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Old 1st August 2007, 01:07   #1
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Thumbs down A reliable Indica Xeta - CNG?? ECU changed 7 times in 15,000km

Guys, this is a not so pleasant review of my Indica Xeta-CNG. The following is an email I sent to the general manager Mr. Mukherji of Vivek Autos, New Delhi. I guess the title is self explanatory. For the details read on:

Dear sir,
I purchased an Indica Xeta GVG from Vivek Autos on 1st December 2006 under my father's (P.K. Sharma) name with the intention of having it converted to run on CNG from the TATA approved installer Shrimankar. The following are the details of my car:

Registration number: DL 3C AJ 9353
Chassis number: 600521LTZPG2115
Engine number: 475S156LTZPG2112
Colour: Salsa red
Order Number: SO-VivAut-0607-00376

In January 2007, I got the CNG kit with Lambda installed from Shrimankar. The following are the details of the CNG kit fitted:

Kit number: 203488
Cylinder number: 0981 KC
Invoice number: R 411

From the day of the installation, I have been unhappy with the performance of the car as well as the services of Shrimankar. The car was running fine in the initial days after the installation but soon it started suffering from lack of power on gas mode. The fuel efficiency was also around 16km per kilo of gas without A/C which was significantly lower than what it should have been as some Xeta owners were claiming 19 km per kilo of gas at the time. This prompted me to take the car back to Shrimankar to have the settings adjusted and/or the LCS re-tuned. Even after numerous visits to have the setting adjusted and the LCS tuned thrice with the scanner the problems refused to disappear permanently.

Soon afterwards the car developed symptoms of a more serious problem. The problems in gas mode remained status quo but even on petrol the engine started misfiring and refused to even start in the mornings. This time I brought the car to your workshop and ultimately told that the ECU would need to be replaced. This came as a shock for me as i knew fully well how vital the functions of the ECU are in fuel injected petrol engines and it is not a component that is prone to failure. A bigger shock was when I was told that all Xetas with the 1.2l engine were having their ECUs blown left right and centre. I took consolation in the fact that I wasn't the only one suffering from these problems and hoped that all the problems would disappear after the installation of the new ECU which I was told had been upgraded to comply with the CNG kit. This was the reason why I also did not mind the three week wait for the ECU to arrive despite being given false promises as to its arrival.

The new ECU arrived and the petrol related problems were sorted but the gas related problems remained. However, the same problems mentioned above resurfaced within about 2000km and the solution given was to have another ECU transplant.

Another 2000km or so and the same problem occured for the third time. This time however I was suggested to have three diodes installed in the wiring and a fuel pump switch to manually activate/deactivate the fuel pump. The diodes would supposedly prevent the new ECU from going bust and the switch would ensure that the car wouldn't consume petrol while running on gas. This I got done at the assurances made by the service advisor as he had also mentioned that the modifications had been approved by TATA. The fact that this work was not covered under warranty (for whatever reason) and I had to pay for it also did not bother me as I had become frustarted by the sheer lack of reliability of the car which had at the time not even completed 10,000 kms.

Having the diodes installed introduced even more problems in gas mode. The throttle would suddenly fail to respond and i would have to restart the engine. Idling had become erratic and this would lead to tripping of the A/C. Shrimankar could not diagnose this problem and would adjust the reducer settings to pacify me each time. And since the problems were intermittent I could not recreate the problems during the test-drive after the setting was changed. When I brought the car to Vivek Autos. I was informed of a new wiring harness which had been sent by TATA to Shrimankar and was advised to get it installed as it would supposedly cure all the problems that were occuring on the Xetas. A point to note is that I had been to Shrimankar the day before and no one had even bothered to tell me about the new wiring harness.

