Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Toyota’s goof up in the US

I’m not sure if we can brand Toyota’s protracted inaction and denying the existence of the problem with so many cars in the US as arrogance, they were caught completely unawares and the recent departure of a top executive from the west coast added to the organization’s woes. A chance to regain customer loyalty appears to have gone down the drain for Toyota now.

TATA Motors wasn’t a manufacturer with a spotless reputation for manufacturing passenger cars. When I selected the TATA Indigo amongst many other choices that were available in 2005 I heard tons of criticism from various quarters. TATA were reeling in negative publicity given all the problems with the Indica which customers were so pissed off at. For the money that one had to pay for the Indigo one was getting a far spacious and decent car than what was on offer from other manufacturers for the same price.

The ownership experience wasn’t without problems. The first was a problem with the fuel injection mechanism which was detected in the first year of owning the car. What was promised to be a 3 day work went for over a month, because the defective parts were replaced under warranty and took it’s own time to be dispatched from the factory. I was frustrated, I vented out to the head of works in Coimbatore and there after to the regional head of customer service in Bangalore.

I was pleasantly surprised when I was given an alternative car to use while mine was being repaired. To top it off the costs for the repairs were close to Rs.40,000/- and I didn’t spend a penny out of my pocket, warranty covered them all. I wasn’t charged labour charges for all the delays caused for this repair. I was happy at the service levels provided by the authorized service center, however I still would like them to attend to many small things that need attention when a car goes for service.

The second was an accident after midnight on a highway in April 2008 caused severe damage to left side all the way from the front fender to the rear boot. One look at the car would send shivers down one’s spine, the damage looked menacing. However nothing happened to the three people who were travelling in the car, not even a scratch. That was a sterling testimony to the way the car’s structure was built. To imagine what’d have been the case if this was one of the Maruti’s was shuddering.

If you are evaluating a new car don’t miss checking out the TATA Indigo Manza.

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