My first EV – A Tata Nexon, but have I made a mistake? Awful experience

It ticked all my boxes; but would we buy an electric vehicle from Tata Motors? WHY NOT? I was super impressed by the Nexon EV.

BHPian CLS_55_AMG recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Feels good to be writing a post on Team-BHP after so long! This is going to be one long post!

First, a bit of background info.

At some point last year, we discussed the possibility of changing our ‘small’ car at home. For the last 20 odd years, this has always been a Hyundai hatchback. Starting with the first generation Santro in 1998, to the Santro Zip Plus in 2005, an i10 in 2008 and an i20 Elite in 2015.

Now that our i20 was coming close to being 7 years old (didn’t really need to be changed as she had run only 22,000 kms, but we wanted a change anyway) we contemplated on what would be the ideal replacement. The other cars in my garage are:

  • 2018 Volvo XC60 D5 Inscription. And
  • 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman. (Should I post ownership reviews of these two? Let me know.

PS: I have also spent 16 years in the automobile industry, the last 8 of which I was the Business Head and Director at Lamborghini Mumbai. Safe to say, I have seen both sides of this business, as a customer and as a dealer.

Here is what role each car plays:

Volvo XC60:

  • Driven mainly by me and occasionally by our driver.
  • Has my kids car seat installed.
  • Used for all purposes when I am driving (eg work, daily trips to the club with family, gym etc, and out of town trips).

Porsche 718 Cayman:

  • Driven only by me.
  • Isn’t really a means of transport as such. Purely a toy meant for fun.

Hyundai Elite i20:

  • Driven by our driver, my mom, my dad (occasionally, since he hates to drive) and me (rarely).
  • Used daily for wherever work my parents and wife have.
  • Never used for out of town trips.
  • Is a manual transmission so my wife finds it difficult to drive.
  • Easy to park, drive in traffic etc so she goes wherever the Volvo doesn’t.

In addition to the above, I was looking for a car that should also be a little ‘fun’ (no I am not talking about outright performance hare, but something that just has that exciting touch, if you know what I mean), and definitely an automatic so that my wife can drive it too.

What I thought our options were (and why I ruled them out):

  • Hyundai i20 N Line (Great performance, but a bit much for a car that’s driven primarily by our driver and occasionally by the wife).
  • VW Polo (Always loved the Polo, but feels too dated now).
  • Hyundai Venue and Kia Sonet (would have considered these and had planned to drive them both soon).

What I DID NOT consider ( and why ):

  • TATA Nexon (ICE/EV) Every time I think of a TATA, it reminds me of my friends 1998 Indica DLS.

Another friend recently showed me his 2020 Harrier and while I was really impressed, I was still hesitant to go the TATA way.

Cut to October 2021:

One morning, a dear friend (Let’s call him VB) of mine called me and asked me what I thought of the Tigor EV, and whether I’d like to drive it with him and give him my opinion. VB was looking at getting one and had called for a test drive car that day. I told him I wasn’t interested in looking at the Tigor and that he should consider the Nexon EV instead since I’d heard and read good things about the Nexon EV.

He drove the Tigor EV that day and asked the dealership (Puneet automobiles, Mumbai) to send them the Nexon EV the next day. (Initially he had asked for both cars on the same day so that he could compare them side by side with his family and take a call, but they said they cannot send two demo cars together as this was ‘against company policy’.

I wonder what kind of company forms a policy that states that a customer who is keen to compare two of your products simultaneously isn’t allowed to do so?

Anyway, the following day, they sent the Nexon EV. Since VB and I live in the same society, I decided to join in. Here are the highlights of our test drive:

