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Old 7th March 2014, 18:46   #1
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Default 1 month old BMW 520D : Breakdown, fuel-pump replaced

In Dec'13/ Jan'14 I spent some time comparing Jaguar XF, Audi A6 and BMW520D. My experience of respective sales team's efforts in trying to sell the car was most pleasant with Jaguar and worst with BMW.

I was calling them more often than they calling me including sales person not returning my missed calls. Through the entire sales process I was reaching out to dealer vs. the other way round. I twice escalated on emails and to the MD of dealership and did get apologies commitment for better service, but honestly no change at all. I got answers like "sorry sir I was with another customer for last 3 hours so I had to disconnect your call both times" ( by the way third time also I only called and did not get a call back). Also when I asked for test drive, I was told due to model change there are no test drive vehicles available, also if you want to see the car please come to the showroom personally. I really didn't need the test drive as I had experienced the vehicle enough and also despite poor sales exp, I was willing to ignore because I thought once I own the vehicle, I only need to deal with dealer once a year for service - what i was paying for was the brand promise. So ... I still bought the BMW towards end Jan'14

Most of my friends have Bimmer and I always had very positive experience on performance and build of car. I bought it for brand promise.

Exactly 34 days from buying the car and 843 KM on odometer, my brand new vehicle broke down. After I drove the car to a hotel and parked (valet parked), on my return the engine kept cranking, but car won't start up. I dialed the emergency hotline on the car's computer, but they said the number was wrong. I then had to go to the internet and look for India helpline. By the time everything got figured out and car was towed, it was 3+ hours from my initial contact (~2AM). It was then towed by the manufacturer about 3 hours later (way later than the initial indication of one hour by the helpline team). I pleaded that I have a 7 AM meeting in the morning and to please organise as soon as possible, followed up 3 to 4 times and i was in the center of the city (not on some remote highway). It happens to be a manufacturing defect that took 2 days to identify ... Given below are excerpts from the mail from BMW on description of issue.

Basically the fuel pump was faulty. It took about 2 days to get to the root cause, and another 3 days to test the vehicle thoroughly. I also went and checked some international blogs on the vehicle (again my bad, should have done this before buying the vehicle) and got to know this fuel pump is the most common issue internationally with this series. However, they seem unable to fix it.

Excerpts from manufacturer's e-mail ...

"As informed by the dealer, your vehicle was towed to the workshop with issue of 'engine not starting'. Basis through diagnosis, it was observed that the EKP Fuel pump control unit of your vehicle required replacement. The advised part replacement has been duly carried out under the purview of vehicle warranty. Your BMW has been restored to Series standards and delivered back on February 28, 2014. "

I wrote to BMW Germany, they just said this has to be answered by BMW India. They responded 2 days later with a very cut and dry response , not at all satisfactory. All they said was its a rare occurrence and we have fixed it under warranty. That's not what I was expecting from the quality of manufacturing and ownership displayed by manufacturer for the price we pay on these cars. In first 40 days of my ownership 20% time was spent in workshop and completely lost faith to take it on highways for at least some time - don't want to be stranded there where I guess emergency response may be 5+ hours. I own a Skoda, a Fortuner and I have previously owned several other Japanese cars ... never ever have I had such issue. Also when I spoke to another Audi owner, he said the company delayed a accessory he had ordered; got delayed by 4 weeks. As soon as he wrote to the manufacturer, they made the accessory free and extended warranty by one year. Again its not about money, it is about saying we care and share your pain. To me it is the hunger for customer satisfaction and customer to be the promoter of your brand and not the other way round.

My take is BMW has taken the success in India for granted, getting too arrogant. Quality and customer service is dropping significantly. I wish there was a lemon law in India because at this time, I'd rather return the car and buy something else. Looking forward to learn from experience of other recent buyers ... Did you have similar exp?

Attached is the service invoice copy that shows the registration date (I got the delivery 4 days later) and order date.

