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Old 10th January 2009, 18:25   #1
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Default "THE" Job Experience at a Tata/Fiat Dealership

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.

There was this simple Advertisement in a local daily saying that RF Motors,Cochin a TATA/FIAT dealer was looking for ex-Toyota/Honda guys for their upcoming and much awaited C segment car the Fiat Linea,thought for a while,then thought TATA-FIAT seems like good place to work ,Fiat's always been one of my favorite brand and a new product in the market will always make some great waves and even if it's a crappy car there will be the So Called "Honeymoon" Period for any car when it will sell just due to the novelty factor.After reading much about the Linea on Teambhp, sent an e-mail with my resume attached ,got a call the very next day asking me to come for the interview, went there got the job, the interview itself seemed like a mockery to me, the Head of Sales was the one who interviewed me he seemed like a very good person and one who is definitely not fit for the job.Instead of asking me tensing questions or expecting ground breaking answers he was simply at my mercy to tell him everything that I know about Fiat and the Linea he even didn't have a clue as to what Fiat stood for. How such a car has so much potential in the current market who are the major competitors and what kind of a marketing strategy can be adopted to sell such a car to the customers.He was asking me this because he was clueless as what to do with a 8 Lakh rupee premium sedan.Poor chap.

The Linea was still no where in sight, so I was told to work my way around for the next month till the Linea gets launched and sell the current product line up i.e the Fiat Palio , at first I was a little apprehensive ,then I thought it's just a 5 lakh car how bad can it be ? and moreover swift has a long waiting period so people will have to settle for the MJD Palio right ? WRONG. Apparently most of the people who came to the showroom were amazed at the fact that Fiat is still available through TATA and that the service is done by TATA.Add more damage to this awesome deal the Indica Vista is displayed along side the Palio with much more equipment and a new look and it's also riding the wave of the Honeymoon period.Everyone of the customers who came to the showroom were worried how the after sales service would be. I gave them assurance that all is well and that unlike the previous TVS service centers the service operations are totally done by TATA and it is very competent and that all the Fiat vehicles are serviced by service personal who are specifically trained for the job.I learned the truth about these facts which i blurted out to undiscerning customers after a short while.

First day on my job and I came to a conclusion that this is not going to last as short as even i expected ,To my utter dismay I found that like most TATA dealerships they didn't have a specific test drive car and if you want to give a test drive all you have to do is walk to the yard take a pick of the brand new car which ever colour you want which ever model , simply wash the car(just the exterior !!) MYSELF !!!!!!! and disconnect the speedo and fill in the required amount of fuel and take the Trade Certificate Sticker stick in in place of the number plate and we are off for a drive, First day itself I made it very clear that I won't be washing the car. Suddenly the people started considering me as a little arrogant because I was not acting as a man Friday Salesman.

My first shot of reality about the infamous TATA/FIAT A S S came to me when I was faced with an angered customer who had taken a Palio MJD SDX, two months back , the very second day itself his car's power steering had started leaking from the Power Steering Pump side, the car was certainly under warranty but the issue as always was that the part was not available,the customer care personal responded that the part had been ordered the very next day that problem was reported , but I found out that the Spare parts division had not ordered the spare as they didn't know that new part number of the power steering pump as all the part numbers had been changed after the TATA takeover. Luckily no one tried explaining that to the customer. Does he need to know weather TATA or Mahindra took over Fiat ? He bought a car and he has not been able to drive it around,that's all he knows that's all that he needs to know.After all the shouting swearing and threatening to go to court, he got his power steering pump replaced after 2 and half months of waiting, and that part again was not directly from Fiat India but from another Dealer in Trivandrum.So this guy after the first day of purchasing the new car had been going around in this car refueling not just diesel but 150rs worth of Power steering fluid everyday.!!!

The Next surprise came to me when, I found out that most of the accessories that are available in the market can't be installed on Fiat Cars,The PCD of the wheels are Fiat specific, Central locking or power windows can't be installed as an aftermarket fitment.Even if a car has Central locking if you want to add a remote central locking to it you simply can't.The ECU simply rejects all extra electrical in the wiring harness If you still install one,by any chance,when ever you unlock your car the rear doors not only unlock but they spring open wide!!!!

