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Old 8th December 2013, 01:47   #1
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Default Journey Ends - Fiat Punto @ 96000 in 4 Years

I am not a good writer, nor am I good with photos. Thus, if you want any of those you can head over to the excellent thread by SidIndica in the follwoing URL and drool!

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/long-t...l-stories.html

Since I am not a very good writer, nor will there be any photos accompanying this post, then why post this at all, seems to be the question in my mind, even as I type it out. This is a big thank YOU to the community on whose recommendations I bought the car, and by lurking around found many solutions, contacts, and massive help to sort out the issues that I faced with the car in these 4 years. Had it not been for this forum, and other forums (teamfiat) who are inspired by 'the team' (like to refer to our forum as that), god only knows what would have happened. I want to document some things, which just might help a fellow car owner out if ever they unfortunately ever encounter any similar issues with the car. Just like I was helped out by all the posts. Anyways, now to the specifics,
  • Model - Grande Punto Emotion Pack
  • Engine - 1.3 MJD, Diesel
  • Color - Dark Grey
  • Date of Purchase - 27/9/09
  • Date of Sale - 7/12/13
  • Kms Driven - 96017
  • Purchase Price - 6,50,000
  • Sale Price - 2,55,000
The car dealers were offering 2 lakhs (pre- negotiations) for the car, and that too 2/10 were willing to buy it. Thank god for the internet, that I was able to find an individual buyer for the car. Since I expected less buyers due to the 'FIAT' tag, this was no surprise and the resale value, I couldn't do anything about it. Gave the car away for what seemed like a fair enough price when researching the market, and screening prospective buyers. It seems low right now!!


The 'Fiat' Myth -
In my four years of ownership, I dealt with a lot of workshops for the service of the car. I'd like to report that things have improved , since the split with Tata. The fuel of the Fiat Myth is that you are screwed as soon as you buy a Fiat. The brand seems to have conjured up a monstrous amount of malice and bad blood in the market due to what happened specifically with the Uno and Palio. The hate is amazing and is quite prejudiced. it may be justified in some cases, but I am sure there are horror stories with every brand.

I have noticed that people due to this prejudice, as soon as they are made to wait even for a day for a stock part , seems to ride shotgun to oblivion that "we are screwed, fiat sucks, what crap did i get into, and this company should just wash my feet and drink the water, where is the damn customer service" in a jiffy. It ain't that bad, after experiencing VW, BMW, Hyundai hands on, I can pretty much confirm it is almost the same everywhere. What distinguishes the experience is our preconceived notion of what is good and bad in life. But the experience although much improved in the last one year or so, is anything but great. It is , what it is, standard workshop affair, nothing special, nothing worse than any other brand. And that is if you have reasonable expectations.