  • The car was brought to us by a sales girl and a driver. Neither of them were wearing a mask. (VB told me they came the same way the previous day and he gave them two disposable masks from his own car before getting into the car with them).
  • When we asked them why they weren’t wearing a mask, the driver just blushed and the sales girl wrapped her dupatta around her face and said that should be ok!?!
  • VB called for 2 more masks and handed these over to them. They wore those masks and got into the car. VB took to the wheel and I sat in the passenger seat. As soon as we got into the car, both of them got busy in the backseat talking on the phone or were on whatsapp. The driver was discussing his day’s plan with someone from the dealership telling them how they will quickly wrap up this test drive and how many more they have lined up etc. Sales girl was on whatsapp as the first few questions to her were ignored.
  • We literally asked her for her attention and started driving. Few minutes into the drive and she was back on her phone
  • After driving for 15 minutes, VB and I switched seats. While driving I literally didn’t bother asking anything and neither did she bother (though it was an opportunity for her to add a new ‘prospect’ to her sales funnel since I even mentioned that I am really enjoying the car and it would make for a good replacement to our i20) PS: if you’re familiar with sales processes, you would know what ‘prospect’ and ‘sales funnel’ mean and their importance.

Anyway, I drove back home (total test drive was about 5-6 kms) and as soon as we reached, she just said thanks bye and proceeded to leave. VB literally asked her to wait and gave her the booking cheque for his Nexon EV.

Here is what my impression (about the car) was:

  • The demo car had done approximately 35,000 kms and had no rattles or squeaks. The build quality of this car, (I am sure this car must have been abused being a demo), was surprisingly good, and definitely better than even my friend’s Harrier which I had seen.
  • This was my first experience driving an EV and I was amazed at the silence (albeit unnerving initially) with which these EV’s move.
  • Acceleration was good, and in S mode she’s an absolute hoot to drive.
  • Seating position is excellent with good all round visibility.
  • Back seat comfort is more than adequate.
  • Suspension on our bad roads is excellent and she really takes on all kinds of surfaces with ease!
  • 180-200 kms real world range in the city on a full charge is more than sufficient for me as there would rarely be a day when this car would do more than 30-50 kms.
  • My wife would love driving this car as it is just so easy!

It ticked all my boxes; but would we buy an electric vehicle from Tata Motors? WHY NOT? I was super impressed by the Nexon EV.

The same day, I not only convinced my parents, but my father in law too! He had been looking for a replacement for his Hyundai Verna since a while and was sold on the Nexon EV just based on my feedback, even without him driving or seeing the car!

The dilemma now was whether we should deal with a dealership that had such a lackluster and careless attitude towards their customers.

I sent out a few messages on friends whatsapp groups and got the contact of a sales person (Let’s call him Mr. NS – who I was told was a decent sales guy) at Wasan Motors, the oldest and known TATA dealership in the city. Considering that they have been TATA dealers since decades, I decided it is there that we should book the car.

I convinced my friend VB the same evening to take his cheque back from the other dealer and that we would all book our Nexon EV’s with Wasan Automobiles.

The next day, I spoke with Mr. NS at Wasan. He seemed to be in a rush. Not to close the deal but to get off the phone. However, I told him who had given me his reference and that we were going ahead with the booking of 2 Nexon EV’s. (My F-I-L said he would wait for a week and decide) I also told NS that I want him to be clear and transparent on all aspects through the deal as I was from the same industry.

He asked me what, where etc. and responded:

‘Sir, mere jaisa straightforward banda aap ko nahin milega, don’t worry’

VB and I were aware of the approximate 5-6 months wait on the car and we paid our deposits the same day. We decided to get the XZ+ variant. Both of us chose Glacier white as our colour option and Mr. NS informed us that in early January they will launch a Grey too, and if we decide, our booking could be changed to that grey.

I wrote a detailed email to Mr. NS and his immediate boss with the details of our booking, clearly mentioning the terms and conditions, payment screenshot etc and attached the PAN Card, address proof etc with the email. I always prefer to keep all communication in writing as it avoids any confusion at a later stage.

I also mentioned that I would like to get a test drive of the Nexon EV (since I had just driven the car 5kms and now I wanted my parents and my wife and her dad to see the car too).

Mr. NS informed me that their demo car was in the workshop as it had met with an accident and would be ready in 1-2 weeks, post which he would get the car across. I even told him he needn’t worry about coming himself and just a driver would be sufficient as I was already sold on the car and just needed family to see it.

A week later, my father in law decided he wants the Nexon EV too, and I gave him Mr. NS’s number. Car No. 3 of this story was booked that day.

3 weeks passed. There was no call or message from Mr. NS about the test drive. I called him a few days before Diwali.

