name - we will add them to the tar and feather list.
 

Treasure Searcher

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#19
I worked five years in an automotive assembly plant paint shop. You thought the place was the deaf & dumb paint shop.

When a paint job went bad, we looked at what we may have done wrong. Sometimes the problem was the lot of paint from the supplier (Dupont).

A Dupont employee was onsite at our facility. You could not get him to admit anything. He would retrieve the paint cans in the mixing rooms and have them sent for "analysis". We usually never heard that it was their fault. Maybe my employer may have gotten a check, but the customer never got any reimbursement, as far as I know.

Putting paint on plastic parts was hard. We would do the "duct tape test" on a newly painted part.
After a part had dried after painting, we would apply a piece of duct tape on it. Then pull (rip) it off quickly. If the paint came off (attached to the duct tape adhesive side), then we knew the paint would readily fall off that part.

I have been tempted to take a roll of duct tape to a car dealership, to check on potential vehicles I wanted to purchase, but I am sure the salesman would throw me off the lot.

IMHO, you're best chance is to do a class action thing. Try to network with other vehicle owners having the same problem. A buddy of mine bought a new Chevrolet pickup and Chevrolet came out and recalled the entire vehicle, since the frame was not dipped into some type of chemical. They literally gave him a new pickup.

As always, buyer beware.
 
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#20
Tom, I had good luck seeking arbitration on an engine failure far out of the warranty period on a Chevy that blew up on me. As supporting evidence I cited a number of similar complaints, making the argument that it was an endemic problem that the manufacturer knew about, or should have known about. I won and was awarded something like $1,800 for repairs (by mechanic of my choice).

Frankly, I don't remember the details of how I got the process started, but it might be worth a little Googling with that approach in mind. Seems to me it was through the BBB, but I'm a little fuzzy on details now... was about 20 years ago.
 

ttazzman

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#21
If it were me ....in addition to previous substitutions you should look into your states "lemon" laws
 

southfork

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#22
Big sign on your roof and lawn on why not to buy Nissan, maybe Obama will pay to have it repainted but only if you are illegal alien and will vote twice.
 

low_five

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#23
I agree. Had it happen to me on a late 80's Ford pickup I bought new. Paint lasted about two years, and started coming off in strips....paint didn't even bond to the primer. ( primer was the only thing that saved the metal....it WAS on there good ). I was doing something with some duct tape one day, dropped a piece of it on the truck cab top, not even pressed down, just landed there, and when I picked it up, a whole stripe of paint the size of the tape came with it.

Went to the dealer, they gave me a song and dance that went:

"Yeah....we can paint it....but we'll take off for the time/mileage you already put on the truck ( 2 yrs and about 25k miles....big deal ), but with what we charge, you'd be better off to go (away) get a body shop to paint it for you."

Which is what I did, never went back to the dealer again, nor will I ever buy a Ford product again.

But for what it's worth......if one starts down the road of looking for a quality vehicle, good luck. My current '03 Chevy 2500HD had the differential cover RUST OUT ......that last damn part you'd think would ever rust out on a truck......the oil seeped out of the flaking, rusty metal, and I ruined the bearings in the rear end before I figured it out.

But not to worry.....Chevy sells a "kit".....new cover, gasket, bolts.

THINK MINE WAS THE FIRST ONE THAT RUSTED OUT ?????
Wow, lol. Thats pathetic. I got an 07 that im going to keep an eye on now.
 

porcupine73

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#24
That stinks. I've heard the only real way short of attempting legal action (which might not work anyway) is to tell the dealer you want to see the regional rep in person next time s/he is at the dealership. Then show them the car and explain you're happy with it and with the company in general, it's just that this problem with the paint has you really upset. The idea being if you 'tell them off' so to speak they will figure they lost you as a customer anyway so they won't do anything. But if you're nice about it and explain you'd like to buy their product again later provided they stand behind it you have a better chance of doing it. I'm not sure basically any car I ever buy already has the paint peeling putting it in my price range so I never tried this tactic.

Beyond that is sounds like a paint system failure. It's not uncommon on some vehicles, and not just any particular make. DuPont and other paint system makers for car manufacturers have really tight specs on how it has to be applied and cured, and one little defect in the application process can result in total failure down the road.
 

Goldhedge

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#25
I have a 2000 Honda Odyssey silver paint 188K miles and it looks and runs great.

Put in a reman Honda auto tranny at 170K miles and I'm good til 300K.

1st Honda and I'll buy another...
 

Jodster

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#26
I am a retired Auto Dealer... your complaint is nothing new to the industry... the problem now occurs with most autos regardless of manufacturer... this is due to the paint itself... the EPA regulates the composition of the paint, which is "water based." The manufacturers have complained & lobbyed for changes in the inferior paint formula but so far EPA has not capitulated. I'm not justifying the manufacturers lack of quality, just stating why the quality is what it is..... Contacting legal counsel is a waste of time & money if as you have stated, the warranty CONTRACT AGREEMENT period has ACTUALLY expired.... BUT, if you are the ORGINAL trustee (owner) look deeper into the Regs surrounding the specifics of the warranty.... there was a time when paint was warranteed for 5 yrs\50k miles by regulation... but thats been several decades ago... good luck!
Bob is right on the money. My neighbor across the street was a rep for an automotive paint manufacturer. A condensed version of what he said was, "All automotive paints are crap. Clearcoat and waxing helps but it is engineered for a mediocre life expectancy."
Even told me stories of paints that were sent to market that would "orangepeel" because of inaccurate components and blends. Quality Assurance would squeak but management would ship it thru the door anyhow.