So one fine working day I go to Shrimankar to have the new wiring harness installed only to be told by their DGM that it was out of stock and would require at least 15 days to arrive. I raise this issue at Vivek Autos to verify the DGM's claim and was informed that it was all lies. I was promptly given an appointment through Mr. Ravi Aggarwal (TATA Motors, Gurgaon) to have the new wiring harness installed. I reach Shrimankar at 10 A.M on the day of the appointment only to be told that they have a quota of retro-fitting four cars per day and they had already accepted four cars for the day. When I mentioned that I had an appointment they refused to acknowledge it and lay the blame on miscommunication. The day was Saturday and I was told to come back on Monday morning and the work would be carried out then for sure. So Monday morning I reach Shrimankar at 10 A.M. and this time they say that they require a letter signed by Mr. Ravi Aggarwal which should have been given to me by the dealer through whom I had come i.e. Vivek Autos. No one at Shrimankar had mentioned this to me when I was there on the preceeding saturday, no one at Vivek Autos had informed me of this and neither had Mr. Ravi Aggarwal mentioned this. I made a call to Mr. Ravi Aggarval to confirm the need for this letter and he agreed to have it faxed to them. The fax needed three reminders and two hours to reach Shrimankar from Gurgaon until which Shrimankar refused to start work on the car despite having Mr. Ravi Aggarwal's assurance that he would fax the letter. It took until 5 p.m. for the work to be completed which was at maximum a three hour job. This I know because I was there to witness it. The test drive afer the work was completed left me with a smile on my face for the first time since the car was purchased as there was no sluggishness in the performance. As for the fuel efficiency, it had improved dramatically from 14.5 kmpk of gas with 100% A/C to about 17 with 100% A/C. No problems whatsoever after that in CNG mode however I did suspect some misfiring beginning to occur on petrol after about a month of driving.

During one of my visits to Vivek Autos for carrying out some minor work on the car, I was informed that yet another wiring harness had been sent by Tata to Shrimankar to be retro-fitted on the Xetas and I was advised to get that installed also even though there were no obvious problems with the car. So this time I got an appointment after a two week delay through Mr. Ravi Aggarwal and was told to have the car checked at Vivek Autos before having the retrofitment carried out at Shrimankar. In addition he made it clear to me that I would most probably have to leave the car overnight at Shrimankar due to their strange working methodology. I agreed. During the precautionary check-up at Vivek Autos, the car was emitting huge quantities of smoke while running on petrol. The car had completed just over 13,500kms. All spark plugs were changed and the gap adjusted as necessary in the new ones. But the problem of black smoke persisted and it was decided to change the ECU which solved the problem.

I then took the car to Shrimankar where I was told rudely by a certain Ms. Mamta that the work on it could only start the day after and I could leave the car with them overnight if I wished. Upon enquiring when I would be delivered the car she replied in the evening the day after. So using common sense, one would ask if the work could be completed in a single day then why was I not given the appointment for the day after itself? I further asked her to give me the exact time which she thought would be suitable for taking delivery if I gave my car early morning the day after. She promised 3 pm on her own and this I took in writing from their DGM. So that is another perfectly good working day wasted. The next day I arrived at 9.30 AM only to witness the staff trickling in at a leisurely 10 A.M. I remind Ms. Mamta firmly but politely that I should have the car by 3 PM. She agreed and with a smile on her face says that it would be not a problem. So I arrive at 3 PM to take the delivery of the car and finish of some pending errands. But to my utter disbelief the car is parked exactly where I had left it in the morning and the bonnet hasn't even been opened. This is the point where I lose my patience and raise a huge issue with everyone at present at Shrimankar. Ms. Mamta can't figure out what she has done wrong and appoints two mechanics to complete the work on the car but says it would require another two hours. When I raise the issue with Mr. Jignesh, who happens to be the most senior person at Shrimankar Delhi, he plainly refuses to acknowldge any fault on the part of Shrimankar and states that neither he nor his employees have any commitments towards the customer or TATA. Disgusted at this attitude, I immediately called up Mr. Ravi Aggarwal who acknowledges my problem, gives me a contact number for a certain Mr. Sudeep at Shrimankar Mumbai and promised to get back to me after talking to Mr. Sudeep himself. He is yet to "get back to me". Upon talking to Mr. Sudeep myself, he acknowledges that I have not receieved the kind of treatment I should have received being a customer but advises me that since the day has pretty much been wasted I might as well wait the additional two hours. At that point I just wanted to take delivery of the car and leave...which I did at 6 p.m.

The second retro-fitment did not make a noticable difference in the car performancewise. The fuel efficiency did however increase by about 10% from the earlier retro-fitment. This was until ten days had elapsed. Then the problem of misfiring in petrol and severe black smoke arised for the nth time. In fact the car even failed the PUC test. In addition the car started consuming petrol while running on gas...something which had never happened to the extent of being noticable. I brought the car to Vivek Autos and the problem was solved by another ECU transplant.

