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Old 22nd August 2013, 10:25   #1
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Talking Tata Safari: Bringing home the long cherished love

My love for Tata Safari goes back to the days when all that I had, that I can call mine were a bunch of Engineering books, a dozen equally notorious friends and my Yamaha RX-100.

It was a painful summer afternoon when I and a close friend of mine were on our way to our professor’s house to get our sessional files signed as the external examinations were starting next week. While we were busy cursing the sultry sun and our uncouth attitude of keeping everything till the last minute, something zoomed passed me at a speed that was not very common for vehicles that time. ‘What was that’, I gave the expression while looking back at my friend to know if he spotted the beast. He was equally at sea or may be worse than me. Must be some new model of Mahindra Jeep, we concluded and vowed to check on the only Mahindra Dealer after we are done with our exams.

As planned, on a Saturday we both drove a good 15 Km to the nearest Mahindra Showroom to check on the beast that we saw couple of weeks back. From the trademark Mahindra Jeep to the Bolero, tractors included; we saw all that the showroom had for the display purpose. But somewhere deep within, we were sure, what we saw on the road was far, far different and grand than what Mahindra has in their stable. Disappointed we returned to our hostel with a conclusion that it has to be a vehicle of some foreign brand as it being a Tata vehicle was last thing we wanted to even imagine.

But the mystery was destined to get clear within 3 days. I still remember when my friend came to the classroom with the newspaper in his hand and sat beside me with a notion as if he just saw a colony of ghosts on his way. Without wasting a syllable he spread open the newspaper where Tata Motors were carrying out a full page colored advertisement of their Safari. Of all the people, Tata? Since when they have started doing something other than trucks? I gave a look which is only reserved for the father of that girl when she introduces her boyfriend having shoulder length hair and tattoos at all inappropriate places.

Without wasting any time we again drove a good 30 Km that weekend to the nearest Tata showroom, only to be told that the test vehicle has not arrived yet from Kolkatta and we have to wait at least a couple of weeks to get a glimpse of it. We again drove after two weeks to the showroom and voila, the vehicle was there for display. Not to mention, it was available for TD depending on whom the showroom guys were seeing as potential buyers. So their disinterest to even recognize we two of us as humans was anything but expected. A good wait of 4 hours for the TD ended up in a tragedy when we were told, we can’t take a TD as we don’t have a 4-wheeler driving license. Though disappointed, the vehicle had bowled us over and I decided, someday I will bring home the beast when I am capable of it. Imagine, an engineering student, dependent on his parents for everything is deciding upon what he will buy as his vehicle someday. Was bizarre that time, when I look back. That is like Tushar Kapoor imagining to win the Oscars for best actor someday.

I joined IT after my engineering and when I graduated myself to a level to buy myself a car, I landed at the nearest Tata Showroom. This time the treatment was gentler than what I had the previous time. I was promptly offered a TD and I requested them to bring the vehicle to my home next day to check if the beast would fit in our garage. My worst fear come true when we found the beast won’t just fit, both horizontally and vertically. Now I was at a crossroad; either I go for a vehicle which is more sober (as per my mom) or go to courts to get permission (because my parents were far from giving theirs) to break the wretched garage wider which till date housed only the 1982 Maruti 800 of my father. Mature sense prevailed and I decided to go with the first option, silently promising to harness my dream with my second vehicle. There how the Opel Corsa was brought home. Great vehicle with that feather touch to reaffirm the beauty of superior German Engineering. Not to mention, the lady is serving brilliantly till date.

My job made me shift my base from Bhubaneswar to Pune. New city, new people, new language and something I never thought could ever exist called ‘Wada-Pao’. As my Dad’s Maruti was aging, I left my Corsa back home. The first thing that was in my agenda was to buy a new car once I settle down with Pune city, its colorful constituents including but not limited to the Sambar that tastes sweet because of some unknown reason. My love for Safari came back again to hunt me. Though the garage here was big enough to accommodate a country called Adnan Sami, honestly the price didn’t just fit my budget as I had to invest a lot in my shifting drama, which included purchasing a property. To add to it, the negative news that I was hearing for Safari 3.0 didn’t encouraged me a great lot either. With a silent promise to realize my love with my 3rd car, I went ahead with Ford Ikon. Same as my earlier car, this lady also served me and continue to do so brilliantly. Almost spotless ownership of my Ikon, taking me to places even the Ford Motor never thought their car would go.

