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Old 12th September 2017, 01:33   #1
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Default Discrimination because you have a cheap car!

Was chatting with another Chennai BHPian who had an Alto which had a strange rattle which took a lot of time to diagnose, and had to pass through multiple workshops/service advisers until he found a guy willing to go through the trouble. It reminded my of my own experiences with my car. I have read about mechanics going the extra mile to fix some E-Class or Baleno or some VAG car, but when you pull up in an Indica or an Alto, suddenly the mechanic's enthusiasm rolls up into a tight ball and he hides somewhere very hard to find. I understand that your typical Indica or Alto owner may think of a car as an appliance, but there are enthusiasts among them too.

The hardest experience was a Chennai garage, which I will not name, where the owner (himself a hardcore enthusiast and BHPian if I recall correctly) dismissed some of my more nuanced problems (vibrations under very specific conditions etc) saying that it's an old Indica, its like that only. The same people have gone the extra mile in servicing Fiats and Octavias, and there are plenty of stellar reviews for the place. I too was resigned to my fate until i found a MyTVS with a receptive service advisor and owner, who managed to fix all the small issues over two services, and at a fraction of the other workshops (the only compromise being the long time and follow ups, but I'm ok with that). It was then that I realized that there are subtle and subconscious class hierarchies among us enthusiasts too.

Unlike Zens and Maruti 800's, Indicas and Altos have not reached classic status yet, along with tons of bread and butter cars like Santros, Wagon R's etc. While the masses generally give status by the cost of a car, you would assume that at least enthusiasts like you and me would appreciate a well maintained car, no matter what make or model. Have any of you been discriminated against by fellow enthusiasts because you drive a plebeian car?

Last edited by tsk1979 : 15th September 2017 at 13:17. Reason: Using CAPS where necessary
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Old 12th September 2017, 02:46   #2
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Default re: Discrimination because you have a cheap car!

The windshield wiper on my Ritz was making a lot of noise. I had taken the car to a Maruti Authorized service center in Bangalore. He replaced the wiper/rubber even though the old one was cleaning just fine. The noise never went away. I was told that's how a Ritz wiper sounds- very noisy. I asked for a second opinion at another dealer in Mysore. The people here were a lot less busy. They took an hour to diagnose the problem - which was rust. They took a few parts apart, lubed it and got it to operate as good as new.
Discrimination has a lot of negative connotations attached to it. I call it personal preference. Preference to work on bigger better things. I think the service guy in Bangalore had a lot of other bigger issues to address, and was so busy that he cared little about my niggles. The guy in Mysore seemed to have a lot of time, he walked around the car sipping coffee and seemed to be generally having a good time in life with less work.

Last edited by tsk1979 : 15th September 2017 at 13:18.
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Old 12th September 2017, 02:53   #3
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Default re: Discrimination because you have a cheap car!

Usually owners of some cheap cars fall into the demographic that is not willing to invest the necessary time and resources to properly repair the issue and ask for cheap, jugaad mends that would often not be a long term solution and come back to bite the mechanic pretty soon.
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Old 12th September 2017, 09:46   #4
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Default re: Discrimination because you have a cheap car!

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Originally Posted by greenhorn View Post
Have any of you been discriminated against by fellow enthusiasts because you drive a plebeian car?
Yes, often!
I own a humble Santro Xing, and right from the day one I have been facing performance issues and rattles. I have visited few FNGs in my area and while they will do regular servicing of the car, they are reluctant to look at the areas which need proper diagnosis or will take good amount of time. I have seen people owning Octavias/Optras visiting the same garage and making them work on petty things and the technicians working happily on them. But the same garage is hesitant to look at my pickup/acceleration issue just because it's not a pricey car, saying "it happens, yours is an old car, we feel it's ok".

But then there are some people/garages who upon knowing that you're a car enthusiast, will go extra mile and take time from their busy schedule to look at your issue and at least try to solve it. I found a guy, and have never given my car for repairs anywhere else.

Last edited by tsk1979 : 15th September 2017 at 13:18. Reason: Correcting typos
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Old 12th September 2017, 10:05   #5
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Default re: Discrimination because you have a cheap car!

Going by the thread title, I thought you meant discrimination when you take an Alto to a 5-star

Don't you think it could just be the mechanic/SA doing a mental calculation of return-on-time/effort.

A job on a typical Skoda will get the mechanic more money than perhaps on the Alto, going by the cost of parts and effort, isn't it?

Last edited by GTO : 12th September 2017 at 10:30. Reason: typo
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Old 12th September 2017, 10:29   #6
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Default re: Discrimination because you have a cheap car!

I suppose this is not a one off and not the only place for such discrimination either. There was a similar thread on Valet's behavior on taking smaller cars for parking. Valet's tend to take the bigger/more expensive cars for parking first and only when they don't have any other in line, do they consider the cheaper/smaller ones.

If you go to a mall/multiplex and have a smaller/cheaper car, you get the most remote, dingy and dirtiest parking space the parking guy can find you while the bigger/swanky cars get the best parking lots.

Forget that. Security guys at some places sometimes let the expensive rides pass through without a check while the cheaper ones are asked to stop and open up everything for a "thorough" check. Cops mostly pull over the smaller/cheaper rides but let go the bigger/more expensive ones in many cases. Probably the mentality in the above 2 cases could be that the expensive car is well, expensive, and obviously the person in it/owning it is a VVIP. So why take any chances.

Anyway, the point here is that there are plenty of places where such treatment is meted out

Last edited by tsk1979 : 15th September 2017 at 13:19.
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Old 12th September 2017, 10:37   #7
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Default re: Discrimination because you have a cheap car!

