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View Poll Results: Would it be the after sales/reliability or the product satisfaction?
After sale/reliability 171 49.42%
Product satisfaction 175 50.58%
Voters: 346. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 4th December 2016, 15:46   #1
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Post Product vs After-sales: If you had to pick one?

A very warm hello to all bhpians out there.

I have been monitoring the Indian car scene for about 4 years now and it's only now that I understand the prominence of after sales when it comes to products.

NOTE:No offence to any owners of any particular car brand by means of this thread.

Believe it or not I have been through almost every official review on team bhp and have often noticed how people perceive cars on the basis of after sales. While some are ready to put up with the shoddy A.S.S for the sake of their cars (ala Volkswagen or Fiat); others play safe and opt for reliable cars and choose to go with trusted brands(Maruti, Honda and Toyota).

The thing is, with ever increasing complexity of cars and Indian road conditions, even cerain reliable auto giants have started to faulter in their very own game. There have been numerous quality niggles about known brands like the Toyota Innova and the Honda city when it comes to manufacturing processes.

My question is, with the reliability of any car still hanging in the balance due to the sheer number of parts involved, shall the customer sight after sales as a deal breaker or a deal maker?

So, would it be a fun to drive Volkswagen Jetta with an equally shoddy after sales, or a more reliable Toyota corolla altis which gets the job done?

I would love to hear what fellow bhpians have to say on this....

Regards,
Vishy76

Last edited by vishy76 : 4th December 2016 at 16:00.
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Old 4th December 2016, 15:55   #2
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Default re: Product vs After-sales: If you had to pick one?

Nice thread. I've voted for after sales service and reliability and it holds good not only for cars but nearly everything, especially electronic items. When I was in market for a second car, I did try many manufacturers but ended up buying a Brezza, not because of novelty factor but due to after sales service. The service centers of Hyundai, Tata, Mahindra, Ford etc have no reliability at all in my town. I had suffered due to local Hyundai service center once so didn't think of buying a Creta. Brezza is not good than a XUV5OO or maybe even Ecosport top end with 6 airbags, but the peace of mind with MASS is incomparable.
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Old 4th December 2016, 16:49   #3
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Default re: Product vs After-sales: If you had to pick one?

I have voted for Product satisfaction.

I feel every car owner who is trying to maintain his car in good shape will have one or two known FNG-s to keep the service center niggles in check. Though during the initial period of the ownership we heavily rely on the A.S.S, I don't think we completely rely on them for the entire ownership period.

Moreover, car selection and buying process goes through several checkpoints and it varies person to person. And for each person, product features and options are very important in finalizing the car we drive home. Just my two cents.
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Old 4th December 2016, 16:57   #4
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Default re: Product vs After-sales: If you had to pick one?

For many including me product satisfaction is a mix of driving experience and after sales. Like you said with so many parts and components that are used in the cars of today there is bound to be some failures/maintenance.

In my case when I had to buy a new car four years back I chose a compromise between fun to drive and so called reliability and better after sales experience.

I set myself a budget of around 15 lakhs (give or take a few lakhs) to buy myself a diesel crossover/ SUV/ MUV something with good ground clearance. I had to choose one among a Duster, Innova, XUV, Safari and Yeti of which I soon eliminated XUV and Safari as according to me they were neither exciting to drive nor especially reliable.

I eliminated the Yeti even though it was the best to drive due to possibly a nightmarish after sales experience. The Innova was also eliminated for being too big and boring to drive even though it is extremely reliable which I knew from personal experience of buying, overusing and selling over half a dozen Innovas in my immediate family.

I settled for the duster which even though is not a corner carver it handles quite well and the ride is to die for. The after sales bit is a little sketchy but then I was prepared for that when I bought the car. To be fair I did notice some shortcomings which I wouldn't be aware of before i bought the car. Two major irritants are related to the brakes itself one is that they don't last long, I have had to replace my brake pads twice and rotors once so far in approximately 60,000 km. I also have to change both the pads and rotors now. Second is that the brakes itself are not very confidence inspiring at high speeds (to be fair I was aware of this when I bought the car). I also had to replace my clutch at 50,000 km.
Basically the wear and tear of parts is much higher say than that of the Innova which is (or is it 'was' now) the benchmark of reliability.
There was even an instance of my ignition lock failing where the key would refuse to turn in the ignition. Luckily my car was in warranty and the part would be replaced free of cost however this had to come from France (according to the dealer and confirmed by Renault help line as well) and it would take nearly a month to arrive. After a lot of patient explanations and later a lot of yelling and screaming to both the dealer and the helpline guys that I should be provided a loaner car they did give me a renault pulse after about five days with a full tank of diesel and offered to reimburse my Ola/Uber fares for the five days I was without a car. I refused the fare reimbursement but did take the loaner car. Such an incident would "probably" not have had the same outcome with a Skoda and would have definitely never happened with the Innova.