We live in a disposable world. Don't expect quality in anything. The last Great Gouge is underway.
 

GOLDZILLA

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#27
Many of the pigments and quality ingredients were made only in Japan, and the tsunami wiped them out completely. I remember hearing that they were using inferior ingredients to keep the assembly lines moving about that far back.
 

Ragnarok

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#28
My friend's relatively new Caddy's paint is beginning to haze and chalk through to the color coat. Automakers are required to use really crappy "environmentally safe" paint now. Especially the clear coats are horrible.

The only solution that will really work imho is to bite the bullet and have the car repainted from scratch with appropriate primer and catalyzed polyurethane enamel (the regulated, expensive, nasty, toxic isocyanate containing, special respirator required paint... you know, the good stuff) by an informed and competent technician.

That is, if you can find it (and someone to apply it), and intend to keep the car.

2c, R.
 
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lumpOgold

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#29
My friend's relatively new Caddy's paint is beginning to haze and chalk through to the color coat. Automakers are required to use really crappy "environmentally safe" paint now. Especially the clear coats are horrible.

The only solution that will really work imho is to bite the bullet and have the car repainted from scratch with appropriate primer and catalyzed polyurethane enamel (the regulated, expensive, nasty, toxic isocyanate containing, special respirator required paint... you know, the good stuff) by an informed and competent technician.

That is, if you can find it (and someone to apply it), and intend to keep the car.

2c, R.
Emphasis added by me, I have consulted in several Mexican factories painting parts for almost all automakers and the theme amongst them all was they wouldn't be allowed to use their paints in the US. So they have "experts" in Michigan and Texas formulate these nasty paints (all interior plastic parts are painted, and the "soft-touch" rubber paints are the worst environmentally.) and then ship the paint to a factory in Mex.

The US then allows the parts to be imported, but the EU won't even allow some of these parts to be imported because of the outgassing solvent that give the car its great "new car" smell.
 

newmisty

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#30
Many of the pigments and quality ingredients were made only in Japan, and the tsunami wiped them out completely. I remember hearing that they were using inferior ingredients to keep the assembly lines moving about that far back.
Fukashima was only 2 years ago.
 

rastmp

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#31
I 2009 i considered buying a Nissan GTR...
80K sports car with serious transmission issues..Nissan fixed the problem 2 years later and jacked the price to 100k

2009 was a bad year for Nissan
 

CrufflerJJ

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#33
TomD -

I've been out of the automotive world since about 2006 or thereabouts, but spent 22 years (1984 - 2006) in the paint shop/body shop sealer arena. My employer supplied the domestic "Big Three", along with many of the Japanese transplant companies.

I can't speak to the facts involving your 2009 Nissan vehicle, but can offer a number of vague generalities:

- Overall, the Japanese makers seemed to control their manufacturing processes and suppliers more tightly than the domestic makers. I worked with Honda, Subaru, Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Nissan (among others).
- Your peeling paint might be the result of crappy basecoat (many paints nowadays are basecoat followed by clearcoat). This is especially seen with light colored (silver/blue) metallic paints. UV light punches through the clearcoat + basecoat, killing the bond between basecoat & E-coat (an electrically deposited epoxy-based waterborne coating applied to nearly all vehicles now, replacing spray-on primer).
- Another potential cause of paint adhesion failure is overbaking (too high a temp or baked too long) of the E-coat. This can happen to vehicle bodies caught in the body/paint shop bake ovens during a line stoppage.
- I don't know if Nissan used waterborne paints. I know that Honda used waterborne paints in some of their US plants. Some of the domestic makers attempted using water based paints (after 27% lacquer & High Solids Enamel paint generations), but the paints were crap, and were most excellent at growing fungus in humid environments.

I do know that Nissan screwed their suppliers bigtime in the early to mid 2000's. Suppliers were told that they had to chop prices by 20-40% to be competitive. Most did that. Once they chopped their selling prices, Nissan came back and basically said "so sorry....your prices aren't low enough." Suppliers were forced to cut prices even further, or be desourced. I'm talking major suppliers here - steel, paint, sealants. I know what my company had to do to meet these cost targets. Quality was a joke. ALL that mattered was selling price/profit. I never saw this sort of "supplier abuse" from Toyota or Honda, or even the Big Three. I would not trust a Nissan vehicle, for this reason alone. Honda seems to be the best from my supplier standpoint. Good plant-level engineering, freedom to make decisions here in the US, very demanding. Toyota is very old fashioned, requiring that most decisions be made in the motherland. Mitsubishi was dysfunctional, with crappy US manufacturing management/engineering (their Bloomington/Normal IL plant, specifically), and poor communication between the US and Japan. Nissan....poor...very poor.

Some paint colors are more likely to "chalk" with UV exposure (it's hard to get a decent UV stable red pigment, for example). There's NO excuse, however, for paint to peel from your roof, even after 5+ years. If it peels before that, it's a result of piss poor paint or manufacturing quality.