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Old 28th October 2007, 09:18   #31
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Drove a test drive Laura L&K yesterday. It was not spic and span as it looks like the manager's car which is given out but it was complete and everything worked. TD given without any hesitation

There was a new Octy availalbe for TD

This was at Vinayak Cars.
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Old 28th October 2007, 10:31   #32
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My experience

SUZUKI - Gave a proper TD with clearly marked stickers stating the TD car. Was spic and span.

SKODA - The owners RS was sent from Juhu to Vashi - was spic and span.

FIAT - Sent me the owners car - a 1.6 with 911 number plates - not that well maintained interiors - probably because it was the younger son who was driving it. Everything else worked flawlessly.

FORD - I asked for a Spanish red colored SXi specifically and was granted a TD of the same by Shaman. It was registered in the name of Shaman and the car was spic and span. Also it came to Vashi from Marne drive.

GM - I asked them for a TD of the SRV and they came up with all sorts of reasons refusing me a TD of their slowest selling car.

Compare this with a local dealer who sent a Ford ikon for a TD. 7-8 kms into the TD the car ran out of fuel.
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Old 26th June 2008, 23:17   #33
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Hi GTO, et al,

Apart from the PDI check list, any idea on how we could check whether the car I am buying has not been a TD vehicle.

My TDs for Verna, Magnum and Fabia were on temp number cars with the plastic covers on and the odometer disengaged. Infact, the GM guy even said "sir each of the cars are used as TD vehicles for 100 kms in 5-6 days"... Made me walk away from GM right away!

Honda City, DZire, Scorpio were registered cars.

Infact, is the date of despatch from the factory, and receipt date a decent enought barometer?
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Old 26th June 2008, 23:32   #34
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Most modern cars will not work if the odometer is disconnected. So just see the Odometer readings.
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Old 26th June 2008, 23:46   #35
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In my experience in bangalore, i found the hyundai and maruti dealers to be humble and well-behaved. The hyundai sales guys are a bit more knowledgeable than maruti and create a good experience for the customer. Honda dealership has been a mixed bag for me - there was a tinge of arrogance and i was refused when i asked for a TD of the Honda city in the highway. Mitsubishi dealership - no aggression. No wonder the products languish in sales. Ford was ok i must say ,as was GM. Skoda dealer was downright pathetic. Toyota was a mixed bag again.
So i guess it all depends on the respective dealerships. It is sad that some of them don't invest money in getting the best guys as the interface.
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Old 20th April 2011, 09:37   #36
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Default Re: Why cant test-drive cars be better?

OT: To avoid customer cars being misused as test drive cars, I think it's better to have the following:

1. The govt should maintain a list of Test Drive vehicles to start with (This is really possible, if there is a will. We already have the 'Do not Call registry', right?)
2. Test drive vehicles can have a separate number-plate style (we already have yellow number plate for taxis). This info should also be marked in the RC book, to avoid future selling to un-suspecting customers.
3. If a non-test-drive vehicle is used for a test drive, the driver should be solely responsible in case of accidents. (Or make the driver also responsible, rather than just the dealer.)
4. Make test drive on non-test-drive vehicles a punishable offense (Both for driver and dealer).

People would find ways to beat this, but I still think this would be a good start in the right direction.

Last edited by jinojohnt : 20th April 2011 at 09:45.
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Old 20th April 2011, 10:27   #37
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Default Re: Why cant test-drive cars be better?

They should surely improve the quality of the Test Drive staff. I had been to Vitesse Andheri. (Quiete a huge setup in Andheri Mumbai.) Apart from car being very dirty from inside and smelling awfully of cigarette, ill narrate my endeavor with their staff.

Me and my fiancee were test driving Ritz VDI. I was amazed by a sudden turbo kick it delivers, and said to her, wow this car just flies. To this the poor ignorant 'sales girl' says 'Why not sir, it is the new & powerful K Series engine
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Old 20th April 2011, 10:59   #38
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Default Re: Why cant test-drive cars be better?

It is now 3.5 years since GTO started this thread and we can see nothing much has actually changed
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Old 20th April 2011, 11:36   #39
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Default Re: Why cant test-drive cars be better?

Well said. This my personal experience that problematic cars are brought to the test drive. On one occasion idling speed was kept purposely high to give false impression that engine idle is smooth.
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Old 20th April 2011, 12:09   #40
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Default Re: Why cant test-drive cars be better?

