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Old 19th August 2010, 02:26   #1
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Unhappy I wanted to buy a SUV….the scene in Kolkata these days:

About a month back I wanted to buy a SUV.I won’t go into details why. But my requirements were a SUV with fair amount of seating capacity, diesel run, extremely rugged and capable of reasonable offroading, quite comfortable and safe for my family and all that why people get inclined to lay their hands on a good SUV.

I made a formal list. Excluded from this list was the super premium segment which included the likes of Touareg, X5, Q7 and even Montero (budgetary constraints) and also Scorpio Mhawk (available a dime a dozen on the streets).But I included the new Tata Safari 2.2 VTT DICOR in my list as our dear old ADC made it look so easy to drive and its reasonably good performance at a steal. My preference was 4x4 and A/T (ease to negotiate in the city), but I was open to suggestions. Here is an account of my experiences:

1) Suzuki Grand Vitara: I rang up two dealers I knew from past. First was Machino Techno.The sales guy sounded very bored and he said they don’t have a GV for sale or even a TD. He went on to say that,that vehicle is not sold too often and hence they were not too keen on it, whatever that means.I hope Maruti Suzuki is listening to that. So I rang up Mohan Motors.I was immediately put through a sales girl who was both courteous and informative on the phone. She gave me a complete break-up of on-road price of the M/T variety( it came to about Rs.18,22,541/- including 53k for RT & Reg. and 46k for Insurance),but also added that they and all other dealers in Kolkata doesn’t have a GV TD vehicle. But she did mention that she will get back to me as soon as she can arrange a GV for me. Also another disappointing fact was that GV had a 3 months waiting list, if I book one today. Added to that was another fact that no diesel variation was available. So there went chances for me to get hold of another one from the Suzuki stable .
2) Honda CRV: Initially I could not get hold of any Honda dealer numbers in Kolkata.Ultimately after much searching, I got hold of Pinnacle Honda number. I was corrected over the phone, as Pinnacle Honda was now named as Chandrani Enterprise or something similar. I was put through a sales person, who informed me that no CRV was available for TD. If I book one today, the waiting period is more than three and half months minimum. As I kept on insisting for arranging a TD,he informed me that usually they don’t give a TD on a CRV. I sounded incredulous, saying here I am paying more than 23-24 lakhs to get a new vehicle for me and my family, and you dare to say that you don’t allow TD on a CRV. This time however, he said that something can be arranged. Now hold your breath as this is what he offered to me. Some chap has already booked a CRV sometime back, and the vehicle is due to arrive in a month or two. As soon as it arrives at the showroom near Ruby Hospital, this guy will call me so that I can go there and check out the car there itself. I was taken aback at this suggestion, as because if I have booked a car worth more than 20 lakhs,I obviously won’t allow anybody to climb and check out the inside before I do it myself.
Opinions here can differ with me. But I usually stick to what I decide, and my bottom-line is very simple: I won’t buy even a Rolls or a Bentley if I have not tested it myself.
3) Chevrolet Captiva : Dulichand Motors was nearby and their sales rep was a girl who informed me that they have no Captiva(4x4) for TD. She also informed me that the reason behind this fact is all Captiva’s are imported and they specifically arrive on orders. The on-road price of A/T 4X4 was around Rs 20,77,820/-. But she was so courteous on the phone that she suggested I get a TD of their Cruze instead of a Captiva ! I politely turned down her offer.
4) Toyota Fortuner : Topsel Toyota numbers given on few internet pages were wrong and initially I could not connect them. Finally I rang up their Service outlet and one person who answered the phone there was very polite. He said I shouldn’t worry and he will arrange somebody from their sales outlet to ring me in half an hour. True to his promises, one person from their sales outlet rang me and enquired about me and my location.Finally,after being satisfied with the details he got, another person,a sales rep this time rang me. He finalized a TD date and time with me. On the specified date, that person and a driver arrived with a black Fortuner (only versions available are obviously Diesel with Full-time 4x4 but M/T only, no A/T on the cards anytime soon).The car had retrofitted door sun visors and a huge ORVM on its left front fender. I wont go into details about the car and the TD as this is all about dealers and their service. At least I could TD a vehicle and judge it myself according to my needs. The TD time was minimal (around half an hour or so, as the sales guy said they were pressed for time as there was a huge booking list for TDs!)
5) Ford Endeavour : Out of all the dealers that I encountered during my search for the ‘perfect SUV’, Ganges Ford were no doubt the best. As soon as I rang up their number, I was put through the main sales guy. He was both informative and polite. After listening to my requirements and need he said he would come personally with the car. A date and time were fixed, and due to my schedule I could not do it apart from 4pm on a Sunday. The person said that’s not an issue. The reason why I am saying this is because most dealers are closed on Sundays and arranging a TD on a Sunday afternoon is AFAIK quite difficult. On the day, the vehicle came with a junior sales rep(very nice, polite and informative chap)and a enthusiastic driver. The vehicle itself was the A/T 4X4 top-of-the-range version and loaded with factory-fitted goodies. Believe me when I say that I TD that vehicle with my family from 4.30pm to 7pm,and did everything possible including taking it to the highway. Both the sales rep and the driver were very enthusiastic and finally I had to stop as we ran out of fuel! I was one hell of a happy man with Ganges Ford and the Endy I drove. The on-road price was a neat Rs 20,14,000/-
