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Old 10th October 2020, 11:58   #1
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Default Is it time to move on from brand Honda?

Having had a trouble free 15 or so years of association with Honda, sales, spares and services I am now beginning to think that the time has come to look for a change. While Honda seems oblivious of my love/loyalty to it, I am not sure a one way relationship is in my best interest. Even if I keep my Hondas should I move to a local service garage? I’ve had two Honda City and one Honda Brio in the last 15 years.

Nothing has gone drastically wrong but I can sense a change in the way Honda dealers approach after sales service. And it is very unHonda like. I am used to a no nonsense typically Honda efficiency that I have experienced over the last 15 years. Lately I’ve had three episodes where I’ve felt the company has lost it’s jive.

Episode one - last year I was surprised to find the spare tyre cavity of my 4 year old Brio filled with water. It had been raining heavily and clearly there was a leak in the roof. I promptly took the car to Viva Honda service station. It used to be Linkway Honda before a change in ownership made it Viva Honda and my cars were always serviced there. After waiting for about 30 minutes for a service associate to take a look the receptionist told to take the car back home and that they will call me when an appointment was available. My car is taking in more water than the Titanic but I can understand that space is short in Mumbai and it’s only fair that I bring the car in when they have the time and space to repair it. Of course nobody called. After a few weeks of waiting and checking several times I made an official complaint- but nothing happened- I just got a text message registering the complaint. Monsoons continued and the car kept getting flooded and finally fed up with waiting for Honda to respond I had to go to a local guy who found a leak in the roof- under the rails on top. It didn’t help that through this time I kept getting calls- every week to bring the car for servicing from Viva Honda. They have a very efficient system- three months after you’ve got your car serviced they will call you to remind about service due. My number is registered against 3 cars (one of which I sold 8 years back) so the calls come regularly, too regularly I think. So Instead of engaging with the caller on the subject of service due I started asking them about my complaint. They promised to call back about it. And never did.

Episode two- I took my Honda City (2012) for routine servicing- 70K. The Service Associate assigned to me promptly got in the car and started playing with the steering wheel. Almost like a laser guided missile he went straight for the steering . It felt strange that he honed in on a problem like he could smell it out. No test drive, no nothing. He made several notations on the service sheet. And told me he could hear the EPS motor. I couldn’t hear any such thing, but maybe in my old age I am going deaf. He is, after all, a Honda guy. Later in the day the guy called to give me his estimate for the service- Rs. 1,15,000. He listed changing the EPS motor and assembly, changing all four shock absorbers and engine housings. Shocked, I asked him to simply change the oil and filter and return the car. I decided to take a second opinion. Later I took the car to the same local guy who had fixed my leaky roof- he took a long drive in the car and told me- there is nothing wrong with the EPS motor or the shock absorbers, why do you want to change them?

Episode three- Normally we upgrade the car around 7-8 years mark. So I went to Viva Honda to see the new Honda City to replace my 2012 City. Was surprised to see the showroom had shifted to the area that was earlier the reception for after sales service. I understand times are tough and maybe they’re cost cutting on real estate rentals, and though I was disappointed at the lack of flair one associates with buying a new car, I started looking at the only Honda City on display. After tooling around for a few minutes I had to ask if a sales agent would help me. A reluctant sales agent arrived, took my details and gave me the price list. The lack of enthusiasm made me wonder if everything is okay with Honda in India.

Last edited by GTO : 13th October 2020 at 11:44. Reason: Last line is factually incorrect, hence
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Old 10th October 2020, 14:06   #2
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I am a repeat and now unhappy Honda customer. Just like you, I have faced water leakage problem in my City. No dealer has been able to fix it. I’ve also had it with unscrupulous service advisors playing the customer for a fool to make a quick buck. The fact that the cars are now of poor quality gives them the opportunity to play games in the first place. Honda of today is just Maruti with a bad attitude. I am looking to replace my City and there is no Honda product in contention. Their cars are overpriced and incompetent and their support is expensive and snooty.

