Having been driven our age Old Premier 118NE for over 15 yrs, I was ready to buy my first car. In year 2007, I bought Hyundai Getz Prime GVS model in Kolkata.
I still remember how fascinated I was. It was a huge transition for me from 118NE to Getz. From no feature car to a feature loaded car, from manual to power steering, from steering mounted gear to floor mounted gears and the list was endless.
The buying process as i recall now was very smooth. The Sales rep selling me the car was a new joinee at the Dealer's place and mine was his first booking in his new job. He gave me away lot of freebies inclusive of Teflon coating, Anti Rust coating and extended warranty for the third year.
Within few days, I was completely at home with my car. The car felt superb - very smooth, superb ride quality, and a huge fun to drive in the city. There were no problems whatsover in the car, nothing even insignificant which i can recall. However there was a funny incident.
Honeymoon period continued. Whenever I used to drive my car, i felt the car is as if talking to me responding to all my interactions. I remember we used to have a driver named "Pintu da" who taught me driving. Unlike most of the drivers, he risked teaching his employers kids driving thereby risking his job..But he was a great teacher. After two weeks he told me I am ready to venture on my own, but he said "Bro remember, A Car is nothing but a beautiful Devil on the wheels and it is your job to control the devil throughout your life whenever you drive. The day you allow the Devil to control you, that will be the either the last day you drive or even unfortunately could be the last day of your life." But my Car, was a very obedient friend of mine. Never betrayed me on the roads. October/November 2009
Two and half years went by and my extended warranty was valid for another six months - Little did I know, what was there in store for me.
I still remember it was the morning right after Diwali night in year 2009 end. I was ready with a bucket full of water and sponge to give my car a due wash, I noticed very minor abrasion marks on my "Rear Left Door", they were not scratch marks but analogous to skin rashes. They were very minor and hardly anyone can notice unless the person is either cleaning the body or paying some very close attention to the paint. The first and only idea which struck my mind was firecrackers. I myself had burnt around 30-40 flowerpots the last night on my roof top and may be some fire sparkles had fallen on my car or may be some burning material from sky rockets etc had caused this damage. I left it like that, because It was barely noticeable.
One more month went by - I noticed the abrasion marks are increasingly becoming larger in size and as if it is gradually spreading too. My car was due for a paid service in another month, So I thought I will do a patch work then.
One more month went by - One day I noticed the abrasion marks are so badly exposed that there are surface breakage visible and while i wanted to see whats wrong, I pressed the area with my finger and guess what?? chunk of metal was scraped out and there was literal hole on the body of the door. The hole was see through, as you standing outside, you can see the car upholstery on the other side of the hole. An irregular hole, which felt as if created by a chisel and hammer.
I was panicked, and one of my friend, pointed out that its nothing but "Body Rust." I was like falling from the sky. Rust??
In a two and half year old car.? Someone was kidding me. That too a Rust which has made a hole in the body of the car?
I called up the SA, he gave me a patient hearing and said."Sir your car is in extended warranty, please don't worry".
The car was promptly sent to the Service Station. Within 10 mins after my Car reached there and the SA called up..
SA - Sir, I did check, its indeed body rust
Myself -What do we do now.
SA - Sir, the Rust is quite large and it cannot be patched up.. The hole you see is only going to increase over time. The only way we solve this problem, is by changing the entire door. But for changing the door on account of body rust, we will have to get an official approval from Hyundai to proceed. I will need to take pictures and send it to Hyundai for them to see and approve.
Myself -How long the whole process is going to take
SA - [I]Sir three days for approval and another 4 days for us to change the door and other related activities..You will have your car in seven days.
Myself - I will be going out of station within two days for a week. Meanwhile keep me updated.
SA - OK sir, I will send the pictures to Hyundai right away
Four days went by and I did not hear anything back from the SA
Myself - Whats the status of my Car?
SA - Sir, we are still waiting approval from Hyundai.
Myself - Can you send me the email addresses.
I wrote a harsh email to Hyundai from my official email address. Got a call from Hyundai two hours later I dropped that email. There was a lady on the other side of the phone. I will try to recall the conversation to the best of my abilities..
Lady - (With lot of sarcasm in her voice) This is "X" from Hyundai Delhi, Sir - you are worried about such a minor problem in the car.
Myself - You call this minor?
Lady - Sir, its very common for cars, specially which are Sold in Chennai and Kolkata. Because of very humid climates, these instances are very common.
Myself - I am sure, you know what are you saying..
)? I have 17-18 years old Ambassadors running in the streets of Kolkata with no Body rust and you are telling me that a new generation car from Hyundai with all latest technologies can get body rust this bad in just two and half years because of climate in Kolkata?