6) Hyundai Tucson : The sales guy at Bengal Hyundai was a nice bloke. He was both polite and very very informative. Trust me when I say he spoke to me on the phone about the pros and cons of almost all SUVs out there, but was also very sorry to announce that at the moment Hyundai had no SUVs on offer. I was not aware that Tucson had already been discontinued. He informed me about Santa Fe,but then added that even they had no clue about the timing of its arrival.
7) Tata Safari : Lexus Motors phones went unanswered and as advertised by them in National daily’s,a single sms costing Rs 3/- requesting for a TD on a Safari sent about a fortnight ago is yet to be answered as well.
8) Mitsubishi Pajero/Outlander : I have deliberately saved my worst experience with Kolkata dealers for the last. I was initially against Outlander just because no Diesel version was out yet, but then decided what-the-heck, atleast I can try it out, as because to my knowledge there were two big strikes against Pajero IMO( dated design and awful power-to-weight ratio). Initially I rang Shah Automobiles, Beg Bagan Row. The girl who answered the phone there sounded very disinterested at the outset. After sometime another person who claimed to be a senior sales rep came on the line. He said as soon as I explained my need, that he will send both the Pajero and the Outlander together for a TD. I was aghast. I said certainly not, as I am not comparing the two vehicles. I want to drive them individually with my family so that we all can share our opinion later before we actually buy one. Finally a date and time was fixed and it was again a Sunday afternoon at 4pm,because of my schedule.
On the very day of the TD,I rang that man at around 10 am in the morning and he confirmed the timings with me. But annoyingly from 4pm to 6pm on that very day, we all waited and waited. No TD vehicle arrived and I kept on calling this particular person’s mobile every 10 minutes from 4 to 6. All the calls went unanswered. I finally rang their showroom, fearing that on a Sunday early evening it might be closed. Again the showroom phones went on ringing. The person who had identified himself as a Mr.R.C.Jha from Shah Automobiles, did not bother to answer the phone that very day and did not even call up to apologize till date. I was furious with Shah Automobiles as well as Mitsubishi. Now the second part of it, which is even more interesting.
For a week I did not ring Mitsubishi as I was very very upset with them. But then when I cooled down a bit, I thought about Mitsubishi’s world class cars and their great reputation. So I rang up their another dealer, which is Austin Distributors on J.N.Rd. I narrated my previous experience to the person who was very apologetic. He also informed me that Shah Automobiles and Austin Distributors, the two lone dealers for Mitsubishi in the City were NOT competitors, rather they were co-dealers(whatever that means). He also informed me that he knew why the fiasco happened that day with Shah Automobiles. He explained that a certain Mr Shah (the owner of the dealership)was taken seriously ill and had to be hospitalized on that very day. I said, whatever may be the cause, but shouldn’t I being a potential customer, be informed at least of this situation. It was a commitment on the man’s part, which he should have either honored or at least inform me about his deficiency. Anyway, he suggested that he will organize a TD for an Outlander for me if I give him another date. So a Wednesday was finalized then and there and the time decided was around 11am. I kept myself free for this time again. On Monday morning, this same chap rings me up and says their TD vehicle has broken down and is going to garage for repairs ! I was taken aback with the concept of a TD vehicle broken down. But he insisted that he can arrange the TD on that very day on that very car itself if I am OK with the same !! I obviously said No. I would not judge a car which is not in its peak and then again I would never compromise with the safety of my family by TDing a broken down car! He then said that he will get back to me when the TD vehicle comes back from the garage. I was OK with that. A month has almost passed and he is yet to ring me.
This time also I was quite annoyed with the poor and shoddy services provided by Mitsubishi dealers in the City. I finally found time to narrate my entire experience on Mitsubishi India’s Official website( there was a section where one could suggest or write out a complaint : Mitsubishi Motors | Cars in India | Sports Cars | Car Prices | Mitsubishi Cedia | Pajero | Outlander | Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution) .The last line I wrote on the website was something like ‘would anyone of you from Mitsubishi Motors would ever buy another product from Mitsubishi if you faced similar experiences as me?’ The very next day, a gentleman called Mr.Pradip Ganguli, who said he was in-charge of entire East rang me on my mobile and apologized for what had happened. But he could not identify anybody called Mr.Jha at Shah Automobiles. He asked me to keep his mobile number for future, but I don’t know how that would help. Two days later, last Sunday, while I was having breakfast, I got a call from somebody called Mr.Rishi, who claimed he was calling from Chennai. He also was very polite and apologetic and spoke to me for a length about how they at Mitsubishi were disgruntled with poor dealer service in Kolkata. He also spoke to me about arranging TD on Outlander, Pajero and if I can stretch my budget a little (his words exactly) even the Montero. He also said that the Mitsubishi Evo X would be launched in India, this month end and it would be priced around Rs 50 lakhs post tax . He said also to keep his number and said he will call me back in half an hour, which he hasn’t yet! But on Monday morning, when I was busy operating, I got a call from Austin Distributors. For obvious reasons I personally could not answer and the call was taken by my anesthetist, who asked them to call back later, which they haven’t yet. This is exactly where it stands till date with Mitsubishi.

