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Why a Tata fan cancelled his Nexon EV booking & bought a Jimny instead

I am disappointed not to own a Tata now. In the future, I hope Tata will turn around.

BHPian VW2010 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Plot Summary - When you convince yourself that the sample size in team BHP is not evidence enough to the horror of owning a Tata car, you realize that the sales team has the "hold my beer" card to ensure the brand is killed at the first step of attracting a customer. Our experience with Tata sales that ended with the expression "Never a Tata anymore" is recorded here.

It is indeed disappointing that we love the car and yet we will never think of buying a Tata ever after this experience. There is so much Tata can do to make a customer experience better than take customers for granted.

The trigger

We have a trustworthy Nano that is as new as 2024. We got this as a birthday gift for my partner in 2016 and with extreme driving and kilometer crunching we crossed 12000kms on Dec 29th. It has been 7 years and we never needed something better than Nano with COVID and work-from-home options. With offices reopening and the need to travel 80kms 2 to 3 times a week my wife casually asked if we could upgrade the Nano to a little safer and something a little more drivable car. As with a recent thread about impulse purchases, this will end up landing in that category if we do buy a car.

Our selected options:-

With that context came the Jimny discounts. Jimny is such a fun-looking tiny car with a footprint that is 82 cm longer, 10 cm narrower, and 7cms taller than Nano. I can try to park it in the small space where the current Nano is parked like below. It ticked a lot of boxes for us as it was better to drive than the Nano, safer than the Nano, and equally hated as much as the Nano (which led to the end of the most useful car in the world for city dwellers). Our choice was the Alpha AT and a few things including the tinted glasses favored the Alpha AT over the Zeta AT. MT was out of the question here. We started heading to different dealers and I love negotiating a deal. In this case, knowing not getting a car does not affect anything I was very stubborn to negotiate (in other words lowball the heck) with dealers who had unsold stock in their yards. I had/have a "nothing-to-lose" attitude for this purchase. This meant walking out of a showroom if they couldn't match your offer was easy, non-emotional, and indeed satisfactory.

While checking Jimny we crossed the Tata showroom and we decided to take a peak. Our requirement was not a big car and we wanted to check the Punch. We saw a dark edition Nexon EV standing in the showroom and we loved it. It was bigger, had better interiors and the feature list was too attractive to ignore for my wife. She drives a Nano and the best feature in that Nano is to switch off the Stereo and listen to the Diesel auto engine noise from the back or hope that the car will not shift to 2 in the middle of a ramp climb.

Nexon was not a choice but we test drove a Nexon EV, Tiago EV, and Punch. Nexon EV was in the top 2 list. The options at this stage were Nexon Ev and Jimny. After working out the numbers we realized we can pick the Nexon EV XZ+ edition at the same price as the Alpha AT of Jimny.

Note - I am not a fan of EVs and will never be till the price of EVs and the price of ICE are the same and I have a financial benefit. I will never buy an EV to show off that I am environment-friendly.

Financially the Nexon EV in the XZ+ trim was an easy decision as I save from day on actually spending on fuel. My Wife loved the looks of Jimny but loved everything else of the Nexon. But at some point, the feature list and smoothness of that EV motor tilted our decision to go ahead with the Nexon EV. We loved the dark edition and that meant the break-even point compared to buying a Jimny would be around 10-12K kms which was probably 1 year time frame. So we confirmed our choice. My wife was very clear that she would replace the Nano with Nexon EV max.

We liked this.

Dealership experience

Tata dealers can be classified into 3 broad categories. Horrible customer facing, Horrible middle management(usually called team leaders), and Horrible dealership manager. Many a time you will find one of the categories being a problem while the other two will balance out.

Gurudev Tata Mylapore:- The customer-facing first point of sales guy was probably an intern and couldn't care less about selling a vehicle. He was nonchalant and did not even have the enthusiasm to sit, discuss, and try to sell. We walked out and also price was not exactly what we heard in other places. Dealership experience 0/10

Lakshmi Tata Ekaduthangal:- Decent customer-facing team, but they were hardly interested in negotiating and closing a deal. Cannot blame them as they are one of the popular Tata showrooms here and they won't mind losing a customer. Experience 6/10

One Tata Dealer from Perambur (Through a known friend):- Over the phone discussion and not much to complain about as they were very clear on discounts or lack of them and it did not work for me. Experience - NA

