5th OCTOBER 2011, FORD goes all guns blazing against the consumer himself.
As soon as we reached Bhavna Ford, today it was the REGIONAL Manager`s turn who`d come especially to pacify me and prove it to me that the car is without any niggles and is in fact in the best of the state of its lifetime. I smiled at him... i asked, sir did you take the trial to see of the issues mentioned, and verify if all of them have been cleared. 'RM' agrees. I request him to conduct one more trial test in front of my eyes, so that like him (RM), i too can rest assure about the quality of the job performed. TO my horror,
the RM explains to me that he didn't actually check ‘two’ of the issues mentioned of all, in practice. I ask which two?
RM replies," Handbrake and Car bottoming out (not scraping mind you, it HITS the under chassis) with quite a good THUD on speed breakers".
These speed breakers are situated mostly on Thane-Belapur Road, Wadala (Bhakti park)-CST Road, Panvel Bus Depot Road and also the Road that I’d taken to reach Murud Janjira Fort (alibag) that is all filled with small yet very precise speed breakers created by Villagers there, where i could find my car to be the only one to be hitting the under chassis.
Within Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, You rarely get to see this affecting your day to day life on a daily basis, but if you are a highway driver like me, these above mentioned issues, can simply one day help fate in rubbing that very thin line off, that is between life and DEATH!
(all happening in a duration of a few seconds)
- First we move on to checkthe Handbrake issue if it is rectified:
To recreate the same scene that is similar to the location where for the first time (Lonavala Tiger hills) I’d experienced my handbrake related issue, we move on to the upward curve location that is located near Terna College, Nerul, Navi Mumbai. We mutually decided that we shall both take turns in testing the same.
We both (MR n me) or rather all 5 participants in the TEST assumed that the car when halts will be in a position wherein our FIGO has stalled on a upward curve of a slope and there`s another car that is following us.
First it was me. We accelerated the car towards the climb, halted it right at the part with brakes applied (not handbrakes yet) where it should be, for checking properly.
Showed the same to the RM. RM acknowledges that we are following right protocol for testing. Further I apply Handbrake as one would do with normal pull application intensity. As of now, my one LEG is on foot-brake and one is resting above the clutch, so that I’m ready to start shifting gears soon to get my car into motion a.s.a.p., before the imaginary car that's following us from behind, hits us on a slope (how should i put it.. trying my level best). Please NOTE:
now if you`ll remember, if at steep slopes we have to move our car ahead once again that was once stopped, we rely solely on the grip of the Handbrake to keep the car right onto the track, while you remove your legs off from the foot-brake, place it on the accelerator while your left leg is busy playing with the clutch. in my case it was a much bit harder as when this imaginary incident for now had happened with me for real some months ago, MY engine had stalled during down shifting and the FOOT brakes had become ineffective as a result of the same. at the same time my handbrake was not working and there was a big TEMPO behind us, that cut us in the last minute leaving us space to let the car reach back onto the flat surface, so that we can then try to accelerate it again, albeit easily now.
Back to the Test: Guess what?? Even now the car starts rolling backwards. RM is perplexed, confused and I am not happy at all. RM tries to reason with me, says this is common with any of the cars in the market and makes me redo the same process 'FOUR times' before accepting or rather i should say giving a hint of acceptance that he can clearly see a problem here. Then he tries:
He tries the same, same issue resurges, he explains to me that the notches are not adjusted properly of the Handbrake, even after being attended to, for '4 times' in last few months and recently yesterday (4th October 2011) by FORD`s authorized so called technician. I look at him and reply sternly; do not tell me why is happening or what are the technical reasons for the same. Just get it repaired before someone dies in my car. Especially for people who might not be actually aware about this issue plaguing my car and thus, reacting normally while using Handbrakes as they must (which has normal travel play and effectiveness) To get more clarification on the issue
We get RM`s own car which is also a FORD FIGO and I get my friend`s Maruti Suzuki swift for another retest schedule.