Out of my list till date, I could only TD the Endeavour and the Fortuner. I am still keen on trying out the CRV and the Captiva though.
I hope potential SUV buyers in Kolkata in future have faint idea of what to expect so far as dealer service is concerned, even in the initial buying stage.

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Old 21st August 2010, 10:24   #2
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Check out the Nissan X-Trail.
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Old 22nd August 2010, 14:23   #3
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Check out the Nissan X-Trail.
I had given Nissan X-Trail a thought, but could not locate a single dealer in and around Kolkata. ShuvD told me the nearest is in BBSR.
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Old 22nd August 2010, 14:29   #4
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Fail to understand why there is waiting for vehicles like CRV or GV for that matter. I am sure these vehicles are not in great deamnd.

I hope somebody in forum could clarify this.

Amit
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Old 22nd August 2010, 15:35   #5
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If you want to check out the CR-V, you are most welcome to check out mine...

However, it doesnt fit any of your criteria ...

1) Its Petrol
2) Its a 5 seater
3) Its not good at off roading.
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Old 22nd August 2010, 15:41   #6
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Originally Posted by ultimatechamp View Post
I had given Nissan X-Trail a thought, but could not locate a single dealer in and around Kolkata. ShuvD told me the nearest is in BBSR.
That was such a strange fact (Nissan doesn't have a dealer in a metro), I had to open up Nissan's website and reconfirm! Yet they have dealers in adjacent cities like Kochi and Calicut, or smaller cities like Vijayawada.

All other metros - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore - are covered by Nissan. Kolkata is left out. If Didi learns about this, she'll be VERY angry!
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Old 22nd August 2010, 15:54   #7
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All other metros - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore - are covered by Nissan. Kolkata is left out. If Didi learns about this, she'll be VERY angry!
Agreed. No one in Kolkata can even consider buying even the Micra. No Dealer, No Service Centre.

To the OP: Toyota Fortuner seems like your best bet IMO. Only issue is delivery..
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Old 22nd August 2010, 19:11   #8
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>>>

I see a central strand running through all the experiences that our friend here has gone through: poor quality of customer care response to prospective buyers.

