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Old 1st May 2013, 15:26   #1
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Default Sales Experience: 4 Cars, 4 Dealers, 4 Brands in 4 Years

I have had the pleasure of being very intrinsically involved in 4 car purchases in last 4 years. For 2 of these, I was the sole person for the entire process (from short listing the car to making payment to taking the delivery), in the other 2, I played a significant role in either deciding the purchase or taking the lead in taking the delivery or both.

This presented me with a very good opportunity to closely look at how these dealership works (and to a large extent how the manufacturer controls their dealer outlets) and I thought I should share my experience with all of you.

I also believe that, though to a large extent, it would reflect the efficiency of the dealer but as I said above you cannot rule out how it make or break the reputation of the manufacturer also.

Though my first purchase was in January 2004, I am excluding that in this comparison as a lot of water has flown under the bridge since then and the industry itself has evolved.

So here it goes in the chronological order.

Circa: 2009
Manufacturer : Hyundai
Dealer : Safdurjung Hyundai, Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon
Car : i10


Initial Reception

Truth be told, when we bought this car it was still a hot selling model and you can expect certain amount of high handedness (not arrogance per say) from the dealer. So did we.

Safdurjung Hyundai neither broke this opinion of ours nor did they disappoint us. To be fair to them, they did a reasonably good job given the large foot falls they were still witnessing but we felt they were sorely understaffed. It created 2 problems. First, not only they had more customers to attend to then the people available to attend them and two the enthusiasm and interest of the available sales staff was awfully wearing down with every new customer.

Rating: 7 of 10

Sales person – Courtesy / Knowledge / Efficiency / Empowerment

This is where Safurjung Hyundai can do better. May be it was the impact of what I quoted in above paragraph but overall it was never very satisfying to deal with the sales person(s) we talked to. To our surprise, we never get to meet the same person in the first three visits we made. So a continuation was missing. Wouldn’t say they were oblivious to the specifications of the car, but definitely not very hands on too. Required courtesy was exhibited but efficiency was a lot notch lower then what you would expect. At times we had waited upto 20 minutes between 2 queries we had posed to them.

Rating : 6 of 10

Delivery of the car

It took good 2 hour+ for the delivery. A method was missing and things were not moving in sequence. To make it worse, they are situated in the middle of the udyog vihar (an industrial area) and I think they are cramped for space. When the car was ready for delivery, they parked it in their front porch which is about 10 feet wide. What that means is that you will practically have to stand in the middle of the road in front to take the keys and for them to take pic etc. Not very elegant I would say. Overall, I wouldn’t rate them very high on their delivery efficiency and means. So a rating of 5 of 10

Overall rating for the whole experience : 6 of 10

Then the next purchase came in for my own Fiesta. Here is the experience

Circa 2010
Manufacturer : Ford
Dealer : Harpreet Ford, Gurgaon (who else.. lol)
Car : Fiesta Zxi


Initial Reception

Interestingly, when we went there, we did not go for a Fiesta we went for Figo. The car was generating some rev reviews (including on team-bhp) and Ford was witnessing largest crowds in their dealerships ever. The impact was noticeable. There was near chaos with TD demanding a good 1 to 2 hours of waiting period. We could not get a TD in our first two visits. However, we went ahead and booked the car being fairly convinced of the product quality. The Ford Figo thread was buzzing on team-bhp and I had all my answers available here.

Even if I discount the unprecedented crowd, the dealer was definitely not up to it. It is not only the staff and their attitude, in fact their infra structure was below par for a reputable car dealer which, till that point, selling cars in the price range of 5 lacs (Ikon) to 20+ lacs (Endeavor).

They have moved to a new location since then and though I haven’t been to their “showroom” area still which is in the front, the service area at the back suggest (and I hope) that they would have at least got a better infra structure and a swanky feel to them.

I do not really have to tell you what to expect from Ford dealerships, that knowledge is a well known fact. Harpreet Ford must be amongst the top contenders for worst Ford Dealerships. To be fair to them, I can not complaint in retrospective fashion; I knew all of it and still took the plunge. So let me summaries in one line, they responded in the manner they were expected to.

