Hey, hello all. My apologies for the absence. Its just that I have been very turned off of the idea of the little frog for the past ten days or so - not through any fault of the car in any way, but the dealership's experience. To answer our new user's question, no, it doesnt come with any navigation system or a rear/front camera. It does however have a basic two speaker double din unit which... just works. I have the locally assembled variant and it does not seem to have bluetooth or atleast I havent found it yet anyways, unlike what @umairalizafar has said in the other thread. So you might want to investigate that.
And no, @ipkiji, I havent yet. I have aborted my trim and upholstery project for now until I get over this blue dealership induced patch.
Now onto updates. First the fuel economy: The fuel economy I calculated after the second refill came out to a respectable 13.98. Please remember that this is in Islamabad traffic mostly only, so your mileage may vary. If it keeps creeping up at this rate, I will be pretty impressed/happy if it hits or settles down at a regular 15Km/l. A man can wish and dream right.
The dealership experience now. I have found the dealership to be highly unprofessional, uncooperative, and rude to the point of being accusatory even in the service experience, and not just the terrible purchase experience I listed at the start of my thread. So this might come across like a rant, but I will excuse myself of that in advance. The experience with the dealership really was that bad.
And as readers, I'm assuming, have a right to know if a dealership is engaging in customer unfriendly practices or is terrible to deal with - there is also the fact that some semblance of accountability and bad publicity in the public eye is bound to restore some semblance of humility and better customer relations, even if it is at knife point - so I am going to relate my first service experience at the one month/1000 KM mark in detail.
I went to the dealership around the end of January, the 29th or the 30th I believe, at 913 odd kilometers on the odo - 31 days from the date of purchase and near a 1000 KMs to the dot. Before the start of the service, I identified a number of issues I have been making an active mental list of, many of which are posted here as well. The list included the badly fit/sized generator belt which made the noise whilst driving an active annoyance until the entire engine bay hadnt reached optimum operating temperature. Of note, I had already had them address/adjust this once before as well at the time of purchase, only for the problem to arise again after fifty odd kilometers. With this in light/retrospect, I asked them to file a warranty claim and give me a replacement. I also identified suspension noises, as well as the hard shifts on the first two gears at cold operation. In addition to this, I registered my complaint about the wind noise/egress and identified additional points of noise ingress and rubber installation, primarily in the boot and the doors. Finally I asked to file a warranty claim for the front fog light as well which came from the factory with a hairline crack running through the lens as well - which, since they delivered the car in the middle of the night to me, I only made note of two weeks after taking delivery whilst waxing the entire car. Throughout this entire time, I was honest and lenient with my complaints, listing only the issues that were, in my mind, better fixed with the dealership addressing them, i.e. excluding all the fixes I had made myself upto that point in the car and the ones on my list for future agenda.
Now the service personnel at the desk made note of all of these on the service card, and sent me off with a service technician to sort through my problems. They performed the initial preventive maintenance as listed in standard service procedures for the 1000 KM service. This included an engine oil and a gear oil change. They tightened the suspension, and as someone else has already noted on one of these forums, there are no locking nuts in any of the suspension parts as is standard in most suspensions - which is why the suspension goes back to squeaking and rattling after a few miles pile on again. When I asked if locking nuts could be arranged, because they keep the nuts torqued to spec and from loosening over again after a few miles, since I knew they required threaded bolts with pinholes bored through them, surprise... they had no idea and I was given an irrational explanation of why it was a terrible idea instead of just being politely declined as it was not part of their service procedure. My own mechanic, in Pindi, who works by the road side and just rebuilt a Corolla suspension for me a few days later, knew more and does not give me BS and only straight honest answers instead. The air filter was not changed, because surprise, the dealership is supposed to bear the cost of the first air filter change.
Upto this point, I was still humoring everything so far because nothing really had started to go very wrong yet, just a regular bad experience/day at the workshop I thought. Oh boy was I wrong/in for a surprise. And then, just like that, I was told my car is done. With none of the issues I had mentioned addressed. I asked the service technician and he said the car was done, just as to spec, and all the issues on the card were addressed. I mentioned that that was clearly not the case, and started ticking the list off at which point he said everything is covered and asked me to go take up the issue with the service desk. Of note, I was still polite till this point, and went to take up the issue with the service desk as requested.
At the service desk the service personnel repeated what the technician had told me and insisted I sign the service form, which I refused. I was beginning to lose my cool now. I asked him to pull out the service card and go carefully over the list of issues at which point he said the door rubbers were installed in the car already, the belt would be greased - which I had explicitly stated had already been done and was useful as all duck beyond five minutes of operation - and implied that I had hit the bumper, cracked my own light, and then come here begging for a claim filed, the latter being done politely, since if it was a factory quality control issue and I had received it cracked, I would have made note of it at time of delivery or the next day and came in for my claim immediately. When I asked them why they have a recommended service interval where they encourage you to come forward with issues... silence. I asked him if i was supposed to come running to their service center from Bani Gala, or E-11, or Chaklala Cantt Pindi, or Wah, Taxila, over every little thing, every single day, or come at the recommended service interval, once after the month, again... silence. I refused to sign the service form and walked out, took the technician and made him get back to working the car.
