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Old 16th February 2017, 09:23   #1
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Thumbs down My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

My car, a 2015 Volkswagen Jetta Highline 2.0AT had on 8:30 am Wednesday, 1st February 2017 caught fire when parked at my office in Cochin.

Hardly 5 minutes after my arrival at office, I was informed by the neighbor's watchman, who was in a frantic and tensed state, that fumes were arising from under the bonnet of my car. On stepping outside the office, I was shocked and stunned to see dark fumes arising and also a burning fire under the bonnet, as visible from the sides through the tires. Desperate attempts by me and all those gathered to open the bonnet using the mechanism proved futile as by then the same had obviously failed.

It took a 45 min effort, during which the entire neighborhood stepped in, to douse the flames using buckets of water and garden hoses. The bonnet, during the effort, had to be manually pried open, in order to bring the flames under control. Also, due to the intense heat, the bonnet has in fact deformed.
The officials from the local dealer, Volkswagen Ernakulam KTC Cars arrived at my office after the flames were doused, and removed the car to their service center.

My shock and surprise about this incident is difficult to put into words. I shudder to think as to what would have happened, if I was in the car and the ignition turned on. The car's fuel tank was 75% full. It is also shocking that a VW premium car, which is not even two years old, would simply burst into flames when idle. My car was well maintained, and the entire service records are available with VW Ernakulam. In fact, my vehicle had even been sent for the company recall just a few months ago. Being a person who has always sworn by VW vehicles, and having just bought a brand new VW Polo GT TSI hardly a month ago, this incident is highly unpalatable and shocking to digest. The vehicle was only 1.5 years old. The vehicle is still covered under warranty. No modifications whatsoever existed on my car.

Today marks 15 days from the incident. Numerous emails have passed between me and Volkswagen Group Sales India with respect to this matter, to date. All I get is a funny sounding call center person reading to me from some script in response. In the interim, Volkswagen Ernakulam KTC Cars has raised an estimate of over Rs. 30 lakhs for repairing the car! The on-road price of the car at the time of purchase was only Rs. 25 lakhs.

Yesterday, after a lot of talk, two people stating to be from Volkswagen India have arrived at Volkswagen Ernakulam KTC Cars and begun to inspect my car. When I spoke to them, they're response was that they would have to prepare a report and then discuss with their officials at Volkswagen Germany. So that obviously is going to take much more of time. Nobody has any answers.

What is even more distressing is that despite all these highly unacceptable delays, Volkswagen, Volkswagen India, Volkswagen Group Sales India or Volkswagen Ernakulam KTC Cars has not acceded to my request for a standby car. Any prudent man can come to a conclusion about the quality of a car if the same goes up in flames after hardly 1.5 years. It is shocking that they shy away from even the responsibility of providing a standby car, forget not giving a positive answer as to what they intend to do!

I write this here today as a dismayed, disgruntled and distressed customer. The purpose of writing this is 'caveat emptor' i.e. let the buyer beware. Being one of the first Latin terms I was taught when I took up law, the same has always stuck with me. But today, it seems I wasn't aware enough.

My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!-img_2606.jpg

My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!-img_2609.jpg

My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!-img_2611.jpg

My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!-img_2613.jpg

Last edited by Rehaan : 16th February 2017 at 16:14. Reason: Rotating pics :)
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Old 16th February 2017, 10:28   #2
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Default Re: Accidents : Vehicles catching Fire in India

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Originally Posted by ithack View Post
My shock and surprise about this incident is difficult to put into words. I shudder to think as to what would have happened, if I was in the car and the ignition turned on.
I sympathize with you for this loss and trauma.

It would be very helpful for this community to understand what happened to your car for the fire to originate from the engine bay.

I haven't yet heard of a VW vehicle just going up in flames out of nowhere.

Shocking.

PS: btw, we have learnt fairly recently that the product has now been discontinued. So very luckily, not much heat to be faced by VW for this.
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Old 16th February 2017, 10:40   #3
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Default Re: Accidents : Vehicles catching Fire in India

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Originally Posted by ithack View Post
My car, a 2015 Volkswagen Jetta Highline 2.0AT had on 8:30 am Wednesday, 1st February 2017 caught fire when parked at my office in Cochin.
=========
In fact, my vehicle had even been sent for the company recall just a few months ago.
1.5 year old car and going up in flame. Shocking! Really sorry to hear this and hope VW decides to give you a new car soon!

Do you have further details as to what was done when the recall happened?
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Old 16th February 2017, 15:46   #4
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

Mod note: This being a relatively a new car and reported as stock deserves a new thread. Moving posts to a dedicated thread.
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Old 16th February 2017, 15:53   #5
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

Just read a post in another thread today that the Jetta has simpler mechanicals compared to the other VWs and should be rather reliable.

And then comes this shocker!

And even worse is the fact that the car is waiting for 'approvals' and not even a standby car has been provided as a consolation. The vehicle is still under warranty, and moreover - the owner is a repeat customer as well! The picture of the engine bay looks extremely sad. Can't think of all the emotions the owner must have been through, only to get this treatment at VW service later!

