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Old 16th July 2010, 22:17   #1
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Default Linea - Consternation Guaranteed

Hi,
I bought a Linea Emotion Pack Diesel on May 16, 2010 in Mumbai. My top priority was a spacious, safe and green car.

On June 12, 2010 the A/c suddenly stopped working. I had run just 700 KM at this point. There was a small whirring noise when I switched on the compressor, and no cooling action. On the contrary, the a/c was throwing hot air.
I took the car to the service station on 16 June, and they asked me to leave the car for investigation. A day later, they told me it was a compressor problem, and they would need to replace the compressor. They filed something called a VOR, which was supposed to get the spares to me in a hurry.

There was no movement on this for a week, so much for the VOR. I made frantic calls to Fiat in Pune, was redirected to Tata Fiat in Mumbai, who in turn asked me to speak to the Garage guys, who said they werent getting spares from Fiat. It was one merry go round.
I did not get a loaner, and the Service Manager told me I should get a taxi and claim Rs. 800 per day. Made me feel like a beggar. I did a unannounced visit to the garage on 23 June to see what they were doing with my car, and I was horrified with what I saw. My entire dashboard had been ripped apart, apparantly to change some expansion valve. When I saw this, my heart broke - this car would never have factory-finish ever again. At that moment, all I wanted was my money back. Have attached a pic.

Finally, after a lot of chasing, and passing-the-buck the compressor got delivered, and the car was returned on 24th June. When I was taking delivery, I was made to wait for 2 hours. I wasnt given the necessary discharge papers with details of what work was done.

When I was about to leave, I found that my remote-key had been damaged, and the switchblade action was jamming. I gave the remote to the guy in-charge, and he passed it on to some other guy. When I got the key back, it was oozing some liquid. Some joker had sprayed a lubricant or something else into the electronic device. The remote had stopped working. After some fiddling around, it worked, and so I headed off home.

After I parked, I found that the remote wouldnt work at all. More calls to the service station, who said they would order a new remote. Another three weeks have passed and I still dont have a new remote. I discovered on closer examination that the plastic panels around the key were not fit properly and the panel gap was v-shaped. I have a strong suspicion my remote and locking mechanism also got damaged when the dashboard was ripped apart. I am very worried about Driver Airbag malfunction. The wheel had been taken out too, along with the dash.

Meanwhile, when I was making do with the mechanical key, I found that it became very difficult to put the key in. Suddenly, two days back, the key started going in relatively smoothly. The Garage Manager told me it could be transducer trouble. I am still waiting for parts to arrive so that this issue can be fixed.

So within two months of getting the car, I have had a serious compressor failure and a major failure with the locking mechanism. And my car has spent 8 days in the garage. I havent heard of even a small 4 lakh car from maruti or Hyundai having any such serious breakdowns. So I must say there is a serious problem with Manufacturing Quality. I hope that the ABS does not fail when needed.

At all times, I had a major issue with the responsiveness of Fiat, Tata Fiat and the Service Station. People all along the chain made promises and never delivered. People never got back to me. I had to do all the calling. Tata Fiat told me around 3 weeks back that they would reimburse 6000 Rupees (the cost of the Extended Warranty) to compensate for my troubled 8 days without a car. I am yet to see that ridiculous sum of money. I sent emails to Fiat Customer Service (Mangesh Kodalkar) and to the CEO (thro the website). I am yet to hear anything at all from either of them on this. I have a good mind to name all the indolent people I had to deal with, but that doesnt serve any purpose.

I just called someone at Tata Fiat yesterday, and he promised to send me a mail by today morning with a detailed explanation on the issue. It is almost 1030 PM as I type this, and still no mails. And the Johnny in question didnt answer my call at 830 PM, his mobile just kept ringing. I sent a sms, but no response.

I would hate to generalize and say if the Linea is a lemon, but my experience has totally put me off. The After Sales Service, Spares, and Responsiveness are all third class. I also heard from one of the garage hands that quite a few Lineas had come in to that garage with a A/c compressor failure.

So all you guys out there, thinking of buying a Linea - be warned. Dont get carried away by the good looks. Dont get misled by all the fan-boy posts on the internet. There's a long distance between a good ad campaign and a great car. The cold, hard fact is that Fiat do not have their act together. There are serious manufacturing defects. AS Service sucks. Spares take forever to arrive. People do not keep promises. You will have to do all the chasing if you were to ever have a problem.
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Old 17th July 2010, 12:59   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karthik_rao View Post
Hi,

I would hate to generalize and say if the Linea is a lemon, but my experience has totally put me off. The After Sales Service, Spares, and Responsiveness are all third class. I also heard from one of the garage hands that quite a few Lineas had come in to that garage with a A/c compressor failure.
Dear Karthik, its sad to hear such horrible stories from Fiat again. I guess Fiat cars were best before the so called Tata-Fiat tie up, but after that may be service has improved a bit but the quality of parts and fit and finish is pathetic. Fiat linea and punto are not cheap cars either and Fiat charges a bit extra premium as compared to a Tata or Suzuki cars, yet they fail to give a good and reliable product. Now a fiat car does not sound a reliable long lasting as it was with old gen palio's and uno's. You really got a lemon mate and IMO you should plan to sell this car asap before it loses resale value and get some better reliable car may be Honda. This opinion is coming from a passionate Fiat fan!!