Almost all the marques seem to have this carelessness and dare I say, lack of civic sense. This leads to low credibility levels and lack of confidence in a particular brand, which could be as lethal to the brand as a lemon.

I see this as the symptom and not the problem. The problem I think lies in the fact that almost all manufacturers ( or at least their dealers) think that :

1. SUVs will sell in smaller numbers as compared to say C segment cars (such as the Linea, Civic, Optra etc.,) and maybe even the D segment cars ( Jetta, Civic, Corolla etc.)

2. The supply chain for the SUVs has not been streamlined for handling 'genuine' prospective customers. To be fair, you will see lots of wannabe customers in India making enquiries about all the products, regardless of requirements, capabilities of the products and the price range. (This is not valid in this case).

3. Since SUVs are expensive relative to C segment cars (which most middle class Indian desire as a 'family car for all seasons, all occasions'), taken with points #1 & 2 above, you have a situation where there is at most one TD SUV available.

The propensity of the sales staff in most auto dealerships to rush through the TD never ceases to amaze me- if I as a prospective customer do not get an opportunity to TD the model properly, how am I expected to form a favourable enough opinion about it? I had the same experience when I was out shopping
last year in Bombay.

Bottomline : Inadequately trained sales staff

4. Most auto majors have to realise that, whereas India as a growing economy, is behind the curve as far as desirability of SUVs is concerned ( desirability of SUVs will increase rapidly and is increasing as we speak as opposed to EU/US), the affluence of its professional and middle classes is driving demand.
The long waiting list for the Fortuner is testimony to this disconnect.

5. SUV manufacturers also have to dramatically improve the comfort and space levels of the SUVs here; most Indian buyers of SUVs will buy one over say a C or a D segment car and so expectations on comfort levels will be out of sync with what is on offer (heard some Fortuner owners grumble about 'Innova' levels of creature comfort and long distance comfort rather than that of the Civic/Corolla or a tad higher such as the Teutons).

6. Calcutta has a perception problem, which is exacerbated by over enthusiastic behaviour by the regional politicos, as mentioned by our dentist friend from Delhi.

That's why it is attended to last when it comes to opening of dealerships and service stations, at least in the D and upper segment categories. It is always Bombay, Delhi and Chennai/Bangalore/Hyderabad, followed by Ahmedabad/Ludhiana and so on.

Regards
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Old 23rd August 2010, 18:24   #9
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Originally Posted by amitpunjani View Post
Fail to understand why there is waiting for vehicles like CRV or GV for that matter. I am sure these vehicles are not in great deamnd.
Dealers hate idle inventory as its money gathering dust on the floor. CBUs like the GV and CRV are only imported OR called from the manufacturer stockyard on customer orders. Instead of storing a GV which would sell once in two months, the dealer could use the same working capital to flip 40 Swifts (in the same 8 weeks). Which would you put your money on as a businessman?

That said, getting a TD of a GV / Captiva etc. won't be a problem in large markets like Delhi & Mumbai.
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Old 26th August 2010, 16:06   #10
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Didnt you consider Scorpio ?

Well, I tried getting a TD for Scorpio AT, called up Mahindra Sales Manager North, he said, its made on order and they dont have any vehicle for TD.

So I can only see the pictures from the internet, hear about the inputs from Scorpio website and am supposed to pay 50% advance to the dealer and wait for two months before the vehicle is given to me.

Ridiculous, isnt it !
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Old 27th August 2010, 13:04   #11
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Originally Posted by amitpunjani View Post
Fail to understand why there is waiting for vehicles like CRV or GV for that matter. I am sure these vehicles are not in great deamnd.

I hope somebody in forum could clarify this.

Amit
Both GV and CRV are CBU. There is a post in this forum showing the GV consignment at Mumbai Port http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...ml#post1813816 (Im-Ports & Ex-Ports (Sightings inside ports)). The post also mentioned that the lot of about seventy GV was coming in every month, hence I cannot fathom the reason for long waiting period. May be there are no sales of GV in the Eastern Region, hence no availability.

Regarding CRV, my opinion is that with coming of Outlander and Fortuner, CRV has priced itself out of the market. What started as a decent SUV with reasonable price, has today become an extremely expensive proposition.
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Old 27th August 2010, 19:00   #12
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Daktar da, after reading your posts about dealers, I can only think the best you should think of is Safari/Innova/Scorpio type.
Atleast staying in Kolkata, your A.S.S hassles will be reduced then.