Fast-forward. Come March 2013, I finally decided, enough is enough or some nonsense to that effect. I confronted my wife with some simple and crisp lines – ‘We are buying a new car’. Why, she asked on the expected lines. Didn’t our Ikon serving you good, she added. How I wish she asks this question to herself when she ventures out every third week to buy new clothes. But I was in no mood to take a NO for an answer; neither for the new car idea nor Safari as the new entrant to our family. Had to promise wife a grand holiday in the Caribbean Islands (only promise, you see) before she relented to both of my ideas.

Alternatives Considered:

None to be honest. In fact I had made up my mind, until someone is pointing a .9mm Magnum at my head and shouts 'change your mind and go for another car and I assure you nobody gets hurt', I am not going to even think of any alternative. Though the Mahindra XUV did managed to shake my long standing love a bit but at the end of the day, Safari won this battle as well.

TD and Booking:

Called up Pundit Auto and got similar treatment that I got when I first visited the Tata Showroom back in my engineering days. The guy, who took my call and designates himself as a sells person, was in fact least bothered to sell anything, let alone a car. He promised to call me back as he was busy when I called. But defying my belief that BSNL has to be the worst customer service happening to India, he never called back. I called them again, only to realize the sells team remains perpetually busy with something that not necessarily deals with selling cars to new buyers. Like the first time, none from Pundit Auto cared to call back and I decided not to bother them again.

Went to Concorde Auto the next weekend as I was fed up communicating the way Graham Bell wanted all of us to. Though the response was far, far better than Pundit Auto, being a sister concern of Tata they were having a flat and distasteful ‘NO’ when I enquired about discounts. In fact the sales guy Mr. Sheikh gave that facial expression as if I asked for his kidneys, not discount. So thought of checking somewhere else.

Next I called up National Autowheel and my graduating impression of Tata Showrooms filled with only arrogant and indifferent sales people vanished in thin air. Mr. Vipul was not only nice but only salesman from the Tata block whom I found serious about his job. Within 45 minutes, though it was the day of Holi, he came all the way from Hadapsar to Wakad with the Demo vehicle. Here I must say, I could have purchased my Safari long back but waited for the launch of Storme. One look at the storme and I was like, what the heck? Where is the signature backpack tyre? Come on!! Someone must be in the business of cracking jokes at TML (No intention at all to hurt the sentiments of Storme owners. It is just my personal preference). So variant Dicor VTT 2.2 was pretty much decided then and there.

Coming back to the topic. I liked the manner in which Mr. Vipul took the cause of my interest and we booked the Car by paying 1 Lakh as booking amount. The color was pretty much mandated by wifey as she agreed to my proposition of a new vehicle provided I agree for a white one (Now I realize in fact Safari looks majestic in White). Went ahead with LX as I didn’t find any logic in terms of the features they provide in EX vis--vis the price difference. And white with those gray paddings looks absolutely beautiful.

Booking Details:

Mr. Vipul from his side offered Rs 25000/- discount which on persistent pushing of mine went up to Rs 32000/-. Got a corporate discount of Rs 5000/-. Asked if I am eligible to get some loyalty discount as one of my close relatives has a Tata vehicle, to which the reply was NO. Comparing to what Concored offered or didn’t, I found the discount to my linking and didn’t pushed further. Not sure if I should have. Knowledgeable Team-BHPians can bail me out here. So here how it stands after the WWE wrestling with Mr. Vipul for a final quote.

Booked Model - Safari LX (White)

Variant - 2.2 Dicor VTT

Base Price – Rs 8,37000/-

RTO (Maharashtra) – Rs 1,11,300/-

Insurance – Rs 32,000/- (New India Assurance)

Discount – Rs Rs 37000/-

Final on-road price – Rs 9,43,300/-

Freebies I get – Floor mats & mud flaps.