‘’Sir aap jaante honge na, Diwali, Dhanteras ke time kitni deliveries hoti hain. Bahut load hai mere upar. Bahut gaadiyaan deliver karni hai. Bus aap mujhe 2-3 din aur de do. I will send the car across 100%’’

OK, but dont forget, my parents really want to see the car. I will wait for your call.

Diwali passed by. No call. No message.

I sent him a message around mid December to tell him I was disappointed. He responded saying he knows its unfortunate and will arrange it asap.

Still nothing.

On 24th December I called him and gave him a piece of my mind.

‘’Sir aap jaante ho year end mein kitna load hota hai. Early bird offer khatam ho raha hai 31st ko aur main sab deliveries mein busy hu. 31st ke pehle mujhe bahut saari gaadiyan deliver karni hai, bahut load hai mere upar’’

I DONT CARE! I AM NOT ASKING FOR YOUR TIME ANYWAY! SEND THE CAR WITH A DRIVER. TOMORROW!

NS: ‘’Sir kal christmas hai”

Me: OK, send it on the 26th.

NS: ‘’Sir woh toh Sunday hai”

Me: SO? Your showroom is open right?

NS: ‘’Yes, Sir’’

Me: Ok, then send it with a driver and he can quickly show it to us. My F-I-L is just 2 buildings away, I will go with your driver and show it to them too.

NS: ‘’Sir lekin joh customer showroom aate hain Sunday ko…….’’

Me: BOSS, WE HAVE BOOKED 3 CARS WITH YOU. WE JUST WANT A TEST DRIVE. IT’S BEEN 2 MONTHS ALREADY!! ISN’T THAT MORE IMPORTANT THAN A WALK IN CUSTOMER?? CAN YOU TELL ME WHO EXACTLY HAVE YOU BEEN GIVING TEST DRIVES TO THESE PAST 2 MONTHS, WHILE SOMEONE WHO HAS ALREADY PAID YOU A DEPOSIT IS STILL WAITING?

(Their showroom is 22 kms from my home and there is no way I am taking my parents (my mom is 76 and my dad is 81) all the way there to show them the car).

NS: ‘’OK, theek hai mai bhej deta hun’’

Me: ‘’I want it on 26/12 at 10:00 am’’

NS: ‘’Sir we can give a test drive between 11am – 5pm”’

Me. ‘’OK 11 am, and hope you won’t cancel it again’’

Mr. NS Called me later that evening and requested me again if he can reschedule it for the first week of January as they have too much ‘load’

I just gave up and said OK.

In the meanwhile, my father in law, had spoken to a friend of his, who is a TATA Motors dealer in another city, if we could get our cars sooner than the 5-6 months as committed by the dealer in Mumbai.

His friend said he can manage one car from his allocation and they would transfer that car to Wasan Motors in Mumbai to complete the delivery etc.

That delivery went off uneventfully, other than the fact that my F-I-L had to literally chase them for every little thing. Even once the car was registered they wanted 3-4 days more for delivery because:

“year ending hai, bahut deliveries hain, bahut load hai’’

F-I-L said no chance. Just charge my car and give it to me. Finally he was given the car with just 50% battery.

In the beginning of January, with the ‘third wave’ of COVID had struck Mumbai and I informed Mr. NS to not send the car for test drive.

I just took my F-I-L’s car and showed it to my parents.

Now, my F-I-L also has a close friend who is the former Managing Director (retired) in a group company of one of India’s largest corporate houses. He loved the car as a daily runabout to complement his chauffeur driven E Class. Here, Mr. NS got his 4th Nexon EV order. All without ever even having to meet any of us.

Finally in the first week of March I got a call from NS, who told me my car will be ready that month.

Me: “Great, that’s good news”

NS: “Sir main proforma bhejta hun aapko, bus paise transfer kar do’’

Me: “ok, but when will you give me the chassis no?”

NS: “Woh main nahin de sakhta abhi, bus paise bhej do, mai aapko month end ke pehle gaadi de dunga”

Me: “OK, so when can you give me the chassis No??”

NS: “That I dont know. But why do you need it? I’m giving you the car before the month end”

Me: ‘’You want me to pay you the full amount on 4th March with no definite date when you will get the car, and register and deliver it???”