Rating : 4 of 10

Sales person – Courtesy / Knowledge / Efficiency / Empowerment

This is going to be tricky for me. While I found the particular sales person I was dealing with throughout was definitely courteous but the gloves were off once the story took an unexpected turn ((remember I booked a Figo and later converted this booking to Fiesta).

What happened within Harpreet Ford was mind boggling when a friend of mine happened to made me talk to a sales person in Moti Nagar Harpreet Ford once I decided to upgrade to Fiesta. What followed was nothing short of a nightmare for me as a customer. There was a full blown proxy war between these two gentleman (Sales persons from Gurgaon and Motinagar branches) but never directly between them. They had me dealing with each other. One calling the other one a liar and the other one returning the favor by calling the earlier a cheat.

When I had enough of it I decided I do not want to buy a Ford. Some good sense prevailed (of course after a senior person from Ford got involved and silenced the sales person from Moti Nagar who was willing to get some discounts come my way) and I went ahead and bought my car.

Was the sales person knowledgeable? yes. Was he efficient? to a large extent , yes. But was I satisfied with the whole episode of booking my car with Harpreet Ford, definitely NOT. Thus I said earlier, it is going to be tricky for me to rate this part. And thus my rating goes to a 3 out of 10.

Delivery of the car

5 PM was the time decided to deliver the car since it was a working day and I could not have come earlier. I have been to the dealer in the morning on my way to work to ensure they do initiate the Teflon and under body coating along with gear lock that I had ordered before delivery. I picked up my wife and reached there at about 5. Things did not move for first half an hour as they were still arranging papers. Really, a 5 PM delivery I had been there in the morning a lot of it could have been done much earlier. After some pushing a sense of urgency was noticed at about 6 and the car was readied at about 6:45.

The sales person amicably handed over the keys and gracefully accepted a small gift as a thank you token from me. Hand shakes and I drove out the car.

My grudge is, despite my repeated requests and pointing out, the interiors of the cars were not as clean as I wanted them to be. Though the bird droppings from the dash board (yes sir, bird droppings on the dashboard) were cleaned there were certain black spots on the roof of the car which were not adequately cleaned.

Rating : 5 out of 10

Since this was my own car, I will take the liberty of going a little beyond the buying experience and include the overall experience with dealer too. Which you can find captured in detail here..

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...ot-fiesta.html (I dreamt a Polo, Paid for Figo and got a Fiesta)

And thus the overall rating for this purchase goes to a meager 2 out of 10


Now comes the third purchase. I was entrusted by my father in law to short list a car for him. Do the scouting, do the negotiations, book the car, take the delivery and hand over the car to him. After all considerations I found Swift Vxi as the vehicle he needed and went to 3 different dealers. Pasco, Apra and Rana. I finally bought it from Rana for primarily 2 reasons. First, they were the promptest of them all in everything that includes returning a call upon enquiry and two to manage to give us the car in least possible waiting time.

Circa 2011
Manufacturer : Maruti
Dealer : Rana Motors, IFFCO Chowk, Gurgaon
Car : Swift Vxi


Initial Reception

Even before I walked in, I knew I am going in for a car which commands a more than decent waiting period (ok, not so much for petrol version but still numero uno) so I wasn’t expecting a lot of excitement from the dealer upon seeing me. I was prepared for very formal, to the point discussion with dealer showing slightly less than “take it or leave it” attitude. I wasn’t thoroughly wrong too as my first two visits to Pasco and Apra went on expected lines.

However, Rana motors was able to shackle those thoughts of mine in my very first visit. This showroom was still new so you can count that as the reason for the energy shown but if you ask me I would say there was definitely something more than that. Overall, was very happy after my first visit itself but did not really do the booking and asked them to get back to me once they have answered to my questions. And they did precisely that, in less than 12 hours.

Overall Rating : 8 out of 10

Sales person – Courtesy / Knowledge / Efficiency / Empowerment

The sales person I met was accommodative, understood what I really wanted (remember it wasn’t a car for myself and a lot of extra paper work was needed) and courteous throughout. What took the cherry was that he was almost apologetic the entire time that the car that I was looking to buy has got a waiting period. Now how often do you see that? What you do get in such cases is sheer arrogance from the sales persons if you are asking for something which has a waiting time.