Replacements and Repairs (Worth Noting)-
  • Clutch replaced at 47,000 and 91,000 KMS respectively. One fine day, I was driving in the city, and I pressed the clutch,changed the gear, and something didn't feel right. Much to my surprise, the clutch stayed depressed in the foot well and didn't come back to its normal position. I changed the gear, and that worked out well, the car had become an automatic for 5 seconds. No clutch, put whichever gear you wish to. Had to tow the car to the workshop and get the clutch slave cylinder changed. Was not a very happy experience. ( Happened @ 91,000)
  • Was driving merrily in the town, with the ODO reading at around 61,000, suddenly noticed the steering had stopped working. I am not kidding you. It seemed like someone had replaced my steering with that of an Airbus A380 and put me on the road in town. It was horrifying. The steering was working alright, but you needed some extra strong arms to maneuver it to take turns or shift lanes. Upon Diagnosis, the steering pump had failed. The part took 10 days to arrive, again not a very happy experience.
  • My extended warranty was valid till July 2013. In august 2013, I noticed the AC had stopped functioning. Diagnosis was AC coil leakage, for which the entire dashboard was opened and fixed. Pretty Standard fare. But here is where it gets interesting. Took the car after getting ti fixed, the next day, found the AC to be not functioning again. Diagnosis - the compressor of the car failed. AC coil repair- 12,000, compressor replaced - 25000, total cost is Rs 37000. That one hurt...................a lot.Time spent in the workshop 4 days.
  • Shockers replaced 3 times, Shocker mounts replaced twice, Suspension arms replaced twice. You might say the dealers were taking me for a ride, but Since we own a car tire retail outlet/ mini workshop ourselves, it was tough for the workshops to offer a misdiagnosis and everything actually needed to be done.
  • @ 94000 KMS, noticed a peculiar thing. The speedometer would stop working and the car would take severe jolts in the 2nd and 3rd Gear. But the problem wouldn't exist in the morning, or when the temperature of the car was a little cool. But as soon as you drove the car for 7 to 8 KMS, Speedo would be dead, and so would your heart be as to what the hell is going on. Workshop didn't have a clue, uncle Google came to the rescue and the speedo Gear and Pinion was replaced. For this process, the entire gearbox was opened up and fitted back together. The diagnosis was provided by me
  • Due to bent tie rod, when the car was extremely new, Rama motors back then took me for a ride, when we didn't know anything about the car. I had documented this incident here on the forum. Rama motors Okhla replaced the entire steering assembly of the car, and since then, the alignment of the car was never correct. We own an alignment unit ourselves , so corrected it a bit ourselves, but till date, that steering after countless complaints, is never fully straight. No matter what you do, the tires will not be aligned. It was a bent tie rod end and the entire assembly change was forced. I do not know whether Fiat provides or doesn't provide separate tie-rod or its ends. Nobody ever got back to me after repeated emails. They were quick to pull up Rama motors when they were not returning my car though.
  • The fan, its resistance, and other related parts were changed under warranty around 70,000KMS.
  • Around 85,000 the blue&me stopped working, dealer quoted 12000 for the box. Asked them to check wiring, but they said its due to the AC moisture creeping in, and nothing could be done. They were not interested. Opened it up myself, noticed a cable had come loose, put it back in the connector, and it was back to life.
  • At 95000 that is 2 weeks back, noticed weird sounds while accelerating. The turbo pipe had leaked, got that repaired immediately.
  • Till 60,000 I followed the 15000 KMS service interval, post that, I followed the 10,000 KMS rule.
  • Diesel Pump started leaking at 92,000. New Diesel Pump - 24000 Rs. * wanted to cry that day*, eventually got it resealed by the workshop mechanic by Jugaar and paid 300 Rs privately. Running well till now.
  • Wiper stalk stopped functioning recently. It became loose, was asked to replace it , they referred to it as the combination switch that controls the airbags and claim it connects quite a few things in the car. Cost? 8,500 . That was when I decided to give the car away.
  • This all is in addition to the standard services and everything else.
  • After typing that out, holy hell my wallet seems lighter. Must control the urge to back calculate the expenses put in depreciation and oh well......*sigh*
  • This is not the entire list.
The Good things -
  • The steering. I will miss you buddy. No where else for around 6.5 Lakhs will you get this much feedback or just the sheer "feel" of driving a car. None whatsoever. This is the absolute best that i have driven this side of 15 Lakhs, and in that Bracket i am including the Skoda and the VW family of cars.
  • The down force on the highway. Monstrous grip, the car literally dares you to not slow down during slight lane changes, the confidence that this thing inspires on the highway is phenomenal.
  • Blue & Me - Back in 2009, apart from the Punto, no car had Bluetooth for this price range. Used it night and day, loved every bit of it.
  • Built like a tank, you feel safe while sitting the car. Once a honda City from the side, that car's bumper fell off. I got down to check, apart from the normal paint exchange, there wasn't even a dent. The double metal sheet on the body is quite good and solid.
  • The engine area cover underneath the car, you golden piece of block. Thank god for you.
  • The steering.......*sigh*
  • Tuli Motors - Rajouri Garden/ Wazirpur. Competent guys, helped me out every inch of the way.
The Bad things -
  • Rama motors, Techno Najafgarh, the less I say about these guys the better. But I can't squarely blame these workshops, as I believe if by your good luck you encounter the right individuals , you will have better experiences. In my case, I ended up with the wrong guys.
  • The interiors - plastic sucked every bit of the way. With falling glove boxes, to the rear parcel tray carving out its own space, to the back plastic panels never really settling in, the interior quality just sucked.
  • Me spending a lot of time in the workshop compared to any other car I own. I bought the car for driving not for having tea in the garage and traveling back in autos.
Summary-
Q - Would I buy a FIAT again?
Ans - Maybe in 2 years I will CONSIDER it, when things will be much better hopefully. I was young (24) when I bought the car. Now after paying through my nose and the resale value and learning all about earning money, I care about cost of ownership. back then I didn't.