NS: “Sir, main thodi aapke paise kha raha hun nahin Wasan motors bhag raha hai aapke paise lekar”

Me: “I never said that. Anyway, I’m not paying you the full amount just like that. Give me the chassis No. and ill pay you the amount immediately. Then I understand you’ll need a couple of days to bill the car from the factory, dispatch etc + 2-3 days for registration, PDI etc. so totally 7-10 days. Anyways I am busy now since I am out of town. I will call you in 2 days once I’m home’’

NS Sent me a Proforma Invoice on whatsapp. Suddenly the amount due is more. I compared it with the original pricing he had sent me. Not only has the ex showroom price gone up, but now he’s charged me Rs. 10,000/- towards ‘accessories’.

I asked him what these accessories were for and he sent me a catalogue and asked me to chose what I want.

I told him just basic mats and mud flaps and to please remove the rest as I am not interested. Also, I asked him to remove the insurance amount as I have a 65% No Claim Bonus (NCB) certificate from my BMW F10 520d which I had sold the previous year. I would like to use that and have the insurance done from my own agent.

2 days later:

NS: “ Sir, pls send the full money. Anyways aaj main bahut busy hun. Mujhe yeh log airport bhej rahe hai ek display event ke liye. My boss DT will call you up today you talk to him, bye’’

No call or message from DT the entire day.

I called NS that evening and asked him what happened? At this point he started his usual rant about how busy he is etc.(How is that my problem???)

I finally lost my mind. Told him that he hasn’t done one thing right since the beginning. No test drive, no proper follow up, no clear communication and whenever I ask him anything he is just too busy. He blamed me for cancelling the test drive (LOL) and started raising his voice.

To this I told him to keep his voice low when talking to a customer and that he should learn some manners. I said I wanted to talk to his boss and he sent me his number.

Called his boss. No answer.

That night, I was furious. I made a few calls to my friends and colleagues from the industry and got the numbers of some senior people at TATA Motors.

The following morning I spoke with Mr. MS who is the National Sales Operation Manager at TATA Motors Ltd. He listened to my grievances carefully and apologized on behalf of the dealer. He assured me it would be looked into and he probably gave them a dose since the same day I got a call from the General Manager at Wasan, Mr. AO.

Mr. AO, too, listened to the issue carefully and assured me they would only ask for my money when the car is ready at the factory. He also agreed that the salesperson, NS had been unreasonable and that I need not deal with him any further. He would personally look into this himself. Great!

Few days later, Mr. AO sent me a whatsapp message with the chassis no. As you can see in the screenshot below, I made the payment and sent him the RTGS Remittance details in literally 90 minutes.

As I was travelling out of the country the following week, I told him to collect all documents and signatures from my father at home since the car was to be registered in his name anyway.

Unfortunately, while I was away, nothing much happened. I wanted to do the insurance myself as mentioned earlier, but they waited for me to come back to try and forcibly sell l it to me.

By forcibly, I mean, ‘’Sir you can’t do the insurance yourself because we don’t allow it.’’

WHY??

‘’Sir, it’s company policy, as laid down by management’’

Look, legally you cannot force me to buy Insurance from you! Don’t teach me the rules of this game. Who is this management of yours? Ask them to call me.

“But Sir, if you buy it from us, we will match the quote your agent has given plus we will give service”

SERVICE??? WHAT SERVICE?? YOU GUYS COULDN’T GIVE ME A TEST DRIVE FOR HEAVENS SAKE!!

“Oh they didn’t give you a test drive?” *double facepalm*

Finally, I gave in to the torture. I was totally done. Fedup.

Just take the insurance money and give me my car, OK? It’s Monday today, and you have everything you need. The car has come. Money is with you. Insurance paid for. All documents have been given. You even have ½ of my brains with you. OK? Can you initiate registration tomorrow first thing and give me my car on Thursday, all done??

“Sir, I will try for this week”

I sent the GM, Mr. AO a Whatsapp message saying I am expecting the car on Thursday which is a reasonable 3 days to complete the PDI and registration.

NO RESPONSE.

On Thursday they informed me that while the number had come, the new HSRP would be ready only on Friday but I could collect the car without the plate if I wanted.