Lakshmi Tata - Velacheri - The first visit was very early in the search and the experience was exactly similar to Gurudev Tata. The salesperson was almost running around like he was trying to sell crackers on Diwali. Absolutely 0/10 in terms of experience. And considering this was Tata Concorde earlier and this is where we picked up our Nano our expectations were hardly met. This must have been the first sign of staying away from this dealer but fate had other plans. More to follow

Tata Tafe Annasalai:- I will still recommend this place, thanks to the one and only person that I worked with and his name is Prakash. He is the customer advisor and right from the first visit to test drives and negotiation he gave a complete non-tata experience (Horribgle from other dealers till that point). He was patient and answered every question as gently as possible and was a prime example of someone approaching sales with a "customer first" attitude. This was a 10/10 first impression experience and the whole credit goes to Prakash. He is a stellar customer advisor who deserves to grow beyond his current role and wishing him all the success in his life. I hope the dealership recognizes his effort or that some other dealership offers him a good alternative to help more customers. Experience 10/10. This is the case of great customer advisors, horrible team leaders, and deceitful branch managers.

Now I have to talk about 2 dealers in particular who made my family hate Tata the brand and Tata the car. I will give 100% credit to the dealers and their attitude for us to hate the product and this is what this thread is about. We loved the product but now will never touch Tata unless things drastically change.

Lakshmi Tata - Velacheri and Tata Tafe Anna salai.

Considering this being an impulsive buy and not a necessity we had a quote in mind including the exchange of Nano and gave this quote to every dealer, stating that before the 31st of Dec if they are unable to sell their stock they can reach out to us to close this deal. We were aware that we might not buy a car as stock may not exist if we waited till the end.

We got a surprise call from Lakshmi Tata Velacheri, and this time it was a solid customer advisor named Saravanan(Great experience with Saravanan). He came back with the quote which we were happy with and decided to go ahead and meet them in person. This is the second visit. We were treated well and the first thing we wanted to confirm was the availability of the Dark Edition. To address my fears they even showed the stock in Yard as well as the plant and confirmed the availability of Dark edition. The Yard of Lakshmi Motors is very close to the VIT college on Kelambakkam road. The recent floods had enough videos to show how badly this stretch was affected and this was always on my mind. We got assurance that they could deliver the car and we went ahead and paid the booking amount. The commitment book from Tata was filled, and signed by both sides and we were closing for the day. We spoke to the finance person worked out our loan details and shared the required proof to initiate the loan process.

The highest point of this journey ends here

Tata experience starts

As we were closing for the day I asked if they had the Vin details to check the manufacturing date and also to compare it against the car in the yard. They did take all the effort to get these details which took them 15 minutes and suddenly the sales rep, his team lead, and the branch manager came to our desk with their laptop. We were expecting that they were about to share the details of the stock but instead brought up a list of 4 dark edition cars that showed blocked for TML. The sales manager spoke and said that all the dark editions are blocked by TML as the Karnataka govt has placed a bulk order. We were still figuring out what they were saying and realized they were telling us the dark edition is no longer available and they can get a white Nexon EV max instead. It was genuine is what I believe but the same information was available to them even before the booking amount was paid. At this point, we decided to cancel by the next day morning as we wanted to think over the alternate option. We left the place with disappointment.

Enter Tata Tafe

On the way back, Prakash from Tata Tafe called and asked if we had booked Nexon elsewhere. We mentioned we were still looking for the Nexon Dark edition and Prakash confirmed he could arrange it from the Plant as there was some liquidation stock in the plant. I mentioned the Karnataka bulk order and requested him to check with his branch managers to confirm if Tata Tafe really can arrange for the dark edition. He said he will need time with this new information shared and will revert once he gets 100% confirmation about delivering the dark edition. Prakash while giving assurance also invited Ram Prasath, his team leader to have an open discussion. RamPrasath was so sure about the stock at first that he was pushing for booking immediately. Once I explained the Karnataka bulk order and TML canceling all available cars from dealers, he said he would call his contacts and confirm. He needed time till the next day to give a 100% confirmation of delivering stock from the Plant. He confirmed that he would wait for a mail confirmation from Plant and needed time. In the meantime, I also informed them that I would go ahead with any dealer who can get us a dark edition and it will always be a first come served to honor the dealer taking that effort to confirm. We also in the meantime got the Tata Nano evaluated and agreed on a sale price as I wanted an estimate.