Things started going down the drain for me from my first car delivery, the car itself was a True Lemon in every way.This particular car was once delivered to another customer but broke down on the way back from registration, the customer declined to take this car and since that day this Palio SDX MJD have been with the dealer.i.e for almost six months, one fine day I found a poor bloke who was willing to take this car,since the car looked good with all the accessories fitted on it(for the previous customer) and offered all those accessories as free of cost as most of it can't be removed from the car(sun film,Seat covers etc). The customer was just delighted to get all these freebies and just went ahead and paid me the whole money.The car's delivery was committed and I got 3 of the doors repainted again as all of them were scratched or dented, but when the customer came for delivery I found that the paint from repainting the doors got scattered on the front door which was the only one factory painted now,so I got the fourth door also painted. The Delivery was committed at 11 in the morning which was postponed to 6 in the evening to finish such works and also to hide all the dents,bad paint jobs since after dark the customer wouldn't notice such things.The customer had asked to fit a Stereo system on the car along with Blaupunkt speakers, also a remote central locking system,and a cigar lighter I didn't know of this till the time of delivery as the customer approached the accessories department directly and ordered this stuff.the car was at last delivered at 7 in the night, the customer came the vehicle and the documents were explained to him, he sat in the car, started it and turned the A/C on and Boooom, The A/C went kaput ,it simply blew a fuse it was replaced immediately with one from the showroom display car, the customer was happy and went off, 15 minutes later he came dashing back to the showroom, except for the driver door all the other doors were jammed, after having spent close to 5.25 lakhs he didn't have a car to go home that night. I simply sulked away from the scene I had no explanations to give or condolences to make.The next day this chap got his car rectified and went home happy, the day after he was again seen in the showroom with the same complaint this time his wife was stuck in the rear seat and the doors wouldn't open, he left the car again in the showroom for checking the doors , gave the car next day after fixing everything , the 5th day the customer is back again with the same problems I simply stayed away from him.Also i found that he got Cheap Chinese Pioneer Speakers instead of the blaupunkts that he had ordered.Don't know what happened of the the guy was last seen begging the Service adviser to fix his car for good or take it back. Oh and he seemed to have noticed the small dent on the bonnet too and have stared complaining about that too.He told me this "THE BIGGEST MISTAKE IN MY LIFE EVER WAS BUYING A CAR FROM YOU"

Will continue in the next Episode.
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Old 10th January 2009, 18:32   #2
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Thanks for sharing the info Muneem. I was one of the people who requested you to do the same.
Just one query. Have you been employed with some other car brand / showroom in the past ? This will give us an idea that you have a reference point when you are commenting on the dealership.
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Old 10th January 2009, 18:50   #3
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Very good info. I swear I will always stay away from a Fiat.
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Old 10th January 2009, 18:56   #4
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Whatay. I am aware this kinda nonsense happened, but thanks for bringing it out.

And by the way, I wouldn't be too wrong to assume the same nuisance with Vista customers - not that they'd be treated any better - no need to reply. Contradict only if I'm wrong, which I'm not in this case.

WanderNomad - I think you are connecting absolutely the WRONG dots. Please understand two basic things:
a. If care is taken in accesory installation, there isnt an issue (i know atleast four close friends, only one is a tbhpian, and all have no issues) - it may just mean a little reading and thought before installation. The select few who pickup the top versions of say Linea would have little to worry about.
b. The bulk of the issue is with the dealership, who are scum when it comes to Tata products as well. You may wish to browse the forum as well.

Last edited by phamilyman : 10th January 2009 at 19:04.
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Old 10th January 2009, 19:02   #5
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Can you also specify the period of this experience. From the first episode all I can see is blunders on the dealer part, lack of awareness of head of sales, stores not having proper part list and selling of a used car to a common man.