Last Sunday, I was out car hunting with family. Hyundai and Tata showrooms were full to bursting. M&M was also busy thanks to the new Thar. Even MG had a few families out to check out the Hector. Out of sheer curiosity, my dad dragged me to the Honda showroom to check out the Civic. We were the only customers there. Sunday evening in festive season, and the place was completely deserted. Good that people are no longer willing to buy expensive tin cans.

Last edited by Shreyans_Jain : 10th October 2020 at 14:15.
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Old 10th October 2020, 14:48   #3
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Originally Posted by Shreyans_Jain View Post
I am looking to replace my City and there is no Honda product in contention.
Thatís exactly my grouse. Do Honda, or other manufacturers for that matter, lurk around here? I have not been able to speak with anyone at Honda to explain exactly how badly let down I have felt.
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Old 10th October 2020, 15:26   #4
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Most of the times the leaks are due to some rubber beading which needs to be replaced. In my honda city (now sold) i had a leak in the boot, i realised that beading had to be replaced and i got it changed which fixed the issue. Regarding mumbai i think the only honda dealer that is safe now is Arya Honda. otherwise all honda dealers in mumbai are changing names and financially under trouble. Heck its not related to honda but even many mercedes, toyota, jeep, hyundai dealers in trouble from what i have heard from sales executives.

I own 2 hondas right now and while i do agree with the sentiment that attitude is lacking somewhere i think if you move to other brands the maintenance and reliability is missing so i for one will stick to them and hope that they fix themselves for their own sake and mine.
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Old 10th October 2020, 15:30   #5
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I used to own Honda Accord (2 generations) in US. I was looking for a new car 5-6 years ago and Mobilio was one of the cars I was waiting for to be launched before I took the decision. One look at the newly launched Mobilio - and I never looked at another Honda car in India.

I think its time to move on from both the Japanese auto makers. They did not respect the market and its time the market shows them the door.

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Old 10th October 2020, 15:34   #6
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Perhaps OT, but it is always better to go to the "local guy" for any vehicle after the warranty is over. Except a very few Maruti (and to some extent Tata) service centers, no company in India cares about customers after the warranty is done with. They see them as an ATM.

I see even the old honda city running well in many parts of the world. Why is it that we hardly find a good example of such a well built car in India? 15-25 years is the normal life of a car. Nothing exceptional.

Also, the resale values of cars like the Civic and CRV (often less than that of a 5 year old Alto) are the result of bad service management.
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Old 10th October 2020, 16:14   #7
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We just booked & took delivery of our first Honda since the early 2000s.
Interestingly, Viva Honda was most keen to sell & did a 50km round trip to show us the car twice, however they weren't able to offer us as good a deal as Solitaire Honda.
They eventually matched the deal, but AFTER the vehicle was booked.

What I also liked about solitaire is that everything was done on call / email. With Viva, they kept wanting to meet to give me the best offer (I mean there's a pandemic & people are advised to WFH, so I don't understand this 'lets meet & discuss' - if it helps, even one Mercedes dealership was similar when I enquired recently).

Similarly delivery, etc. Was smooth and well handled. Hoping the service is similar!

If you need help with contact at either of these two dealerships, drop me a PM and I'll share the sales person details.

That being said, I am not loving new Hondas as much. They've let the ball drop in terms of build, performance, confused variants, and overall Value For Money. There are some good products undoubtedly, but few and far apart.

Last edited by lamborghini : 10th October 2020 at 16:17.
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Old 10th October 2020, 17:05   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadinMumbai View Post
Having had a trouble free 15 or so years of association with Honda, sales, spares and services I am now beginning to think that the time has come to look for a change. While Honda seems oblivious of my love/loyalty to it, I am not sure a one way relationship is in my best interest. Even if I keep my Hondas should I move to a local service garage? I’ve had two Honda City and one Honda Brio in the last 15 years.
Your descriptions sounds like the real issue is with the dealership to be honest. However, after reading other posts by other Honda owners - I agree with one important point. The lack of competitive products. Honda is still banking on the City brand and has milked it way too much. It has now practically become a 1.5 trick pony (0.5 for the early success in Amaze and WRV). Every car in Honda's India lineup is either overpriced or under equipped when compared to the competition.