1 month old BMW 520D : Breakdown, fuel-pump replaced-scan-24.jpeg

Last edited by GTO : 15th March 2014 at 12:54. Reason: Typos
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Old 15th March 2014, 13:00   #2
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Default Re: 1 month old BMW 520D : Breakdown, fuel-pump replaced

Sorry to hear about your experience. I can only imagine the displeasure & anxiety at having a brand new 50 lakh sedan break down

BMW replaced the fuel pump under warranty & rightly so. However, they could have definitely reacted quicker. The car being off the road for 5 days for what is a day's job is disgusting. To make matters worse, they didn't even provide you with a courtesy car? Talk about inconvenience.

Wish you better reliability in the kms ahead, but I have to warn you: These complex Europeans can cause headaches in the longer term.
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Old 15th March 2014, 14:14   #3
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2 days to get to the root cause ? That's ridiculous, don't they have any trained folks at their service center ?
I have no idea about their troubleshooting process, but any local mechanic worth his salt would have identified this in 2 minutes. For a car that does not start, usually the steps will be to check if it cranks and is it a case of fuel supply being cut off. If it is the later they would just open the fuel supply line and see if fuel is getting pumped when you crank. This can isolate the issue in few minutes. Shoddy response by BMW to someone who trusted the brand value.
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Old 15th March 2014, 14:17   #4
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Default Re: 1 month old BMW 520D : Breakdown, fuel-pump replaced

Of all the cars you considered BMW is no doubt the alpha car, because of far better steering and equal weight distribution. Generally from what I've heard, they are quite reliable as long as the small issues are sorted during service. Of course like GTO mentioned, German cars do have weaknesses. 60% of the time it maybe electronics failure, and 40% mechanical. BMW's though are known for reliable CAN architecture which is basically intra-vehicle signaling systems between various electronics/gadgets. When problems such as starting failure, or check engine lamp come on the service center would take atleast a day to check the source of the problem as, if a replacement is done without being sure the problem can easily come back. In India I guess big parts for 5/7 series wouldn't be readily available so that too would take about 2 days.

Where they should've done more is while handling the customer and readying a spare car for the 3 days that they took to repair, the dealer apparently has no sales experience and just counts the bottomline.
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Old 15th March 2014, 20:40   #5
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Originally Posted by shinuak View Post
2 days to get to the root cause ? That's ridiculous, don't they have any trained folks at their service center ?
I have no idea about their troubleshooting process, but any local mechanic worth his salt would have identified this in 2 minutes. For a car that does not start, usually the steps will be to check if it cranks and is it a case of fuel supply being cut off. If it is the later they would just open the fuel supply line and see if fuel is getting pumped when you crank. This can isolate the issue in few minutes. Shoddy response by BMW to someone who trusted the brand value.
The joke is I was calling them every two hours to check if they found the issue and they asked me if I was sure there was enough fuel in the car?? I said as per car display I had enough fuel for next 250KM to which they said fuel gauge can be wrong so we need a day to check the fuel gauge - I was like if you can pull the gauge out why can't you just see the diesel in the tank??? Anyways long story short ... it is very difficult to judge if they have enough trained staff and also given past success how committed they are in investing for it

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Originally Posted by dark.knight View Post
Of all the cars you considered BMW is no doubt the alpha car, because of far better steering and equal weight distribution. Generally from what I've heard, they are quite reliable as long as the small issues are sorted during service. Of course like GTO mentioned, German cars do have weaknesses. 60% of the time it maybe electronics failure, and 40% mechanical. BMW's though are known for reliable CAN architecture which is basically intra-vehicle signaling systems between various electronics/gadgets. When problems such as starting failure, or check engine lamp come on the service center would take atleast a day to check the source of the problem as, if a replacement is done without being sure the problem can easily come back. In India I guess big parts for 5/7 series wouldn't be readily available so that too would take about 2 days.

Where they should've done more is while handling the customer and readying a spare car for the 3 days that they took to repair, the dealer apparently has no sales experience and just counts the bottomline.
Thanks you are spot on, it did have the check engine light so they wanted a company engineer to come and check every aspect ... now this person I was told was not in the city and that took an extra day ... however in the mean time the funny responses I was getting when I was calling them - like are you sure there is enough fuel in the car??? just made me wonder if my car is being looked at by qualified people at all. Also the courtesy extended to me as customer as you have highlighted already was not what I expected. My prior experience at the time of sale made me write to BMW directly reminding them that it was your brand that made me put my money in all they did was a postman's job move it from one department to another and ultimately inform me 3 days later exactly what I had known by then. Just some random name on mail saying its a rare occurrence does not really make one comfortable - its the whole end to end experience which upsets me.