Q - Did I face what I read and heard about FIAT before and during ownership?
Ans - No. I had my share of things that were not quite favorable, but I expected that when I bought the car.

Advice to FIAT -
Not everyone will write to Mangesh, read Team - BHP or be in the know of things. An average owner will not buy the car for the steering , the dynamics, or anything. The questions for mass market success are "Kitna deti hai", "Ketna Kharcha?" and "Kitni resale?". Not everybody will be as patient as me with failing car parts left, right and center. You guys are already facing a severe uphill battle in the market, and are ruining it further by destroying what you have. Induce some common sense into yourselves, get out of fancy consulting contracts, hire GTO as company adviser (lol), and wake up! One question is where is the Punto Evo? Have you looked at the interiors of your competitors?
----------------------------
Some of the statements above will sound as if i have been through a bad experience , but that's not the case. It is purely subjective. I feel things are steadily improving, but it may be a case of a rapidly fast moving market, with a company not taking decisions in time and ending up extremely late to the party.Overall, the Punto served me well for 96000 KMS, but with the kind of parts that were needing to be replaced, I had to pass it on. The engine timing belt was due, the gear lever was playing around a little too much, the suspension arm was again rattling, wipers had stopped functioning.

But, but, but the drive , the car when everything clicked, was marvelous for me, when I threw the wallet calculations out of the window. :-D

P.S. There maybe cars with 1,50,000 on the ODO and none of the issues above. It all depends on one's own luck, and the car. FIAT wasn't that bad for me, just strictly average on the whole. The car though, shone through.

Last edited by Rehaan : 9th December 2013 at 17:42. Reason: Removed 3rd smiley ;)
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Old 8th December 2013, 05:32   #2
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Default re: Journey Ends - Fiat Punto @ 96000 in 4 Years

I am not happy with the amount of money you ended up spending on the car. But that fact that you are happy and miss the car settles it for me.
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Old 8th December 2013, 06:32   #3
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Great post - you have just narrated every fiat owner's story! You can surely smile now, smilenowdde03. Which car replaced punto now in your stable?
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Old 8th December 2013, 08:43   #4
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Default re: Journey Ends - Fiat Punto @ 96000 in 4 Years

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Originally Posted by download2live View Post
I am not happy with the amount of money you ended up spending on the car. But that fact that you are happy and miss the car settles it for me.
In the past 5000KMS, the failing parts had established a kind of a domino effect, with everything in sight failing. The expenditures were becoming huge, and even I was now getting irritated. Thus, sold it off. This particular car ate my wallet up and has costed 1.5 lakhs + in repairs. Even I am not happy, but nothing could be done as I bought this car squarely on my own, everyone advised against it, but I was adamant, and since there was a loan on my head, my finances never worked out.

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Originally Posted by chakri400 View Post
Great post - you have just narrated every fiat owner's story! You can surely smile now, smilenowdde03. Which car replaced punto now in your stable?
Thanks, the i10 Grand Asta optional petrol has replaced the Punto. I think when it comes to FIAT, everyone needs to tone down their expectations and just enjoy the car, because it is not like nobody warned you.
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Old 8th December 2013, 11:41   #5
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Default re: Journey Ends - Fiat Punto @ 96000 in 4 Years

@smilenow, I think it is your down to earth and forgiving nature and you are still smiling now even after having soooooo many issues. I suspect either you got a lemon, the dealer has milked or the car was not handled in a right way(I might be wrong at this hopefully).