The booking was done amicably and I was told that I should expect the car in 45 days and though they aint promising anything they will try if they can deliver within 30 days.

I got a call on 28th day that they are ready and I can come to do a PDI of the car which has reached their stock yard. I told them I am not taking the car without PDI even if it is a swift which has a waiting period. The sales guy accompanied me to their stock yard and once I was satisfied with what I saw he asked me if I can take the delivery the next day. Of course I was and the next day was decided as the delivery date.

Overall Rating : 8 out of 10

Delivery of the car

It was Sunday and 11 in the morning was the time we decided for us to take the car. I got a call from my sales person at 10 in the morning if I was on schedule, if we are, he asked permission to initiate the paper work so that we don’t have to wait long. Thumbs up to that. My satisfaction quotient with my decision to buy the car from this dealer was only going higher.

Reached the dealer at 11 and at 11:15 we were standing right in front of the showroom with our new possession parked next to us squeakily clean. A guard was made stand next to it just to give that little extra feel. Customary exchange of gifts, photograph taken (which was later delivered to us in a nice frame) and we took the car home. A few days later a collection of 6 CD’s reached our home as a gift.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Overall rating for the experience of buying this Maruti? A 9 out of 10

Now we have come to last experience of mine. Which is as recent as Sunday last week i.e. 28th April. My wife’s uncle has just got posted to Delhi and he bought a Chevrolet Sail Sedan. Though I could not go to the dealer in his couple of visits in which he made the booking, I was made to go and take the delivery of the car along with him. And must say that I was expected to play the leading role in this exercise. Therefore, I am not rating this experience on first two parameters i.e. Initial Reception and Sales Person. I shall directly jump to the Delivery experience.

Circa – 2013
Manufacturer : Chevrolet
Dealer : Chevrolet Metro, Vasant Kunj, Delhi
Car : Sail Sedan LS ABS


Delivery of the car

I have seen nothing like this ever before. Not even when I bought a Rs. 1000 Hero Ranger cycle when my father bought it for me in 1992. And if you are my age, you would recall that it was the first bi-cycle in India that was commanding a waiting period then.

For some strange reason the delivery was not done from the show room, it was rather done from what you would , at best, call a back office tucked away in middle of the various service centers this dealer has. I pity the staff as the air conditioning their do not work. We found it suffocating to sit there for 2 hours waiting for our car delivery and those folks have to bear it the whole working day.

The cars to be delivered are not parked even there. So you simply cannot see what you are taking home till you make the payments and do the paper work after which they will drive it there and start dusting it. I asked twice if I can go and take a look at the car while my uncle do the paper work, I was told sir its too dirty an area for you to go. Why don’t you just wait and we will have it here shortly.

Anyways, after a long wait the car arrived while we were repeatedly told to sit in the areas which were blessed with wall mounted fans blowing out hot delhi air. Of course no goodies to be asked for , not even mud flaps, as every time I opened my mouth the sales person responded with certain smirk on his face that what we are buying is a luxury which comes after a one and half month waiting period. So I decided to keep quiet after a while. To be fair to them, if it wasn’t bargained for during the booking I had no business insisting on it at the time of final payment and delivery. But it wasn’t uncalled for too.. wouldn’t you agree?

To kill time we asked them to show us the seat covers for our car and we short-listed one. We also ordered gear lock and mud flaps ( a cool Rs. 1200 for mud flaps) to be mounted. The selected seat cover and the gear lock was loaded in the car and it was driven back to the unknown destination yet again. We were told it will take at least an hour and a half for the car to come back now. Half an hour for gear lock and an hour to hour and half for seat covers. No problem, we crossed the road had some soft drinks chit chatted a little and came back after about half an hour.

15 minutes later someone came to us and said the seat covers we chose were not of Sail Sedan , they are of Sail U-Va. Gorgeous sweety, it took you 45 minutes to realize that? Show us some which are of Sail Sedan. Sorry sir, no luck, there is only one for Sedan which we have already showed you and you have rejected. Baby stock yourself better, you are selling nothing less than a piece of jewel which is commanding a 45 days waiting period..as you told us.