Last edited by sameer551 : 17th July 2010 at 13:04. Reason: spell error
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Old 17th July 2010, 13:18   #3
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Originally Posted by sameer551 View Post
You really got a lemon mate and IMO you should plan to sell this car asap before it loses resale value and get some better reliable car may be Honda. This opinion is coming from a passionate Fiat fan!!
I don't think so. A.S.S screwed up the car. Haven't we heard stories like these dime a dozen?

@ karthik, all I can say is
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Old 17th July 2010, 13:34   #4
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Really sorry to hear. Hope everything is in order soon.

I took a test drive recently despite hearing all the horror stories. Man what an experience it was. I have never seen a test drive vehicle where half the features are not working!! They didnt even bother to fix simple things which could have taken a few hours to rectify at their own service center. That shows the attitude of TATA dealerships.
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Old 17th July 2010, 13:34   #5
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I don't think so. A.S.S screwed up the car. Haven't we heard stories like these dime a dozen?

@ karthik, all I can say is
A new cars AC giving away in 700 kms is not something very positive. A.S.S came into picture only after he complained for faults in his brand new car. Still as he suggested parts were not easily available and other issues overall I think it was not a good experience for him.
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Old 17th July 2010, 13:40   #6
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Karthik, sorry to hear about your horrible experience mate, but I'm not sure if you can generalize that ALL Linea's & FIATs are lemons. Having said that, -

Quote:
Originally Posted by sameer551 View Post
I guess Fiat cars were best before the so called Tata-Fiat tie up, but after that may be service has improved a bit but the quality of parts and fit and finish is pathetic.
You're kidding, right?

What does the fit & finish have to do with TATA? I could've understood your contention if you were referring to the Service network but fit & finish??????? Unless, of course, you are saying that FIAT have decided that since they're associated with TATA, they will lower their QC levels to match the Indicas ?
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Old 17th July 2010, 14:24   #7
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Sorry to hear this story. Fiats generally suffer from niggling issues. The punto's interior quality is bad but i thought the linea had better quality. Repair the car and get rid off it asap. Let it go away as a pre-wor(ri)shipped deal.
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Old 17th July 2010, 14:36   #8
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This true to some extent, when you give the car for anything extra apart from regular service, TASS people mess up one or another thing. I don't know what exactly is the problem or they are not trained well. What Fiat don't understand that the customer is not interested in getting 6000rs back but getting the car back which is properly fixed and screwed together. Really sad situation for Fiat and i am sure these things are not going to improve, i feel they are not even bothered.
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Old 17th July 2010, 14:45   #9
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All this happenning even though Mumbai is quite close to the FIAT factory. Really sad. I keep hearing so much about the FIAT training but looks like it goes into one ear and out the other


Quote:
Originally Posted by suman View Post
You're kidding, right?

What does the fit & finish have to do with TATA? I could've understood your contention if you were referring to the Service network but fit & finish??????? Unless, of course, you are saying that FIAT have decided that since they're associated with TATA, they will lower their QC levels to match the Indicas ?
The cars are now being assembled at the TATA factory right ? I also have to agree I have a pre TATA and post TATA palio and the levels of fit and fitment are not the same. More or less same parts but the palio has a lot of components hooked together by delicate plastic and I got my car delivered with most of the hooks and fittings broken giving me a very rattly car. This situation is better now , Rahulkools car hardly was rattling.Of course one visit to TASS for any major work can undo all that

Last edited by bottle : 17th July 2010 at 14:48.
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Old 17th July 2010, 15:00   #10
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So all you guys out there, thinking of buying a Linea - be warned. Dont get carried away by the good looks. Dont get misled by all the fan-boy posts on the internet
@Karthik - You'd one minor issue with Fiat, but one hell of bad experience from the T.A.S.S. Yes, we've been hearing all these through out this forum over & over not only on cars, but on motorcycles, home appliances & what not? I'd a similar experience with Nokia servicing too, but its how stubborn you stand & question them.

Not to offend you, you're in Mumbai right? Probably you could've browsed through TBhp to find out reviews on a good T.A.S.S garage & then approached them.
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Old 18th July 2010, 00:15   #11
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It's really sad to hear the story!