With the issues you have faced, it feels like a hyundai car, since I know many people with major failures in hyundai, 99.99% went unreported in online forums.

But with the issues you have faced, I think you should have pursued the case with Fiat. Being so much forgiving for reason such as 'the car handles well', 'the car feels nice' etc. is not healthy business-wise. It is a hard earned money spent on the car, and customer will expect a certain level of service especially because we pay premium for Fiat cars.

Its high time Fiat should understand the fact that the new/existing customers are doing 'ehsaan' on them in their dark hours.
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Old 8th December 2013, 12:06   #6
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If you had taken up with FIAT, they bother to give some goodwill warranty. I mean for the AC and combination switch. Those are the major expenses for you after warranty.

Your Punto is from one of the initial batches and niggles were quite common then. Also, if you compare your car with a current day Punto, the latter has much lesser import content.

Was your clutch SC replaced under warranty anytime? Asking cos initial batches had a plastic piston, while the latest ones have metal ones.
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Old 8th December 2013, 12:35   #7
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Default re: Journey Ends - Fiat Punto @ 96000 in 4 Years

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Originally Posted by Speed Pujari View Post
@smilenow, I think it is your down to earth and forgiving nature and you are still smiling now even after having soooooo many issues. I suspect either you got a lemon, the dealer has milked or the car was not handled in a right way(I might be wrong at this hopefully)
The dealer never milked me, nor did I handle the car in a wrong way. But the possibility is a lemon is quite plausible. If anyone goes through the service history at a FIAT dealership, you'd be amazed at the bills.

Quote:
With the issues you have faced, it feels like a hyundai car, since I know many people with major failures in hyundai, 99.99% went unreported in online forums.
Just bought an i10 Grand , and well yay for me after reading that!

Quote:
But with the issues you have faced, I think you should have pursued the case with Fiat. Being so much forgiving for reason such as 'the car handles well', 'the car feels nice' etc. is not healthy business-wise. It is a hard earned money spent on the car, and customer will expect a certain level of service especially because we pay premium for Fiat cars.
To tell you honestly, I was quite a fire band and had tons of fights with dealers, with FIAT, fought it all the way through, initially.
The old thread is here -
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...car-scene.html (The 'customer' in the indian car scene)

But honestly, got so sick and tired that by 40,000 KMS I had given up on the company itself. I didn't have the time to pursue things in such a manner, with countless emails, proofs, shoddy workshop personnel , I was just tired.

Then there was this too,
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...-problems.html (Punto - Electrical problems!)

It was my only car, and couldn't afford to keep it in the workshop , haggling with FIAT and the workshops. I completely gave up on fighting and negotiating after the first steering assembly change.I put in the car feels nice on the highway part, so that this doesn't look or read like one more sob story. But overall, it has been a sour ownership experience for me, when I look at it in the full.

Quote:
Its high time Fiat should understand the fact tat the new/existing customers are doing 'ehsaan' on them in their dark hours.
Well, they are losing customers by word of mouth. I would never recommended a regular joe a FIAT , because if one is not into the nitty gritty details of car performance and everything, one will feel utterly disgusted. God know how many are like me, and how many would advise against the car/brand. I am certainly not touching a FIAT anytime soon even with a ten foot pole.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRIV3R View Post
If you had taken up with FIAT, they bother to give some goodwill warranty. I mean for the AC and combination switch. Those are the major expenses for you after warranty.
Tried contacting them and they refused it upfront. I argued it had been only one month since the warranty had expired and look at the bills, but nope, no luck there.

Quote:
Your Punto is from one of the initial batches and niggles were quite common then. Also, if you compare your car with a current day Punto, the latter has much lesser import content.
My Punto was bought in July'09, it was from the first batch, was one of first ones in Delhi. I agree, the current day punto has much lesser import content. Know that for a fact.