Note from Support - Posts merged. Please use the "Multi-Quote (How to MULTI-QUOTE (when replying to a thread) on Team-BHP)" feature to reply to multiple posts instead of submitting back to back posts.

Last edited by n_aditya : 18th March 2014 at 09:08. Reason: Posts merged
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Old 17th March 2014, 17:21   #6
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Default Re: 1 month old BMW 520D : Breakdown, fuel-pump replaced

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Originally Posted by Krishnan View Post
however in the mean time the funny responses I was getting when I was calling them - like are you sure there is enough fuel in the car?
To their credit, that question isn't unreasonable. The No.1 cause of fuel-pump failure is the tank running dry (fuel also cools & lubricates the pump). Sometimes, the gauge can be faulty, hence I don't see anything wrong in their reconfirmation of the fuel level with you.
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Old 17th March 2014, 18:03   #7
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Default Re: 1 month old BMW 520D : Breakdown, fuel-pump replaced

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
To their credit, that question isn't unreasonable. The No.1 cause of fuel-pump failure is the tank running dry (fuel also cools & lubricates the pump). Sometimes, the gauge can be faulty, hence I don't see anything wrong in their reconfirmation of the fuel level with you.
I tend to disagree here. I would agree to the question if the car was with Krishnan and the service person is interacting over phone inquiring the details.

But here the car seems to be at the A.S.S. Rather than asking the owner of the car, they can just open the fuel lid and insert a fuel level checking stick or something to see if the tank is dry. What if the owner says there is enough fuel, but in reality the tank is dry. I guess they would keep checking all other stuff rather than checking the fuel tank. Later they could say the delay is because of the owner misleading us saying there was enough fuel.

We are not talking about a local mechanic looking at a very old budget car here.

Last edited by swami.n : 17th March 2014 at 18:08.
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Old 17th March 2014, 22:23   #8
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Agree, that was my point, car was with people I should trust most with engineering for my car also if they can check the fuel gauge it's far easier to first check if the tank is empty.

On another note I was keen to learn from experience of other Bimmer owners, what seems to be coming out is most of these high end European cars are difficult to trust due to too much electronics? Is that what it is? I read another thread on Mercedes which was an even worse experience
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Old 18th March 2014, 07:59   #9
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Default Re: 1 month old BMW 520D : Breakdown, fuel-pump replaced

Krishnan, did they actually charge you 49k even though car is in warranty? And is this "warranty handling charge" common across other manufacturers too?
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Old 18th March 2014, 08:12   #10
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Originally Posted by NetfreakBombay View Post
Krishnan, did they actually charge you 49k even though car is in warranty? And is this "warranty handling charge" common across other manufacturers too?

No they did not charge me, no handling charges
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Old 18th March 2014, 08:46   #11
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Default Re: 1 month old BMW 520D : Breakdown, fuel-pump replaced

Not an owner, either of BMW or a European car but I've driven them and I think I can answer your question. First things first such cars are safer in their homeland, by this I don't mean that these have no trouble in Europe, just maybe 10% lesser than countries like India because of less dust/sand particles, smoother roads and high quality fuel. Secondly Germans while they make complicated electronics, aren't as accomplished as Japanese or Koreans who supply electronics to the world. Germans are mechanical experts which explains companies like Bosch, Elringklinger, Capricorn etc, while there are no major electronics giants like Sony or Samsung out of Germany. I'm not saying they don't know electronics, they simply don't have that finesse in them but when it comes to steel shaping and putting together a car the situation gets reversed - Japanese had to learn the one thing missing in their cars from Germans, perfect build quality.

