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Old 12th January 2009, 15:39   #46
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I have a Palio 1.9 D and Surprising i have a very good experience about Tata Fiat workshop both at mumbai as well as Pune.
1) B.U.Bhandari has separate section for fiat cars and they have a good inventry of Spares and even the Service Engineers have good knowledge about Fiat products.
2)Even at Fortune motors at Nerul, when i went for spares for my car like fuel filter and silencer gasket(which i thought very rare change to find),but to my surprise it was available very easily but at cost a simple metal gasket at 313 Rs .
3)Fortune Motors,Pawai,the Engineer was very polite and had good knowledge of the product,actually i went there for Radiator CAP,to my surprise it was available.

Slowly i think the situation is getting better,and hope it will get better only,which is good for prospective buyers and present owners.
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Old 12th January 2009, 16:59   #47
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@ Muneemmk:

Scary That's all i can say.

Awaiting the next episode...
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Old 12th January 2009, 17:33   #48
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Default pros/cons everywhere...

though the inside info is not too would be hard to find a workplace especially in the auto industry in India which does not have it's pros/cons. That includes the makes of honda/corolla as well.

We all may have seen and gone through issues by car manufacturers....the only additional info here is we are getting it from the horse's mouth!!

I'd say, let the car and *** deserve a fair chance of an actual market/user test and not get biased by this internal info.


Originally Posted by muneemmk View Post
After repeated requests from fellow bhpians I have penned this story.I have tried my level best to tell you guys the Whole story and have told it from a BHPian's View.And no this thread is
Will continue in the next Episode.. . . . . . . . . . .
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Old 12th January 2009, 19:01   #49
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Issues like personnel incompetence, malpractise etc are occuring at all dealerships. There are bound to have backsheeps in the herd. And sadly this won't change.

FIAT is no exception for this, in fact it has suffered due to its horrendeous service in past. FIAT however is learning from its mistakes and taking steps in right direction. Now only specially badged Lineas are on for test drive.

Having said that, other dealers are no angels. Malpractises are also rampant over there. I remember some one's thread about Honda civic, how he was cheated with a car whose bumper was repainted...
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Old 13th January 2009, 14:14   #50
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Originally Posted by muneemmk View Post
After repeated requests from fellow bhpians I have penned this story.I have tried my level best to tell you guys the Whole story and have told it from a BHPian's View.And no this thread is not another RF motors bashing thread or an enraged ex-employer bashing thread.Just the bare basic facts of all the stuff that goes wrong in a car dealership from the sales man's point of view,which must be a first here.

Will continue in the next Episode.

Guess you should be sending this to FIAT on your convienience. Hope it will confirm why they are not selling cars.

Last edited by Technocrat : 13th January 2009 at 15:09. Reason: Please avoid quoatinga such a long post, quote only whats relevant, thanks
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Old 14th January 2009, 05:47   #51
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Default The Second Episode And You guys Decide

Yesterday was very eventful, while shopping I saw the Palio guy with power steering issues, greeted him and asked him how his car is doing, well got what I deserved ďTHE BIGGEST MISTAKE IN MY LIFE EVER WAS BUYING A CAR FROM YOUĒ, the story repeats again,now since his power steering have been sorted out his horn is not working and his Speedo shows 80kmph even when he is doing 20kmph.

Getting back to the story, days passed by (not many) sold couple of more cars, almost all of them had some kind of problems, if not with the car there would be some kind of issues with the registration or documentation. The Insurance amount was up to 30% overcharged which gave us some space to bargain with the customer and ďofferĒ him a 30% discount on the insurance, almost all over Kerala, people were facing problem with registering their brand new possession because the Form 21 which is required for registration at the RTO looked like a fake or a Photocopy of the original, but it was in fact the original provided by Fiat. Even after repeated pleas and requests people who have bought the car havenít been able to get their RC book from the RTO without showing the ďoriginalĒ form 21 from the manufacturers. Then one guy in Palaghat went ahead and filed a suit against RF motors for this issue and another guy in Perumbavoor(Near Cochin) is also on the verge of doing the same. Fiat instead of issuing a new form 21 or at least putting a new toner cartridge in their printer,Fiat simply sends the same kind of Form 21. Registering a car at a RTO near the showroom is not an issue as the registration agents over here have an upper hand with the RT officers there, but far off places, the customers are tormented by the RTOs for the same. And one thing to take into account is that the RTOs in Kerala are supposed to be the toughest of the lot in all of India.

