Another Dealer Quits

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Another Dealer Quits

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I would like to say not all mechanics are like that.:)
I think the problem is often not the mechanic but how you behave towards them 😉

People treat mechanics like they’re idiots because they didn’t go to university or whatever but just because they didn’t doesn’t meant they’re idiots and that they can’t see through you when you’re trying to pull a fast one.

The first thing to remember is if they quote you a stupid over the top price, they don’t want your business, if you have been rude, arrogant or offish towards them prior to your quite, then that’s probably the reason they don’t want your business.
 
From my point of view I started my apprenticeship in 1969 and worked for two companies finally finishing as foreman of a multi dealership in 1982 when I left to run my own small business until I retired a few years ago around 66 years old, I never had to advertise , all my customers came by word of mouth and often had been with me for over 25 years and a few I had worked on their parents cars in 1970 so they and their children were my customers.
This worked fine as they knew the quality of my work and trusted me and equally I knew they were genuine and I only had three cheques bounce in all that time, all of which were repaid.
I agree with Andy's comment and whilst working for other companies you occasionally found customers who felt the need to talk down to the mechanic in dirty overalls forgetting the dirt came from their vehicles. I did feel the need on one occasion to point out to a "lady" working in retail that if I did my job wrong someone could be killed and that the worse thing she could do was give someone the wrong change!;)
 
occasionally found customers who felt the need to talk down to the mechanic in dirty overalls forgetting the dirt came from their vehicles
That’s a good point! There’s never any excuse for customers of any industry to behave irrationally or look down on people that are ultimately doing something for them.

When I was in a Mercedes dealership in 2017 the dynamic was quite like that amongst the sales people. With me they actively avoided eye contact and avoided me altogether (they obviously knew I was a long way from their typical customer). Eventually a more down to earth guy representing the ‘Smart’ brand section at the back came out to help us.

The actual MB customers were exactly what you’re describing. They looked at and spoke down to and were condescending, demanding and acted entitled to the sales people. The sales people looked genuinely scared of offending them / under pressure every time they turned their back on the customer as they rushed around to open the boot, or the passenger door for the customers wife…

Disgusting. I know for the rich they must get off on having these sales people act and perform for them. I’m one of those people that because of that experience probably wouldn’t ever want to participate in the game (even if I could).

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As for mechanics, lately I’ve only ever dealt with the reflection / service advisors who are a sort of shield from the mechanics at the dealership(s). Once I saw a guy in overalls walk by with my key and I asked him “How did it go?” And he looked blankly and told me he didn’t do the work, he just valets / washes the cars. Was sort of disappointed as I’d love to chat to the technicians themselves but they’re probably too busy. Tbh, that Toyota dealership in having an issue with atm, have been nothing but professional and always did the work on my car (of course I always check!). No mess, nothing missing, nothing disconnected, nothing damaged. Initially I had a tough time finding a suitable fuse for the dashcam hardwire too as Toyotas system is pretty complicated compared to the Panda / DS3 in that some fuses will be disabled when start stop is active, then will send some strange power signal that turned off the dashcam upon driving off. One of the technicians there actually invited me back to show me the diagrams and look at the circuit diagram for my car and tell me exactly where to wire it in, and I’ve had no issues ever since. I have nothing but respect / admiration for them. It’s just that this one time, I had legit reason to suspect a job not well done or done at all.

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Now, on the flip side.

Since 2015 right up to last year when I needed bodywork done. You know what experience I had? I went in polite, said nothing out of the ordinary, didn’t be demanding, didn’t be rude or anything like that - rather unassuming.

I actually get looked down at, and talked down at, and spoken to like I don’t have a clue, and then have the technicians get arrogant or frustrated at me because only then, is it apparent that maybe I do know a tad more than the average customer. They get irate and unprofessional and they lash out because sometimes they don’t do a professional job. And frankly it is disgusting. I can’t imagine what women feel when they potentially get talked down to and treated like fools at car repair situations. Someday I’ll look older and get uglier, and perhaps that’ll be enough to stop that. But in my defence, being nice, and being read as someone too young or inexperienced to have a slight clue, has only probably increased the likelihood of having a crap job done and them thinking they’ll get away with it.

