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Old 17th November 2013, 15:17   #31
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I agree that service is lacking due to non availability of expertise in service.

I own a non-german European car , which incidentally is more mechanical and less electronically controlled.
Still service center usually mess things up. I can imagine what such people will do to cars in a VW or Audi service centre.
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Old 17th November 2013, 16:48   #32
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Default re: Why the Germans NEED NOT and WILL NOT give you Service

Service in Germany:

An M6 owner breaks his car in front of the Frankfurt Motor Show held on Sept 16, 2013 in protest against the poor service he has received. This is one of many such instances:

http://www.carthrottle.com/two-guys-...er-and-an-axe/
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Old 17th November 2013, 17:40   #33
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Default re: Why the Germans NEED NOT and WILL NOT give you Service

The view is perfect but is the opposite in the case of commercial vehicles. many one truck owners, whose tribe are in plenty today, are not at all bothered about free service, warranty and after sales support. Many fixes the defects outside of dealerships as they are interested in quick fixes. This is what I could gather after interactions with many BharatBenz owner/drivers.
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Old 17th November 2013, 18:21   #34
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Default re: Why the Germans NEED NOT and WILL NOT give you Service

Its very simple.

Germans are here to do business. For them, India is a market which pushes the growth and sales volumes. Service be dammed.

Back in Europe the market is more to do with keeping the brand alive and having faith and goodwill of customers as top priority.
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Old 17th November 2013, 19:08   #35
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Default re: Why the Germans NEED NOT and WILL NOT give you Service

Aww I should have got this info in July itself. Then maybe I wouldn't have purchased a Polo. The vehicle has impeccable road manners but the thought of expensive service is giving me cold feet. There is only a single dealer in the entire North East and they are enjoying that status here. The following are the pearls of wisdom I received from VW salespeople in Guwahati:

1. We get a lot of repeat customers because of the high product quality
2. Sir, you might be proud to own a VW finally.
3.Our cars are the safest and they will protect you in severe accidents.
4.Our paint is world class having water colour base used with spray gun unlike others. So u have to shell out Rs 7500/- for a small scratch(already shared in official POLO thread). They even mailed me a 2 page essay on their Painting Process.
5. Our seat covers are very special. They take 3 hours to fit. Maybe German quality eh.

I really enjoy my time with these VW people at SM Autokrafts Guwahati.
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Old 17th November 2013, 20:01   #36
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Default re: Why the Germans NEED NOT and WILL NOT give you Service

The German cars weren't always this way. There are many stories, I am sure each of us has heard about the longevity of the older cars.

I wonder what led them to this. Maybe they were strayed by the Anglo-Saxon beliefs on placing shareholder value above all. Of course it is now established by many that the descent accelerated when Jurgen Schrempp http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%BCrgen_E._Schrempp became the CEO of Mercedes Benz in 1995 and pursued the biggest M&A failure in recent times, the Diamler-Chrysler merger. He had to step down in 2005.

He had the image of a demi-god in the German auto circles and his interviews would sound megalomanic to me. Maybe I find it convenient to think that he spoilt a whole generation of German auto industry leaders. But then I find it tough to conceive that those who make such lovely, precise and detailed cars would care a damn once it's sold.

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Old 17th November 2013, 23:30   #37
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Default re: Why the Germans NEED NOT and WILL NOT give you Service

May not be relevant, but why does all of VAG cars have tall floor hump. Not sure if this exists for Audi as well. Is this a reflection of their complex engineering
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Old 18th November 2013, 00:39   #38
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Default re: Why the Germans NEED NOT and WILL NOT give you Service

Quote:
Originally Posted by tosathyas View Post
May not be relevant, but why does all of VAG cars have tall floor hump. Not sure if this exists for Audi as well. Is this a reflection of their complex engineering
VAG group develops its platforms for applications across its various models/brands. Inevitably there will be a 4x4 / All-Wheel-Drive application in that particular model range / model series. Hence, the floor hump / centre tunnel to accomodate the propshaft for the rear drive unit.
Case in point: Skoda Fabia / VW Polo (PQ 24 platform)
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Old 18th November 2013, 10:25   #39
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Default re: Why the Germans NEED NOT and WILL NOT give you Service

Good thread Supersport, but would like to say that at least BMW spends a lot on Service. They ensure that the Corporate Guidelines are the same as those all over the world. They have a vision that if a customer visits a A** in Germany and then in India, they should not feel a difference.