But the dealership experience - Many other brand dealerships are also quite similar in experience. Their sole objective seems to milk out the customer as much as possible.

Last edited by sunilch : 10th October 2020 at 17:06.
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Old 10th October 2020, 17:38   #9
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If you need help with contact at either of these two dealerships, drop me a PM and I'll share the sales person details.
Had connected with a sales advisor from Arya Honda. Asked him to arrange for a TD of the new City. For 2 weeks, did not hear back from him. I called up and asked if it can be arranged to which he said the car has met with an accident and is under repair. Called Viva Honda and a lady SA promptly arranged the TD. Post the TD, I asked her for a pro-forma which she sent only after few weeks. Lost interest and City felt overpriced and overhyped. TSI felt superior over IVtec engine. Still not able to understand why people rate iVtec so highly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamborghini View Post
That being said, I am not loving new Hondas as much. They've let the ball drop in terms of build, performance, confused variants, and overall Value For Money. There are some good products undoubtedly, but few and far apart.
The new City is well built however the body felt lighter than previous generations. Panel gaps and materials used in City are good. However, the same cannot be said about Amaze. Horrible and evident cheap materials used. Since a decade trying to convince myself for a Honda but it looks like I won't be going for it for cars under 15L.
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Old 10th October 2020, 17:44   #10
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If you need help with contact at either of these two dealerships, drop me a PM and I'll share the sales person details.
Thanks. I have shelved the idea of buying a new car for the time being. The new Honda City was uninspiring. I couldnít see a reason to spring an additional 10-11 lacs for the exact same experience that I already have.

Renault didnít respond to a test drive request. Other than an acknowledgment email. And Kia sent me a flurry of texts thanking me for reaching out to their SA. The SA however didnít arrive with the test drive vehicle on the agreed date, or even call to apologise for missing the date. So much for a good sales experience.

Iím guessing the automobile business is bad in India at the moment but it is still not bad enough to not mistreat a customer. So, I think I will spend some money on the existing City, thereís nothing really wrong with it other than nicks and dents, and carry on for a couple of years.
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Old 10th October 2020, 17:45   #11
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Mod note: Post trimmed, please avoid quoting entire large post for replies. Affects readability. Also please use proper punctuations instead of typing like this... Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MadinMumbai View Post
Having had a trouble free 15 or so years of association with Honda, sales, spares and services I am now beginning to think that the time has come to look for a change. While Honda seems oblivious of my love/loyalty to it, I am not sure a one way relationship is in my best interest.
======
Maybe I was imagining it or maybe they’re also ready to leave the Indian market like so many others.
Hello, I am a newbie and this is my first post. I just want to share an experience which may be similar to what you went through. My Amaze's left side (front) power window switch stopped working. So i went to Crystal Honda, Bavdhan, Pune. They first told me to do servicing as it was due in another 15 days. So I said ok and got slapped with a Rs. 7,400 bill! But during servicing they called me and said power window motor is not working and it is not covered under the warranty (the 4 year free warranty deal which i got at the time of purchase was about to expire in a month). I raised a complaint and nothing happened. Meanwhile, they kept calling me to enquire if I would like to order the part. I declined.

I went to Goa for a trip and came back (left side window remained closed). Thereafter, they offered me a very good deal on a one year extension of warranty and RSA, which I took. So now, when I went and complained about the power window motor, they surprisingly agreed to change it! They ordered a new motor which was changed in a week's time, but the window opening and closing actions were very slow. The mechanic said that it will become normal in a week, but nothing of the sort happened.

Two months later, again the same power window switch stopped working. I went back to Crystal Honda. Again they said motor is gone! in just 300 km?