Again, not always, but more times than enough. Enough times to put me off trust in the trade and wanting to do as much as I can myself - sadly. Except tyres and bodywork. But the tyre shop I use is fairly down to earth, let you stand near them and chat and have respect for wheels etc. as for bodywork, eventually they got it right. I’ll go back and see the story if I ever (hopefully not) need bodywork done. They’ll either quote me away, or do the job, and they’ll bloody do it right because they know they’ll be doing it again if they don’t.

I’d never walk into any institution with an attitude, or sense of entitlement to anything more than reasonable service and a reasonable job. I think that’s a very fair thing to expect.
 
With breakdown services, the small print will show that they will recover you to the nearest garage, or one within a set distance. Even if you buy recovery, it is at their discretion, not yours, but usually will kick in if your car cannot be repaired same day. If you don't mind the wait, break down in the morning, don't phone the breakdown service until well after lunch.

They will all have a clause that says they will not attend repeat breakdowns for the same fault. So having depositied you at a garage for a repair, they will not then take you elsewhere. Most patrols have a good working relationship with local garages, but some do get a kickback, against company policy.

When I was at a large delaership, early eighties, we would play technician training videos on the reception telly. Waiting customers gained a good appreciation of the complexity of their vehicle.
 
With breakdown services, the small print will show that they will recover you to the nearest garage, or one within a set distance. Even if you buy recovery, it is at their discretion, not yours, but usually will kick in if your car cannot be repaired same day. If you don't mind the wait, break down in the morning, don't phone the breakdown service until well after lunch.
It's probably not what I expected or would find valuable then. I was thinking about it and over here, especially the times I would travel far and frequency, and typical traffic even on our few motorways, even having to 'change a tyre' roadside probably wouldn't be as dire as I would imagine rush hour on the M6 might be or a typical day. So hopefully I'll be as lucky as you with your Panda and not need to, but if so, probably wouldn't warrant a breakdown service. Could probably also get family or friends to rescue me and tow the car back in most situations. About to invest one one of those little hand held boxes that can fit in the glovebox and 'jump start' cars, that'll be my contribution to the family / friends should they ever need it.

I've also passed a few people too, broken down along my commute road / main road and thought to myself I should probably stop and see if I can help. try to make good karma and all that!

They will all have a clause that says they will not attend repeat breakdowns for the same fault. So having depositied you at a garage for a repair, they will not then take you elsewhere. Most patrols have a good working relationship with local garages, but some do get a kickback, against company policy.
Definitely! That kind of corruption is very much alive and well. Not just reserved for the folks in No.10!

When I was at a large delaership, early eighties, we would play technician training videos on the reception telly. Waiting customers gained a good appreciation of the complexity of their vehicle.
I'd love it if they did that now! Our Fiat dealer didn't have a TV. DS dealership (the very posh one) had a TV going over Citroen's moments accomplishments.. Usually 80s / 90s suspension breakthrough models! On a loop which was interesting...then boring... then mind numbing to watch again! Toyota has two opposite, one is a big array of TVs that silently loops through things like new models / race wins or company policy / guarantees of using their services... the other is just a daytime TV channel with volume. The real outrage though, is that the coffee machines been broke most of this year. What's the point in overpaying for your service if you can't feel like you got one over on them by claiming a free 'latte' or two?!!!
 

Sad statistic.
 

Sad statistic.
Indeed but probably to be expected.

What would be more interesting is the JEEP and CHRYSLER sales.

Fiat have really only had a strong (ish) presence in the US with the 124 series of cars. In that era the only real covertibles were the Ferarri, Ford Mustang, possibly some others but non (except Ferarri) had the design and appeal of the Italian 124 to Americans who wanted something different.

Also I guess their Californian and other States with good weather played a part.

Overall I think the Fiat brand and dealerships in the US and in the UK are rapidly in decline which is a shame but has always been on the cards in recent years.
 
Statistically I'd say there is some good ones out there... just not in my locale. Tried all four within a 2 mile radius in the space of 6 months and every one of them were useless.