The Lakshmi Motors hijack

The next day we called Lakshmi for the cancellation process and Saravanan mentioned that they were trying to arrange for the dark edition. An hour later the finance person called and was talking about allotment of the Dark edition to us and if we will be starting the finance process. Change in fortune we assumed but we were cautious.

Saravanan did call and confirmed that TML has released the vehicles and now they have 1 dark edition ready in the Yard and 4 in their plant. I insisted on checking the car in the yard and its location and if I felt the car was under water I would want a vehicle from the plant as I at least know the car was not affected by the Chennai floods. Anyway, we had to go closer to the Yard to get NOC from the Bank for the Nano exchange. We decided to check the car and revoke the cancellation in case the car was good. Thanks to Saravanan again for arranging the inspection. His team leader assured me that their yard was never affected by flood as it was on higher grounds and none of the cars were even standing in water.

Lakshmi Tata Yard

Google Maps shows the Yard's location and its proximity to water bodies.

Nexon was parked here for PDI

Yard Overall Picture

Far end of the yard

We reached the Yard in the trustworthy Nano. The Yard is huge and can hold 500-600 cars at a time. The place is very close to VIT engg college in the Kelambakkam to Vandalur road.

This was on the day of the floods near VIT

The yard manager greeted us and the dark edition Nexon was wiped clean and plugged into the charger. We started inspecting with the son given the job of finding any dents in the car while I started inspecting the floor, interiors, and trunk. My wife and son spotted some difference between panel gaps in the front door and on closer inspection you can tell the door hit something low and had a mild bend. There was no painting job or major issues. While they were inspecting, the Yard manager took me around the yard to confirm where they parked the EV cars, pointed to some spots, and started to explain that the yard was never flooded. The yard was underwater evident from the water level marks in the compound walls. The yard manager was trying to convince me there was no water. I would have believed it if he at least said, there was water during rain but it drained quickly.

I came back and decided to check the car's underbody and engine bay. They did not do a proper water wash as the lower body showed signs of stationary water. There were those floating flowers/leaves that you see in flowing rain water covering the battery, on springs, and on suspension. Closer inspection of the engine bay sealed the deal. The cars come with some sort of cloth-based material on top of the wheel cladding. The right side was intact while the left side was non existant. I reached inside and was able to remove a handful of brown leaves.

Could be just moisture from temperature difference or something more. Who knows?

I then went outside and spoke to a few folks including a nearby watchman who was stationary during the rain. He was a Hindi native and on a casual discussion, he did confirm the water was at one point flowing above his hip and the cars were not dry. At the same time, I saw a punch, a new one where the mechanic was changing the beadings around the doors. All this combined did not give me any confidence to risks. The risks were amplified by the fact it was a Tata, an EV, and maybe it was underwater. This three combination was too much of a risk that even I was not ready to take. I thanked the Yard manager and we left.

Doubts probably getting confirmed

On the way back I called Saravanan to confirm that we were not interested in taking the car in the yard and after seeing the potential flood impact on cars, I requested Saravanan to proceed with the other vehicle from the plant and that I was ready to wait for delivery. A few minutes later he updated me that there was a miscommunication and that the rest of the stock was also in the same yard and he recommended picking one of the 5 by checking them in the same yard. I refused and was instructed to not withdraw cancellation.

His manager or the team leader took the phone from Saravanan and started explaining how I should not worry about the flood. The same lead who confirmed that their yard was never under water completely changed his track and started to convince me. He tried to reason with me with an assurance that the car had an 8-year warranty for the battery and 5 years for the car and even if something went wrong, he would personally take care of fixing the same. While this would push anyone to walk out immediately the nail in the coffin was when he tried to convince me that since it's an EV even if water was up to the windshield, the car would be fine. While technically the car is fine as I said earlier I would not bet on Tata/EV/Rain in a combination ever. He tried his best to take one car from the Yard while I informed him that we would reach their dealership in 30 minutes and complete the cancellation process. Most sales leads and managers hid while a new person helped me process the refund. My wife was disappointed and we said we would leave it to fate and save money in case we ended up not buying a replacement for Nano this year.

Experience-wise I will give 8/10 to Saravanan and 0/10 to Lakshmi Motors, manager and team lead. Both of them lied and vanished when I went to complete the cancellation. Also, the refund process is ridiculous considering the payment is allowed via UPI and is instant. We did get the refund back after a week with multiple follow-ups.