The only thing that I can remember as a good memory of working there would be a test-drive that I gave to a customer,at a far off place.I was told to take a 1.6 Palio Sport for a Test drive to Palaghat(around 300 km Drive To and fro),never asked any question like who the customer was or why at such a distant place because I knew it would be a terrific drive, did speeds close to 165KMPH, but only after ripping the nuts out of this car did I think I about the poor soul who would buy this car which had already done around 900KM and add to that the 300 annihilating kilometers that I just put in, returned after the drive with the brakes emitting some kind of squeaks while at low speeds. I didnít know it then but learned from Steeroid that this Test drive was for a fellow bhpian.

Then came the Linea, all these waiting and I was sent to Mumbai, not exactly sent I just got thrown into the last train to Mumbai at the right time, used my friend circle to get myself a train ticket, because the intimation for the training program came pretty late from Fiat for me to get a conformed reservation in the train. I guess just like the Fiat Linea Launch they were pretty much not sure when to conduct the Linea training in Typical Fiat Fashion. So I had to stand in a pretty crowded compartment for almost 350 kilometers till I got a seat. This just shows how incompetent Fiat is at even informing the date of this badly awaited event, which they have been planning for ever. Pretty soon the next day after seeing the Linea all my worries just faded away, but the part about the A S S ,was still giving me troubles, talked about this to the Fiat officials who were present over there , they found ways to walk around it, and they reassured me that the parts supply problems and the likes will be sorted out pretty soon. But one thing that I found out when I talked to one of the Fiat production manager is that when we pointed out a problem to him he just tried to justify it, not rectify it. I too hoped for the same and got on the train back home, after getting back I was excited to hear that I was one of the two guys from all over India to win a gift for my performance in the training session.

Back in real life, all the usual turmoil were still there and the dealership in the wake of the recession decided to give me a really good target to sell all the cars that was in the TATA/FIAT lineup right from the Indica to the Safari, The Product manager wanted Fiat sales and the Sales head wanted number be it Tata or Fiat, and nothing was happening. The Pressure was just building up, lots of advertisements were put on local dailys both by Fiat and also by the dealer, and the response was appalling ,not even 5 enquires for a car which shares the engine with hot selling Swift and the Indica Vista Quadrajet. Come on, I was hired specifically to sell the Linea not the Indica or the Goddamn Nano. Now I was having second thoughts about staying in this place each and every offer that I was promised was simply fading away from me.

I wasnít giving out my full potential as I was totally apprehensive about approaching any of my previous customers or family or friends as I have never cheated any one and I didnít want to do it with this Car, when ever some one who I know said that they were thinking about taking a swift I would give them a number of the nearest Maruti dealer or Hyundai dealer (for Getz/i10). I did this because when ever I was selling a car I felt as if I was cheating some one, so I thought okay I am cheating some one anyway, but why cheat someone I already know and destroy the relationship. My only relief now is that I gave test-drive to only two BHPians and both of them havenít taken a Fiat, Hallelujah.

Then one fine day after the usual demoralizing morning meeting, I was off to meet a customer when I got a call from office saying that a customer wanted test-drive. I came back to office did the usual. Took a brand new Palio with 20KM in the odo disconnected the odo and I was off for the drive, reached the customerís place around noon explained to the customer(an elderly gentleman in his late 60s) and his family about the feature, advantage benefits of the car and gave him a test-drive, after the test-drive while returning back, the customer was still driving, he didnít like the Palio one bit, and the A/C was acting up and both of us were sweaty and I was explaining to him that it was due to the extreme outside temperature, Suddenly we were stopped by the long arms of the law, the first thing the cop did was as usual harass the customer as he thought it was an unregistered car being driven around by the customer, I quickly got out of the car and explained to the cop that it was a usual Test-drive. The cop told me to take the documents for the car and present it to the senior officers present, we were driving around in a car without proper registration (Trade Certificates of course), it was a Mobile court, even the RTO was present in this convoy along with the Magistrate I was asked to hand over the papers , which I promptly did, the RTO said everything was fine the ,the poor old customer was still sitting in the oven like hot car while the midday sun was blaring at him. I was totally pissed off, then the RTO sent me to the Magistrate, I waited there ,then the customer parked the car by the side and came to me and told that it was time for him to take his Insulin shots ,so I was like totally mad, the cops wonít budge a second and the customer looked at me in dismay, finally I told him to take an auto home, he just smirked and walked away in utter disbelief , well the damage has been done. I then thought enough is enough. The Magistrate looked at the papers and said that I donít have the original trade certificate with me and that I had to pay a fine. I was boiling like a hell, I called up my office and explained the situation, and the reply I got was that since I was the one who took the car for a test drive it would be my responsibility to pay the fine(which wonít be reimbursed) and bring the car back. Those just made me go over the edge, enough is enough, and I told the magistrate that I donít have a single penny on me and that she can take the car. The cops took the car, I called up my office and told them that since I didnít have money on me the cops took the car, if the company is willing to reimburse, Iíll get the car from the station, after this I called up my dad I told him the whole deal and told that I am quitting he told me not to be a cheap *** like my employer told me to take the car from the station and leave it at the Office, and simply walk away from there. I went back to the station in the evening, took the car from there and left it at the showroom, came back home sent a resignation letter to the HR. And that my friends were the last day at the crappiest job ever in my life.