I started driving in 2014 (my mums Corsa C at the time). When she needed work done there was two mechanics she had used (bearing in mind she hadn't changed the oil from getting that car in 2009 til it's eventual death in 2015 - it wasn't too often). First guy wasn't answering the phone, that was Local Mechanic A. This guy barely ever answered his phone, but drove about in a lime green van advertising his car repair business.. Looking at his parents yard where he operated from, it was all old 90s Fords and molested VAG cars with things like missing headlights and no wheels sitting around, I suspect he was only interested in work like that. Other guy Local Mechanic B had it post head-gasket failure and declared it not worth fixing. Sat in his yard for a couple of months, developed some really bizarre and disugsting mold all over the interior and then he coincidentally found a buyer who would take it for £100, and had the cheek to ask me for further discount as he was loading it onto their trailer! Never went back to him for my cars.

Then in September 2015 bought a very old, basically done Corsa C for £450. I must have had about £1500 in the bank at that point, didn't start uni as planned, had a year of likely unemployment so I bought that, thought it'd soon pay for itself. Being naive, I thought taking it to Local Mechanic C (one my mum used pre-MOT) would get it fixed up and good as any other used old Corsa C. They diagnosed a few things: sub frame, oil pressure sensor, MAF sensor, and I think something else. £450 for that work. Paid it. Got it back, a week late it broke down again when I was signing up for JSA at the time. Miserable old experience it was! Started dying out.. managed to make it to a Tesco car park. It was dripping a trail of petrol behind it. Had it towed home. Then towed to the same mechanic, they let it sit for about 4 weeks straight (of me ringing up each Monday, asking if they know what's wrong and what it'd cost to fix). This was before I understood that basically meant they weren't interested. Luckily for me, my sister was buying a new car at the time and the 05 Panda handed down to her, was handed down to me. Ended up getting £150 for the Corsa.. big loss as a time when I could have done with the money. Mostly my fault for being naive and buying it in the first place.. Never went back to Local Mechanic C.

Then with the Panda, took it to Local Mechanic D (one discussed above) as another friend / his family all used that guy. Still within 2 miles of where I live. Said he's great, never rips them off, always does a great job... (don't they all say that? All the non-car people!). First took it to him to get the lights aligned pre-MOT, not issues as such. Then when it broke down that November he lied to me about the fuel pump thing so I decided never to go back to him.

That was the final straw really for mechanics in general for me, none since. Bar tyres and bodywork, and of course, warranty work at dealer where necessary. My experience with dealerships wasn't too bad, I took the Panda in 2016 to Fiat and got a 'major service'. They did the work, quite friendly, shame that dealership is closed now. Gave me a long list of things wrong with it like an exhaust issue, a seeping leak, shocks basically done, broken spring, handbrake adjustment issue... Things we all checked and were legitimate issues. Around that point I had asked my uncle for help changing the oil on the Panda and was starting to learn everything I could from him about repairing cars. He had all the tools / experience / garage and that and was keen to get some projects going through my Panda. We'd do things on his VW Bora too and other cars in the family. Really fun and ultimately, the shitty experiences with local mechanics definitely worked out in the end to a decent knowledge of cars and now I do most things myself - even silly mods like the lights / heated seats and that brake bleed the other day. I suppose if I had to choose, the hassle was worth the result.

Another local mechanic in the area who one of our relatives that always has a fairly new Audi A4 over the last two decades, recently paid £700+ for a clutch change.... for a bog standard, run-of-the-mill diesel non performance car. I thought that was shocking. Again, when asked "He always looks after us. Great mechanic. Fair prices. Perfect work".... ....
It really shows that in many places you need to be able to tell them what is required and to ensure they know you know. I may be lucky in that I have two places that seem honest, but they also know that I fully understand what wants doing and how it is done and how long it is likely to take. I have been asked to pay more but not without a full explanation of what needed to be done and why. Trouble now is that there is so much of this bad behaviour you are a mug if you do jobs for less. Its better to waste two days holiday to take the car further to someone straight than pay less and get a bad job or more and be ripped off. I tend to round my payments up to the next 10£ if I am satisfied I have been dealt with honestly. But boy do I complain if things are done shoddily.
 