Ten days later, the same problems surface and the same solution is proposed with the suspicion that the last ECU that was fitted may have been fauly. The car has at this point covered just under 15,000kms.

Eleven days later (today) the exact same problems arise and the exact same solution is provided. The car is now at 15,300 km.

So, sir this is the saga of how troublesome this brand new Xeta has been for me. I have all the records of the car from day one to support the list and frequency of problems that I have mentioned. I am sure you have them too as the car has only been touched by your personnel. I was contemplating the WagonR LPG before going for the Xeta CNG but it was the practicality of the Xeta and the economy of the CNG that made me tilt towards the Xeta and ultimately possess it. But the amount of headache and the amount of time which has been wasted by the problems on this car have seriously made me regret my decision. This is definitely not the crap I signed up for when I bought a TATA product. I had immense respect for TATA Motors. And the key word in this sentence is "had". And this is coming from a person who also has an Indica DLS and a Palio in the immediate family. I am sick and tired of visiting the Vivek Autos and Shrimankar. Heck, I am even sick and tired of the customer feedback calls that i receive after each visit. Why does TATA even bother with these when the obvious problems of the customers are being ignored? Why don;t they spend the resources on actually displaying sutomert support rather than pretending to care? Yes, I understand that the problems are primarily due to the incompetecy at Shrimankar but as a customer I expect TATA to pull up the strings on them to ensure that the customer does not suffer through their technical incompetency, their poor service and lack of professional attitude. Sadly, this is not what I have seen. It seems that TATA is happily enjoying the boost in sales of the XETAs due to the CNG option and conveniently forgets about the customers after that. This is the reason why I am sending this email to you as I have received exemplary service and support from Vivek Autos but have no reason to expect the same from TATA.

Sir, I hope you do whatever is necessary to highlight this unpleasant episode to TATA so that they redeem their respect to some respect. And if yet nothing is done then I may as well set fire to the Xeta and highlight this episode through various media such as www.team-bhp.com, Autocar and Mouthshut. TATA has it all to lose. I don't!

Yours sincerely,
Deepak Sharma
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Old 1st August 2007, 01:32   #2
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youch you are one scary guy!
if i was mr mukherji i would have come to you personally and gifted you a brand new cng car!

i am very sad hearing this, and i wouch not to go for a tata vehicle ever agian.
thats it, i have also had enough of reading this kind of neglegence faced by customers, trully pathetic state tata is at now!


Last edited by xinome : 1st August 2007 at 01:33.
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Old 1st August 2007, 01:45   #3
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Baap re! I hope your Mr. Mukherji reads this mail in its entirety. I do not mean to sound trivial but you should have done some editing on this mail before you sent it. Not in terms of content but in terms of length.

Lets hope your problem gets sorted out. This sounds like either a case of lemon or else a problem that has been aggravated by some monkeys who worked on your car. I have a strong hunch that it can still be rectified to the pink of health if handled by a proper technician. The reason I think so is that most lemons turn out so in multiple departments. Whereas in your case the problems started with the CNG kint installation and still center around the same. Its a very localized problem that occur due to some faulty work at the retrofitment stage.
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Old 1st August 2007, 07:28   #4
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Damn... really really sad to hear this. If they can't support a CNG kitted car properly, why sell it in the first place. I hope the mail doesnt fall on deaf ears. Good luck and hope it gets sorted out soon!
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Old 1st August 2007, 07:36   #5
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Damn, I can understand your agony, but next time send a mail with some more editing, sometimes these guys tend to ignore a bigger mail...

Actually he should take back your car and give you a new one for free !!

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Old 1st August 2007, 07:50   #6
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Default Can't expect better from my Junkindica's siblings.

Originally Posted by reignofchaos View Post
Damn... really really sad to hear this. If they can't support a CNG kitted car properly, why sell it in the first place. I hope the mail doesnt fall on deaf ears. Good luck and hope it gets sorted out soon!
Its ironical but this is exactly what the Judge at the consumer forum asked the lawyer representing TATA but in relation to the deplorable ability of the car to climb North railway over bridge in Ernakulam at rated payload with the AC switched on. I too am one of those disgruntled owners who tried to save a few bucks by buying a junk car and hope you get a fair price when you sell your car.

Bye and wear your seatbelts
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Old 1st August 2007, 09:10   #7
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I really feel sorry for you. This is a nightmare that nobody would like to experience. Everyone understands that the first and foremost thing is reliability and dependability. If vehicle is falling on these parameters then it would never gain the trust of customers.