For some the above would be a deal breaker against the duster however if one does their research, understands the shortcomings of each vehicle and sets their expectations straight before taking the plunge you will definitely have Product Satisfaction.

I am sorry if I hurt anyone with my views on certain cars but that is exactly what i intended with this post. Those are my views and requirements that pushed me away from the competition and today four years and 60,000 km later I still do not have buyer's remorse and am glad that I bought the duster.

Even with the vast variety of cars that are available to buy today every car definitely has some shortcomings and if one chooses what he can and cannot live with you can be satisfied with any product.
If you buy a Fiat/Skoda *insert any unreliable brand here* expecting Maruti like after sales then definitely you will not be happy.
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Old 4th December 2016, 17:28   #5
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Default re: Product vs After-sales: If you had to pick one?

Product and after sales are like two sides of a coin, in the Indian context it gets even magnified given our poor roads and fuel quality. It depends on whether you like a wife: fuss free or a mistress: highly demanding at the same time very exciting around the 'curvy corners' & also raises your image among friends and society!

Last edited by GTO : 5th December 2016 at 13:47. Reason: Typo :)
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Old 4th December 2016, 18:03   #6
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Default re: Product vs After-sales: If you had to pick one?

I will go any distance to get my niggling issues sorted out if I love my car or Bike.
I have spent almost as much as my Yamaha in getting it serviced over the last 6 years. But still believe that the product was top notch and still is. You can go find a new service center or a mechanic anyday. (Reliability is a little confusing as it adds to my product satisfaction)
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Old 4th December 2016, 18:13   #7
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Default re: Product vs After-sales: If you had to pick one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vishy76 View Post
My question is, with the reliability of any car still hanging in the balance due to the sheer number of parts involved, shall the customer sight after sales as a deal breaker or a deal maker?
Good after sales is a deal-helper or sorts
Bad after sales is a deal-breaker of massive proportions.

If this wasn't the case, the amount of Skodas on Indian roads would make even Maruti sweat.

Given that most Indian households have a car primarily to fulfill a need, the car needs to be fit for road at all times. If it isn't productive due to a lax after sales support, be it out of either incompetency or lack of support from the manufacturer, that manufacturer will be a no-go.

Heck, that's why Skoda has been going all out to set their after sales support image straight.

Ford has been marketing their app that calculates cost of ownership hard.

Maruti on the other hand has tremendous penetration across any city/town there could be a car sale and that is in a way reassuring to someone who's buying their first car, or for whom the car is such a important aspect of life/business that they cannot afford for it to be in the workshop for too long.
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Old 4th December 2016, 18:38   #8
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Default re: Product vs After-sales: If you had to pick one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vishy76 View Post
My question is, with the reliability of any car still hanging in the balance due to the sheer number of parts involved, shall the customer sight after sales as a deal breaker or a deal maker?

So, would it be a fun to drive Volkswagen Jetta with an equally shoddy after sales, or a more reliable Toyota corolla altis which gets the job done?
Very pertinent topic to discuss. First to put things in context of my driving life from 1979 to date. After sales service in India has improved in leaps and bounds from the mid-1990s onwards. It is light years ahead of where it was with Hindustan Motors and Premier. Credit goes to Maruti who brought in a new paradigm which initially pleased and confused us simultaneously. The service of Skoda today is still better than the quality and attitude of Premier in 1992.

What you buy is not a physical product which is a one time act at point of purchase. What you buy is a service for 6 to 7 years and 100,000 kms over which you drive the car over about 8,000 distinct trips and visit the service centre say about 20 times. That is the total package. The driving experience is an important component but only one part of the package. With incompetent or discourteous and time wasting A.S.S. the deal, in my view, falls foul.

A lot also depends on what you need from the car or rather what combination of - reliable means of city commuter, safe means of long distance transport, a symbol of your status, the thrill of being a driving aficionado, an object of your emotions etc. For my short run commuter I would have loved to have had the VW Polo instead of my bugs bunny Jazz but VW's poor showing on A.S.S. was a huge no-no.