Fate not allowing us to forget Nexon EV max

We left the showroom and my wife had given up on replacing the car. Fate wouldn't allow us to settle down with that peace of mind as Prakash called very late to confirm that he had spoken with his lead and manager and while they do not have any stocks in the yard, they had 26 in the plant in the dark edition. They were ready to process delivery as a high priority and get the car from the plant for a Jan 2nd week delivery. We were skeptical and my wife said Lakshmi was not the greatest dealership experience from the first visit but at Tafe we didn't get that kind of first impression. We went to TAFE and this time both RamPrasath and Prakash confirmed on delivering the dark edition. I also spoke with the manager Senthil who showed me emails of stock details that he received from Plant. I insisted Senthil not to commit if there was even a 1% change and this will become a difficult experience at the last minute. Senthil was confident and confirmed that once the formality was over He would be sharing us with the allocation details.

We made the booking with Prakash and paid the advance. We filled the commitment book for the second time and initiated loan processing with an Indian bank agent. The day ended with positive feelings that we will be finally getting our hands on the Nexon EV Max Dark edition. It was the 29th and the exchange car team asked if they could take the Nano before the 31st as they had to close their books to honor the exchange bonus etc. I would say Naive of me but I also work on trust. Before handing over the Nano details and documents I once again checked with Prakash and Senthil that I should not be giving the vehicle assuming delivery. To this, both the manager and Prakash confirmed to not worry about delivery. I handed over the Nano in advance before getting the vehicle allocation. As I said, I worked on trust and I trusted Prakash and Senthil to deliver the Dark Edition as soon as they could.

Note to others:- Without allocation of vehicle do not hand over your exchange car or sign any forms. Get your allocation in writing before handing over the vehicle.

They came to pick up Nano on the 30th and My son who is 10 is so emotionally attached he couldn't control his tears. I cannot load a video here for privacy reasons but it felt like he was losing someone close to him. He did not see that Nano, as just a car. I showed the video to Prakash to let him know that this was a big decision to let go only after we were able to convince him that he was getting the car he liked the most, the dark edition. We informed our friends and family about the upgrade and were pretty excited at that point.

Enter Tata Dealership shocker no 2

30th went by, the 31st and 1st went by, and on the 2nd while chasing for allocation details, I got a WhatsApp message that the plant had not allocated the dark edition. I called Prakash and he confirmed that Tata Tafe will not be able to deliver the Dark edition as the plant did not allocate a car. I was a little upset but logical at that point to see what Tata Tafe would do in this situation. After a lot of internal discussions, Prakash came back with the option of giving us a White Nexon EV or refunding the booking.

My wife was not a happy person and I quote the original expression "Never a Tata anymore" was her final verdict. She gently requested to get our Nano back. So I informed Prakash to plan for the cancellation and return of Nano.

Tata Tafe customer service peaks

Prakash has been extremely friendly, and understanding and knew what we were going through. He was hesitant but had to communicate that their procurement team had already sold the Nano and they would not be able to return the Nano. I was not so livid but I knew the dealership had to fix this predicament. I informed Prakash that he could cancel and return the Nano or honor the discount on a similar ex-showroom-priced facelift version (I went the greed route at this point to let them know I was not settling for cancellation without taking back the Nano). I informed them that the Nano had to be returned or I was going to file a case to hold the Nano sales to whoever they were planning to. I gave them details of the lawyer and informed them I will at least get a temporary blacklisting on the Nano.

Enter - horrible team leaders, threat as a weapon

Prakash was the middle man and I was sure he had no option but to convey information between me and their leadership. I arranged for a call with his team leader Ram Prasath. I informed Ram Prasath that Tata Tafe can either Deliver the dark edition in another 2 weeks or cancel and return the Nano. Ram Prasath was rude and obnoxious. He started raising his voice and told us that we already signed the Nano papers and we would not be able to do anything to stop them from selling the Nano. He made statements like how we should have been careful to sign such transfer papers. This was the point where I broke my peace with having a normal conversation. I stopped him and informed him that this entire agreement was based on trust (naive from me, learn from me folks), and while what he says is right, the proof that we had this agreement even verbally holds good to blacklist the Nano till the entire process is clear. I informed him that I was not ready to wait any further and I was going ahead with Fir. The respect for Tata took a big hit here because of the attitude of this one person. He went ahead to say that Tata Tafe was ready to give me a white Nexon EV and even reduce the cost while I was not being flexible. He got an earful at that point and I decided to go in person.