Does Fiat still thinks Indians lives in Ambassador or Padmini era? When reliability was not in the dictionary of the car manufcturers. I think they do so and this clearly reflects there sales numbers, their attitude and their products.

In June 2010 they sold 2173 cars all together (GP - 1273, Palio - 14, 500 - 0, Linea - 850). Does their business operation profitable? May be to sustain the profitability they use parts from substandard vendors. This corroborates by numerous posts in the TBhp forum, complaining about Fiat's quality of various part.

May be to sustain the profitability Fiat has hired people who are not top notch. That reflects in their attitude. A person when continuously calling and asking about the replacement parts status of his brand new car, does not it comes to the principles responsibility to satisfy the customer, rather route the devastated customer to the lousy dealer? Here I just become tempting to share my experience with Maruti -

1. In 2008 I bought a 2003 model Zen Lxi thru' True Value - with in one month it develop some problem with the steering box and tie rod - Maruti replaced the parts with in two days without any fuss.

2. In the same car after eight months there was some problem with solenoid switch - MASS raised a warranty replacement, got that approved in two days and replaced the same.

3. Last December after running few hundred kms my new Ritz developed some rattling sound from B-pillar. One of their feed back calls from Delhi I just casually mentioned about that. After that I got atleast 3 calls from Delhi as well as from the dealer to bring the car for inspection and the noise rectified during first service.

4. Once in my Ritz I found some mild wobbling problem in my front tyers. Reported that to MASS. The workshop manager himself came down to check the JK tyers, asked to SA's to inspect the car, called up JK engineer to and fix up an appointment with me and ultimately solved the issues.

5. Just two days back I went for 3rd (10000 km) servicing of my Ritz Vdi. I was pointed out those wipers making some water mark in the windshiled. When I got the car back the SA said they have changed the wipers under warranty.

I'm not glorifying Maruti, just sharing my experience to portray their seriousness, and attitude towards a customer out of millions. May be Maruti products doesn't have the alluring looks, built or handling qualities like Fiat. But they know how to satisfy the customer. I'm not saying they are flawless but they try to reach there.

During my last visit to MASS (Vitesse, Prabhadevi) the SA saw the ScanGauge II and reported that to Workshop Manager. The Workshop Manager was very enthusiastic about the device, had a long talk with him about cars, TBhp. He is well aware about TBhp and I informed him that Mumbai BHPians given them a high score, he thanked and said they sometime do mistakes but try to satisfy the customer every time - when a average Indian invest his/her hard earned money to a car, we need good service.

Fiat is struggling here they need to correct their - reliability issues, attitude towards customers, after sales service, the list is never ending..

Does Fiat listening?

Karthik - I pray to god that you get rectified all the problem soon (because it's Fiat we can not do more).

Last edited by gaddiwale : 18th July 2010 at 00:17.
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Old 18th July 2010, 01:05   #12
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Sorry to hear about that horror story, I sure hope I dont face anything like that when I give my punto in for servicing. But dont worry too much about the ABS and airbags part, the check lights should have come on if anything is wrong with them.
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Old 18th July 2010, 04:29   #13
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sorry to hear about your poor service/repair experience, seems the FIAT is not given priority on service issue by tata.

This could have taken a few weeks time if this was at a far far city from pune.
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Old 18th July 2010, 05:02   #14
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Issue #1 : A/C compressor failing. Any more who have reported this? Or is this really one off situation? Can happen to any car / brand. Though not wanted but few q.c. gremlins?

Issue #2 : A.S.S. attitude - Much has been said on this and mostly it is misery of customers. However the positives do not get reported unless it is aggregated in to something like JDPower survey. What's TATA/FIAT service score there? Any one?

Issue #3 : Non availability of parts. This is FIAT's (and many other brands) achilles heel. And for a regular parts this should not even need more than two days response time. Can be understood for parts that have very very low failure rate but compressors are something that keep getting replaced say every third fourth year.

Sorry to hear what this happened to you. But in my personal list FIAT is no buy brand. When my son was looking for a buy earlier in the year I steered him away from the brand for reason of similar stories and feedback. He ended up with an i20

OT but SKODA is #1 no buy brand in my books.
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Old 18th July 2010, 06:49   #15
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Let's not risk making this into a Fiat bashing thread. At the same time, lets hope someone with the strings in Fiat India is reading this.

While I love the Punto and the Linea - for the engine, features and, above all, the fantastic handling - I would probably not put my money. Even when Punto Sport is pretty enticing. Even if T-Jet is launched. Or for the 1.9 MJD.

(Boy, resisting these options is very difficult. Honestly hope Fiat gets it act together and fast!)
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