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Old 27th January 2009, 12:27   #76
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Default similar problem - optra magnum.

My 8 month /10000kms run optra Magnumís gears were getting stuck very badly and on the first look, it seemed like the cylinder might have to be replaced, so it was obvious it would be under warranty.

I took the car somehow to the dealer, Nikhil Autombiles, Navi Mumbai and they also took a test drive. They asked me to keep the car with them as they also presume it to be a cylinder problem and which they can decide only after opening the clutch assembly. Hoping that it might be a smaller problem, it leave for my office and then in the evening I get a call from them saying that they have changed the cylinder but the problem still persists. It is past 6 pm and I have given them the car to be checked on the assurance from them that they will give me a replacement service car, which I got but a measly spark against my Optra Magnum.

I wait for them to call me the other day and I get the shock of my life when the works manager tells me that the clutch assembly has burned completely and they doubt whether it would be replaced under warranty or not. I am anyways angry because my car has the history of Power Steering Assembly replacement on the very second day of delivery. It was replaced under warranty. I have meanwhile already mailed to the Zonal Manager of GM of which I havenít received any reply. They told me that I have to decide whether I will pay for the clutch replacement. This shocked me because the car hasnít run more then 10k kms and it hasnít been used by anybody else then the family members and the driver. It will also not be a one time incident that the clutch assembly should burn out completely. I call up the customer car no of GM (very prompt) and complain to them about this issue and pressurizing them to replace the same under warranty. (GM gives 2 years warranty on the Optra Magnum and I am also under their CPCO Ė three years maintenance free scheme. Firstly I am not being rude or angry but tell them politely that this has to be replaced under warranty. I tell them that it needs to be done because I have already borne the brunt of new vehicle being in workshop for 4 days from delivery. They tell me that they will get back to me. No phone call from them or from the workshop. The workshop manager has told me that he will get back to me after he gets a reply from the HO of GM. I wait for that day and again call up the customer care, this time threatening them take strict action against them for having harassed a customer by giving them a faulty vehicle. My tone has changed and I warn them of suing them if I donít get the desired result.

Luckily for me, after all this warnings, threats, requests etc. the works manager calls me that the Clutch assembly will be replaced under warranty but because of the transport and Petrol Cos strike, the flywheel which they donít have, the car will have to remain at the workshop itself for indefinite time. The cost of the flywheel was the most, approx Rs 26000/- but it had to be replaced as it too bore the brunt.

The optra came back after a week and it seems to be working fine but I too have given strict instructions to the driver not to ride the clutch ever though I was sure the problem wasnít due to over riding but some manufacturing defect.

The only thing I have understood from my experience that the normal wear and tear of any item in the car should not start before year if the car is driven in the way it should be. Secondly if you persists and take a stand that you will not pay up, they have no option but to concede to your demands.

In Samís case, I feel that the car though may have passed its warranty period, It has run only for 10k kms and it does not warrant for the wear and tear of the flywheel. Also afaik, the clutch should have been the one to have bore the brunt before anything could happen to flywheel. There is no talk about clutch replacement here. So I feel that a second opinion is must, which I think might have been taken by now.

Hope this helps.

Mansi
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Old 27th January 2009, 16:29   #77
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Originally Posted by Dose View Post
BMW (besides the ones from M-divison) seems to be the only one consistently above the industry average and within spitting distance of the Japanese over the last five years of VDS surveys:
BMW ranked on par with Nissan in JD's US '08 reliability survey too. Fantastic job, if you consider where the rest of the Germans are (especially Mercedes Benz). Unfortunate that German car owners have to cope with lack of reliability, while their friends who spend 1/3rd on a Japanese car take it for granted.