Again, he greased the belt and told me we were good, I told him it wasnt all good, and the belt crying and bleeding my ears out would begin again in fifteen minutes of leaving the dealership. I forced him to tighten the belt, since I had understood by this point that there was no common decency to change a belt that costs what, 400 rupees? To drive my point home, the belt is still screeching on cold starts, just as I had stated. I told him to have the door rubbers and the boot rubbers looked at and the areas that I mentioned that needed the rubber but didnt have any. He gave the car a good look over, and told me, looking confused, that the rubbers were installed already, and took the car to the rear end of the workshop where the denting/wash/storage/junk was and gave it another look over in the sun. While I got off to wander around at a Beetle they had being dented over, I heard hammering, and turned around to see a car, boot open, one of the denters hammering away at the boot lock with a chisel and hammer. Yes, you read it right. CHISEL. And HAMMER. I went up to ask what they were doing on the car and it dawned on me, I realised, it was my own car. All of 913 KMs driven of it, was standing there, boot open, and a dealership denter standing there with a chisel and hammer, and having a field day going at it at the boot lock. I stood there. In shock. And just like that, like it had started without me realising, it was over before I could react.
The technician came back to me, said the car was all done, and that there would be no more noise issues in the boot, and I just stared at his face - and again, controlled my temper - walked away silently. Facepalm. Head in my hands. The issue. Was. Noise. Wind. Egress. Bad. Seals. From four. Parts. Of. The. Damn. Car. You do not take a chisel and Goddamn hammer to my new car where what it needs, the issue that needs addressing, is bloody door rubbers. And I even did the favor of going to the effort of isolating and pointing out the parts that needed it. Geez. Thanks for nothing FAW Islamabad. And you know what? Now there are actual rattles from the boot of my car. Actual physical rattles after that now. JUST. GREAT.
Despite my visible anger, I politely kept a lid on myself, and asked him about the fog lights, because my list of issues was not done here at all. Unfortunately. And he said they werent his problem, and I should go back to the service desk. And back I went. Where I was forwarded to the warranty claim department. Who forwarded me to the sales manager, Tahir Qureshi, saying that it wasnt the warranty departments concern, since (repeat of the conversation I had with the service desk) it was my fault entirely and not theirs, their shit for quality control assurance notwithstanding ofcourse, and the sales manager, Tahir Qureshi, then proceeded to send me back to the warranty claim department. Yes, I was a damned football for a good half an hour. Keep in mind that during this entire ordeal I was hearing a repeat of similar variations of I cracked the fog lamp's lens, I was bringing it back to claim warranty by lying, all implied, semi politely of course. When the sales manager tried sending me back to the warranty claim, I snapped. Finally.
None too politely, I told them just how bad their quality assurance and quality control was, that they were selling customers cars with faults/issues like these that should never be there in the first place, and the kind of impression they were leaving, and the bad publicity and terrible PR they were creating by doing this, when the customer does finally walk back in after seeing the issue - and it was at this point, when I started to create a scene infront of customers that they were entertaining about fleet sales, that the regional manager who was also sitting there, spoke. He, in clear words, finally said what the others had been implying so far, and said it very clearly, that I had broken the fog lamp, and was coming to blame them to get a free replacement which it would seem I can clearly not afford. I mean I can afford a new car, and keep several running in my driveway, just not a replacement fog light that I've "broken" myself, intentionally, or however. And because I was even more riled up after this, and the regional manager - I wish I had taken down all the names on paper besides Tahir Qureshi's to call out publicly and eventually to the FAW management at the head office Karachi - and the sales Manager realised that I would be ruining their customers sitting in the sales office trying to broker a deal with them, told me that they would look into it - and to go drop my number with the claim at the warranty office and they would get back to me in a few days. I repeatedly asked, thrice, when I should check with them, and I was told only that the dealership would get back to me with my claim in a few days.
Trying to be reasonable, because I dont much like episodes of anger, or throwing public fits often, I decided to give them that chance. I went back to the warranty claim office, where they made a big fuss about being made to take down my number, at which point they decided, in forty five minutes of arguing someone finally decided, to actually come take a look at the cracked light. After looking at the lamp and realising that what I was saying was actually true, and I wasnt speaking out of my desperate broke for money, lying backside, they took pictures of the cracked fog lamp, and the adjacent non-damaged fog lamp, the odometer on the car, pictures of the general/overall condition of the car, and told me the sales manager would get back to me in a few days with my claim.
Since then, my friends, silence. It has been almost ten days, and counting, and I have not heard back from the dealership. I was being polite, and as reasonable as I could be, without resorting to the typical badtameezi that is the forte of our people to get work done. Sadly, and apparently, such was not to be. And so here I am typing this entire ordeal down for both the record and the public visibility of it. I fully intend to get all the other names down on here too, the regional manager's, and the warranty claim office as well, upload and post pictures of the cracked lens housing as of the moment, and then forward both my email of complaint and the public record being kept on this thread to the FAW management in Karachi about how well their paying customers are being treated by their dealerships, their excellent, excellent being sarcasm here, quality control, quality assurance, and customer relations and treatment being met out here to people under the assumption that everyone is either helpless or will take it laying down. The "it" here being insulting customers, their intelligence, and their means.
I am fully aware of atleast two odd sales of the little car that have happened, because of me/my recommendation/endorsement. I am also fully aware of about ten odd other people who are/were seriously interested in considering/purchasing the car pending my review/experience of/with it. I also know that those ten potential sales, and all the assorted affiliate sales from their experience afterwards to their social circles, will also not happen, at all - after this ugly experience I have had/am having with the dealership. What is sad here is that it is actually through no fault at all of the car, which remains as good as it was at my last note, or AlHaj FAW itself, but through the terrible dealership network they have contracted out, in Islamabad atleast, and from what I have read, other cities as well, and their regional and middle management. Congratulations my able sirs, you have just ruined a good car, and the only fledgling automotive competition we have, all single handedly by yourselves, for me and I am sure many others, like me, too.
Sadly, signing off.