All shortcomings on the dealer part who does not want to confront the manufacturer but take its customer for a ride.
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Old 10th January 2009, 19:06   #6
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Wow, that is a bomber! So sad that things are like this but I guess most of us are used to this kind of treatement at one point or another. And this is not restricted to just a particular dealer or brand. It is a wide spread disease!
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Old 10th January 2009, 19:30   #7
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Good write up abut explaning the situations at Tata/Fiat work shop. So sad to note the things whatever has happened to you and to the customer/s. Sometimes, our inner self will not permit us to work in such kind of situations. But we have to do it for the sake of doing it. Hope this will be a one off case. Will wait for your next episode before making any judgement on the dealerships of Tata/Fiat.
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Old 10th January 2009, 20:44   #8
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Originally Posted by muneemmk View Post
To my utter dismay I found that like most TATA dealerships they didn't have a specific test drive car and if you want to give a test drive all you have to do is walk to the yard take a pick of the brand new car which ever colour you want which ever model , simply wash the car(just the exterior !!) MYSELF !!!!!!! and disconnect the speedo and fill in the required amount of fuel and take the Trade Certificate Sticker stick in in place of the number plate and we are off for a drive, First day itself I made it very clear that I won't be washing the car. Suddenly the people started considering me as a little arrogant because I was not acting as a man Friday Salesman.
And I thought they only did that in Goa!

Last edited by Rehaan : 3rd February 2009 at 18:51. Reason: Quote fixed.
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Old 10th January 2009, 21:18   #9
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Ah! The Inside story! What I have been waiting for!
Old 10th January 2009, 21:20   #10
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Originally Posted by rippergeo View Post
Ah! The Inside story! What I have been waiting for!
what i had been waiting for too!!guess t-bhp's 'deep throat' is opening up!!

hey muneem,just kidding!!but your report does give a horrific look into what happens at RF, though i cant vouch for the same thing at other TATA-FIAT dealers.i am just feeling so glad that my palio 1.6 has had no such problems despite being bought from the same dealer!!

And regarding the PCD of fiat!!well, trust me, you dont want to know what i went through!!

Last edited by carfreak : 10th January 2009 at 21:35.
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Old 10th January 2009, 21:21   #11
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First off all, thanks for sharing with us the reality of commitment of a car maker whose small car Palio is regarded as one of the best build hatches in the country along with Fabia. Certainly, in future I will let everyone who contacts me that dont go for Fiat car.

You are correct that the customer knows what he needs to know. Again I am sure that the only manufacturer to gain from Tata-Fiat MoU will be Tata and Fiat will act as ever green loser. They gave diesel engine and we have more Indica Quadrajet than MJD. Its one bad experience. I know you have left the job at Toyota for restoring your car, but you can again go back to more sensible manufacturer.
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Old 10th January 2009, 21:54   #12
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Thanks for sharing the info Muneem. You have gained a lot of experience from this, which would help you a lot in the future! Good luck buddy!

In the future episodes could you please let us know if FIAT had atleast TRIED to take any step at all to improve things at the dealer level with the Linea launch?

Guys lets not hijack this thread into a "Don't buy FIAT campaign". Poor guys are finally launching a great car (from whatever I have read) called Linea May be we should give them another chance!

Disclaimer: I'm not a FIAT fan. Have never driven one. Don't plan to buy the Linea (Belong to the suddenly vulnerable species of IT, so can't park my money on a 9L car)
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Old 10th January 2009, 21:58   #13
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just curious, it this colossal incompetence because of the dealer, tata , or fiat ?
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Old 10th January 2009, 22:00   #14
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The reality of Fiat and it's dealers comes out in the open. Now that Tata is involved, it's easy to blame a lot on them too.

Even before Tata stepped in, Fiat dealerships were a pain. I don't think we need somebody from those times to drop in here with a similar thread to explain that. TVS dealerships were horrific to the core.

If Fiat wants to go anywhere ahead in India, they better fix up their dealerships and A.S.S game right.

Thanks for the insider story, Muneem.
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Old 10th January 2009, 22:09   #15
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Well written. I don't blame you for being honest but u've certainly dissuaded one person from purchasing the linea, at least for the moment. This is truly horrendous, specially the test drive part;this part about doors spring open.Does that actually happen? it would be quite hilarious.
I believe you mean disconnect the odo, not the speedo. Cheers.
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