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Ichibaan damaged your City and tried to hide it. You did not have much to lose by talking to them the way you described and it was not a warranty matter.
Doesn't matter really, does it? The question is not about warranty or otherwise. It is about the effect that an aggressive tone can have on a retail business. At the end of the day, I got what I wanted using the tone that I did. Look, let me make it simple. Do what works for you. None of us would start with getting overtly aggressive, however if a polite demeanor doesn’t work, my experience shows that an aggressive tone can make miracles happen (as it has for some others on this thread too).

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So you have not told us if you had politely demanded a new car based on the bad service history
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Without describing the negotiations, we cannot know what tone, what threats and how many ounces of P you used when dealing with MBIL.
Applying common sense while viewing the tone of my thread is enough to tell about the level of politeness (or lack of it). Either ways, any business would prefer impoliteness in a closed cabin rather than in an article that shouts it out from the rooftops.

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For the case of the "German" Astra, again it gave plenty of trouble during the warranty period and the judges (perhaps Aussie fans?) did not like the fact that Australia was not mentioned in the brochure:
"Plenty of trouble" is a generic / subjective term. And by itself, useless. Note that the ARAI tested the car and it performed normally:

Quote:
we find that the vehicle has behaved normally and is very much similar to the one which we have tested during prototype approval. From above it can be concluded that the production quality of the vehicle under test is the same as was given to ARAI for prototype approval. The results of the additional subjective evaluations, conducted to evaluate the complaints, show that the vehicle has behaved normally”.
It’s quite evident that the car was replaced due to misleading advertising rather than faults.

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It took him a few years of fighting, eventually landing up at the national/supreme consumer court where they ruled in his favour.
The fight for justice normally requires one to tread upon a difficult – less frequented – road. Nothing new in the Indian judiciary system and depends on how badly you want it (justice).

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The customer is said to have had a long harsh conversation with the dealer.
Glad you agree.

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Also, I am not sure if it is wise to go to court over a flywheel.
Of course it isn't! That's what has been posted earlier by me and others.

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4) Please give a link to a case.
Link to where? Cases? The entire history of consumer court judgments doesn’t exist on that website, and neither is it searchable. Please consult with a competent consumer activity / lawyer for case referrals.

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What do you mean? I do not understand.
Allow me to explain : If the warranty period (only) meant everything to the consumer court, no manufacturer would be willing to take a huge liability by offering extended warranties for up to 5 years. That is simply too much exposure!

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6) Maybe I misread the opening post but I thought Sam's MD wrote the email and not Sam.
Does it matter? The point is, Skoda has already been contacted. And they have denied replacement.

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Which is why I meant that even though Skoda has said "no," the MD should try once again to present his case to Skoda by asking the dealer to do it
Accepted to an extent. If one phone call can be worth 36 grand, why not? I might add, knowing Skodas non-customer centric attitude, can't really be hopeful.

My real advice to Sahil would be this : Get the car checked by a competent after-market specialist. Skoda & their dealers have been known to quote astronomical prices for replacements that aren't required. My gut feeling is that the flywheel is absolutely fine.

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As you have said in your article, polite firm negotiation is step 1:
Absolutely. That stage is already over in this case, if you ask me.

EDIT : @ Manaa45 : Great job!
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Old 28th January 2009, 05:43   #78
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This is one sad thread as car is out of warranty best is to find some independent garage for future and for this case.


I have noticed such premium ( fake premium) brands fleece customers a lot in India. One good thing about consumers is that once some thing is overpriced they start loving it.

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Originally Posted by navpreet318 View Post
If TATA can replace the clutch and complete suspension after the warranty expired and that too on their own (only informing me by a call), then surely skoda can too.their snobbish attitude needs to be brought down.
Navpreet they are SKODA and not TATA we the Safari owners at TBHP love to bash them and threadbare every small niggle but this is one good thing about them that they replace FOC and cooperate.

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Originally Posted by navpreet318 View Post
writing in mags will have a very negative effect and will make skoda fall on their back foot.
As long as people continue to believe that VW owning the SKODA some how makes it German and sharing of parts with VW is the reason why they should pay around 15 Lakhs nothing is going to change.