Lady - Yes sir, in Humid and polluted environment, these things can happen. I will have the approval sent to Service Center right away. They will contact you soon.
An hour later, My SA called up informing me the approval and start of the work.
Four days later, I got my car with no signs of rust, new doors.. all door accessories are working fine, I paid a minor amount for oil change etc etc...
Seven days later, got a call from Hyundai Delhi once again. This team there was gentleman on the other side of the phone..
Hyundai Man - Sir, I hope the job was done to your satisfaction..
Myself - Yes, thank you .. But I am still getting lingered with a question pertaining to the reason of the body rust..
Hyundai Man - (After few seconds of silence) Sir, We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience, but in all possibilities, we think, that the rust is due to a faulty sheet metal being used during construction.
Myself - How did you all miss such a vital quality check in your manufacturing process..
Hyundai Man - Sorry sir ...It will not happen again, because everything else is fine in your car... January 2011
Same visible abrasion marks, but this time on the "Rear Right Door.." I was an experienced person by this time.Called up the SA .. Sent him pictures and asked him to contact Hyundai.. In the meantime on top of my earlier emails, i attached the recent pictures and sent them another email.
Contrary to the last time, I did not receive any email from Hyundai and No phone calls either. Kept calling their customer care and all i heard is we will get back to you. That "Get back" never happened.
Meanwhile 10 days passed by, I called up the SA..
Myself - Whats the status?
SA - Sir, we have not received any reply from Hyundai either..
Myself - What do I do now.. This is surely a manufacturing issue and I cannot be penalized for this..
SA - Sir, we have developed a relationship in these last few years.. You have some options. Either we wait for Hyundai to give us the approval for door change, or you can risk a patch work now. But in case the sheet metal is faulty, this will be temporary fix and the problem will recur again and rust is something, which will only grow over a period of time. If you dont quote me anywhere, I can tell you something, now that your car is out of warranty, getting an approval from Hyundai is going to be a tough battle..
Myself - What is the option I have?
SA - Let me talk to our GM and get back, if we can work our something internally, you pay a part and we bear rest to resolve this problem..
Next 15 days, I started writing mails to Hyundai every other day, absolute silence on their part.. The rust kept on increasing day by day. As if someone is spraying acid on the body every day.Two weeks later...
Myself - Do you have anything for me...
SA - Sir, you pay us 12k .. and we will get the remaining done from our side..Again, the door has to be replaced..(At this point, I was not sure, whether this was an internal arrangement between me and Service station or Hyundai was monitoring in the background silently, not acknowledging this serious fault on their part).
Myself - (Did not want to risk my car.. Hence agreed)
Off went my car to the service station, came back in 4 days and it was again new doors with all door accessories working fine.Body polised, Car was shining back.
Honeymoon period resumed, but my belief on Hyundai, their core values and even manufacturing process everything had become lose.
So in three and half years, both my rear doors of the car were replaced on account of Body rust. January 2012
The genie re-appeared, and this time it was "Front Left Door". That was a final nail in the coffin. I decided, I will never resort to Hyundai again and wanted to sell of this car. Consulted my wife and she agreed and moreover, she told, that I am still lucky that the rust is appearing only on the doors now and tomorrow if i get rust on other body areas for example the A/B pillars, what do I do? Go ahead and change the body of the car?
But then my Car had no other problems.? So option is I keep the car and change one door after another after every 1.5 years and pray the rust gets constricted to only doors or sell off the car before any more bad happens.
I decided to go ahead with the second option. Sold the vehicle off ... I was in great love with this Car of mine. Had there been any mechanical faults, clutch plate breaking, brake pads getting worn off, I would have still understood, because these things can still to a little extent can be attributed to the driving skill of a person, But BODY RUST?? What has the customer got to do with the same?
Probably I should not generalize a company's reputation on a single incident like this, but as a customer, I paid them money, the amount which they decided as a price of their vehicle and why should I not be eligible to get quality. I know that even processes like "Six Sigma" allows 1 defect in a million process, and I may be that unlucky one to receive the defect, but absolute Silence from Hyundai in even apologizing or acknowledging the matter was completely unacceptable ...
I still remember, they day I was handing over the Car, I was feeling extremely sad... My wife joking told me, that I am behaving like the Old father, who is getting his only daughter married, but then again, this was my first car and the car has seen many facets of my life. It was same car, which has driven my wife to many places, the same car which brought my new born son from the hospital 5 years ago, the same car which had all those handpicked accessories fitted.
I wanted to share this across to my friend, only to know, is there anything, which as an owner of the car, I could have done to prevent this...Or anyone who had such similar and frequent incidents of horrible body rust...