Quote:
Was your clutch SC replaced under warranty anytime? Asking cos initial batches had a plastic piston, while the latest ones have metal ones.
They refused warranty on that too. Infact, since you mentioned, the plastic and metal parts, the speedo gear and pinion was also made of plastic in the initial batches ,thus the failure. In the newer ones it is coming with a metal make.

Fun Fact - My power window switches failed twice and the water jet spray motor failed once. It is a tiny little motor that costs 500 bucks to replace, but here is the fun part. You need to open the entire front bumper since it is located in the most awkward place of all places, somewhere underneath the left wheel cover.

Last edited by smilenow : 8th December 2013 at 12:42.
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Old 8th December 2013, 17:41   #8
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Default re: Journey Ends - Fiat Punto @ 96000 in 4 Years

I just couldn't agree with you more mate.

The problem with Fiats, as many have already pointed out, is not with their products but with their Sales and Service department. I own a Linea with 90000 km clocked in 2.5 years. I have extremely fond memories of the car, especially with the kind of places that it has taken us and got us home safely. As with Fiats, things that are right are quickly balanced out by things that are wrong. Right from the day when my car was delivered till today, I had terrible times with regards to servicing and spares availability. As a result, I have promised myself never to buy a Fiat again and know so many other people, including those in this forum, who echo our thoughts.

Whether it be stocking of spares or diagnosing issues or basic manners of Service Advisers, Fiat A.S.S has failed miserably in all these departments. I was so optimistic when they announced that they were parting ways with Tata. But now all that optimism has gone down the drain. The only difference now is the absence of any Indicas or taxi drivers fighting with the Service Advisers

I am looking at replacing my car with a mainstream manufacturer such as a Hyundai or a Honda, but looking at the resale value of your Punto worries me a lot. Wonder what my car would fetch considering that its driven for over 1 lakh kms by then.

Anyways, Fiat is a done and dusted chapter for you. Congratulations on choosing a Grand i10 and wishing you many many years of trouble free ownership.

Last edited by rohittunga : 8th December 2013 at 17:50.
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Old 8th December 2013, 17:47   #9
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Congratulations for the 'Grand new lingo.' Has your running gone down as you moved from a diesel to a petrol? Or the anticipated deregulation of the diesel prices?
Anyway you have got a nice high revving engine-the KAPPA. May it serve you with smiles for miles.
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Old 8th December 2013, 20:57   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smilenow View Post
Tried contacting them and they refused it upfront. I argued it had been only one month since the warranty had expired and look at the bills, but nope, no luck there.
Whom did you contact? Did you specifically write to a person called Mangesh? He is the one who is customer oriented and takes care of service and spare related issues. He has taken care of one of my sales escalations too, though it was not under his command.

Quote:
They refused warranty on that too. Infact, since you mentioned, the plastic and metal parts, the speedo gear and pinion was also made of plastic in the initial batches ,thus the failure. In the newer ones it is coming with a metal make.
Again, was your car never ever recalled for replacing this part under warranty for the CSC? AFAIK, all initial batches were recalled after many cars broke down. IIRC, our mod .anshuman's Punto too was one of them.

Am not sure how the recall was done though. Whether Fiat contacted each and every custom and informed or if it was done when car went it for routine service!

We got couple of Fiat's in our garage and thankfully all's well till date. Touch wood.
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Old 8th December 2013, 20:58   #11
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Default re: Journey Ends - Fiat Punto @ 96000 in 4 Years

Oh boy oh boy! To be frank I have almost finalized purchasing Fiat Grande Punto. I test drove the car couple of times and really liked the car for all it's positives. Actually I had booked i20 CRDI Sportz but due to its bad steering and suspension I had to keep that on hold but after going through your post, I am having second opinion on Fiat Grande Punto. I can't keep running from pillar to post for car repairs and for car services. Good that I stumbled upon your post. Thanks a lot mate for sharing the story!
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Old 8th December 2013, 21:21   #12
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Oh boy oh boy! To be frank I have almost finalized purchasing Fiat Grande Punto. I test drove the car couple of times and really liked the car for all it's positives. Actually I had booked i20 CRDI Sportz but due to its bad steering and suspension I had to keep that on hold but after going through your post, I am having second opinion on Fiat Grande Punto. I can't keep running from pillar to post for car repairs and for car services. Good that I stumbled upon your post. Thanks a lot mate for sharing the story!
Wow! One sad story and change of opinion? I wouldn't change my priorities or requirements just because say someone got a lemon. Maybe, that's me.