Last edited by V.Narayan : 4th December 2016 at 18:42.
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Old 4th December 2016, 18:47   #9
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Default re: Product vs After-sales: If you had to pick one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vishy76 View Post

So, would it be a fun to drive Volkswagen Jetta with an equally shoddy after sales, or a more reliable Toyota corolla altis which gets the job done?
Nice topic there vishy76 to discuss about rather than debate on

Personally

I have owned a product which 'Got the Job Done' and was backed by exceptional support (Hyundai) for nearly 10yrs, before taking the plunge into the product which 'Gives Un-parallel Experience' but is not even backed up by the maker (Volkswagen).

I also believe in what EPMV has posted:

Quote:
I feel every car owner who is trying to maintain his car in good shape will have one or two known FNG-s to keep the service center niggles in check. Though during the initial period of the ownership we heavily rely on the A.S.S, I don't think we completely rely on them for the entire ownership period.
After Sales Support is surely vital and one can never ignore the importance of this. But IMO 90-95% of the Car's experience is behind the wheels.

And if some bit of extra care is taken by the owner, even the "MOST NOTORIOUS" products can be made quite acceptable if not reliable, purely coz of the driving bliss it gives every time you are behind the wheels
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Old 4th December 2016, 19:47   #10
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Default re: Product vs After-sales: If you had to pick one?

After sales matters a lot. Voted for it. That's the reason why Toyotas rule. Ask any owner and he swears on the reliability of his Toyota car.

I don't define after-sales as just the After Sales Service, but also the reliability of the product.

After Y2K, most manufacturers have bridged the gap in reliability, so Toyota has had to dedicate more resources towards design.
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Old 4th December 2016, 20:11   #11
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Default re: Product vs After-sales: If you had to pick one?

Majority I believe will prefer a good after sales to a good product if it comes to choose between the two.

In an ideal world, I would choose a car with good after sales instead of a car that I love but is known for its dismal after sales. In the real world however, I bought a Fiat. Enough said!!
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Old 4th December 2016, 21:00   #12
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Default re: Product vs After-sales: If you had to pick one?

Good after sales quality is very important for a hassle free ownership experience but according to me product satisfaction will always be a priority.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cooldude1988765 View Post
For many including me product satisfaction is a mix of driving experience and after sales.
.. and today four years and 60,000 km later I still do not have buyer's remorse and am glad that I bought the duster.
I completely agree with you and having a Nissan Micra, I've to go through quite bad service quality from the A.S.S during the 4yr/80000km warranty period. Still 4.5 years and 86000 kms later, we are being served really well by our Micra (touch wood) . Nissan India should have supported such a nice product with excellent after sales support but don't know what they are up to and there has not been much of an improvement over the years. I wish they start selling OEM spares over the counter so that maintenance isn't a headache and one doesn't need to visit A.S.S at all.
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Old 4th December 2016, 22:21   #13
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Default re: Product vs After-sales: If you had to pick one?

Very tough poll.

Depends on Buyer's Age, Brand, Model, etc.

I have bought Ford Fusion, Linea T-Jet after calculating the risks but have been really lucky. At the same time I have not driven my cars much (Fusion - 10000-12000 Kms in 3-4 years and Linea 14000 Kms in almost 5 years).

But whenever I hear or read stories like a Jetta owner in my (where I stay) residential complex was made to wait for 3 weeks for duplicate key and numerous accounts on T-BHP mentioning similar stories, I make a resolution with myself to buy a reliable car next time.

All said and done, if either of the two were of absolute importance, we would've seen Fiats, VWs, Skodas, Mercs, BMWs and Audis shutting shop long back and Maruti, Honda & Hyundai were the undisputed kings even in Luxury segments.

The irony about the two factors that its like Catch-22 situation where reliability and A.S.S. would improve after higher sales and Sales would improve after reliable image.

I expect the results to be 50-50 or 45-55 in either's favour.

One exception comes to mind in Indian context is Swift (though its performance specs are laughable).
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Old 4th December 2016, 23:34   #14
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Default re: Product vs After-sales: If you had to pick one?

Product satisfaction comes from the driving experience/product as well as the after sales. We need to find the right balance between these two parameters. The tilt of the balance varies from person to person.

Personally, I will give preference to the product than the after sales. Though I might stay away from brands like Fiat or even Skoda(considering the fact that a similar VW product is available for sale) just to maintain the balance.
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Old 5th December 2016, 02:16   #15
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Default re: Product vs After-sales: If you had to pick one?

What i believe is that buying a product, specially a car is an expression of our emotions.
We work hard all week so that we can spend money to satisfy us, so that when we go for that Sunday drive, we forget all our troubles and worries and just enjoy the product.

If you drive it and it puts a big grin on your face then no matter how bad the After-Sales is I'll buy it [but in real life it does weigh in like 30%].
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