Now the problem comes up when a dealer in India has to spend that kind of money on all equipments, furniture, even floor tiles! Same goes for manpower who are not paid as per the standards abroad. Due to this they are not sensitive to these prestigious brands and causes customer annoyance.

But when it comes to Sales, each and every guideline by the same dealer is followed, right to the crockery. So this has more to do more with our standards not matching to their standards leading to dissatisfaction.
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Old 18th November 2013, 11:23   #40
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Default re: Why the Germans NEED NOT and WILL NOT give you Service

Thanks for all your responses. Just responding to some of the points raised below. As regards service abroad please read that link that I have posted in Post# 32 above which is just one of the many cases of poor service abroad:

Outsourcing of Service:

This is in a way already in place as dealers are a different entity from the manufacturer. Essentially it is the culture that flows down from the manufacturer’s side that creates a pleasant service experience.

On the other hand, a complete outsourcing of service where the manufacturer has no role to play has certain complexities:
  1. There are limitations on outsourcing as the spare parts, special tools, service methodology, links to the manufacturer portal are all manufacturer centric activities.
  2. The service culture is an intrinsic part of the manufacturer’s culture and to have a third party handle does not ensure that things would be handled well. For instance, Mercedes had Tata handling their service and sales when they entered India, but it was such a disaster that they quickly terminated that arrangement. In yet another example, Tata handled Fiat Sales and Service, which was yet another disaster (for whatever reason), and Fiat is back in the saddle now. Although, these might be just two examples, a failure of an organized entity such as Tata puts into perspective that identifying and training third party service vendors would not ensure service quality.
  3. Which are the third party agencies that will ensure high quality service, and shouldn’t they be trained by the manufacturer investing a lot of time and money in the process? So it could turn out to be an expensive mistake as manufacturers have to anyway be closely associated with service centres in parting with new technology areas, special tools, direct links to the manufacturer portal for service diagnosis etc.
  4. There is the parting of technology to a third party and even though the risks involved in this can be protected by means of IP protection etc, it is just not the same as having your own dealer where you have more management control.

Lack of Reliability:


Why do german cars have relatively lower levels of reliability?

This is a problem associated in giving customers cutting edge technology.

Technology that is beneficial to the customer but at the same time
not yet completely proven and therefore prone to unreliability. It’s a trade off, you can either play safe like the Japanese and provide proven but relatively older technology but at the same time highly reliable.

For instance, the new (yet to be launched in India) S class comes with a lot of new technology that is not present in the existing S class such as Magic Body Control - a nice term for the technolosy used to soften the suspension before bumps , Active Body Control - a second active suspension system to level the car, , Bas plus cross traffic assist – automatically stopping the car with traffic that comes at it even at 90 degrees etc and many many more.

How much of this would be reliable in India’s hot and humid conditions ? Only the guinea pig also called “customer” will answer that question.
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Old 18th November 2013, 11:27   #41
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Default re: Why the Germans NEED NOT and WILL NOT give you Service

It is extremely naive to say these companies don't care about service and the buyers are clueless show-offs. Looks like most members who own German cars choose to ignore this overly presumptuous thread.

Yes, the German cars are not reliable. If they were not trying to explore the frontiers of technology they will be comparable to rest of the industry in terms of reliability. So you can't have DSG, adaptive suspension, bi-turbo, etc. and also have bullet-proof reliability. I admit even in identical spec, the Asian cars would be more reliable but only by a small margin. Mind you DSG, adaptive suspesion, etc. are continuously being improved and are becoming more reliable. So eventually some Asian company will offer these after the Germans have perfected it.

Yes, the service of German cars is not cheap and efficient. It is due to is low volume nature and complex engineering. They don't understand jugaad way of doing things which we Indian so like.

Yes, the dealers play foul at times. Germans are learning the hard way to deal with Indian business owners that lack ethics. They are used to the west where customers are protected by law and they don't have to arm-twist the dealers to play fair.

How come we whine about German cars that offer superior products with mediocre service but glorify the Asians who offer mediocre products with cheap and efficient service? How is one package better than other? And why do the German-car owners are hopeless show-offs and Asian-car owners are smartypants?

As per service (merc/bmw/audi segment):

1. You have pick-up/drop facility.
2. Minor jobs are done at your door step at your convenience.
3. You mostly speak to the service head/seniors and are treated with lot of respect.
4. Very good road side assistance, support for taxi/loaner vehicle during repair.
5. Warranty+service packages are available and getting better.
6. Much better ambience/infrastructure when you visit the service center.
7. Repeat customers are treated extremely well.

