My Mahindra XUV700 delivery: Amazing dealer support & experience

Had initially booked the MG Hector, but dropped it & opted to look for alternatives to replace my Hyundai Verna.

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Dear BHPians,

Finally, happy to share the good news of the delivery of our AX7L D AT AWD Midnight Black XUV700 (our Night Fury). I would like to share my delivery experience here, which came with its share of disappointments and even more surprises. This post was long due, delayed due to a few personal things that kept me busy. Pardon me for the long post. I hope this will be a light read for other members.

Search for a new Car

The search for my next car upgrade started in late 2019 when my previous ride (Hyundai Verna) started showing signs of ageing after crossing 100K km and maintenance expenses started creeping up. MG Hector was the new smart kid on the block at the time and the family was excited about the good looks of the car with all the bells n whistles making it a feature-rich luxury car yet budget-friendly. Rave reviews and the much talked about customer service led to the booking of the car in Sep 2019.

Soon the exhilaration turned to frustration as no update came from MG on the car delivery even after 6 months (this was just before the pandemic and chip shortage issues). Trying to get some updates on my booking through some internal sources in MG, I came to know that a car was already allotted to my booking 2 months prior and I may have been a victim of dealership malpractice. Escalating the issue to higher-ups resulted in getting a response from Mr Rajeev Chaba himself, offering a quick delivery and some reward points to redeem for my negative experience. Then came the pandemic, lockdowns, the indo-Sino border stand-offs – all of which added to initial disappointments, finally resulted in our decision to drop the MG booking and look for another alternative once the pandemic settles down.

Most of our long drives and vacations involve larger families including parents. Hence decided to look for a 7-seater. We had to drop Harrier from the list (even though in my opinion it is still the best looking Indian SUV in its class) for this reason. Was excited to know that Tata was coming out with a 7-seater version of the Harrier, and being a fan of old gen Safari, was looking forward to the new avatar - Gravitas re-named to Safari. Took a TD immediately after the launch and even though the overall looks and ride quality were impressive, it was a letdown for me when it came to the interiors, unimpressive infotainment unit, lack of features, and removal of 4x4 and the almost nil boot space. In a few months, Hyundai came out with Alcazar, which was not at all impressive for our likes.

That is when Mahindra released the ad on the long-rumoured next-gen XUV500 being brought in as XUV700, which promised to disrupt the market, setting new benchmarks. From then on it was a long wait, anticipation mounting with the weekly ads boasting the exciting features till Oct 7th when I was lucky to get my booking in the first 25K lot.

Booking & Pre-delivery

The MG fiasco had taught me to be prepared for all kinds of dealer tactics during bookings. This time I was not ready to be at the mercy of the dealership and later get into the confusion of erroneous email ID, double bookings or dealer priorities, all of that was reported by many buyers in the media. I also heard that Mahindra would be keeping a tight control on Xuv700 booking priorities and deliveries post THAR delivery delays and confusion. I was happy to see that M&M provided an ‘add to cart' option and decided that I will go for the online booking.

Took a TD of both petrol and diesel variants when the cars reached the showroom and my pick was diesel automatic. Added AX7L D AT to my cart, as M&M had kept the AWD option and Luxury pack mutually exclusive initially. I was happy to see that just a day before bookings opened, M&M added the new variant option of AWD with the Luxury Pack. Updated the cart and was all set to complete the booking. Oct 7th 10:40 am - Managed to survive the website crashes and book the car with price protection.

I was happy that the delivery algorithm was kind to me when I got the delivery date of Dec 24th. In the subsequent weeks, I made a couple of visits to the dealership – AMPL, OMR-Chennai. The purpose was to socialize and build a rapport with the manager & SA. Meanwhile, I was also active on social media voicing opinions and concerns to Mahindra about the illegal practices related to forced insurance and incidental charges, which resulted in M&M customer service and dealership sales teams calling me to discuss these grievances. I conveyed my expectations for the trouble-free delivery experience that the dealership promised me.

The delivery dates on the website moved to Jan 15th and to Jan 27th. I got a call from the dealership on Jan 31st that my car was allotted. I was told that I should be getting my delivery somewhere around Feb 14th, which seemed to be all the more exciting, considering 14th was valentine’s day!

But unfortunately, things did not work as planned. There was no news from M&M or the dealer on the dispatch of the car from M&M and it was only on Feb 10th that the car was dispatched from the plant.

PDI and Soft-delivery

Finally, I got the call from my SA on Feb 13th that the car had reached the dealer yard. The dealership was open to my condition that I will start the payment process after PDI. My SA was very helpful in making arrangements to pick me up and accompany me to the yard, which was about 30 km from the dealership. The PDI went smooth, thanks to the T-bhp checklist. The odometer showed 35 km. The only observation was the unnatural panel gap between the hood panel and front grill and the slight downward play when pressing down the hood, which was corrected by the PDI serviceperson.

The down-payment for the car was made on the same day and the car loan was also processed the next day. As the initial insurance quoted by the dealership was very high, I had taken an external quote for insurance with the preferred insurance provider associated with the dealership (ICICI Lombard). My final quote after applying for NCB from the previous car was nearly 66K. Dealership matched my quote with all the covers included and also waived off the incidental charges. They even matched the accessory prices very close to the m2all site prices, with very minor differences. Overall I was a very happy customer.