I informed them I will take the car on Friday evening. Plate and all. Fully done and ready with a 100% battery.

On Friday evening, I reached the dealership to see my car (or what I thought was my car since it was the only white Nexon EV at their porch) standing without plates.

I went inside the showroom.

Fish market.

Sales guys are running all over. People are shouting. Documents are piled up on every desk and papers strewn all over. Many of the staff members were in groups (identified them by their blue shirt uniform) just hanging around and chatting. I informed the lady at the reception that I was here to collect my car and she asked me to sit.

A few minutes later a lady comes up to me and says she is the Customer Relationship Manager and she will handle the delivery.

“Sir, would you like to finish the paperwork first and then we go out and see the car?”

Sure, let’s do that. Whatever is quicker. I just want to take my car and leave.

She quickly opened a file and ran me through all the papers (invoice, RTO documents etc) at lightning speed with a well rehearsed explanation for each document at lightning speed.

Then came the feedback form.

“Sir, would you recommend Wasan Motors to your friends and family?”

Ma’am I do not want to embarrass you, But, NO. Nexon EV? Yes! Wasan? NO!!

“Why sir?”

“Ask your sales guy, NS, his Boss, DT, and his boss AO”,

I refused to fill the feedback form. Asked her if my car is ready with the plate, matting, mud flaps etc. She said yes.

Another delivery executive turns up.

“Sir please come with me, I will explain the car and handover the keys”.

Before anything else, I was asked to pose with the car with a ginormous cardboard cutout of the key. A garland was put on the car. “Congratulations and Celebrations” blaring on a really tacky old speaker hanging from the signboard outside the showroom. All this while my car was parked on the porch facing the mainroad with the full onslaught of Mumbai evening traffic. Blaring horns et al.

I soon noticed that there were no mud flaps on the car nor matting inside.

Where are the accessories?

“Sir, aapne paise nahin diye hoge accessories ke.”

Here, see my whatsapp. The proforma invoice includes accessories for which I have paid the full amount.

“Sorry let me check, sir”

Chaos followed. 2 delivery executives, one manager, one accessories executive were running around like headless chickens trying to figure out what happened to the accessories.

Finally, the manager, Mr. DT came up to me and apologized and said they were not in stock. He promised they would send them to my home on Monday morning.

This is after them telling me that they were installed and then blaming me for not paying for them.

We get inside the car, and Mr. Delivery specialist starts explaining things faster than the Nexon in S mode. I noticed that the interiors were dirty. Very dirty. There’s a layer of dust on everything. The piano black lacquer finish on the dashboard is a dust magnet and every speck is visible. The door sill panels are dirty with shoe marks.

He yelled at 2 guys standing outside who rushed with napkins and started wiping everything.

Mr. Manager, DT was standing outside.

DT, has the PDI been done?

“Yes sir, twice! Once at the stockyard and once at the workshop”

And you also checked and found the car ok for delivery?

“Yes sir”

But it’s dirty!! And the battery is on 75%.

“Sir the building next door is undergoing renovations, and we had lot’s of EV’s to deliver so we couldn’t do 100%”

HOW IS THAT MY PROBLEM? YOU HAVE HAD MY CAR HERE SINCE A WEEK!

By now, my very vigilant driver was inspecting the car himself. He noted that the entire trunk lid including the rear windscreen and tail lights, had a rough feel. It felt like an overspray of clear coat or some kind of residue.

Completely distraught, I started yelling.

Where is the GM, Mr. AO?? Call him NOW!

AO had been watching from inside the showroom probably hoping he wouldn’t have to come out, but to his misfortune, he had to see my face.

The moment he came out, I handed over the keys of my car to him and asked him to sell the car as a pre owned one. I was OK to bear the loss but I couldn’t handle the harassment any more. I started to walk away to my Volvo, which was parked outside.

Mr. AO tried convincing me for a while by offering me coffee and sandwiches (yes you read that right) while blaming the weather, the building next door, Mumbai pollution etc.

All they had to do was deliver a clean car with my accessories installed, a 100% battery charged and I would have driven away with a smile on my face.\

But instead, Mr. AO had his polishing team scrub the boot lid of my car with rubbing compound using their bare hands (see the picture below) as they panicked and forgot to get any sponge or cloth. I was standing and watching in disbelief.