BTW, THis was a strange analysis that BBSR has a dealer but Kol doesnt.

Abhi
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Old 2nd September 2010, 21:32   #13
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Originally Posted by AbhiJ View Post
Agreed. No one in Kolkata can even consider buying even the Micra. No Dealer, No Service Centre.

To the OP: Toyota Fortuner seems like your best bet IMO. Only issue is delivery..

A dealer called MA Motors near the PNB bus stand in Salt Lake Sec I is offering TD of the Micra, and they are selling it too. I havent taken the TD but I saw the vehicle parked outside MA motors with "TD vehicle MA MOTORS" written all over.

Can anyone please take a TD and confirm that?
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Old 2nd September 2010, 22:27   #14
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Originally Posted by AbhiJ View Post
If you want to check out the CR-V, you are most welcome to check out mine...

However, it doesnt fit any of your criteria ...

1) Its Petrol
2) Its a 5 seater
3) Its not good at off roading.
Thanks a ton AbhiJ for the generous offer.
But the 3 points which you mentioned that its a 5-seater, petrol softroader, makes me think twice about a CRV. But peculiarly,it has a very high 'snob-value' amongst general population,if you know what I mean.Its like you got a CRV, so you are quite rich,that sort of thing.I really don't know why!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Dealers hate idle inventory as its money gathering dust on the floor. CBUs like the GV and CRV are only imported OR called from the manufacturer stockyard on customer orders. Instead of storing a GV which would sell once in two months, the dealer could use the same working capital to flip 40 Swifts (in the same 8 weeks). Which would you put your money on as a businessman?

That said, getting a TD of a GV / Captiva etc. won't be a problem in large markets like Delhi & Mumbai.
Very true. But then is there really a Growth and Development department of these big multinational companies(Read Automobile giants),who can foresee the future trend and make sure they have all their kitties in the basket for genuine prospective customers in the East? Or they really think that their product won't sell in the Eastern part of the country? With that kind of confidence level, I wonder how many units do they actually end up selling at the end of the fiscal year!

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Originally Posted by tanwaramit View Post
Didnt you consider Scorpio ?

Well, I tried getting a TD for Scorpio AT, called up Mahindra Sales Manager North, he said, its made on order and they dont have any vehicle for TD.

So I can only see the pictures from the internet, hear about the inputs from Scorpio website and am supposed to pay 50% advance to the dealer and wait for two months before the vehicle is given to me.

Ridiculous, isnt it !
I guess I did mention about Scorpio and my reluctance to go for it.My mom and dad had done a Kolkata to Benares and back in a Scorpio in January last year. Ride quality and comfort was woeful and seating is somewhat upright,IMO. Also its available a dime a dozen on the streets,even the newest model. To top it,just imagine what you faced , even in the North, when you asked for a TD. To me, Scorpio is out.

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Originally Posted by akroy View Post
Daktar da, after reading your posts about dealers, I can only think the best you should think of is Safari/Innova/Scorpio type.
Atleast staying in Kolkata, your A.S.S hassles will be reduced then.

BTW, THis was a strange analysis that BBSR has a dealer but Kol doesnt.

Abhi
Abhi, I can give the new Safari a chance,provided I can personally judge the vehicle. Getting a TD on a TATA is a job though. My sis has a Innova and she is so happy with it,so getting another is out of question,and after test driving (she did too!) the Fortuner with me, she said its just not worth the extra bucks !! Adding 5 lakhs more to the budget of a Innova,I can get a Pete's dabba, change the tyres and shocks and get a ICE worth 1 lakh on the Innova, but still the Fortuner would cost more ! Not worth,even IMO.
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Old 2nd September 2010, 23:11   #15
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Originally Posted by arpanjha View Post
A dealer called MA Motors near the PNB bus stand in Salt Lake Sec I is offering TD of the Micra, and they are selling it too. I havent taken the TD but I saw the vehicle parked outside MA motors with "TD vehicle MA MOTORS" written all over.

Can anyone please take a TD and confirm that?
No official dealers in Kolkata yet...

Nissan - Micra
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