Oh no! Another Linea Story
Sorry guys but I succumbed to the charms of the Linea and drove home a Flamenco Red Emotion Petrol on Mon 10th August. So please bear with another tbhp Linea story. This one is more about dealerships than about the Linea itself-not much more to be said about the Linea.
Circa Feb 2009. Saw a Flamenco Red Linea parked in Wakdewadi (Pune). Went up close. Chauffeur was sitting inside, so could look at the interiors as well. It was love at first sight. Assumed it was a 10 lakh+ car and made a mental note to consider it as my next car. I had no plans to buy a new car as I had a perfectly fine 3 year old NHC. ( Did I mention that I previously drove a Fiat Siena Exi 1.6 which I was also in love with?)
March/April 2009 Was researching cars for my son (Finally an a-Star but that's another story) when I came across prices for the Linea on some websites. The Dynamic version for about 7 lakhs sounded like a steal Also some reviews on Mouthshut which were positive. My son said if you want unbiased reviews and user experiences look up Team-bhp. (That Team
-bhp has become an obsession is another story). I did read about all the niggles and the Fiat/Tata A**. But the emotion and pride of the Linea buyers outweighed the negatives.
As a previous Fiat and Indica owner, I had had reasonable experiences with the B U Bhandari post-sales service.
Now started the process of justifying a purchase of a new car. While I was almost (keyword!) completely satisfied with the NHC-smooth running, reasonable 'mileage', space, I had never become too attached to it like I had with the Siena and some other cars earlier. I was a bit unhappy with the ingress from day 1 and the fact that the bumpers were pretty flimsy-the slightest touch and you found grazes and dents.
Thanks to Son and Team-Bhp for providing the justifications.
Justification 1: I had been getting back-aches after long drives, which I never had earlier, but attributed it to age. Fortunately son took the NHC on a long drive and came back complaining of a back-ache. When this happened a second time, he said "Dad, I don't know how you can drive this City. It's bad for your back.agree:
Justification 2 came from Team-bhp cost of ownership thread. Cost of Linea Dynamic approx 6.8 L less Sale of NHC ( approx 5L). Maintenance Cost of NHC over 4 years vs 4 year warranty on Linea. Some more calculations and the financials were justified. All my 3 kids ( young adults actually) said, if this is something you really want, just do it.
However, Dynamic lacked ABS, so mentally upgraded to Dynamic Pack (Thanks to tbhp for upping my budget!)
May 2009: The saga of the test drive. Requested one on the Fiat website. No response. Requested one on the Pandit website. No response. Requested one on Gaadi, Carwale and others.
Invariably got a call the next day which went something like this
"Sir, would you be looking at Finance"
"Sir would you be looking for insurance"
"No, I am transferring my existing insurance"
"Okay sir , we will forward your enquiry to Fiat dealers"
Last week of May walked into the B U Bhandari showroom in Camp.
"I am interested in the Linea"
"Sorry sir, Lineas are displayed only in our Pashan showroom"( 15Km away)
"Well can you give me details"
"Yes Sir" And he did give me a pretty good rundown of all the features, prices etc.
"Can you arrange a test drive"
"Sorry, our test drive cars are fully booked. Please visit our Pashan showroom"
First visit to B U Bhandari
Was attended to in 15 seconds. Requested Test Drive. No car available but was assigned to a sales executive Dinesh. Told him I had made about 5 requests for a test drive. Told me to hold on and went to make enquiries about it ( The moment I was unattended, I had someone come and ask me if they could help me. This happened 2-3 times. Was very impressed!). Anyway, Dinesh returned and told me that a test drive car would be available in 30 mins. Meanwhile he took me to the basement garage and showed me the different colour options, and features of the different models. Was almost as well informed as I was( thanks to tbhp). And that was when the decision was made to upgrade to Emotion or Emotion Pack. While all the additional
features of the Emotion (vs Dynamic Pack) were something I could live without, looking at the 2 side by side, they looked like 2 different cars! And when he told me there was a cash discount of about 13.5K, I was very inclined to the Emotion Pack. 40 mins later the test drive car had not shown up. I tried very hard to convince him to do a test drive on one of the customers cars(just testing).He point blank refused and asked me to wait and kept me busy. The TD car arrived, TD taken, decided to book, if they gave me a decent price for my NHC. The offer was so poor (80K less than what I finally sold it for) that I had to say I will come back after I sell my Honda. ( No follow up from B U B thereafter)
First Visit to Pandit Automotive.