Quote:
Have any of you been discriminated against by fellow enthusiasts because you drive a plebeian car?
Not at a garage, but I most definitely see a difference on the road. I'll give you one example.

It's an early weekend morning and I'm returning from somewhere (IIRC, a breakfast). Pass a police checkpost in my German car and no one stops me. I'm wearing the usual morning attire - tracks, tee & a red Schumacher cap.

I come home, take the Jeep out (IIRC, it required diesel) and drive past the same police checkpost. Wearing the same attire (including a prominent red cap), and the same cop who nonchalantly let me go just minutes ago pulls me over, asks for my papers, checks the Jeep out etc. . I politely reminded him that I just passed by moments ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenhorn View Post
but when you pull up in an indica or an alto, suddenly the mechanic's enthusiasm rolls up into a tight ball and hides somewhere very hard to find.
Well, the bigger cars will lead to bigger bills. Not that I condone this kind of behaviour.

Last edited by tsk1979 : 15th September 2017 at 13:19.
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Old 12th September 2017, 10:50   #8
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Default re: Discrimination because you have a cheap car!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Not at a garage, but I most definitely see a difference on the road.
On the road, discrimination works both ways.

For example, if a Jeep hits a luxury German - you'll soon see the same policemen suddenly finding the bigger German at fault and responsible for shelling out the big money to fix all issues. Or atleast, fix their wallets!

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 12th September 2017 at 10:51.
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Old 12th September 2017, 11:03   #9
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Default re: Discrimination because you have a cheap car!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
you'll soon see the same policemen suddenly finding the bigger German at fault
Its the other way around actually. He will find the smaller one at fault first and later fatten his wallet from the German if at all the fault is with the German and the German does not have any connects
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Old 12th September 2017, 12:00   #10
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Default re: Discrimination because you have a cheap car!

I do not think it has anything to do with the size of the car. Take the same Alto to the same garage with some big problem and you will find a lot of enthusiasm in the same mechanic. Or take a bigger car like an i20 or a Ciaz with a trivial issue like some rattle and it will be met with the same reaction that the alto gets for small issues.

They are into business and know that they will spend more time on fixing small issues and the billing wont be in line with the time put in.
Its just business.
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Old 12th September 2017, 12:39   #11
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Default re: Discrimination because you have a cheap car!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Not at a garage, but I most definitely see a difference on the road.....
I have witnessed it few times. Last month my German was caught overspeeding by the interceptor ! I could see 4 smaller hatches and a sedan parked on the sides, owners standing in cue to pay their fines, cops collecting cash and printing the receipt sitting in the Police vehicle. For a change, I did not step out of the car. I had stopped 20-30 meters ahead. One constable walked and came to my window, took the cash, went to their vehicle, printed the receipt and back to me saying "thank you Sir"! One fleeting moment I felt I was a politician Small pleasures of life !!
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Old 12th September 2017, 12:46   #12
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Default re: Discrimination because you have a cheap car!

Two time Nano owner.
Garage mechanics, other drivers at traffic signals, parking lot attendants, office colleagues, valet service, fellow bhpians
/end rant

Last edited by selfdrive : 12th September 2017 at 12:47.
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Old 12th September 2017, 12:53   #13
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Default re: Discrimination because you have a cheap car!

Well maybe we can call these perks of having a luxury car and not something against the small car owner. After all things like these amount to brand perception and why people are ready to pay so much money for these cars. I notice this behavior everywhere whenever I take the BMW.

Hotel: Me and my friend went to a 5 star hotel to attend a conference. I was in the BMW and he in his Honda city. Due to congestion, the gatekeeper had lowered the bar and directed my friend, who was right in front of me, to park the car outside on the road. And then to my amusement he sprang into attention posture, saluted, opened the bar and directed me to proceed inside the premises just due to the BMW logo.

Also one can easily park luxury cars on the porch itself and don't move it until they really have to, or a more luxurious car comes.

Malls: The otherwise bored guard once again springs into action and always directs the BMW to a free rather spacious spot close to the elevators. They usually keep such spots away from regular cars by those ropes and direct the other traffic elsewhere. As a result I usually tip him a small amount and he quickly puts the cones and chains back in front of that section entrance.

Even at my hospital and apartment block, I get salutes and acknowledgements everytime in the BMW and never in other cars .

Bottomline is that there is a reason why one pays so much money for these cars. Only a few are interested in the rear wheel drive set up. Rest all just want the corona rings and the logo ( in case of BMW and similarly for other luxury brands).

Last edited by tsk1979 : 15th September 2017 at 13:20.
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Old 12th September 2017, 13:10   #14
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Default re: Discrimination because you have a cheap car!

It all boils down to your inter personal skills.
I have a Wagon R and have never ever felt discriminated either at the MASS or independent ASC. FNGs are anyways always friendly.

I can emphatically say that its you and not your car that may be the discriminating factor.
And honestly, a repair of an Alto isn't cheap anymore, like it used to be.
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Old 12th September 2017, 13:22   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shajufx
I have witnessed it few times. Last month my German was caught overspeeding by the interceptor ! I could see 4 smaller hatches and a sedan parked on the sides, owners standing in cue to pay their fines, cops collecting cash and printing the receipt sitting in the Police vehicle. For a change, I did not step out of the car. I had stopped 20-30 meters ahead. One constable walked and came to my window, took the cash, went to their vehicle, printed the receipt and back to me saying "thank you Sir"! One fleeting moment I felt I was a politician Small pleasures of life !!
This is subconscious conditioning of our population .Big car = Bada aadmi. Just like the petrol pumps expect the bikes/scooter owners to open/shut their fuel caps,whereas car owners get special service.
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