Yes, it is not cheap and efficient but is it a bad service? No way. They are definitely improving and trying to match the Asian cars. VW has a parts hub in India so it is not as bad as before. They are offering good warranty, pre-paid service, etc. options. Most cities now have multiple dealers. Things are getting better and it is not gloom and doom. Yes they will not be bullet-proof reliable but they are far more fun to own which is hard to describe if you haven't owned one. Polo TSI DSG kills just about every Asian car in the market today, I didn't want the bloody test drive to stop!

If anyone is sitting on the fence, ignore all these opinions from people who have never experienced owing a German car. I don't even mean the super expensive cars. I drove the Opel Corsa till it fell apart. I also drive Corolla which is just refusing to fall apart after some 1.4L kms, it is by far the most perfect uninvolving car :-) I mean if you love cars, it is a pity to pass up Polo TSI and get a Liva because of bulletproof reliability of Toyota, especially if you made your decision by reading "OMG, my friend regrets it!" comments.

So my point? German auto makers are constantly improving their service side of the game. Don't be cynical about it especially if you barely owned any to comment.

The guys who buy German cars are not show-offs, it is passion for cars stupid! I have seen even the most couldn't-care-less-about-cars/prestige old men falling in love with German cars and being loyal to them. Germans are Gods of engineering.
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Old 18th November 2013, 12:05   #42
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Default re: Why the Germans NEED NOT and WILL NOT give you Service

I quite tend to agree with most of Androdev's post. I bought my German because I like cars and I don't really care about 'showing off'. One really cannot generalise. I have owned Hyundai, Honda and Maruti. I have had issues with service, reliability and ethical practices / promises from all of them too. But it boils down from dealer to dealer, person to person. I have got bad service from one dealer and excellent from the other.

Also the very fact that one of the three give you a great 5 year package at relatively nominal cost should speak for itself. Honda gave me a 4 year package, but when things failed always cited 'consumable' issue to shirk their responsibility. Another dealer proved to be much better.

Hyundai did the same with their 3 year warranty. I had some rust on all the doors and in the third year when I pointed it out, the SA advised I will have to change all doors at a whopping cost. When I pointed out that I had got done anti-rust and had 3 year warranty, after some ruckus he agreed to do the needful. But then all they did was slap on some touch-up paint and refused to change the doors. Apparently anti-rust also was only done to under-body and not panels, though promised. Needless to add, I had to get proper patchwork and anti-rust done at my local fellow afterwards, no time to fight these fellows.

With one Maruti dealer I noticed that a few days after each service something or other would fail, of which there was no indication prior to service at all. After third such time, I showed my local fellow who said that those parts were very old parts (obviously switched by the dealer). Hints of VW/Skoda, anyone? I stopped going to that dealer and switched and the other dealer did better.

Now how I would be able to give my German to the local fellow I don't know. SO far my local fellow seems ok, but I have had problems with some local fellows too.

Maybe I will be proved wrong and curse my "German". But I have faced various issues with other brands too. So I did not bother and selected the car I liked/could afford.

So my view is that one cannot generalise, just go with your head/heart if you like cars and hope for the best - we are in India folks.

Last edited by sandeep108 : 18th November 2013 at 12:11.
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Old 18th November 2013, 12:16   #43
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Default re: Why the Germans NEED NOT and WILL NOT give you Service

Quote:
Originally Posted by androdev View Post
How come we whine about German cars that offer superior products with mediocre service but glorify the Asians who offer mediocre products with cheap and efficient service? How is one package better than other? And why do the German-car owners are hopeless show-offs and Asian-car owners are smartypants?
The difference is not much IF and only IF the German car company tells you upfront that you should be prepared for shoddy service and that's part of the package! Because, when you buy a Japanese car, you know very well what you are getting - in your words a 'mediocre' car. By the way, I wouldn't term that as a right usage of that word.
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Old 18th November 2013, 12:48   #44
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Default re: Why the Germans NEED NOT and WILL NOT give you Service

It's not really a Need Not - Will Not scenario.

Plain and simple the level of service being provided by the Asian counterparts are much better than the Germans, as of today! But then again the Asians were here in India much much before than the Germans. Time has given them an advantage of perfecting something that the Germans are still working on.

Give it some time and we will see the playing field level on its own.
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Old 18th November 2013, 13:04   #45
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Originally Posted by 9thsphinx View Post
But then again the Asians were here in India much much before than the Germans. Time has given them an advantage of perfecting something that the Germans are still working on.
Mercedes Benz set up shop in India in 1994. Hyundai in 1997.
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