Walked in, loitered around the showroom, and after 10 minutes cleared my throat to get the receptionists attention, and said, I am interested in buying a Linea. Asked me to wait and 10 minutes later, the sales guy sauntered up. Requested a Test Drive Linea petrol. Don't have a petrol TD vehicle. When can you arranage one? Difficult to say. Do you have a diesel. Yes. Can I see it? Took me outside and showed me an ill maintained vehicle with soiled interiors. No non-Fiat fan would ever buy a Linea after seeing that vehicle.Went back in and asked about the prices. The guy said he would arrange a price-list and vanished. 10 mins later another guy sauntered up with a Punto price-list. I said I was interested in the Linea. Just one minute sir and vanished. 15 minutes later went back to the receptionist and told her I had been abandoned . She made some enquiries and informed me that the sales guy was in a meeting and would be with me soon. ( sales meeting on a Saturday afternoon with customers all over the showroom)To cut a long story short requested an exchange price for my Honda. Unable to give me a price. 2 Days and several phone calls later, I got a price 30k lower than BUB, ie 1.1 L lower than what I sold it for finally
Selling the Honda City: Ads in Sulekha, Quickr and other FREE websites. Lot of interest and offers but no deposit.
Second visit to B U B
Met Dinesh. Told him it was almost 25th June ( last day for discount offer) and I wanted to buy the Linea. He said Don't worry. There will be different offers in July.
Finally Honda City sold. What Dinesh had told me about different offers was true except there were no offers on Emotion/Emotion Pack. And the price was bumped up by 10K. I was pretty upset. Total difference of 23K. So it was back to Emotion instead of Emotion Pack. With all my negotiating I could barely manage free mudflaps and mats. Called up Pandit and asked about prices. Same story. I asked if they had any vehicles in stock. They had a vocal white (apparently! See thread of another Linea buyer who finally was given it and his trauma). I said since this is a June vehicle, I am willing to pay full cash, if you give me the same offfer. No go.
Third visit to BU Bhandari: This one takes the cake
My brother was visiting from the US. Very interested in seeing the Nano, and I was very interested in showing him the Linea and also clarifying a few things with Dinesh.
Sat 18th July 3:00PM. Went to B U B. There were about 15 customers in the showroom, most of them looking at the Punto or Linea, very few on the Tata cars side. Spent 20 minutes looking at the Nano and taking pictures. No sign of any salesman. Finally, went to the reception and asked for Dinesh. He is in a meeting, should be done in 10 mins. After 10 mins, requested again, receptionist went up to the meeting room and came back again, "Sir few minutes more". 10 minutes later, I went back and said if he is not here immediately, I will have to write to Fiat. "Sir he is in a sales training session with Fiat people" My brother and I were stunned. Here there are 15 people in the showroom wanting to buy a Fiat, and Fiat is training them in a classroom, how to sell cars!!):Frustrati I expressed this and even the 2 receptionists could see the irony of the situation and smiled sheepishly. My brother went up to the training room and said, "excuse me but there are a lot of people downstairs who need attention". "Just a few minutes more". After 1 hour in the showroom, I went into the meeting room and yelled at the Fiat guys " Here you have people waiting to buy your cars, and you are training people how to sell them? On a peak Saturday afternoon?" His response "My apologies sir. They may sell a few cars today, but I am training them to sell cars all year round." I did not know whether to laugh or cry. Anyway, Dinesh saw me left the room, and attended to me, gave my brother a long Linea test drive and apologized profusely for the wait.
25th July: Called up Dinesh. Agreement. I would give him a cheque for 50K to book the Linea and start the deliverytime(15 Days). Any promotional offers announced for August would be applicable to me as deivery would be in early August. Flamenco Red Emotion Petrol
28th July: Call from Dinesh. Medium grey Emotion available for immediate delivery. Any Discounts/Offers? No sir. Then let's wait for my Flamenco Red
30th July: Call from Dinesh. Flamenco Red available for delivery 3rd Aug. Any Discounts/Offers? No Sir, but if you want to wait delivery may be delayed to post-15th Aug. I will wait for Aug Price List.
1st Aug: Call from Dinesh. New Aug Price List is out, no promotional offers. But I can give you delivery real quick ( B U B had booked the Emotion offered on 30th July I presume).