Some shocking things that I learned while there. The Trade Certificate is specifically only for Branch transfers, refueling or display purposes and the person in whose name the certificateís accompanying form, form no.19 (another form which have to be written while the vehicle is moved from the showroom) been issued can only drive this vehicle and this perfectly describes the Test-drive that I have been giving all these days as a crime. The form 19 has columns like source and destination kilometers done and in and out time, but how can one have the kilometers if the odo is disconnected? Simple you donít. This is how some sales guys in far off places take these new cars for test-drive for up to a week use it as their personal conveyance, one guy even used it as a Bride-Groom car for his brotherís marriage and this eventually gets sold to a customer some days later. Yes Fiats must be having the oldest stock in the industry, have personally seen cars with more than 400 days on the clock.

I never wanted any one to treat this as a Fiat Bashing thread or the dealer bashing thread; these were my experience of working at a TATA/FIAT dealership. Most of these Problems if you ask me happened from the Dealer because the manufacturer themselves donít have any kind of control over their dealers, look at Toyota,Maruti,Hyundai or Honda. Yes they give out the occasional Lemon every once in a blue moon but they never have such a good track record as the TATA/FIAT in handing out lemons and the worst service in the industry. I remember that I have sold close to 15 Camrys,one Prado and around a 50 corollas in a span of just 13 months and Let me tell you guys this, Not even one customer have had a complaint regarding registration, delivery or after sales service , some people have complained about the lack of follow-up from the sales manís side(me included in that) even that is on a lower scale these days as each and every enquiry counts, as it costs a lot to generate an enquiry through an advertisement or campaign ,so just a phone call is worth $$$$.Never did I give a test-drive in a new/customerís vehicle while I was in Toyota, if these kind of practices can be adopted by many other manufacturers too, why canít the Indian Auto Giant and itís subsidiary do anything like this, after my interaction with many Fiat owners I found out that all itís products till date are Flawed to an extent and they have been launched here with many a flaws which would seem ridiculous if explained now.Yet these owners come back to the same brand with some kind of blind devotion,I have seen at least 10 people who have said that they have never ever driven anything in their life other than a Fiat ,i.e from 1100 to 118NE then the Uno,Then the Palio and now waiting for the Linea,there are innumerable people like this ,can't blame any of them,they have their own justifications for it.

Now itís up to you guys to conclude weather itís the dealerís failure or the Failure of a Whole brand.

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Old 14th January 2009, 07:12   #52
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A frustrating experience, Muneem. It's an eye opener to dealer practices. A pity that they asked you to pay the fine, when it was evident the very test drive was an illegal practice.

I wonder why FIAT/dealer cannot provide test drive cars? Shame on you, FIAT.
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Old 14th January 2009, 07:25   #53
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Ouch! That is one hell of an experience! Thanks for sharing, Muneem.

As can be made out, the dealers attitude is more or less dictated by how much caring the manufacturer is towards their customers. Everything cascades from the top!