The car came back with the gear lock. Now it was time for the guard to get in the action and time for dealership staff to retreat back to the office to pack for home I guess. The guard.. yes dear sons of lord.. the guard demonstrated the car and it’s functions to the would be owner while I simply played with my android phone. Why? Because I had 0 interest in the car and the dealer anymore. It was an ordeal which I just had to go through.

Then finally guard poured in some petrol (which he claimed was 2 liters) and asked us to go find the first petrol pump before we get stuck in a traffic jam. I pushed my luck one last time and asked wouldn’t you give us any fuel coupon at all? The reply was on the expected lines. After all, we were buying a car which is demanding (hold your breath) more waiting period than Swift Dzire which also happens to be offering discounts (as told to us by Metro Chevrolet).

I captured the incident here at this thread too..

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/offici...review-25.html (Chevrolet Sail U-VA : Official Review)

Overall Rating : 1 out of 10

Disclaimer: I am in no way, positively or negatively, connected to any of the automobile brands or the dealers I mentioned here. I can show photographs of all these purchases (with me in present) if someone wants to verify the veracity of my claims. However, I will fail to do so in the case of Chevrolet Sail as they simply did not bother to take one

Parting thoughts, laugh as much as you want and make a mockery of their cars there is got to be a reason why Maruti is leading the industry for past so many years. And one of the reasons, I came to realize, is the experience you get once you enter into a Maruti Dealership. Of course my reference points are limited (I haven’t ever been to Mercs and Audi and alike and would not be in foreseeable future also) but of whatever I have seen I think they are miles ahead.
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Old 1st May 2013, 17:08   #2
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Default Re: Experience of buying 4 Cars from 4 Dealers of 4 separate manufactures in last 4 y

Yup, the dealership experience explains a lot about why Maruti are number one in the industry. I really pity the chevy owners if the experience is so pathetic. I only wonder why people buy that car with such choice and if chevy sales would soon reach that of the fiat level.
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Old 1st May 2013, 21:04   #3
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Default Re: Sales Experience: 4 Cars, 4 Dealers, 4 Brands in 4 Years

LOL, your uncle-in-law really picked a gem of a dealer. Metro is known for their unprofessionalism. Being an ex GM vehicle owner my 2 cents are that you warn him not to go to Metro for his vehicle's service, running repairs etc.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 10:14   #4
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Default Re: Sales Experience: 4 Cars, 4 Dealers, 4 Brands in 4 Years

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Originally Posted by khoj View Post
LOL, your uncle-in-law really picked a gem of a dealer. Metro is known for their unprofessionalism. Being an ex GM vehicle owner my 2 cents are that you warn him not to go to Metro for his vehicle's service, running repairs etc.
+1 to that. They are disgusting to say the least. Someone from Metro approached my uncle after my post on team-bhp and said that someone's job is at stake please ask the person who made the post on team-bhp to remove it. He said why don't you talk to the person directly which they said they would. Its 4th day and I am yet to get a call. lol.

Of course I do not want to take away anyone's job but then I told the same set of people on the day of the delivery that what ever you do is going to get on team-bhp and this comment of mine met with certain smirk on the face almost mocking and daring me to "go ahead and do what you want". If that was the case, please don't come back and tell us that we are being unreasonable to you. Of course unless you claim that even a single word of what I wrote is not what happened. Which they can't.

Coming back to purchase of the car from this dealer. It was a simple change of plans at the last minute which proved to be so painful for us. A week before he bought the car, he was with us over the weekend and we were to go do a TD of the car and book if we liked at some of the Gurgaon dealers. It so happened that I could not manage time and he had to go back (feel so bad about it now). Then over the week he went ahead and booked the car with this dealer who happens to be nearest (he lives in RK Puram) to him.

But you are spot on, no way I am going to let him go to this dealer for services. Can you recommend some other dealer in South Delhi?
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Old 2nd May 2013, 10:32   #5
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Originally Posted by New.Novice View Post
I have had the pleasure of being very intrinsically involved in 4 car purchases in last 4 years. For 2 of these, I was the sole person for the entire process (from short listing the car to making payment to taking the delivery), in the other 2, I played a significant role in either deciding the purchase or taking the lead in taking the delivery or both.
Your post sums up why Maruti is still the king when it comes to service. Hyundai is not too far behind as well. They were equally good when we went for the purchase of the i20. Hopefully their long term service matches that of Maruti.

