Hmmm, I would tend to disagree.
No matter what the purchase price, an item it bought to do a job. So if a £100 washing machine breaks down after 12 months, I would be just as annoyed as if a £500 washing machine breaks down.
But, if the intended purpose and capability of the said item was different and it was that aspect that broke, then fair enough in the pay more expect more stakes.
For example, if i bought a sports car (ie loads of money and a Lambo/Lotus/Fezza etc..) and it popped a piston when thrashing round a track, then I would be a damn sight more enraged that if I had bought a 1.9jtdm 159 that popped a piston when thrashing around a track, reason being that the money paid for the sports car came with the expectation that is is a more capable car for sports driving.
In the case of the OP, I feel terrible for him, but, 18 months is a long period of time, especially with a used car. So whether the manufacturer or dealer is at fault sort of becomes irrelevant. A used car is only as good as the service and previous owner, and if a part fails (whether small or massive such as this case) the finger of blame lies in many directions.
The dealer has every right to say chuff off its not our responsibility, unless the warranty and cause of the fault can be traced back to an issue that would not be an expected or normal wear and tear failure.
Just my thoughts.
If fault was the issue then you may have a valid point. Fault is not the issue, legal liability is the issue.
To quote yourself: "...whether the manufacturer or dealer is at fault sort of becomes irrelevant"
To quote yourself again:
"A used car is only as good as the service and previous owner, and if a part fails (whether small or massive such as this case) the finger of blame lies in many directions."
The purchaser does not assume liability for any of those "many directions"
, the retailer does.
Having sold the car a dealer has absolutely no legal right to say "chuff off its not our responsibility"
. The only possible exception to this may be if the dealer can prove that the car was bought "as seen" and that it was therefore not a normal retail sale with all the obligations that go with that.
I'm seeking to clarify the legal position, not to assign blame or moral responsibility. Sometimes what seems like "common sense" can be very different to the legal position.
Just about all retailers (particularly car dealerships) are ignorant of the law at branch level. Most sales managers & dealer principals don't know about this sort of stuff and will only honour their legal responsibilities when forced to, usually after they've sought their own legal advice about a particular dispute.
Even those who do know the law routinely try to mislead and misinform the public and, in the process, make money from commission on for the sale of warranties which always say in the small print "...your statutory rights are unaffected".
If more of us knew just how good our statutory rights were then none of us would waste money on warranties since we are already very well protected.
The motor trade is entirely entitled to make a reasonable profit. This is why they have the margins that they do and why we know that we'll pay more than when we purchase directly from the previous owner. Not every car will fail spectacularly, hopefully incidents such as this will remain rare.
But where something does go wrong "chuff off"
is not an acceptable response!
Many motor traders will knowingly tell lies and try to intimidate someone who's being "difficult" in the hope that they'll go away. This is exactly the sort of situation that the legal process is there for, although often the threat of legal action in the form of a well worded solicitor's letter is enough to do the trick.