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 16th February 2017 at 15:55.
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Old 16th February 2017, 15:54   #6
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ithack View Post
My car, a 2015 Volkswagen Jetta Highline 2.0AT had on 8:30 am Wednesday, 1st February 2017 caught fire when parked at my office in Cochin...
Sad to hear about your loss. In terms of insurance, given you are getting an estimate more than the invoice value, is it being quoted as a write-off?
Did you have zero-dep or return to invoice add-on on the insurance?

In such a case return to invoice would be an absolute life saver.
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Old 16th February 2017, 15:54   #7
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

This is really shocking. Hoping Volkswagen takes quick action on this. Refusing a loaner car is simply not done, especially from a (perceived) premium German brand like Volkswagen.

Does your area have problem of rats? Just asking to know whether there is possibility of wires chewed by rats.

Last edited by AkMar : 16th February 2017 at 15:55.
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Old 16th February 2017, 16:02   #8
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

Please forgive me for playing the devil's advocate here, but...

In a case like this, should the company really be held responsible?

I think if there is some known design/manufacturing fault with the vehicle which caused the fire, yes definitely!

But in a case like this (1.5 year old car, no other reports of Jettas catching fire) it's very likely to be something else... (eg. rats eating the wiring causing a short circuit).

Should the company still be held liable? And, do VW promise loaner cars for Jetta owners during service or accidental repair?


I guess an investigation by the insurance company (or even VW) will make the cause of the fire somewhat clearer.

Last edited by Rehaan : 16th February 2017 at 16:31.
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Old 16th February 2017, 16:03   #9
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Default Re: Volkwagen Jetta 1.5 year old catches fire!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ithack View Post
...

Hardly 5 minutes after my arrival at office, I was informed by the neighbor's watchman, who was in a frantic and tensed state, that fumes were arising from under the bonnet of my car.
I sympathize for your experience. This is a nightmare. I hope VW compensates you fairly.

A few questions that pop up in my head. Glad if you could answer them, for me and others.

What exactly was done in the recall? Are you sure that there was no check engine light ON before parking? How long was your commute and can you remember any strong rubber burnt smell while getting out of the car?

Again, VW should treat you better. At least now...
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Old 16th February 2017, 16:03   #10
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

Hi ithack,

I feel sorry and sympathize with you for this loss. I am even more surprised to see that it has happened to a VW. I don't remember hearing of a VW car going up in flames for no reason.

I assume this fire could have originated from a fuel leak or an electrical short circuit. You have mentioned that the car had visited the workshop for the recall a couple of months ago; could it be that there was some part not fitted well by the technician during that time which has led to this fire? Please do not get me wrong here as I am not trying to tell you to probe and start finding faults with VW and blame them but it is important to know the cause of the fire. Also, they have quoted 30 lakhs for the repair? I really don't know what is there to repair as the car looks like a total loss. I do hope you get a new car though.
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Old 16th February 2017, 16:15   #11
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

Until a thorough investigation happens let's not blame anyone. Neither the customer nor the company. Though I will give the benefit of doubt to the customer.

And Volkswagen should go all out in assisting a loyal customer instead of acting cold.

More than the customer, the company's reputation is at stake. From emission scandals to unreliable gearboxes, VW is no trustworthy company no matter how "premium" it makes it's cars.

Last edited by The Brutailer : 16th February 2017 at 16:17.
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Old 16th February 2017, 16:24   #12
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post

Should the company still be held liable? And, do VW promise loaner cars for Jetta owners during service or accidental repair?
If I am not wrong, VW gives a loaner car to the customer if the customer's car is in the workshop for more than 05 days. If loaner car is not available, VW will compensate for travel up to Rs. 1200 per day (I am not sure if this policy is still applicable though) on submission of travel bills.
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Old 16th February 2017, 16:29   #13
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Default Re: Accidents : Vehicles catching Fire in India

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Originally Posted by AbhisheKulkarni View Post

I haven't yet heard of a VW vehicle just going up in flames out of nowhere.

Shocking.
Don't know if it qualifies as out of nowhere, but there is a whole thread (Volkswagen Vento catches fire. Owner dies from burn injuries) about Ventos and Rapids going up in flames on Team-BHP. Its from 2012 though.

Last edited by noopster : 17th February 2017 at 11:44. Reason: Added link to thread
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Old 16th February 2017, 16:29   #14
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

Really sad to see this state of a 1.5 year old German Engineered car. I am not making assumptions right now regarding the causes. Let them do their analysis. But you should be treated with respect. Shout out a lot in all the social media, be it facebook or twitter. Let them hear you so that they don't take your case lightly.

Last edited by GTO : 17th February 2017 at 12:46. Reason: Language
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Old 16th February 2017, 16:42   #15
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Default re: My 1.5 year old Volkswagen Jetta caught fire! EDIT : Now RESOLVED!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Epic View Post
If I am not wrong, VW gives a loaner car to the customer if the customer's car is in the workshop for more than 05 days. If loaner car is not available, VW will compensate for travel up to Rs. 1200 per day (I am not sure if this policy is still applicable though) on submission of travel bills.
Whats the source of this ? My Jetta was in the workshop for 5-6 days recently and i didnt get any offer of a loaner or reimbursement of travel bills. Some insurance policies do however offer add-on for travel reimbursement in case of car being in workshop.
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