The businessmen who had bought the cars as a group took the decision when the manufacturer refused to replace one of their cars following an engine failure in April.
A bunch of Ambernath businessmen who had bought 10 Audi A4s as a group have come together to return their cars after the company refused to replace one of their cars following an engine failure. Five more new owners of Q5s have also joined this group.
To make matters worse for the company, the owners are planning to get their cars towed back to the dealer, saying it is beneath them to drive the car of a company "that treats its customers badly." The businessmen had bought their cars, which collectively cost Rs 3 crore, in 2011.
An Audi spokesperson said the company advised him to replace the engine but the customer insisted on getting a new car as a replacement.
On April 28, Sunil Chaudhari, president, Ambernath Municipal Council, was returning from Nashik when his A4 stalled in the middle of the highway. The vehicle was then towed away to the nearest service centre, where it was found that the engine had seized.
"My driver was driving at a normal speed when the car just stopped in the middle of the Nashik highway," said Chaudhari. "The engine shut down and the steering wheel got locked. We were very fortunate that the truck behind us braked and swerved in time."
The driver called the helpline and the car was towed away to Audi's Navi Mumbai service centre, where engineers said the engine had seized and will have to be replaced.
"I told them it was unacceptable," said Chaudhari. "A high-end car that costs Rs 30 lakh can't just break down like that. I have been getting it serviced at the authorised service centre."
When Chaudhari demanded a replacement on the ground that he was not at fault, he was told he could buy a new vehicle after exchange his car, valued at Rs 17 lakh.
"Since 10 of us had bought the same model at the same time, I got the other cars valued and found they fetched at least Rs 24 lakh," said Chaudhari. "And the company's offer still did not address the fact that my car's engine failed despite no fault at my end. I requested them to consider my request for a new replacement, but they were adamant that I pay more and buy an A6."
The Audi spokesperson said Chaudhari's car was trouble-free for the last 20 months except "this one incident." "Normal procedure would entail replacing the affected part (V-Belt)," said the spokesperson in an e-mail response. "However, to reinforce customer confidence, we advised him to replace the engine. But the customer insisted on getting a new car as a replacement."
With no solution in sight, the entire group has now decided to return the cars and collectively move on to another high-end car maker. "We chose Audi because we thought the cars will be durable, apart from being a luxury statement," said Dinesh Agarwal, another businessman from the group who owns a Q5. "But when we heard what they did to Chaudhari, we decided it will be best if we simply return the cars."
Meanwhile, Chaudhari, who had also booked aQ5 recently, is in the process of cancelling his order. "With a view to satisfy the customer, as a special case, our dealership (Audi Navi Mumbai) offered various trade-in offers," said the company spokesperson. "The customer declined the offers. The trade-in offers were made purely keeping customer satisfaction in mind. We are still in discussion with the customer." 15 bizmen set to return high-end cars after ‘bad service’ to one of them - Mumbai Mirror