At a multibrand mega dealerships in Nuremberg Germany I saw Skoda tucked away behind even ford and Hyundai and priced acordingly. I do not fully know how people in Germany would react if they were to be told that SKODA is German and that's why people pay through their nose in India.

I think buyers need to understand that most of the parts for ALL BRANDS are manufactured by OEM vendors in countries such as India , Thailand and China and what sets the quality apart is the error PPM tolerance limits and screening process of the manufacturer.
So it does not really matter if the part is shared with Jetta or Indica.

Last edited by amitk26 : 28th January 2009 at 05:47.
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Old 28th January 2009, 11:07   #79
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I have been following all the threads on skoda since long. All the reports, reviews, comments on it by owners, TDs, initial and long term ownership, tyres, after sales issues and comments on dealers , manufacturer(assembler) etc. Though there is a lots and lots of info on Safari- endless, comparatively somewhat less discussions happen on skoda on the positive side.

This forum has had a lots of info on skoda and ownership experience of many of us. More than the niggles its the price of the spares and worse the attitude ( or helplessness of the dealers) and lack of friendly / psitive response or gesture from the manufacturer/( importer here) is what causes the most heartburn- IMHO.

I have personally picked up a Laura after remaining undecisive over it for almost 3 years. Yes I dread its maintenance and ownership cost and almost scared with the price of spares and hope like hell that I dont have to go through the nightmares which many of us have heard or, experienced. Nonetheless, it is a damn good car- may not be the best in any of the parameters we may judge a car on but it does everything nicely and to a great extent feels lovely to look at, touch, be cocooned inside and possess it and fuel efficient too if I may add.

Despite all this what spoils the party is the after sales support and failures apart from steep prices of spares. I really hope that strict follow up by customers who know how to fight for their rights in the language they would be forced to understand ( of course in civilised manner) or implement ( read legal) would probably force them to change their attitude and responses towards customers and a lot of responsibility / onus lies on the front desk- (dealers staff) and a bit of support from the importer/ manufacturer.

Such a major failure that costs a bomb ( at least by Indian standards- almost the price of a motor bike) is really exhorbitant in car which has been maintained well and driven just 10K kms and it can no way be explained if it is really a failure and not an attempt by some incompetent technician to pass it off as an easy way. (may be changing the whole part is much easier and profitable than repairing it). A second opinion as suggested by almost everyone is definitely the first step suggested.
Next if it doesnt work as GTO has mentioned that there are several threads existing on steps to be taken against the company, I hope SAM suggests and advises Sahil to follow it to logical and happy ending.
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Old 28th January 2009, 13:25   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amitk26 View Post
This is one sad thread as car is out of warranty best is to find some independent garage for future and for this case.


I have noticed such premium ( fake premium) brands fleece customers a lot in India. One good thing about consumers is that once some thing is overpriced they start loving it.



Navpreet they are SKODA and not TATA we the Safari owners at TBHP love to bash them and threadbare every small niggle but this is one good thing about them that they replace FOC and cooperate.



As long as people continue to believe that VW owning the SKODA some how makes it German and sharing of parts with VW is the reason why they should pay around 15 Lakhs nothing is going to change.

At a multibrand mega dealerships in Nuremberg Germany I saw Skoda tucked away behind even ford and Hyundai and priced acordingly. I do not fully know how people in Germany would react if they were to be told that SKODA is German and that's why people pay through their nose in India.

I think buyers need to understand that most of the parts for ALL BRANDS are manufactured by OEM vendors in countries such as India , Thailand and China and what sets the quality apart is the error PPM tolerance limits and screening process of the manufacturer.
So it does not really matter if the part is shared with Jetta or Indica.