I bargained till my last breath for more freebies but the guys at the opposite end remained un-relented. In fact the mud flaps were never part of their initial offer. It only materialized once I wasted close to an hour of their time with my pasturing.

Financing:

Went ahead with HDFC. And we decided to take the loan in wifey’s name. Remember here, I am paying the EMIs. Wifey only signed few documents and the legal owner of the vehicle. Ok, moving forward. The documentation was done and the loan was approved in flat 2 days. Now the nightmare starts. In order to disburse, we had two options. Provide 8 cheques of wife’s ICICI bank or open a savings bank account with HDFC and make the process smoother. As we were not paying extra for the new account and wanted to keep wife’s salary account free from any EMIs, we agreed to the sales guy of HDFC. The account was activated in 2 days but my wife’s name wasn’t reflecting. Since the account didn’t have a name (where is Shakespeare?) the disbursement team wasn’t able to process the disbursement. I called up HDFC branch where the account was opened and was told the same would happen in 2-3 hours as it is a routine process. But nothing happened for next 2 days and by now we have already slipped the pre-decided delivery date. I called up again at the HDFC branch only to be repeated with the same lines. I lost my cool and got hold of the E-Mail IDs of almost every big fish of HDFC (CEO, Chairman included) from their website and shut a stinger to let them know my dissatisfaction in clear terms. Not sure what happened in the background but the Branch Manager of the HDFC branch (where the account was opened) called me up within 25 minutes and was feeling sorry and pleading, much like what Munaf Patel would do if asked to open the innings. He promised, he will take personal interest in clearing the problem and voila, within 15 minutes all was complete, including the disbursement.

Delivery:

In expectation of the disbursement getting completed that day, the dealer already had cleaned the vehicle and done all PDI checks. Once the disbursement was done around 3 P.M, I called up Vipul for the delivery that day. After little Sharukh Khan Style fumbling he agreed for a 7 P.M delivery. As the next day was Saturday and strict instructions from Mom not to take delivery on Saturday, I wanted the beast be driven in Friday only. I left office little early and reached home around 6:15 and waited for the vehicle to reach. Sticking to the promise two delivery boys landed up at my desk around 7:10 and handed me the keys and a box of sweets. They were accompanied by a garland and coconut as well. Basic rituals were done with wifey doing the honors to crack the sacred nut.

My long cherished infatuation is finally in front of me. I felt like kissing it but refrained knowing it may not look that enchanting. Went inside, slotted the keys. Vroom!! Can’t express the feelings in words or may be similar feeling when one becomes a father. Next day woke up early, went to the filling station and tanked up. Did a little Pooja (at Sai Baba temple in the morning & a Devi Mandir in the evening) and the welcoming of the beast to our family was finally complete.

Initial Driving:

Till now have driven the beast for 4000 Km. Done with the first servicing without any major problem. Though haven’t gone for a long drive in the beast (due to work situations), I have driven it to Shirdi, Mahabalaeswar, Mumbai, Lonavla, Matheran to name few. Planning for a grand trip to Tadoba National Park soon. Will share the travelogue once done with it.

Driving Patterns:

Majority of my driving involves the hustle and bustle of the city and that too in a city like Pune where the utility of signal lights amounts to naught. We have the lights in Pune to get that city like feeling or else none cares too much of its color. In such driving conditions where even one expects patrons coming in between from any direction, including from the sky; driving a huge vehicle like Safari is a challenge. Since I migrated from Sedans to a SUV, I needed a transition period of a week to get accustomed to the size and power of this vehicle. Though the size of Safari is huge, maneuvering it in crowded streets is as smooth as any sedan. It may be smoother knowing how nuisances on the road think twice before crossing the path of this mega truck. Initially I felt the vehicle is underpowered, especially at start, basing upon my previous experience of driving Petrol vehicles but once the turbo jerks in, driving this truck becomes a whole new experience. Dimension of the beast may offer some uncomfortable moments initially but it is a matter of getting used to.