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It really shows that in many places you need to be able to tell them what is required and to ensure they know you know. I may ne lucky in that I have two places that seem honest, but they also know that I fully understand what wants doing and howit is done and how long it is likely to take. I have been asked to pay more but not without a full explanation of what needed to be done and why.. Trouble now is that there is so much of this bad beghviour you are a mug if you do jobs for less. its better to waste two day holiday to take the car furthr to someone straight than pya less and get a bad job or more and be ripped off. I tend to round my payments up to the next 10£ if I am satisfied I have been dealt with honestly. But boy do I complain if things are done shoddily.
My experiences are definitely such a tiny sample in any case, so I definitely wouldn't disbelieve anybody who's had a good record with mechanics :)

Back then, I didn't have a clue - and perhaps that was the biggest mistake I made, handing it to them and letting them diagnose (especially that 2001 Corsa I bought for £450, in the black of night) - it probably had issues in every category and ultimately wasn't worthy of repair at all tbh, looking back.

My only issue now is, even though I have a good knowledge. Like for example when I had the dent last year, although I wouldn't stand a chance doing the work myself to any good standard, I knew the complexity and how difficult it would be to put right and I tried to ask them in the nicest way possible "if they could get it perfect?". They were pretty confident they could. But when it came back and I was looking at it with the guy from the workshop, I spotted the door off kilter.. I said "That door looks a bit off?". He said "we didn't have the door off at all, so it couldn't have been us. But here, two minutes, I'll go and get it adjusted for you". I said "No, no, honestly I wouldn't expect you to have to put right someone else's mistake" out of principle like. I had no reason to disbelieve him. It was nearly a month before I checked / saved the dashcam footage and I looked through it. Saw the attached photo... door sitting off in the corner.

So there again, years later, even with a polite little upfront conversation sort of asking them if they think they could get it perfect (and being very assured they could) - they still lied to me like. I actually did take it back and get it adjusted. I re-watched the dashcam footage, they were talking about me "How did he know that we had the door off?" and his colleague opens the door, you see his hand in the reflection pointing to the dash cams "There. and there". And yet, they proceeded to chat sh** haha "He's got some nerve bringing this down here for this to be sorted... mumbles.. he's sitting out there with a backpack.. we should let him sit 45 minutes" ... :'-) haha Well, I don't get too offended, after all, if people heard our work conversations I'd not fare much better tbf! But when I started noticing the two front doors paint not being the same shade and giving the appearance of a scrap heap car, I did try to live with it from like October 2022 but eventually Easter this year I broke and went back and told them I wasn't happy with it. After about 45 minutes of a heated walk around the car and discussion with the guy, he agreed that (for £100) as a "good will gesture only" they would re-spray and blend it....

I've never been rude, raised my voice, had threatening words or tones, or made patronising or acted like I knew better with any of these car industry folks. But if I didn't phone back up... and persist to see them in person, and point out the problem with the work done, in no way would I have had anything put right or done right. And I'd be driving a 5 year old car with the same physical defects as my '05 Panda had acrued over 15 years of real world use and abuse from non enthusiast owners! To me it's unacceptable. But these are the things that have led me to have such a low, low, low opinion of mechanics / car professionals. I attached a photo of the initial job... it's not a stretch to say it looked like three donor cars came together to form mine.

I'd nearly go as far to say that perhaps why I've had such a bad time is... here in NI, the side that I'm on, there's a severe lack of competition. They do their best to drive out as many UK businesses as they can (such as buying out and closing all the Whetherspoons, and refusing to allow Greggs to start up here - alright, funny to use as examples).. The lack of competition and undertones of paramilitary runnings of the place is a driving factor I'd say - because if someone came here, set up shop, started showing them how it's done, it's only their family and livelihoods

Honourable mention as well.. AutoGlass with fitting a no name dirt windscreen, but fitting it so poorly the top edge. It was steaming up, noticeably noisier and a distortion as you drove along the motorway you like looking through poorly formed glass with light spots floating inside of them... or looking through someone else's glasses but more subtle. Initially complained, being all nice as pie, offered £20 back and to live with it or go for another assessment but made it clear if it's deemed okay they wouldn't replace it. Had to go via insurer to get it done right and with a quality part.

I wouldn't say anybody should be rude or look down on mechanics. But in my case, being nice and having faith never led to quality work. Complaining also initially does nothing, they try to fob you off. You have to go in with a bit of a strong tone and bit of determination.