RTO formalities were planned to start 2 days after the weekend and the delivery of the car was planned to be done on Feb 21st, which happened to be the last auspicious day of the month. 2 days before the delivery, my SA informed me about the certain delay in RTO approvals in getting the car, but I was assured that it will be sorted out quickly. He suggested planning a ‘soft-delivery’ and pooja on 21st but I have to drop the car back at the dealership till the license plates are ready. Not anticipating further delays, I agreed to this and we had a small pooja and delivery function. We distributed a few gifts to share our happiness with the staff and thanked them for their efforts. Attaching a few pics from the day.

The big disappointment and then how it all worked to bring back the RUSH!! – Thanks to M&M and the dealership AMPL

Keeping a safe 10 days for completing the RTO formalities, accessory fitment and the PPF application, we planned for a drive from Chennai to our hometown in Kerala in the first week of March, to visit our parents and give them a surprise on our Night Fury. We booked a vacation to the Club Mahindra resort in Cherai and everyone was looking forward to it.

On the day of the soft-delivery, the dealership manager and SA informed us about the delay in getting TC approvals for the AWD variant in Tamilnadu, which I had posted in my previous post here, was also confirmed by our fellow member Nazeer_Ahamed. It was expected to be resolved in a week. I was still hopeful of taking the delivery of the car before the trip. Meanwhile, the dealership tried to put the blame on government red tape for the delay, but the fact that the AWD variant deliveries had started a month back, and the fact that this whole issue came to light after taking the full payment, didn’t seem to support that. By then it was already 3 weeks since the vehicle reached the dealership. Finally, realizing that I am not going to get the car in time, I made alternate arrangements for my road trip, borrowing my brother’s car. Very much disappointed and unhappy, I shared my feedback about the whole delay in car delivery with M&M leadership and in my social media forums.

I was immediately contacted by M& M senior manager from sales along with the dealership head who acknowledged the problem and the resulting delays and promised to address it at the earliest. Hearing about my travel plans, I was offered an alternate vehicle for proceeding with the trip, which I politely declined. The next day evening, as soon as I had reached Kerala, I got calls from both M&M and the dealership that the approvals were received from the RTO for registration. As I had already left Chennai and was planning to be in Kerala for the next 6-7 days, I requested if the car can be delivered to me in Kerala. To my surprise, M&M senior manager immediately patched in the dealership MD and made arrangements for the car to be delivered to me.

What happened next was truly an exhilarating experience. The dealership team got into a conference call with me and got the registration forms prepared and sent them via e-mail. I signed the forms and couriered them back to Chennai overnight. The car went for registration the next day. Throughout the day my SA coordinated the formalities and the registration was completed in a day. As I had already made arrangements for PPF with Llumar PPF dealer in Chennai - ‘Always-Dry’, I had to get it finished before the car goes on the highway on a long drive. Again on my request, SA coordinated with the PPF dealer and got the car dropped at the detailing centre. The Always-Dry team immediately got to work and did a very good job and the car was ready by the next day evening. AMPL again helped to pick up the car from the detailing shop and after fixing the license plates, a very seasoned driver was assigned to drive the car, accompanied by an AMPL staff.

I was constantly checking the Adrenox app and tracking the car, all the way while it was on its way to us from Chennai to Kerala. I was also checking that the driver is not over-speeding and sticking to my instruction to maintain 80-100 km speed and not to be too adventurous. While I understand that I was taking a big risk in letting the car drive long distances and had to provide written approval to let the driver bring my car, the fact that after all the initial disappointments it would still be possible to make the occasion a great experience for our parents and family, made me go ahead.

The car was brought to the Club Mahindra resorts in Cherai in Kerala, where we were staying with family and a small surprise cake cutting and key handover ceremony was organized by the resort management on request. I had brought my family who was unaware of all these developments to the delivery area and on my cue, the car clean, shiny and decorated, was brought to us. It was worth all the trouble to see the confusion, shock, surprise and joy on the faces of my family when they realized that it was our car that is being brought to us and the function was planned for us. The dealership representative handed over the keys to our parents and it became a much cherished moment for all of us.

Attaching a few pics

Return trip to Chennai - First drive in our night fury

After delivering the car to me, AMPL had also arranged with the driver to drive back my brother’s car to Chennai, which I had borrowed for the trip so that I can make my return trip to Chennai and experience the rush driving our Night Fury. As the car had almost touched 1K km before our return journey, with help of the M&M Hamesha team I got connected with the local M&M dealership manager. I was able to book a quick walk-in to the M&M dealership at Thrissur, Kerala - ERAM Motors. Again the service was very quick and professional and the first service was completed while I waited at the service centre (AMPL had already flashed all the software updates released to date before the car was sent and it was the minimal service checks, which were completed in about 3 hours).

The next day morning we started our return journey. It was truly a thrilling experience driving back to Chennai, enjoying the power of the Diesel AT engine and exploring all the features the car has to offer. During the 10 hour drive, we did not feel the fatigue creep in and never felt the need to stop for rest, apart from fuel re-filling and refreshments.

Once back in Chennai, we visited the dealership and thanked the staff personally and distributed sweets among them. It would not be fair If I don’t mention the names of Mr Hari from M&M, Mr Rajesh and his team from AMPL – Mr Kinglsey, Naresh, Mr Maran & others, who were very accommodative and made sure that my buying experience was rewarding.

While there is an element of risk in buying a new car in the market which might come with initial niggles and issues, the pride of owning a brand new model from a reliable Indian manufacturer and the initial attention and excitement that we get from driving a car considered a game-changer, made it a worthwhile trade-off for me. Looking forward to more motoring adventures with our Night Fury.

Here are some pics from a recent visit to the Kovalam beach, Chennai.

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