This is a story of my car purchase decision spread over the last 6 months or so.
A brief background. I own a Hyundai Santro (2006 model) and has driven it some 38k kms. The car was getting smaller for a growing family and decided to upgrade to a Sedan and that too a diesel sedan. The reason for diesel sedan was the step-motherly treatment meted out to petrol and also the fact that I have already paid/paying sufficient amount of income tax to compensate for my entire life’s usage of subsidised diesel without any guilt!!
Of course, I wanted a Sedan/MPV but I had a budget to work with. I wanted to finish it within Rs8 lakhs, plus or minus another 3%. I didn’t want to put in lot of money on a car at this stage as I have been already bothered with housing loans. I am not an aggressive driver but this time I wanted to have some safety aspects like ABS and Airbags, thanks to reading extensively on the internet forums. I had a fancy for Mahindra Xylo Mini and waited for almost a year. No signs yet of its launch. Got fed up with that and the news came about the imminent launch of Ertiga MPV. Maruti Ertiga was making lot of noise about its imminent launch and its practicality. I looked at the Ertiga images and coupled with Maruti Suzuki’s reliability(!), I was almost sure of booking it on the day of the launch. Ertiga got launched in April and we were one of the first ones at the showroom to have a look at the car. Everything was fine with the car except for the third row entry and exit. My better half was not impressed with that model, and all my efforts to convince her didn’t help. I didn’t want to buy something antagonizing my wife as there are already 100 different things to fight for! So with Ertiga going out of the way, I started my search again and narrowed down to Mahindra Verito, followed by Nissan Sunny, Toyota Etios and Ford Fiesta.
After doing a spec by spec comparison, I was convinced that Mahindra Verito ticks all my requirements. It has a gem of an engine, has ABS, driver side airbag and sufficient space for 5 adults. Then started the dilemma of should I buy a car which has become synonymous of the taxi segment. So we looked around for cars with the same engine and first saw Nissan Sunny. The car was good, had tremendous amount of space, the same Renault 1.5 dci engine but way above my budget.
Then we looked at Etios, as the price was attractive and we did a test drive with our neighbour’s car (GD Version). The driveability was good but the engine noise was pronounced and the interiors was awful. We didn’t like the suspension as well. So we moved on to Ford Fiesta but thanks to the reports of excessive maintenance and spare parts cost, it never really took off.
So we were back to square one, not able to decide in favour of Verito because of its image and others are above my budget. After few days of confusion, I decided to go ahead and book the Verito D6 Executive edition. I thought making the decision was the most difficult part but alas, I was to be proved wrong. The Mahindra dealers across the city did ensure that the buying process should not be a pleasant exercise at all.
The only dealer who had the executive edition was Zulaikha Motors, Velachery. I spoke and confirmed with the Sales Executive and agreed to pay the advance 4 days after. The day I went to the showroom after ensuring that it is an auspicious day to make the payment, I was welcomed very coldly by the stand-in Sales guy. I have confirmed my purchase 4 days before but the day I landed in Zulaikha Motors, they said it is not certain that I would get the allotment. For a car which was standing in the showroom for more than 2 months without any takers, they suddenly created some kind of artificial demand. If they had mentioned that there are many people who were waiting to buy this (which I doubt), I would have arranged for funds immediately and sealed the deal. They wanted to know how soon I can make the full payment and my allotment depends on that. Somehow I felt cheated and my gut instinct told me not to proceed further with Zulaikha Motors.
With the bad experience from Zulaikha Motors, my next stop was at MPL Automobiles. I somehow consoled myself and settled for D6, not the executive edition. We went on a Saturday evening and we were the only one in showroom and we met the Team Leader for Verito sales. We made the booking and made a token advance of Rs10K and he promised all the colours are available. We wanted to book Java Brown colour but they didn’t have it at the showroom. So we agreed to have a look on Monday morning and confirm the colour. On Monday morning, I followed up with MPL and they said they don’t have Java Brown in D6. We enquired about other colours like Black, Red and none of them were available with them. They claimed other than white, silver, blue and rocky beige, they don’t have the other colours. Again a kind of disappointment and this time that too after paying the advance. Really felt bad after these two dealer experiences. I offered that I was willing to wait if they can procure black, red or brown. They agreed and asked them to proceed with the either black or red. Two days down the road, the Sales Manager called me and said in a stern voice that they can’t arrange for any colour other than the ones which are available. They want to clear the stock of what they have. Really I felt miserable for choosing a Mahindra Verito. Two times I have tried and I couldn’t close a deal. Completely disappointed with the attitude of these Mahindra dealers.
For few hours, we seriously considered just closing our eyes and buying a Toyota Etios as we believed that the customer service would at least be much better. I wanted to give one last try with India Garage before closing this option. So I went there without any expectation and I found out that they have only white and silver. Not even rocky beige or blue. But at least they were willing to get a colour from Mahindra if I wanted one specifically. So made the booking again with India Garage and asked them to get me either a red or black Verito D6. In the meantime, during early June there were lot of rumours going around about the impending diesel tax. My wife who was totally disillusioned with the entire exercise of moving from one dealer to the other, told me to just pick up what is readily available. I felt it is sane piece of advice and decided to go with the white.
(To be continued with initial ownership review and photos)