I bought a Skoda and was never under any illusion that it was a luxury brand. In fact, most Skoda owners I have met have no illusions about its brand positioning (even in the VW stable it comes last - after Audi and VW). Most Skoda buyers buy the cars for their size (decent), power (adequate), FE (fantastic) and handling (stiff suspension and handling to match). The lack of the 'bling' factor of the better brands is also attractive for some of us who do not wish the attention that a Merc will attract.

Skoda India too does not seem to have any pretensions about being a Luxury car maker. The dealers of course act as if they are selling you a bespoke Rolls. A lot of people in fact do not have any idea about Skoda's pre world war II legacy, some know Skoda only from it's association with Lada and Trabant in the heydays of the USSR and the jokes on them.

The problem in India seems to stem from the hype built up by the media, who in the years gone by insisted on comparing Skoda with the likes of Mercedes. The Indian consumer too has a penchant for willy-nilly placing downmarket brands on a pedestal as luxury brands - it is only in India that McDonalds, Subway, KFC etc. are treated as 'premium' and Bvlgari is treated as 'exclusive'.

Once this mis-conception about Skoda being a luxury marque is taken away alongwith the attendant high expectations, and if one remembers that you are buying a bargain basement A4, the rest will fall in place and much heartburn can be avoided.

Cheers.
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Old 28th January 2009, 13:45   #81
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Fully agree to you raveendra , My point was based on many posts which
cite perceived Germanic origins and parts sharing with jetta as a justification of buying Skoda and justify and attitude of Skoda in India based on this factor.

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Originally Posted by Ravveendrra View Post

Skoda India too does not seem to have any pretensions about being a Luxury car maker. The dealers of course act as if they are selling you a bespoke Rolls. A lot of people in fact do not have any idea about Skoda's pre world war II legacy, some know Skoda only from it's association with Lada and Trabant in the heydays of the USSR and the jokes on them.
I think Skoda is responsible for making the attitude of dealers through training , promotional material etc. Dealers and employees at dealership parrot out the selling pitch taught to them by manufacturer.

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Originally Posted by Ravveendrra View Post
The problem in India seems to stem from the hype built up by the media, who in the years gone by insisted on comparing Skoda with the likes of Mercedes. The Indian consumer too has a penchant for willy-nilly placing downmarket brands on a pedestal as luxury brands - it is only in India that McDonalds, Subway, KFC etc. are treated as 'premium' and Bvlgari is treated as 'exclusive'.

Once this mis-conception about Skoda being a luxury marque is taken away alongwith the attendant high expectations, and if one remembers that you are buying a bargain basement A4, the rest will fall in place and much heartburn can be avoided.

Cheers.
Fully agree here
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Old 28th January 2009, 15:38   #82
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Originally Posted by Ravveendrra View Post
I bought a Skoda and was never under any illusion that it was a luxury brand. In fact, most Skoda owners I have met have no illusions about its brand positioning (even in the VW stable it comes last - after Audi and VW). Most Skoda buyers buy the cars for their size (decent), power (adequate), FE (fantastic) and handling (stiff suspension and handling to match). The lack of the 'bling' factor of the better brands is also attractive for some of us who do not wish the attention that a Merc will attract.

Cheers.
Absolutely the reasons for me as well to choose Laura.

Though I have spent roughly the same as an Accord on my DSG, It attracts much less attention (With the lights off though ).

Having said that and taken the plunge, Im hoping and praying that I do not go through the pain and frustration which many owners have reported.
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Old 28th January 2009, 17:05   #83
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I never took my honda city to authorized dealer after free services and I am yet to see any problem arriving in my car. It is maintained by big local garage here. I must say my local garage guys are well capable of fixing anything and everything and have at least 40+ cars from different brands, in their service center at any time. These guys are maintaining all our cars since last 7+ years so I have full confidence in them.

I think its better not to take car to dealer for normal problems, when it goes out of warranty. Am I wrong?
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Old 5th February 2009, 15:13   #84
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Default Update and end to the story

When I started this thread, I passed on all the information I had (which was what we were told by the service centre)

To put it in a nutshell, the Skoda Laura AT went for a standard service, there was a slight noise in one of the wheels and to the car owner's shock, a repair estimate in excess of Rs. 30,000/- was given, reason stated as flywheel assembly failure.