And in my cases you need to sort of force them to apply some perspective. With that dent, he was adamant that they did a good enough job until I pointed at a new Range Rover Velar which was a champagne sort of colour, and an Audi convertible that was definitely still in warranty... deep, deep purply thing. Looked well in the sunny weather. I said "You wouldn't be having this conversation if the owner of that Audi, or that Range Rover over there was asking you why their panels didn't match". He told me the RR was his... and then he turned around and made his 'good will' gesture
 

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Also I guess their Californian and other States with good weather played a part.

Overall I think the Fiat brand and dealerships in the US and in the UK are rapidly in decline which is a shame but has always been on the cards in recent years.
It’s crazy what they’ll do to comply with the stringent measures from California, I remember when this came out: https://www.cnbc.com/2014/05/21/fiat-chrysler-ceo-please-dont-buy-fiat-500e-electric-car.html

Pretty wild thing for a CEO to say! (Well, pre-Elon times anyway..)

Fiat (and any other brand from outside the US) need to take a Toyota like approach. They have huge monster models that are seemingly designed just for the US that we’ll never see in Europe and I’d be surprised if were even sold in Japan.

The customers in the US seeking a ‘small car’ look at things like the Ford Focus - with the Fiesta being considered a microcar there. It doesn’t help that the 500 is also priced and marketed as a ‘premium’ small car (whether or not it is versus the Mini / Audi A1 is another debate) but at least if a US customer opted for an A1 or a Mini, they would have ‘fast’ engine choices to compensate. In that world of 5.0 V8 and V6 engines being commonplace without the same pressure on fuel pricing, I’m sure 1.6-2.0 are how they view what we look at as 1.0 and 1.2’s.

Plus from the rhetoric I see from a lot of US car channels, they are very hard on non-US brands. Even German ones that the rest of the world’s car press can’t speak higher of.. Fiat probably never stood a chance. Seems like the Chrysler acquisition was just a way in to see if they could given the mid 2000s boom for Fiat from the Panda 169 and new 2007 500 reboot. I can see why, in theory, they thought it might work. I think now it’s quite clear that it won’t.

Not sure if a rebadged Peugeot Fiat will change things. But I presume Peugeot (leading Stellantis) sees this as their 21st century chance to re-try America and seeks Fiats small presence there as a way in.
 
here in NI, the side that I'm on, there's a severe lack of competition. They do their best to drive out as many UK businesses as they can
Odd wording for somewhere that does their best to claim they are part of the UK.
 
Odd wording for somewhere that does their best to claim they are part of the UK.
There is no claim, we are a part of the UK as it stands today. And while you are entitled to think differently, you are very much factually wrong if it is anything to the contrary of that.

Sadly there are a lot of folks (especially where I am) who can’t do enough but to claim and pretend and appear to work towards some future where that’s not the case. Our council happens to be currently run by such minded people.

You know they’ve even picked a side in the whole Middle Eastern situation too?! To be contrarian to what the UK Gov’ believes 🙈 very very bitter, backwards folks unfortunately.

Ironically though, you’ll find the car parks of near-border Asda’s PACKED to the brim with EU / IRL plates who can’t get enough of UK retail. It’s a cruel joke what they have in comparison down there - though fair enough, if that’s that people local to those areas are happy with.

I for one would move back over in less than a month if anything changed and we were no longer part of the UK. And I doubt I’d have a choice. Those animals wouldn’t stop until they’re rid this entire Ireland of anyone with any even small respect for the UK. Animals they are.

You know what I say, God Save the King 🇬🇧
 
There is no claim, we are a part of the UK as it stands today. And while you are entitled to think differently, you are very much factually wrong if it is anything to the contrary of that.

Sadly there are a lot of folks (especially where I am) who can’t do enough but to claim and pretend and appear to work towards some future where that’s not the case. Our council happens to be currently run by such minded people.

You know they’ve even picked a side in the whole Middle Eastern situation too?! To be contrarian to what the UK Gov’ believes 🙈 very very bitter, backwards folks unfortunately.

Ironically though, you’ll find the car parks of near-border Asda’s PACKED to the brim with EU / IRL plates who can’t get enough of UK retail. It’s a cruel joke what they have in comparison down there - though fair enough, if that’s that people local to those areas are happy with.