This is, unless, the dealer had a good management team and they are willing to work towards customer satifaction; but then, how many of such do we know!
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Old 14th January 2009, 09:08   #54
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It is a touching post Muneem and needs no further explanation as to why you quite that job. It is hard to believe that the dealer didn't agree to pay the Rs.2000 fine when their TC vehicle was caught without the original TC papers. They shouldn't have sent you away for a test drive on a TC car without the Form 19 in first place. At least they should have taken the responsibility to pay the fines, once things went wrong. Making their employee pay for their mistake(of letting out a TC reg car) is cruel. You should have convinced your father and left the car with the police for them to recover.
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Old 14th January 2009, 10:06   #55
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Muneem, that is one harrowing experience you have been through. This is clearly a case of a crappy dealer. Pity all those souls who are oblivious to the way in which their cars are treated at the dealership. Hope this information spreads to each and every soul in Cochin so that they are fore-warned.

I'm sure that the Linea is a good car, one which can actually turn the game around for FIAT. But when people have to go to such a pathetic dealer with poor service, how will the impression of the public towards FIAT change?

Steer, waiting to hear your experiences with these guys.
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Old 14th January 2009, 11:33   #56
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Dear Muneem - I can totally visualise what you must have gone through. The scene is right in front of me. You wearing the dealership uniform, you running around, you begging the car washer to help you everytime, you getting fired for no fault of yours, your shirt sleeves getting solied (if your uniform has a full sleeve shirt), you standing next to a posse of policemen while they ignore you totally for some time, you getting deputed for a training programme at the last minute which leaves you confused on how to go, you standing in train for 350 kms etc etc. It is sad but true that common sense and decency has taken a backseat in today's world.

Now you have left the job but some other poor soul will go through the same rigmorale. You must be bewildered and must be wanting to know the REAL reason why this happens to you and many others like you. Well, here it is.

The "so-called" controlling guys in the company sit in citadel towers, work in cubicles, pressing laptop buttons from morning till late evening making excel files having so many rows, columns and colours on one page that the only thing I can make out of it is that it is a horribly made Rangoli. These guys generally consider it below their dignity to talk to anybody except other guys like them (and they are a close knit tribe, believe me) and they only make presentations to the big bosses in conference rooms behind closed doors where tea is served with saucers. These bosses nod and say "humm, humm" and if anyone asks for some explanation, it is considered a sin worth being hanged for because there is always a sidekick (in Marathi he is called "pillu") and this pillu tells everybody in hush hush tones that the boss is busy, he has to go for another "meeting". These bosses are perenially in "meetings" or "travelling abroad". During presentations, these bosses suddenly get calls on their blackberries so everyone has to be quiet and after the call there is an off-topic discussion between two bosses, then the boss gives a blank look so everybody is further confused.

Now if these presenters and their bosses visit dealerships and they get additions to their Jet Airways Platinum card miles to do it, the dealer principal goes out of his way to take care of them, airport to airport, throwing everything else to the wind, which includes inconveniencing customers etc. Tea is again served with saucers but for some unknown reason, the cups here are always half full. The quality of tea is also not so good. The dealer principal says "sir - everything will be done", tells his sales / works manager to do it, the guys nod and say "yes sir" to everything and then the laptopwallah confuses them completely with his "rangoli". By the time the bosses are seen off at the airport, nobody knows what to do now, so somebody tries to do something and therefore poor you are told to do "something". These laptopwallahs generally change jobs or get internally transferred within 3 years so it does not matter to them. They know when to change before things come to a head. The dealer principal also knows but pretends to be unknown because he is finally doing his "dhandha" (business).

WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN? Because these guys do not know that there is something called a multijet engine, they do not know that a Palio has cable operated gear shifter, they do not know that the engine mounting cross member is brilliantly designed, they do not understand camber, caster, king pin inclination, do not know what is scrub radius, do not know what to do if a car pulls to one side, do not know that only toe can be adjusted by design, do not know why an engine emits black smoke and what to do about it, do not know why the speedometer shows 80 kmph when the car is moving at 20 kmph etc etc. Days and months are spent deciding on the colour of tiles to be applied in a workshop and guys have a full time job doing it, sometimes with the end result being a workshop looking like a disco, but a hard core technical discussion on the car taking place at highest level? No chance! If at all, for that there is another department where more excel files are flaunted as each complaint occupies one row of an excel file - THE CUSTOMER BECOMES A STATISTIC.

All this is coming straight from my heart but I guess I am like this only. What I have mentioned is true. On top of that, some customer actually buys the car also and it is natural that he will say that it was the worst decision of his life. Poor fellow.