Conclusion:

What I like-

1. Road presence
2. Power and the thrill that you get while driving the beast
3. Driving comfort when on long trips
4. Acres of space – I mean it is a 2 BHK on wheels
5. View from the cockpit – Feels like a king
6. Even the base version comes with features like SVM indicators, puddle lamps, Backseat A/C blower, one touch power windows, follow me home lights
7. Seats are highly comfortable. Even the second row seats are a joy to sit. Ample thigh support in all the seats. Sufficient leg space at the back seat even if the front seat is pushed back fully

What I don’t like-

1. Huge turning radius. A truck might be taking less area to turn
2. Pathetic plastic inside the cabin. I am sure even the toys sold in Kumbh Mela must have better quality Plastic
3. Krr, Krr sound when you turn the wheel full, either direction
4. 3rd row seat is disparaging. The designer must be booked for criminal conspiracy for 3rd row seat alone
5. Finishing of the vehicle not upto the mark of a 10 Lakh car
6. Slotting first gear at times is a pain
7. At high speed on highways, hard breaking may and will lead to some 'heart in the mouth' moments
8. A two ton vehicle without ABS (in LX variant) is another criminal offense that TML continue to harness since ages
9. Not sure if it is with my truck only but I experience a boat riding experience when a high speed vehicle crosses alongside. The same effect is also visible even when the vehicle is at rest. Senior BHPians please help me out here.

Interior-

As I have mentioned in my dislikes, the plastic quality is far from being satisfactory. I am sure; improving on this segment won’t cost TML a fortune. In the name of a glove box Safari offers its namesake. I am not sure the rationale behind having such a small compartment which may not carry anything beyond your service manual and the user handbook. Slotting the key in the ignition is learning in itself. Due to some reason best known to Tata engineers, they have angled the slot so precariously that it requires some concentration before you can get the key in. Before you learn the art of maneuvering this huge vehicle, you may have to invest sometime in getting used to the fine art of slotting the key first. Third row seats are another dampener. If you are not talking about toddlers, it hardly can fit two people. If at all you force a couple of adult guys to get through, I am sure they would need their knees to be operated upon after a 500 Km travel. I don’t know why TML is not thinking of coming up with front facing third row seats.

Exterior-

Any day Safari would win hands down with its looks. I don’t think any vehicle in the same segment and price range would be offering a stronger built machine. The look itself talks about the vehicles built and the no nonsense front side always acts as a deterrent to our ever so notorious Rickshawallas and bikers to mend their driving behavior. To be honest, I even find Safari’s look far better than that of the Fortuner in certain terms.

Accessories-

1. Blaupunkt Stereo
2. JBL 220 watt speakers (all 4 hoses)
3. Elegant vinyl seat covers
4. Steering wheel cover

Accessories planned-

1. Fog lamps (suggestion from BHPians is welcome)
2. Remote Key entry (thinking of autocop but would take suggestion from members)
3. Bullguard for the truck
4. Flash lights – looking something that would look great with the bullguard
5. MapMyIndia navigator (Optional)

Fuel Efficiency:

As far as FE is concerned, it is not extraordinarily different from the official promises. I am getting somewhere around 11 on city drives while the number shoots up till 13 on highways.

To end the post. Here are few snaps of my beast.

Tata Safari: Bringing home the long cherished love-img00014201304271403.jpg
(The beast when reached)

Tata Safari: Bringing home the long cherished love-img00015201304271403.jpg
(You can see my Ikon In the background)

Tata Safari: Bringing home the long cherished love-img00016201304271404.jpg
(Another angle of the beast)

Tata Safari: Bringing home the long cherished love-20130708_094408_new.jpg
(From the Mahabaleswar Ghat)

Tata Safari: Bringing home the long cherished love-20130708_095021_new.jpg
(Another from the Mahabaleswar Ghat)

Tata Safari: Bringing home the long cherished love-20130706_123935_new.jpg
(Little did I know my wife thought I am talking about her when I said, let me take a snap of the beauty)

Last edited by BeingCynical : 22nd August 2013 at 16:39. Reason: Update with more details
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Old 22nd August 2013, 11:59   #2
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Default re: Tata Safari: Bringing home the long cherished love

Congrats on a long cherished dream. Safari has always been a cult vehicle for those who love trucks. If you paid 11 lakhs why not the Storme, considering it has considerable amount of upgrades over the previous Safari especially in the braking & handling department.
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Old 22nd August 2013, 12:22   #3
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Default re: Tata Safari: Bringing home the long cherished love

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Congrats on a long cherished dream. Safari has always been a cult vehicle for those who love trucks. If you paid 11 lakhs why not the Storme, considering it has considerable amount of upgrades over the previous Safari especially in the braking & handling department.
Thanks for your kind words.