Discernible hence that BMW/Merc were completely reliable in the 80's (less electronics) with safety to boot which is why they grew in popularity. Like I said BMW were first to adopt CAN, which meant that instead of having 100 wires with electrical inputs they switched to 10 wires channeled by electronic inputs thus saving them over 50 kilos in weight. Things go wrong when the ECM/BCM which are translators for the wires malfunction which is most often the case. German cars also fail mechanically once a while as in a AutoExpress UK index Audi, VW and Saab had the most engine failures. BMW & Mini just escaped the bottom 5. There's an elephant in the room, people should just accept it beforehand.

Last edited by dark.knight : 18th March 2014 at 09:09.
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Old 18th March 2014, 09:14   #12
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Default Re: 1 month old BMW 520D : Breakdown, fuel-pump replaced

Interesting fact: you joined team-Bhp in 2007 and made just one post since then. Until this thread.

A mistake you made was escalating directly to Germany - it will never work and that's why it didn't work for you either - read up on how to make escalation work for you here:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...-work-you.html (Problem Escalation (Dealers, Manufacturers): How to make it work for you)

And this will help you get acquainted with the ground realities of German customer service:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...u-service.html (Why the Germans NEED NOT and WILL NOT give you Service)
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Old 26th March 2014, 08:33   #13
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Interesting fact: you joined team-Bhp in 2007 and made just one post since then. Until this thread.
some observation, I myself did not look at those stats until you pointed out. I actually did use the forum actively back in 2007 and was connected to members not only here but also directly on phone etc. in Hyderabad. Then my travel increased from 90-100 days to spending 200+ days a year on airports, flights and hotels for many years Its then that I didn't login for years together until now ... honestly Team BHP and LinkedIn are only networking forums I subscribe to, so when I tried to re-register myself I realised my old ID was still existing in the forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A mistake you made was escalating directly to Germany - it will never work and that's why it didn't work for you either - read up on how to make escalation work for you here:
[url
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian-car-scene/148127-problem-escalation-dealers-manufacturers-how-make-work-you.html[/url]

And this will help you get acquainted with the ground realities of German customer service:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...u-service.html (Why the Germans NEED NOT and WILL NOT give you Service)
Thanks for your post on how to escalate issues with car, I wish I had read it before and realised that the moment dealer did an extremely poor handling of sales, I should have backed out from the buying decision. I think mistake I made was I did not do enough research before the buying decision! You are absolutely right - BMW is extremely poor in customer service and have left it to dealers, so depending on who is the dealer your experience can vary a lot ... having said that overall customer service is not upto the mark.

So exactly where I started from, I bought the car for the brand promise of build quality which also failed. Since then I spoke to many owners and have heard of all sorts of problems - worst stories being tires damaged outside the city with families stuck on highways for upto 7-8 hours. I think the only R&D that has been invested by BMW for India is pricing and what model will sell more. Steering mounted controls (eg. Turn indicators) are designed for left hand drive (Japanese cars have moved it to right for India), run flat tires without spare and low profile may be great on autobahn but not suited for Indian roads - something I knew but took the risk with, now I am realising that electronics are also not customised for Indian climate. Finally in an attempt to bring down the price using CKD and indigenising the cars without proper R&D investments is compromising overall build quality.

So overall it looks like - extremely poor customer service combined with lack of customisation for India and reducing build quality ... something I should have prepared myself for before paying them.

Last edited by moralfibre : 26th March 2014 at 10:30. Reason: Back to back posts.
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Old 26th March 2014, 10:04   #14
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Default Re: 1 month old BMW 520D : Breakdown, fuel-pump replaced

Inspite of it all I would still say the Bayerische automobile was the right choice. The 50-50 weight distribution and variable suspension settings combined with the steering feedback it gives is a clear level above the competition. As for LHD indicator stalks, it is default in every manufacturer except Asians. VW, Ford, GM, Audi etc all have LHD indicators. Hyundai is one of the rare manufacturers that give LHD/RHD based on the country it is sold in.

Audi, Jag in Europe are some of the most unreliable luxury brands according to various indexes while BMW and Merc are satisfactory according to users. While I do agree the dealership you dealt with were below standards, BMW by themselves did replace the part without fuss under warranty which is as good as it can get. RFT's do have a problem in Indian roads because they aren't made for potholes and rough roads which can make them wear faster due to their high grip properties. You can swap them for normal tires if you feel the RFT's are a risk.
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