Tata booking email comes with contacts in the procurement who handle exchange vehicles. I called up Gopal and explained the situation. While he also mentioned closing a deal with another dealer on Nano, he accepted that the situation was indeed unique. I informed him to tell whoever is buying that there will be some legal follow-up from my side and they should know about the same including potentially blacklisting the vehicle with RTO. I requested Gopal to convey this so he can continue with the sale. Gopal was friendly and he informed me that he would check with management and also inform the buyer of this situation and void the sale.

Enter - Deceitful branch managers

I decided to go in person after the Ram Prasath call and meet the GM if required. I went there and Prakash was his usual self, a great customer service-oriented sales guy. He apologized for the cancellation and was trying to get me my resolution. I went to Senthil the branch manager and asked him how they could goof up despite so much assurance. He tried to give some logic but started selling me the white Nexon. I informed him that I did not trust Tata Tafe and needed written confirmation on returning the Nano. Whether I buy a car from them or not, I asked him to give me written assurance. He was not ready and said that was against Tata Tafe's policy to give written confirmation. I stood my ground and informed him, that I would leave the place with my Nano or he could call the GM to sort this problem. He immediately suggested writing an email to which he would acknowledge and respond. I immediately wrote an email about cancellation copying everyone and He was surprised that I would do that immediately. In front of me, he started writing random responses that neither acknowledged the return of Nano nor their goof-up. He instead wrote they were still trying to allocate the dark edition. I escalated and wrote back on the lack of acknowledgment and Senthil called to confirm the return of the Nano in 2 days as they had to complete internal processes to release the Nano. They also had a bunch of deliveries to new customers the next day. In the meantime, Senthil in the name of small talk also suggested that I should have not waited one extra day to get confirmation from them as time was the essence of blocking a stock in the plant. At this point, I gave up on Tata and Tata Tafe and was only worried about getting my Nano back.

Prakash spoke to me and assured me that he will ensure Nano is returned to me and he will process the cancellation smoothly. The next day I pressurized Prakash to get Nano documents and Nano ready. With the deliveries planned, he was hesitant but I calmed him down to ensure his deliveries would not be affected and I will directly take the Nano from their parking lot. He agreed and called around 630 to pick up the Nano.

I met the procurement lead who handed over all the papers and forgot the bank NOC. I reminded them about the same and got the keys along with the documents. I met Senthil and spoke for 15 minutes and dropped a note of appreciation for Prakash. He informed me that he may get some deals on newer Tata cars and I informed him Tata Tafe has killed the hopes of potential Tata owners forever.

I also met Prakash and thanked him for all his support, apologized that we couldn't make a sale for him, and promised him a sale once he left Tata and decided to continue in this field.

We got our Nano back. My son is brimming with a smile.

Conclusion and callouts

From my experience which was bad, these are my opinions. In conclusion, I am sure what Tata management is blinded by. Sales which are attributed to their product. If we judge sales based on service or customer experience Tata should not be selling these many cars. Their product is top class and, unfortunately, the dealers have made owning a Tata a bad experience. I wish Tata took the RE route and managed their dealership as their own. That may create a better sales and service experience.

Call out

Prakash - The face of Tata sales on the dealership in Anna Salai. I am still in touch with Prakash and he made sure my experience was still ok and at all points kept me updated proactively or delivered what he promised. He was extremely polite and extremely supportive of the ordeal. He had empathy for the customers. I will still recommend any new Tata buyers in Chennai to go to Prakash. I will give 11/10 for Prakash in this episode.

My 2 cents to buyers

  • Get your new car before giving your exchange car to the dealership
  • Stand your ground
  • Tata dealerships are not that mature and are not trained enough to handle customers
  • The team leaders and managers have very poor attitude
  • Do not be naive like me.
  • So what was the end

The end was that we got our Nano back, My son is happy and we ended up picking a Jimny. Wait for the Jimny thread !!!!

Note: This is my individual experience. I am Tata Fanboy. I am disappointed not to own a Tata now. In the future, I hope Tata will turn around. There are lot many ways to have handled such a scenario but I guess I did what I had to do. So feel free to bash and call me out which exactly is the right thing to do.

Read BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
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