From this thread I gathered 2 important points.

1. The flywheel assembly was not supposed to fail at 10K kms
2. The Skoda A.S.S.'s opinion was not to be trusted blindly and perhaps a second opinion would help.

I emailed Skoda Czech on a member's suggestion and received a politically correct reply from them, but the reply also stated that Skoda India was an independent entity and they would not interfere.

We called Skoda at Aurangabad and discussed the matter with them. After various discussions it was clear that getting a new flywheel assembly from them would not be possible (unless we went to court)

Despite all that had happened, the car owner was adamant that no unauthorized service centre would touch the Laura.
When we called the service manager at Autobahn (The skoda dealership) we asked him again if he was dead sure that the flywheel assembly had failed. He said he was sure. Had he opened the car and checked thoroughly? NO. It seems he did not need to do that as he knew what he was saying.
The flywheel assembly needed changing and it was going to cost Rs. 30,000/- and that was his verdict.


We called Skoda Aurangabad and asked if the Laura could be looked at by an engineer from Skoda. They said that they would let us know if a senior engineer from the company would be visiting Mumbai.
In a few days the car was back at the Skoda dealership, only this time it was opened up and inspected by an engineer from Skoda Aurangabad.

His verdict?

Hold on to your hats Gentlemen and Ladies, here's the clincher!!

The flywheel assembly was absolutely fine. There was no reason to change it, nor was anything wrong with it. The slight sound from the wheel was sorted out, it was a simple mechanical matter.

The car is home and works perfectly.

Now tell me this: What if we were a regular uninformed consumer?
We would have spent Rs. 30,000/- and perhaps our perfectly working flywheel assy would have been changed (IF at all!) - is this a fair thing to do to a customer?

I'd like to invite your opinions on the outcome to this situation and hope that you will take away an important experience from it.

Last edited by Sam Kapasi : 5th February 2009 at 15:20.
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Old 5th February 2009, 15:23   #85
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Originally Posted by Sam Kapasi View Post
I'd like to invite your opinions on the outcome to this situation and hope that you will take away an important experience from it.
I'm almost speechless

Very very similar to another Skoda owner's experience (Sinhsha IIRC?) - they wanted him to change the FIP for a whopping amount of money & there was nothing wrong with it.

I'm fast changing my impression about Skoda dealerships in India! Maybe its a good idea now to send a legal notice to Autobahn & claim damages for mental harrassment!

Last edited by suman : 5th February 2009 at 15:26.
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Old 5th February 2009, 15:24   #86
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Wow!!

And what was AutoBahn's reaction ? Were they even slightly ashamed of their intentions/stupidity ?
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Old 5th February 2009, 15:25   #87
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Sam,

Did you email Skoda Czech on this turn of events.
What did they have to say about this?

What does Autobahn have to say about this?
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Old 5th February 2009, 15:27   #88
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What was the explanation fo the service team after the event?

Words to describe the dealership and their workers will be extremely unparliamentary to say the least. Either the workshop were utterly incompetent or were (as the British will say) being economical with the truth.
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Old 5th February 2009, 15:33   #89
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Congratulations on the success. It clearly shows how much these dealers are ready to milk the customers who dont have access to tbhp kind of forum.

AFAIK, the flywheel assembly could not have got damaged, without damage being caused to the gear assembly. So second opinion always helps, but on second thought how would a lay person be able to do that or even doubt some foul play.

Mansi
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Old 5th February 2009, 15:36   #90
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I must say some dealerships (at least of other brands) are more decent. A colleague had starting problems in his Santro. They diagnosed and changed a sensor. The problem persisted, and was identified as being caused by a relay. The Hyundai Workshop was decent enough to take back the sensor and refund the money.
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