To our surprise, the RM`s Figo too did the downward spiral movement on halt at the slope with only handbrake applied, while the Swift with its precise hand-braking stopped right at the stop point with the HB be being with minimum force applied, like within 4-5 notches. With FORD FIGO you have to stretch to the most last notches to make it even stop. Imagine a Girl driving this car on a slope or you precisely developing the body like HULK or reflexes like Spiderman.
- Second Issue that is with the Car`s under-chassis getting HIT (not scraped) on speed breakers:
The RM says to me even this phenomenon is common with FORD FIGO and he can’t help me. I say SIR, if you go through my service history, only in past 2 months I have started to intimate FORD on this issue and earlier on the same roads my car used to scrape but not get HIT under chassis.
RM tries to underplay the whole episode saying again that all FIGO get hit like this on the under chassis while crossing on speed breakers. I ask him that if he`s so sure that this 'Under chassis getting HIT' issue is existing in all of the FIGO`s sold, why are they (Ford) not doing anything to resolve it. He says that it is beyond his control and FORD`s research team will take a call on it as and when they feel they must.
Fine, i said. I then requested him to conduct a test wherein 2 other FORD FIGO`s belonging to neutral parties (filled with same number of people and load) to be run over the above mentioned speed breakers... And only if all of them get their under chassis hit like my FIGO does, i would accept that this under chassis getting hit to be a natural phenomenon of the Ford`s FIGO vehicle. He exclaims NO!
All cars are different. Even if the neutral parties’ cars do not
get hit under the chassis while being tested on same bumps with same load. I am not going to acknowledge that your (mine) Figo has any issue. I was left baffled by this theory. I didn’t argue. Didn’t gather the strength to do, I was tired. I regretted the very moment of time i purchased this car.
- Third Issue of Paint Defect is acknowledged by the RM and he says he will get the car`s affected portion repainted at Wasan FORD.
Drama After all the above (FORD seems to be inspired by T.V serials I guess):
- Minor issues were attended to and rectified like: Horn Tone, “Khas Khas” sound from inside the bonnet compartment, suspension sound rectified after greasing, effectiveness of brakes, brake drums cleaned, brake calipers cleaned, etc.
We came back to the service station (Bhavna). I and my brothers were offered tea. We were discussing amongst each other what should we do next? RM arrived there in next few minutes, greeted us and smiled pleasantly. “That was a sudden change of stance in him”, I thought in my mind, just hoping that he might have given a second thought to my complaints…
He takes out a sheet of few papers that are filled in with shabby handwriting (it was an acknowledgement letter) with some content that duly notifies the reader of the letter, that the signing person
down there; agrees that the car he has received now is free of all the defects or imperfections he (I) had reported In his complaints earlier and is willing to collect the car maintaining that he is satisfied with the work done and rates the dealership in the best category for the quality of work performed. One of my brothers
quickly jumped in, asking me not to sign such undertaking and instead asked me to wait for FORD INDIA to give something in writing with regards to problems mentioned above and them being not a threat to drivability of the car, its driver and the passengers.
This made the RM get real angry… RM then interrupted my brother and asked him not to interfere between the owner of the product and the corporate designated authority when having a direct conversation.
I shot back at the RM. I reminded him that these are the people (my family members) who would actually take FORD to task, if any of the abnormalities present in the car results in causing me harm of any kind, be it physical or mental. So mind the tone in which you speak to them…
We decided to leave the place, as they were too many and were quite aggressive in their stance. We asked the RM to either get the things rectified or keep the car with them at the dealership, while I wouldn’t mind paying the monthly EMIs but I simply cant bear the tension of running a car that isn’t reliable.
After that I don’t know for what reason (even though after earlier episode and I already know that as per them the car has no fault), he has been sending me goody good SMS`s mentioning that my car is ready and I should collect it a.s.a.p and them being also willing to drop it off my home. Just for the sake of me signing that undertaking, darn WTH…