Have they even done the PDI on my car?

Did they forget to wash it?

Was this car involved in an accident? Was this a case of a shoddy repair job?

I refused to take the car and by now almost all the staff from the dealership were outside.

Customers taking delivery of a new TATA Punch besides my car also stopped to see what the chaos was all about.

While I was looking at the car, I noticed stains that seemed to be of an adhesive.

I figured that this was the adhesive from the white plastic stickers that the cars leave the factory with. Once peeled, if the car is not washed and polished properly, the residual adhesive attracts dust particles and that’s why it felt rough.

The polishing guy agreed with me and brought out a simple soap solution. In 5 minutes of cleaning, the problem was solved. How much easier it would have been had they seen this earlier and just ensured that they delivered the car the way a car should be delivered.

Mr. AO now went into overdrive. Started howling at the delivery guys.

“Jisne bhi PDI kiya hai gaadi ka usko ghar bhej do”

It was 8:30 PM. Jisne bhi PDI kiya tha gaadi ka woh toh ghar already ja chuka hai.

My car was finally ready 15 minutes later, and I wasted no time in getting myself out of there, only waiting until they sent me an email stating that they have delivered a car to me in a dirty condition without the accessories I have paid for. They committed to have the car picked up at my convenience from home to be taken to the workshop for a full polish along with the installation of mud flaps and mats.

The following week I sent them a message saying I didn’t want to waste time sending the car to them and I would have it polished myself. I just asked for the mats and mud flaps to be sent home. They agreed. And after 6-8 reminders via email and Whatsapp finally had it done yesterday, 16 days later.

To sum up the purchase experience I would use only one word – PATHETIC.

Here is an update on the other 2 cars that were booked together:

  • My friend VB – Cancelled his order mid March. They have finally acknowledged receipt of his cancellation email and the refund is in process since 3 weeks.
  • F-I-L’s friend. – He wanted the Nexon EV Dark edition. They said it wont be available so he asked for Blue. They said they can only give a white so he chose white. In March they called him saying a Blue car is available and he immediately paid up. The car came, got registered and ready for delivery and guess what? ITS WHITE! He still hasn’t taken delivery and is now negotiating for some freebies from them as compensation. Initially they tried to blame him but he had all the Whatsapp chats so they had no option but to admit their fault.

TATA Motors has come a looooong way from the Indica and Indigo. Build quality, tech, safety is right up there and even ahead of most of its rivals in many aspects.

Their recent sales figures bear testimony to this fact.

However, the focus needs to be on the point of sale too. My interaction with each person at the dealership was unsatisfactory. Maybe it’s the current situation where they have more customers and few cars due to the chip shortage. But that will not last long. There will come a time when they will have to chase customers again. And now is the time to build those relationships with buyers who will make repeat purchases and refer more customers to them.

Maybe my experience with a particular dealer (Wasan) does not represent all their dealers. Either way, the buck stops at the top and TATA Motors needs to fix such dealers. (Or terminate them) Specially for the EV Business, a new point of sale needs to be developed. (a la Maruti Nexa v/s Arena)

Now to the fun part : My first impressions about driving/owning the Nexon EV:

  • Real world range on a full battery is about 180-200 kms.
  • Build quality all around is excellent but there are some small flaws which need to be worked upon.
  • The position of the battery creates a very low centre of gravity and this leads to a very sturdy feel when driving.
  • To keep costs in check TATA Motors has removed some features which would otherwise be pretty much standard on a 16 lac Rupee (Ex Showroom) Car. These are for example : Auto dimming interior rear view mirror, Reading light for the rear passengers (Shocking omission at this price point) LED Headlamps. LED Tail lamps.

Overall, there is no doubt that barring the range limitation (which will soon be addressed with the longer range Nexon expected soon), The Nexon EV makes for an excellent choice for those who can buy this as their second/third car in the family or for those who don’t have the need to travel as much but want a safe, quiet, easy to drive and eco friendly car.

So have I committed a mistake in buying this car? While the purchase experience was definitely sub par, I hope the ownership experience over the years makes up for it!

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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