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Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
Congrats on a long cherished dream. Safari has always been a cult vehicle for those who love trucks. If you paid 11 lakhs why not the Storme, considering it has considerable amount of upgrades over the previous Safari especially in the braking & handling department.
I agree, The Storme is better in terms of features over Dicor. But for me, the one thing that I find extremely irresistible with a Safari is the Backpack tyre. Unfortunately that is missing with Storme. So never bothered about other technical difference.
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Old 22nd August 2013, 12:56   #4
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Default re: Tata Safari: Bringing home the long cherished love

Congratulations on purchasing the beast. A very well written ownership report with some good pieces of humor.

Keep the thread updated. I wish you many happy miles of motoring with your priced possession.
Take Care and Drive Safe.
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Old 22nd August 2013, 21:50   #5
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Default Re: Tata Safari: Bringing home the long cherished love

Thread moved from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 23rd August 2013, 06:24   #6
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Default Re: Tata Safari: Bringing home the long cherished love

Congrats on your new purchase. Even I have a white Safari LX. I really love every bit of Safari. Regarding the boat like feeling when a car passes the Safari has been experienced by me as well.
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Old 23rd August 2013, 09:07   #7
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Congrats on your new purchase. Even I have a white Safari LX. I really love every bit of Safari. Regarding the boat like feeling when a car passes the Safari has been experienced by me as well.
Can someone with more Safari experience confirm this. This has to be some problem with the design since I don't buy the single argument that it is because of the high CG of the vehicle.
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Old 23rd August 2013, 10:43   #8
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Default Re: Tata Safari: Bringing home the long cherished love

Very nice write up. It must be a dream coming true for you. And good on Tata to continue the safari for long, since many cars that we drooled over during our college days are discontinued by now.

Yes, the Safari looks majestic in white for sure and definitely, its a better looker than the Storme, which lacks the character.

Regards,
Saket
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Old 23rd August 2013, 10:56   #9
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Yes, the Safari looks majestic in white for sure and definitely, its a better looker than the Storme, which lacks the character.
Saket
Storme is better than Dicor 2.2 VTT in many ways than one but the missing back tyre is killing the whole notion of Safari.
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Old 23rd August 2013, 11:16   #10
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Default Re: Tata Safari: Bringing home the long cherished love

@BeingCynical, congratulations on your new Safari! She does look pretty.

A close friend of mine also recently bought a black Dicor LX, also from National. I too bought my Storme from National, and am very happy with the service I get there. Its a great team and I (and Beastie) seem to have gelled with them. I get the impression from all the Safari threads I have read (which I am sure you have as well), that like for the Royal Enfield Bullet, you don't just marry the bike/truck, you marry the service provider/mechanic/spare part supplier/manufacturer/warranty team as well.

So here's to a long and happy married life!

Last edited by ebonho : 23rd August 2013 at 11:21.
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Old 23rd August 2013, 11:37   #11
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Default Re: Tata Safari: Bringing home the long cherished love

Congrats ! The safari is certainly a looker and to hold its looks after so many years certainly means something! I don't know what happened to the designers in TATA who designed the Safari & Sierra?

I also liked your review for your tongue in cheek Humor! It certainly gave me a good start to the week! For your sake, i hope your wife does not read this review!