I raised a complaint and reluctantly they changed the motor as well as the entire wiring (did not give me back the old part). Now i am thinking whether they did not want to change my power window motor earlier just so that they can lure me into buying the warranty and whether the first time they changed the motor, they forgot to look for the faults in wiring. ng

Last edited by Aditya : 11th October 2020 at 05:18. Reason: Punctuation, language, typos
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Old 10th October 2020, 18:16   #12
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Honda India has no future to be honest, they have been riding on City for too long! Someone up the management level should have read the book “Who moved my cheese!”. The writing is on the wall, without products that can challenge Creta, Seltos, Sonet, Venue and Nexon, you don’t stand a chance. Honda is like the guy waiting at a bus stop where the last bus has already left!!

Last edited by Aditya : 11th October 2020 at 04:58. Reason: Typo
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Old 10th October 2020, 18:52   #13
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I have had great ownership experiences with Honda, my current Civic is 12+ yrs old and absolutely trouble free.

Yet, though a repeat customer, I dont fancy a Honda anymore. Not because of their product quality, but due to ideological differences - I want a good looking car, but they now make boring family cars. I want performance oriented cars, they make ones for mileage seeker. I want technically advanced cars, Hondas now leave a lot to be desired; like somewhere someone decided to play test match in a one-day game.

Game has moved on and Honda has been caught napping; it isn't too late, but get a feeling that they have given up with the Korean onslaught. I am worried even Toyota is headed that way, non aspirational products expect Fortuner & Innova.
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Old 10th October 2020, 21:47   #14
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I remember in 2007 when I was shopping for a car, it was not easy to choose between Civic and Laura (Octavia). That was the time Honda India had a great product portfolio and was way ahead of the competition (other than EU brands). Since then Honda has been steadily aspiring to catch up with Maruti and it has been nothing but suicidal.

I wanted to experience the so called 'fill it, shut it, forget it' Honda experience and went ahead bought the top spec Honda City in 2013. The car has been very reliable with decent engine + AT + space but this would most likely to be my first and last Honda. I find the following aspects driving me nuts on a regular basis:

1. Small fuel tank with poor FE. I hate visiting fuel pumps too often. I have no problem with poor FE, but I need a decent range not to waste my time. Does Honda think I will get a price shock if I refill a bigger tank?

2. Small battery. The battery died on me so many times for silliest of reasons. It has no juice for a car of this size. Honda thinks I will be very happy to pay for only for a small battery when it is time to change.

3. Frequent service calls. This gets my goat like no other. They call me so often and play recorded service reminder messages.

4. Very poor weather sealing. Leave it unattended during rainy season and you will find fungus, ants, insects what not. Of course, battery goes dead as well.

Yes, the car has been reliable but also irritating and unlovable. This is even without getting into the aspects of poor build quality and mediocre high speed manners.

Last edited by androdev : 10th October 2020 at 22:08.
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Old 10th October 2020, 22:44   #15
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Originally Posted by androdev View Post

I wanted to experience the so called 'fill it, shut it, forget it' Honda experience and went ahead bought the top spec Honda City in 2013. The car has been very reliable with decent engine + AT + space but this would most likely to be my first and last Honda. I find the following aspects driving me nuts on a regular basis:

1. Small fuel tank with poor FE. I hate visiting fuel pumps too often. I have no problem with poor FE, but I need a decent range not to waste my time. Does Honda think I will get a price shock if I refill a bigger tank?

2. Small battery. The battery died on me so many times for silliest of reasons. It has no juice for a car of this size. Honda thinks I will be very happy to pay for only for a small battery when it is time to change.

3. Frequent service calls. This gets my goat like no other.
I have to agree with these three of your comments. FE is a major let down for me. My City AT gives me about 8.8 km to a litre of petrol in Mumbai. Brio does a little better at 9.7. It is frankly ridiculous considering my Cielo (1997),which was probably 1988-89 tech, used to give me 9.5 kms.

Iím not a very demanding driver. Even on the highway my driving style is to maximise FE. In the 8 years or so the only time I might have slipped the car into ĎSí mode or used the paddle shifters would have been by mistake. So, the car hardly ever sees action above 3500 RPM. Yet the FE seems comparable with older cars or cars with 2.0 litre engines. And seeing the new figures on the 5th gen City I suspect the FE is in the same range. Probably means the VTEC is still more or less the same as it existed in the the first gen City.
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