What is required is a total overhaul of the whole system where only guys who understand cars call the shots and only have guys with them (not under them) who understand cars and deliver good results in simple ways.


Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 14th January 2009, 11:36   #57
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Even if the most highlighted problems in this thread is from the dealer, I am very sure this is a failure of a car manufacturer by whole. FIAT is just killing itself. It doesn't need to be badmouthed at all. They've taken that onus on their own shoulders.

No matter how good a car Fiat brings in to this country, with the current way of their operations, I will never ever buy one with my hard earned money. Atleast, we should save from making a mockery out of ourselves. Aint it?
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Old 14th January 2009, 11:53   #58
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I have one experience of BU Bhandari (Pune). Couple of months back I wanted to take a test drive of Palio Multijet. A sales guy named Nitin from BU Bhandari came at my home for TD.

I was waiting in parking for this guy and there he came like he was driving a Formula one car, I thought hes going to bang me so I ran behind the wall and he applied the brakes with full might and the car just stopped near me with a screeching halt. Many people came out after hearing the brake noise. I gave him sound thrashing for such reckless driving in our society and after that I started my test drive.

First thing I noticed is the odo was disconnected. I asked him is this how you operate and if this car will be sold to an poor unsuspecting guy? He said that it was test drive car and not to be resold. What a pathetic lie.

I took a very long drive and was very much satisfied with the car. Then while coming I told him he can drive the car and told him to drop me at a place. As soon as he took the wheels I was scared to death. With his reckless and fast driving he would even put Michael Schumacher to god he was abusing the car at this best.

I decided I will never ever buy any car from BU Bhandari.

At Pandit Auto (Pune) the experince was quite good. They have marked all the test drive cars with proper sticker and the odo is not disconnected .
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Old 14th January 2009, 13:34   #59
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From the story above, the area where Fiat was/is lacking is in supervision of their dealer. Maybe the Fiat-Tata agreement says service and dealers are Tata's responsiblity so Fiat has left everything to Tata. Only God knows what's going on but I am sure if Fiat has a good supervision system on it's dealers in place, most of what's written here wouldn't have happened as majority of the problems mentioned are dealer related.

- The Form 21 part is surely Fiat's problem as I see it.

- While you blame the dealer, by your own admission, you ripped a 1.6 GTX at 165kmph on a test drive knowing fully well that the car would eventually be sold to someone. That's neither a dealer problem nor manufacturer problem.

- No demo cars is something most manufacturer's have in India and abroad. The Linea however has dedicated demo cars so that problems seems to have been solved.

- The Linea training travel fiasco is sad. But, are you sure it's the manufacturer that informed about the training at the last minute? Maybe your managers knew the date in advance and it's they who goofed up?

- Manufacturer refusing to accept problems is across brands. Honda, till today, has not accepted that the Civic has a ground clearance issue. Even Maruti dealers and engineers first reaction to my SX4's juddering problem was to tell me and guide me on how to drive the car! As long as they put up a brave face in public but go back and refine these problems in their "all new refreshed" models it would be good .....

- Not even 5 enquiries for the Palio you say but didn't you know how poor Palio sales are?

- The RTO thing as I understand is a dealer issue. Did you give this information to Tata or Fiat? I think you should tell both these manufacturer's about the unprofessional attitude of their dealer.

With the Linea out, it's high time, Fiat has it's engineers visit dealers to get a first hand expereince of whats happening at the dealers, their customer's expectations and problems and nipping any possible problems in a customer vehicle as soon it's reported. I only hope Fiat does that because they have a great product with super prices. The Linea should succeed because that will keep competition in check, specially competition that's sucking Indian's dry with absolute compromise of cars!

Last edited by amit : 14th January 2009 at 13:37.
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Old 14th January 2009, 13:43   #60
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As I see it, Fiat dealers are selected by Fiat. So why in the 1st place appoint incompetent dealers? Is there any Fiat guideline about minimum service to be offered to customers? Has Fiat ensured all its dealers are well versed with these guidelines?

Also, there must be some unsold cars. Why don't they make it permanent demo cars?

Problem with Fiat is that they blissfully unaware of ground realities and are left wondering why their sales are poor. They seem waiting for the day when their problems would just vanish, without doing anything.

Last edited by diabloo : 14th January 2009 at 13:45.
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