I for one would move back over in less than a month if anything changed and we were no longer part of the UK. And I doubt I’d have a choice. Those animals wouldn’t stop until they’re rid this entire Ireland of anyone with any even small respect for the UK. Animals they are.

You know what I say, God Save the King 🇬🇧
I think you’d better delete that diatribe
For one, it’s insulting, half my family is from Eire and some of it NI…I don’t consider any of my forebearers ‘animals’n nor would I generalise about a whole country.
As for your weird take on seeing IRL plates in NI, so what? It happens the other way round also. You go to ANY landmass that has multiple countries and I guarantee you you’ll find cross border visits on a daily basis.
Moreover, your ignorance of the Middle East proves one thing, you know nothing of that regions history, other than what you want to believe. As a member of JVP I strongly advise you read up on how Zionists have corrupted Israel to the point that Orthodox Jews in Israel are persecuted as much as Christians and Muslims
 
I think you’d better delete that diatribe
For one, it’s insulting, half my family is from Eire and some of it NI…I don’t consider any of my forebearers ‘animals’n nor would I generalise about a whole country.
As for your weird take on seeing IRL plates in NI, so what? It happens the other way round also. You go to ANY landmass that has multiple countries and I guarantee you you’ll find cross border visits on a daily basis.
Moreover, your ignorance of the Middle East proves one thing, you know nothing of that regions history, other than what you want to believe. As a member of JVP I strongly advise you read up on how Zionists have corrupted Israel to the point that Orthodox Jews in Israel are persecuted as much as Christians and Muslims
Sorry @porta, I didn't mean everybody from ROI were animals, only the McDonald's blowing up types (found largely this side of the border).

That's very true, there's plenty of UK plates down there. I'm not complaining or saying they shouldn't come to NI, but I'm saying that there's clearly a lot of demand for and love of UK retail. And that when I visit towns in ROI, it's a very different set up. There isn't usually as much big-brand retailers in most towns there - it's something I personally miss about the UK side when I'm down there - obviously the folks who live there may just prefer that too. More power to them.

I'm not getting into the Middle East situation. I don't have any opinion or side other than that I wish both sides could stop dying. How they can get there? I have no idea. Innocent people dying = bad. It was bad when it was NI / UK innocent people dying on both sides. It's bad anywhere in my book.

I think my post came across the wrong way, but no offence or insult was meant to any large populations of people. Again, only a very small very volatile concentration of some people found in my side of NI.. for them, I meant what I said.
 
Sorry @porta, I didn't mean everybody from ROI were animals, only the McDonald's blowing up types (found largely this side of the border).

That's very true, there's plenty of UK plates down there. I'm not complaining or saying they shouldn't come to NI, but I'm saying that there's clearly a lot of demand for and love of UK retail. And that when I visit towns in ROI, it's a very different set up. There isn't usually as much big-brand retailers in most towns there - it's something I personally miss about the UK side when I'm down there - obviously the folks who live there may just prefer that too. More power to them.

I'm not getting into the Middle East situation. I don't have any opinion or side other than that I wish both sides could stop dying. How they can get there? I have no idea. Innocent people dying = bad. It was bad when it was NI / UK innocent people dying on both sides. It's bad anywhere in my book.

I think my post came across the wrong way, but no offence or insult was meant to any large populations of people. Again, only a very small very volatile concentration of some people found in my side of NI.. for them, I meant what I said.
Thanks for that, to get a truer picture, and if you can be bothered to read it as it’s rather long, but you can skip to the last few decades:
 
There is no claim, we are a part of the UK as it stands today. And while you are entitled to think differently, you are very much factually wrong if it is anything to the contrary of that.

Well, I'm scottish, the UK government has no interest in my opinion. That was reinfored yesterday by pig boy the foreign secretary!
 
Well, I'm scottish, the UK government has no interest in my opinion. That was reinfored yesterday by pig boy the foreign secretary!
It beggars belief that this g’ment gives a **** about anywhere other than London and the Home Counties…
 
It beggars belief that this g’ment gives a **** about anywhere other than London and the Home Counties…
At least that's something! Here in NI, they refuse to even turn up to work [the localised government in Stormont] ... proving an equally high level of disregard to all districts. haha And yet they still collect a paycheque.
 
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