As for the other 2, shocking behavior. They should improve and soon at that as in these times, such behavior will lead to a lot of loss in sales.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 12:56   #6
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I bought & serviced my Aveo from Regent and their w/s was in Okhla, unfortunately they are no longer selling GM in Dilli but have relocated to Faridabad. However based on my interactions with other dealers's stores (for spares etc) over the past couple of years as also the sales associates for the replacement purchase last year I would recommend Autovikas. They have sales locations in several places and the main workshop is in Moti Nagar. I believe they now have a w/s in Okhla too, you could check for the same & since your uncle is centrally located in RKPuram either location would be equidistant for him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by New.Novice View Post
Can you recommend some other dealer in South Delhi?
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Old 2nd May 2013, 13:20   #7
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Default Re: Sales Experience: 4 Cars, 4 Dealers, 4 Brands in 4 Years

Good thread. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
If at all a representative from each of the above companies are reading this (and they should be scrutinizing each and every thread of T-BHP daily as part of their work), they would get an idea of what to improve upon.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 14:27   #8
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I had quite the opposite experience when i walked into Rana Motors.
I was looking at a diesel hatch with ABS as a bare minimum and my budget was very flexible. So, to check out the Ritz we went to Rana Motors.
Firstly, the salesman tried to talk me out of buying the ABS version. This is understandable as non ABS models sell more. But, i insisted so their team leader came in and a rather condescending manner said "Aapko pataa hai ABS kya hota hai" (Do you know what is ABS). I kept my cool and explained to him what i knew. Then he said "Nahi.. sirf baarish mei hi ABS activate hoga. Gurgaon mei baarish nahi hoti" (No... ABS gets activated only when it rains and there is no rain in gurgaon)
If this wasn't enough he got my previous car(Zen estilo) evaluated and quoted a measely 1.10 lakhs for it along with the claim "Nobody can give you a better price in Gurgaon". I explained to him that Pasco automobiles had already evaluated it for 1.5 lakhs and i would be interested only if he could match or better that deal. To this he said "Sir.. aapko nahi dega koi isske 1.5 lakhs"
Duly pissed off, i walked out.
A word about Pasco automobiles. Absolutely delightful people to deal with. I sold my Estilo to them at the promised price, booked and cancelled a Swift petrol and everything went smoothly.
Finally bought a Figo from Harpreet Ford, gurgaon. Sales experience was nice. After sales - not as much. The customer care department is very pro-active but one of the service advisors is a particularly slimy chap.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 15:06   #9
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I had quite the opposite experience when i walked into Rana Motors.
Precisely the kind of reply I was looking for. Of course no dealer could be perfect and no dealer could be such a jerk that each and every customer walking out of them should be seen pulling their hair off.

Having said that, what you narrated of Rana is simply unacceptable.

My wish is,or If I was a dealer of an automobile, I would have loved to hire few SME's who would greet a customer on their first visit and propose the model which best suits their need from their portfolio along with answering customers questions. Once that phase is over, the lead should then be followed by typical "sales" people. The SME would have no pressure of a sale going through once he is out of the picture handing the customer over to the sales folks.

Much like what happens in IT Industry where solution architects respond to the RFP only on the solution architecture portion where as the responsibilities of getting that business remain (before and after) with the Sales or the BG folks.

I know it's a long shot and too wishful a thinking, but isn't that how new bench marks of best practices are set across industries?

BTW, would you mind telling me the name of this SA you mentioned from Harpreet over a private message? I too own a Fiesta and have not been impressed with any of the SA's I have encountered in Harpreet Ford so far.

Last edited by New.Novice : 2nd May 2013 at 15:12. Reason: Added a comment
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Old 2nd May 2013, 15:14   #10
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Default Re: Sales Experience: 4 Cars, 4 Dealers, 4 Brands in 4 Years

Excellent review. Something that will help all. Here's my experience from different brands.

1) Maruti - Excellent delivery experience but service isnt great.
2) Ford - Reasonable delivery experience but service was good.
3) VW - Excellent delivery and after sales support.
4) Hyundai - Good delivery but after sales support isnt all that great.
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