Wishing you many happy miles & a Superb ride ahead!
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Old 23rd August 2013, 11:37   #12
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I get the impression from all the Safari threads I have read (which I am sure you have as well), that like for the Royal Enfield Bullet, you don't just marry the bike/truck, you marry the service provider/mechanic/spare part supplier/manufacturer/warranty team as well.
Aptly put. As for National Autowheels, there service stands apart from rest of the Tata dealers in Pune. Concord is not bad but they are not that lenient with discounts and freebies. Perhaps being a Tata concern this is part of their business Model.

But Pundit Auto certainly dissapoints. Not sure if it has to do with the number of customers that Pundit auto is getting, but their response always gives a feeling as if they are doing us a favor by selling the vehicle. In a competitive age such behavior might not push you too far on the success ladder. Good luck to Pundit Auto but they would be the last resort for me whenever I think of Tata Vehicles.
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Old 23rd August 2013, 11:52   #13
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Aptly put. As for National Autowheels, there service stands apart from rest of the Tata dealers in Pune. Concord is not bad but they are not that lenient with discounts and freebies. Perhaps being a Tata concern this is part of their business Model.

But Pundit Auto certainly dissapoints. Not sure if it has to do with the number of customers that Pundit auto is getting, but their response always gives a feeling as if they are doing us a favor by selling the vehicle. In a competitive age such behavior might not push you too far on the success ladder. Good luck to Pundit Auto but they would be the last resort for me whenever I think of Tata Vehicles.
I do not have any experience with Pandit, even though some friends swear by them saying they have the senior-most and most seasoned "Safari" experts. During my purchase process, they were a bit more accomodating than Concorde, which in turn was immovable being a Tata subsidiary, so that's not really saying much.

Concorde on the other hand I have had service experience with, and one would think that being a direct Tata operated service set-up, they should have been the best.

Not so.

I had an issue of one side steering not turning as much as the other. This issue was not there when the truck went to Concorde for some other work (seat alignment). The truck came back to me with this issue and I had to point it out to the driver (how did he not notice this himself over the 20+ kms he had to drive to get to my place?) and call up their (and Tata's) service people and send the truck back immediately.

They "solved" that the next day and sent the truck back to me, only for the issue to reappear two days later. All because the stopper bolt (one of the inner ones) had not been properly torqued. This was pointed out at National and taken care of permanently (the old one needed to be replaced as it had gotten damaged due to being loose - and wheel alignment, toe it, toe out, etc. had to be done afresh). No issues to date.

They (Concorde) worked on the driver side door glass not moving/slotting into the channel smoothly. And when the truck came back, the door handle was distinctly loose and moving in my hand. Again they "solved" it, only for it to have to be properly adjusted and tightened by National later. What kind of post service QC do they have to send the vehicle back to the customer with loose door handle?

Last edited by ebonho : 23rd August 2013 at 12:02.
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Old 23rd August 2013, 12:05   #14
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Concorde on the other hand I have had service experience with, and one would think that being a direct Tata operated service set-up, they should have been the best.
I also do my servicing and sundry checking at Concord since that is nearest to where I stay. National Auto is in Magarpatta and I stay in Wakad, which is good 30 Km far away. Hence, never experienced National Service but have heard real enriching words of their quality and spontaneity in picking up the root cause. Will verify myself with the second servicing of my truck.

As for Concord, they seem to take way too much time to return your vehicle than it is expected. For E.g my servicing took them good 3 hours to complete. Not sure if it is routine with every Tata service outlet but never have to wait this long for any of my Ikon servicing
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Old 23rd August 2013, 12:34   #15
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I also do my servicing and sundry checking at Concord since that is nearest to where I stay. National Auto is in Magarpatta and I stay in Wakad, which is good 30 Km far away. Hence, never experienced National Service but have heard real enriching words of their quality and spontaneity in picking up the root cause. Will verify myself with the second servicing of my truck.

As for Concord, they seem to take way too much time to return your vehicle than it is expected. For E.g my servicing took them good 3 hours to complete. Not sure if it is routine with every Tata service outlet but never have to wait this long for any of my Ikon servicing
I am at the other end of town so it works perfectly for me. Office is in Hadapsar, so pickup and drop works best. National showroom is at Magarpatta. Their workshop is another 10 odd kms away along the just off the Fursungi road (after the toll and the bridge).
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