There is another Punto on this forum which had done close to 2L kms, owned by epicenter.rules, and many other wonderful ownership reviews. Go through them and take a decision. The current crop of Fiats are niggle free, when compared to the initial batches.
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Old 8th December 2013, 21:37   #13
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Default re: Journey Ends - Fiat Punto @ 96000 in 4 Years

Wow!! One hell of a story and a sad one at that. Must be a relief to see the car off your Garage. Hope you have a much better experience with the Grand i10

Well I have a Punto too. So its not all that comforting to go through the problems you had to endure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sabsubs View Post
Oh boy oh boy! To be frank I have almost finalized purchasing Fiat Grande Punto. I test drove the car couple of times and really liked the car for all it's positives. Actually I had booked i20 CRDI Sportz but due to its bad steering and suspension I had to keep that on hold but after going through your post, I am having second opinion on Fiat Grande Punto. I can't keep running from pillar to post for car repairs and for car services. Good that I stumbled upon your post. Thanks a lot mate for sharing the story!
As I said before I have recently bought a Punto and I did that after going through a hell lot of threads in team-bhp. I guess there are enough examples of reasonably trouble free ownership too. But yes I guess its a given that in general you cant expect the after sales experience to be as easy as the Marutis and the Hyundais. But then it is also a lot about finding a good service outlet which should not be too difficult in the major cities today as apparently Fiat is trying a lot to improve its after-sales.
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Old 8th December 2013, 21:54   #14
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Wow! One sad story and change of opinion? I wouldn't change my priorities or requirements just because say someone got a lemon. Maybe, that's me.
Not one sad story but there are many in team-bhp as well as other online forums. I had seen another thread started by a punto owner just couple of days. I am unable find that thread. These 2 are just examples.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vibbs View Post

As I said before I have recently bought a Punto and I did that after going through a hell lot of threads in team-bhp. I guess there are enough examples of reasonably trouble free ownership too. But yes I guess its a given that in general you cant expect the after sales experience to be as easy as the Marutis and the Hyundais. But then it is also a lot about finding a good service outlet which should not be too difficult in the major cities today as apparently Fiat is trying a lot to improve its after-sales.
What you are saying is true. I am not against Fiat but after reading so many horror stories about Fiat after sales service I am very skeptical about it. Hope that their service improves. Sorry to bump your thread smilenow. Wish you many happy miles with you new car.
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Old 8th December 2013, 23:51   #15
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Default re: Journey Ends - Fiat Punto @ 96000 in 4 Years

Congrats, smilenow, in finding for the past 4 years, the share of joy that a Fiat gives. Also congrats for having broken loose too.!

Guys, smilenow is absolutely right, this is a serious problem. Fiat's, to MANY, have cost quite alot (both in terms of $$ and downtime).

I bought a Pre-worshipped Fiat Linea from a doctor who truly dedicatedly LOVED the car for its true qualities. But having gone through similar experiences as 'smilenow', he'd eventually given up. His final parting words with the car were, "It was a good run but it just can't go on".

I tried to point this out (Fiat Grande Punto : Test Drive & Review) to others on the forum, but perhaps failed to draw a better picture.

Hence, got this answer :

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRIV3R View Post
@GrammarNazi: Most of the items on your bill seem to be not a part of scheduled maintenance.

Long story short, you cannot say that it costed 40k or 26k to service your car! Projects the wrong image.
Hope Fiat can PLEASE understand that we need them to have more control over service centers and ensured customers (most of whom are enthusiasts, and hence brand ambassadors of sorts) got a fair deal when it came to service costs.

Last edited by GrammarNazi : 8th December 2013 at 23:53.
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