3rd Aug: Given Chassis Number/ Engine Number, Payment Collected
7th Aug: PDI Inspection. Not at appointed time, very frustrating wait, but went through the tphp checklist. Bumper matched rest of body, no scratches/dents/rust/leakage. All okay except driver door needed to be slammed to shut, side body molding on driver side not really clinging to the body, Manufacture Date July 09. Only downside 184 Km on the odo. Even General Manager had no real explanation other than driven down from Ranjangoan to Wakad and then Pashan, and Fiat test drives 30-40Km (!). Pointed this out on feedback form and in person to GM . Looked at all other cars ready for delivery and all had 100+ on the odo. (Did take delivery because looking at the filthy condition of the car when brought for TDI, there is no way it could have been used as a TD car. Plus July09 mfg date. Plus fuel consumption was 10.6).
10th Aug: Dinesh called. Car Door was a "vacuum" problem. If other doors are open, it shuts easily, common to all Lineas. Side molding can be glued on but will not be removable. Told him to leave the molding as is, since it was noticeable only on close inspection. What he said about the door was demonstrated to me, but I do not believe the excuse. There has got to be some adjustment.
Delivery was made at scheduled time. Puja done, all features explained, paperwork/warranty cards handed over ( no separate warranty card for tyres), Free Mats and Mudflaps( ugly) placed. Only accessory I had asked for was reverse sensors. Bumper very neatly done. Very small monitor placed neatly and inconspicuously on extreme right of dashboard.
August 10th 6:00 PM. Drove out as a Linean. Stopped envying all you guys and your magnificent machines. Actually, a Linea is to beautiful to be called a machine.
August 10th 6:15 PM . Became a true true Linean. As I was driving to my office, I felt something fall on my shoe. The bonnet lever had fallen off. Dinesh assures me this is "normal" . It is a press-fit part that just needs to be placed back!
For the first time I wish my office was furher away from my work place. I can drive the Linea only 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the evening on work days. Waiting for the week end.
If you did not have such a story to tell, this is perhaps one of the funniest thread on this forum that I have come across.
At least give 1 credit to Fiat: they did not allow TD of a customer car.
Anyway, what has been paid for is not returnable in India at least. Try writing to Fiat about these minor niggles (do not be so witty) and/or get in touch with Tony/Thambi (or whatever is the full form of FIAT).
Hi, Great story, full of twists and turns.
post some pictures of your car
Congrats for the red beauty!!!.... Please post the pics as well including interiors.
@vasudeva. I have told Dinesh to wait for a few days before he fixes the niggles, so he can do them all at once.
@Star, Cbzire. Thanks. Happy to post pics soon, but will look like all the other Lineas. Only difference is my reverse sensor monitor positioning
Thats quiet some story and that Fiat training part was funny!
And do post the pics(it may look like other lineas but its yours so the feel would be different for you).
You just bought one of the best looking cars on Indian Roads today, Congratulations !
@Harry- Thanks. yes I do feel my Linea is special, even if it is like other Lineas
@AbhiJ-Thanks. Beauty over (my?) brains any day.
Interesting read. All the other inefficiencies notwithstanding, I am extremely pleased they did not give a customer car for TD.
The Linea looks lovely in Red - do post some pictures and congratulations again.
Oh well, the ups and downs of a Fiat relationship! :)
Congrats pragmites! have miles and miles of motoring with the beauty. regarding the bonnet opening lever, what dinesh said is right. this is merely a clip on lever and it is designed that way so that the plastic panel can be removed in case of necessity.
again what he said about the door is right. air gets trapped inside the cabin and with all other doors and windows closed, it cannot escape. hence more pressure is required on the door. try that experiment in a closed AC room! when u close the door you will feel the windows rattling!
Congratulations on your buy Progmites! i appreciate the effort you have made to put in the minutest details in your report.
I have a question though, is it OK to get a new car which has already run close to about 200kms??
Waiting for the pictures of your car!
You have got yourself a great and a very safe car! (respect grown even more over the last few days!)
Wishing you miles and miles of happy motoring!
Thank you all for your good wishes. Pictures over the weekend.
Anyway Sunil, thanks for all the knowledgeable posts on tbhp. I think you are the technical expert on Linea, besides having the best looking Linea on tbhp, perhaps in the country.
-I saw 3 other cars ready for delivery , all had run between 120-140 kms.
-Pune dealerships drive down the cars from Ranjangaon ( unless they have 5 simultaneous deliveries) and so getting less than 100km is unlikely
-There was no supporting evidence of misuse/mishandling.
For whatever it is worth I have documented the mileage at time of delivery.
Congrats @Pragmites on your new purchase. Its quite a looker. Drive safe.
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