Test Drive vehicles are usually badly misused by potential customers, the dealership executives and pretty much anyone else too. Very specific exceptions to this overall rule of thumb. Better not to expect too much in my opinion.

Car retailing in India is a long way from professionalization and a longer way away from being able to address consumer needs responsibly, knowledgeably, honestly and smartly.

The pressure is always on sales numbers and the salesman whose monthly take depends on the sales he makes will tend to do pretty much anything to secure the sale - even to extent of false promises and misinformation.

It is also true that vehicle manufacturers typically go the franchisee route when setting up their retail systems - this is no doubt an efficient way of controlling costs, building partnerships and so on, but in terms of checks, balances, controls and quality of sales/ service delivery, leaves a great deal to be desired.

There is also the fact that the attrition levels of sales people are very high. The rarely found good salesperson becomes fair game for any auto manufacturer/franchisee to poach.

As far as vehicle retail is concerned, there is in general, a very low investment in training, education, capability building and knowledge transfer.

One had hoped that with the advent of the big foreign car manufacturers and their retail systems, things would change, but unfortunately this has not been the case. Some exceptions are there - for example FORD India and to some extent, GM India - as shared with me by friends of mine in the past. But the question remains, how consistent is this training and is it on a sustained engagement basis? Answer largely is that it is not.

With the exception of the cases of some super luxe brands, I dont think the normal vehicle retail sales/ service consumer experience is any great shakes at all, albeit with occasional exceptions. Individual brilliance certainly exists and some sales people are absolutely superb. But the tragedy is that there is no investment in a long term process to drive consistency and uniformity in such excellence. A process such as this, if adopted with great rigour and without exception and/or drop in intensity, would "institutionalize" the standards and thus, help deliver an uniform experience to consumers, across dealerships. If such processes are there and have indeed been invested in, they have fallen by the wayside in terms of consistent usage by the retail setup.

Hence I would hazard that it is far better to do the maximum research online and by one's own personal effort before deciding which vehicle suits one's need.
Then shop around and identify a dealership where one gets the best financial deal + freebies/ add-ons etc.
Next, push them very hard to deliver on their promises.
Then simply take delivery, thank them and go away.

It is important, however, to build a good relationship with the after sales service people - if one wants to be reasonably sure of getting good care and attention for one's vehicle at the time of maintenance/ servicing. This can be done independently of the Sales organization - by the consumer taking time out and visiting the servicing facilities, meeting the Managers and Staff and slowly building a rapport. This is a very good investment in my opinion.

This is a slightly roundabout way of illustrating that as a consumer in India at the moment, one would probably do better in discounting/ eschewing the complete sales process (except for the bare minimum) and concentrating instead on relationships which will power one into achieving a quality after sales service experience which after all lasts throughout one's ownership of the vehicle.

A little pain can be handled at the initial period when the sale is being made but having to handle pain on a sustained basis through the life of the vehicle, is simply not worth it. Hence the above suggestion.

Last edited by shankar.balan : 20th April 2011 at 12:16.
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Old 20th April 2011, 15:26   #41
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Default Re: Why cant test-drive cars be better?

My experience has been that Hyundai provides reasonably well maintained

demo cars for test drives. I have tried i10 and Getz. Maruti also provided demo

cars in reasonable condition for Alto, Wagon-R and Ritz.

My doubt is that whether the quality of the test drive vehicle has anything to do

with the attitude of the general customer. I don't mean a Team-BHPian or a

typically internet savvy person, but the average joe who buys one of the 38000

altos or 15000 i10s or Wagon-Rs or the 12000 Swifts being sold every month

(petrol heads owning any of these cars, please excuse - you are not included in

average joes)

All my friends and relatives have cars. But barring a couple, none have had a

test drive before purchase. Even those were quite perfunctory test drives not

meant to really tax the car. This includes people who have purchased Bolero,

Ritz, Indigo, Dzire and SX4 (demo cars were available for most of these). Many

also relied on internet and advice from friends and relatives and did not quiz the

sales persons much. In such a condition, what would be the motivation for the

dealer to have a good demo car or employ salesmen with technical knowledge ?

