VW's mysterious fault in a Brand new Vento
We purchased a Volkswagen Candy White Vento 1.6 TDI HGL MT Car (Registration No. MH 02 BR 5285) through Tornado Motors Pvt. Ltd. The said Car was delivered to us after 2 months and 1 week. At the time of delivery the Dealer told us that Diesel to the extent of 15 litres had been filled in the car by the Dealer. He also gave us a coupon using which our client could fill in an additional 15 litres of Diesel from a nearby fuel pump. The representative of the Dealer also provided us with the details of the Service Centre of the Dealer located at Andheri (E) and advised us to get in touch with them in case of any difficulty. Around July 28, 2011 i.e. after around 5 days of taking delivery of the car, we noticed that after the said Car had travelled around 20 - 25 kms, at idle, the engine sound varied, the car itself shook and vibrated and the indicator needle showing Revolutions Per Minute (RPM) moved between around 600 and 800 RPM. Alarmed by the said condition, I called up the service centre and informed the service manager of the condition of the car. He assured us that it was not a major problem and advised us to bring the Car over for a check on the next day. I took the said Car to the Service Centre of the Dealer on July 29, 2011 and the service advisor took a test drive of the Car. The test drive lasted for less than 15 kms and at the time, the condition did not recur. The service advisor assured us that the Car was safe to drive. But when we drove the car on Sunday July 31, 2011, and after the said car travelled more than 25 kms, the said fault condition recurred. Since we were assured by the service manager that the said Car was safe to drive, we assumed that the fault condition was temporary in nature. However, the said fault condition once again occurred on the next day i.e. August 1, 2011 and so I once again took the car to the Service Centre. By now the fault condition had worsened and the car appeared to be stalling while at idle. At the Dealer’s Service Centre, another person examined the car and immediately observed that the said fault condition was present. He advised me to hand over the said car to them for examination and repairs, if necessary. He also requested me to wait for a while so that he could conduct necessary tests on the said Car. After almost 2 hours and after persistent enquiry, I was told that the Car was examined using Volkswagen’s Analysis Software and an electrical fault had been detected and that they would require some time to identify and rectify the same. On the next day, I called the service advisor at around 10.30 am and was told that the fault was yet to be identified. Being anxious about the fault condition in a brand new car, I did not attend office on August 2, 2011 and instead went to the Dealer's Service Centre to understand the reason for the said fault condition and the remedies for the same. At the Service Centre, I met Mr. Milind Kuwalekar, the Service Head of the Dealer and appraised him of the situation and requested him to do the needful at the earliest. I also expressed my shock and surprise that a brand new car from a reputed company like Volkswagen had started to show problems even before it was a week old. Mr. Kuwalekar assured me that he would instruct his service engineers to attend to the car on a priority basis. Around 2 pm on August 2, 2011 i.e. around 6 days after the said fault condition was observed in the said Car, I was informed by the service advisor that they had tested the Diesel in the said Car and had observed small quantities of water. He told me that the water in the Diesel was the likely source of trouble. I told him that after filling in Diesel from the Fuel Pump in favour of which the Dealer had issued a coupon, no Diesel had been filled in the said Car. He told us that the entire Diesel in the said Car would have to be removed, the Diesel tank would have to be cleaned, the Diesel lines and injectors would have to be cleaned and the said car tested thereafter. He requested me to await his call. On the next day i.e. August 3, 2011, the Head Foreman of the Service Centre got involved and after Diesel was filled, test drove the car. The fault condition again occurred after the car was driven for around 15 kms. So he decided to replace the fuel injectors and test the car again. Even after replacement of the fuel injectors, the fault condition occurred, this time even without the car being driven. Now the Head Foreman decided to test the said Car after replacing the fuel pumps. By this time, it was almost 10 pm and it was decided to do the work on the next day. On August 4, 2011, I called up the Head Foreman at around 2 pm and was told that they were yet to test the car after replacing the fuel pump. I visited the Dealer's Service Centre on my way back from office and was told that even after replacement of the fuel pump, the fault condition persisted. They had also replaced an electronic control unit (which received inputs from the accelerator pedal) but the fault condition persisted. I was now told that they intended to replace the Engine Control Unit of the said car and then to test it again. We ere now anxious, alarmed and disappointed that our brand new car had a fault that the famed expertise of Volkswagen's German Engineering and its sophisticated analysis software could not ascertain even 3 days after the car was put in the workshop. So we personally spoke to Mr. Kuwalekar and requested him for an update. Mr. Kuwalekar expressed his inability to give any time frame for resolution of the problem. He again said that all the problems were caused by the water in the Diesel. So, now fed up, we contacted the sales head of the Dealer and thereafter, the General Manager of the Dealer and demanded that they replace the defective car with a new one. The General Manager and Service Head has now promised to revert by 5 pm today. We relied on the statements and representations made by Volkswagen India in its brochures, promotional literature, advertisements and website and by the Dealer and its representatives to decide on the purchase of the said car. These do not anywhere suggest that Diesel sold in Pumps in India can cause trouble to the engines of TDI Ventos or that a new can be grounded for 5 days because of water in diesel. If that were so, all Diesel Ventos would be at a standstill considering the quality of Diesel sold in India. Anyway, the replacement of part after part especially the electronic control units clearly shows that the fault has nothing to do with the water in the diesel. It appears that Volkswagen and their dealer, Tornado Motors, have no clue as to the true nature of the fault. This is hardly the way a top notch automobile company would behave. If this had been in the US or Germany, they would hardly have behaved in this fashion. What is disappointing is that after spending close to Rs.12 Lakhs on a so called premium brand sedan, we are now dependent on a hatchback Polo that the Service Centre has given for our daily office commute and other business.
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