My friend has an India V2 Diesel and he is happy with mileage but he admits that the vehicle needs far more attention (maintenance wise) than an equivalent petrol car like WagonR etc. Initially he was happy but now he is not sure if his decision of buying Indica was the right one.

Also, after hearing such stories from others and reading similar articles, I have vowed never to owned TATA vehicle. I had a bad experience with TATA Teleservices as well. This makes me wonder how much people would be able to trust TATA 1 Lakh vehicle. If Indica is not yet at par with Maruti and Hyundai etc. (even after being in Market for long) then what to expect with much hyped new 1Lakh vehicle? And interestingly TATA is planning to take over Rover/Jaguar brands. I hope the result of the merger would be apparant in improved TATA vehciles engineering and I pray the it is not the other way around .... Rover/Jaguar going TATA way
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Old 1st August 2007, 09:16   #8
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Please also write to overdrive magazine. From my personal experience, they are very helpful in such matters.

Again and again, we are getting threads about Xeta's quality. TATA sure has a long way to go in terms of quality.
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Old 1st August 2007, 09:42   #9
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Xinome: My gripe is not against Mr Mukherji or Vivek Autos. In fact they have been very supportive. They were the ones who kept me informed of the updates regarding the retrofitment. My problem is with Tata's failure to take concrete steps against Shrimankar and ensuring that the Xeta owners get some peace of mind after buying a brand new car. And there are countless examples like mine in Delhi alone. So it is not as if TATA are unaware of what is going on.

Zappo: I do realise the email is lengthy but i just could not summarise it further. In fact there are some details I have probably missed out due to hazy memory. It is definitely not a case of me getting stuck with a lemon. The root of the problem is the shoddy installation carried out by Shrimankar with regards to the CNG kit. And there have been countless cases of multiple ECU failures on the same car. And yes you are right in that even now the problem is not something that cannot be solved. I have been told that after the second retrofitment, most Xetas are running absolutely fine. So i suspect that it is yet another instance of technical incompetency of the Shrimankar guys. Fellow BHPian Wolfinstein also had an issue with his ECU on his Xeta which was traced to a faulty connection of the ECU after the retrofitment had been carried out.

Crazy driver:Apart from CNG related problems, I dont have anything negative to write about the Xeta's quality issues. Wolfinstein also shares that opinion.
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Old 1st August 2007, 09:59   #10
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really sad to hear this .. I understand that all the ECU replacement and wiring etc was done under warranty and u didn't have to shell out any money !! if not that I would have seriously considered to approach the consumer forum, especially because the problem still persists as you write
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Old 1st August 2007, 10:01   #11
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Your car was messed up during the fitment of the CNG kit. Thats where they need to start out from.

Deepak, as for the mail, agreed you couldnt summarize further, but this is too long, and you would be lucky if the concerned person reads through the entire mail.
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Old 1st August 2007, 10:15   #12
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That is really sad to hear & I'm sure it's been a bloody inconvenience to you to get the car repetedly fixed. I too think that either these Shrimankar monkeys messed up big time while fitting the CNG kit in your car or you have a Lemon.

I would also suggest sending this email to TATA directly rather than sticking to only the dealer, also I'm sure some people here have some high-level e-mail addresses of TATA which you can use.

P.S. PM Steeroid/Suman, they'll give you some email addresses that can be helpful to you.
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Old 1st August 2007, 11:11   #13
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Hmm, Very saddening. I hope they sort it out well. My family Xeta CNG was almost the same lot (a couple of days before yours) and except replacement of the Lambda sensor(idling problems) within 1k km, it has not had ANY CNG problems whatsoever.

I guess its time Tata either insourced the CNG fitment or brought some competition to Shrimankar. Sloppiness of this magnitude is unpardonable. Do keep us updated. How badly is the car functioning in petrol mode btw? Still misfiring?
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Old 1st August 2007, 11:35   #14
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This thread reminds me of "Tata Xeta Ad".
'Dumb Dumb... Life gives you another chance"
So if life gives you another chance, please don't ever think of TATA.
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Old 1st August 2007, 11:51   #15
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Very sad to know abt it ! pzl spk to TATA companay directly and ask them to replace your car, after all you have putr your hard invested money in it

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