Of course, things could be different for dealers of higher segment cars. Even for

others things are changing fast now-a-days. When the average Indian customer

insists that he would not buy a car without a proper test drive done in a well

maintained vehicle and without getting his queries answered, then the dealerships

would be forced to change. Till then, well,
1. take the test drive in the vehicle offered by the dealer in an 'as-is-where-is'

2. test your friend's vehicle (if available)
3. trust something like Team-BHP test drives
4. pray to god, book the car and keep your fingers crossed.
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Old 20th April 2011, 15:55   #42
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Default Re: Why cant test-drive cars be better?

I and my buddy test drove a few vehicles last Saturday (16/Apr), here are my observations:

1. TAFE Skoda, Hosur Rd., 12 PM Nice show room but nobody around. We roamed freely inside the showroom for 30 min before somebody spotted us... during this time I observed the dirty beige interiors of showroom parked Laura taking all foot marks. Beautiful build quality I must admit. Enquired Ambiente 1.8P and 2.0D, the rep briefs us that 2.0D MT has 140 BHP, we correct him it was the figues for AT. He showed no interest to sell us the car, no TD car (is in St.Marks Rd.), heck didnt even bother to take my number for a follow up. We walk out.

2. Kropex Chevy, Hosur Rd., enquired "black is back" Cruze, not available in stock yard. TD car had gone out, took our number to call back. We walk out.

3. White Vento TDI from VW Bangalore: the showroom was nothing (mosaic floor... doesnt carry the image of selling a Passat forget Phaeton). The executive was roaming in circles and chatting/giggling with multiple people before arranging us a TD, he said TD vehicle had gone out and we physically show him a car... total time 30 min. The TD vehicle @ 13K KM's was pathetic, the clutch jerked everytime released, beige interiors resembled like someone puked, exteriors resembled a car from a battle zone. But the executive was well informed. No feedback forms... 3 months wait, book it or leave attitude. We walk out although I'm impressed with the ride/power/handling/build but I'll wait for Verna and Fiesta

4. @ 3PM, Chevy Kropex calls, vehicle can be brought to our home @ 5PM. Brings a 35K KMs done LTZ well maintained (those leather seats bore the brunt). What a mixed bag, full list of features for LTZ but a snail sub 2K (turbo lag) and a rocket beyond (turbo thrust), that clutch could give me a left knee replacement soon, pathetic to drive in b2b traffic. After TD, executive requests us to fill a feedback form on the quality of car, TD, etc., overall impressed with the service but not so with the car. My buddy is sold on this one!!!
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Old 7th September 2014, 15:38   #43
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Default Re: Why cant test-drive cars be better?

I see no improvement in the upkeep of the test drive cars ... from an Audi a6 that I recently test drove to the new honda city and a celerio - all were really dirty, not a days dirt but weeks and months of no upkeep - unfathomable if the dealer has cleaning staff on hand for serviced and also new car deliveries, it hardly takes time to wash and vacuum a car these days ...
Everytime I particularly ask for the car to be cleaned before bringing for a test drive and its as dirty. Today I test drove a city diesel and it was the dirtiest car I have ever sat in, though the sales guy was really nice and knowledgeable - from whitefield honda in blr; but the car lacked ambience ... the average fuel economy was 12.4 on the diesel test drive cars MID; is this the expected normal?
I hope the car companies and dealers improve on this ... vw palace cross was the only one who brought an impeccable and clean car for the test drive
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Old 8th September 2014, 11:57   #44
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Default Re: Why cant test-drive cars be better?

I have test driven cars in India at Tata, Hyundai and Maruti so far. Tata and Hyundai were extremely clean and in perfect shape. However, at Maruti the Celerio was fine but the Dzire was quite dirty and was being used for all kinds of errands and had parts on seats and stains everywhere. This could vary from dealer to dealer of course and the location of the dealership such as rural vs. urban.
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Old 8th September 2014, 12:08   #45
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Default Re: Why cant test-drive cars be better?

I have worked in a car dealership for a while & I agree that most test drive cars are dirty. Reasons are many -

* The car is running all the time during the working hours.
* Taking time off for cleaning means cancelling a test drive appointment for a customer.
* Most of the showroom's cleaning staff is busy in cleaning & polishing new cars meant for delivery.
* Most of the staff abuse the test drive cars (since it is not their own car!) and eats and drinks in the car, leading to spillage & odour. The interiors rarely get a thorough wash.
* Finally, the showroom is least bothered about the upkeep of these cars since they are pretty much occupied with other tasks on hand.
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