Hi everyone, I am Imteeyaz from Mumbai, a proud owner of a Fiat Punto 1.3 MJD, Pearl White!! I have just completed my first 1000kms today since I got this Italian beauty home on 16[SUP]th[/SUP] Nov’13. Flash back – Year 2009 my wife confessed that she had thought of gifting me my first car on my birthday. I reconfirmed what she said a couple of times. And yes she was serious but my birthday had already passed on. But how could I let go such a birthday gift!! So after lot of search and me getting impatient to buy my first car we finally got a used ten year old Maruti Zen Vxi. That was my car for which I persuaded my home minister to stretch our budget and I continued the ‘parampara’ for every car we bought hence forth. So count down as follows 2009 – Pre-owned Maruti Zen Vxi (mpfi engine) First car, learnt driving, not less than a sports car, long romantic drives, unforgettable drive to Malshej ghat. 2010 – New Maruti WagonR Lxi (K10) Second car – first brand new though, amazing space, overloaded long drive to Bhandardhara (6 adults), sold to my father in law!!, so still own it!! 2013, January – Dream comes true – Pre-owned Mahindra Scorpio SLX (2007 manufactured) Rocky beige, eight seater, top model of its time, Mumbai-Agra trip, Fulfilled my promise to my wife to drive her down to Agra to visit Taj Mahal, my longest non-stop drive till date - from Agra to Ahemdabad (17 hrs), had to spent almost every month, sold it to same dealer from whom I bought, sold with tears in my eyes L 2013, October – Needed a reason to smile again After every month expenses incurred to maintain the scorp which resulted in monthly wars between Mars and Venus. I couldn’t dare to continue the ‘parampara’ I had set with my first car. So the budget by default was the amount we got from selling my dream car. So five zeros followed after digit 4, which was the budget. The car had to be economical in all fronts. “It better be”, do I need to mention who said it. So brand - Maruti, fuel - CNG, best available option – Alto 800. With discount fitted exactly like a jigsaw puzzle. Ya, I had the same reaction after a scrop a alto 800. But thought that was the ‘paschataap’ for various ‘paapi’ expenses I did on my scorp without my better half’s knowledge. Test drove the car and I was happy, come on now I know what your raised eye brow means. I comforted myself by saying atleast I am getting four wheels. I also test drove the car which was sent to my house with my wife, for her it was better than she expected. Later, I dared to check out the Hyundai Eon, like everyone I too liked it for its styling, took a test drive, amazing front seats and asked the sales executive to send the car home for test drive. So my wife too can have a look. She liked the front seat comfort too. But the CNG version after discount was 66,000 over budget. Tried negotiating with Hyundai but couldn’t extract much. Next day was the one which changed the whole perspective. ‘Buy something stronger’, this phrase from my father in law changed my wife’s mind. So new options – strongest contender was Wagon R CNG, followed by Hyundai Santro Zing, i10 and i10 grande. Infact, choice was only between Wagon R and Santro. I was not in for any of them. i10 grande was my real interest but couldn’t consider the petrol option due to petrol prices and diesel was still far too expensive. Also, grande had a waiting period of one month and we were already facing issues regarding travelling so waiting for another month was not possible. Discussed with friends and got few more weak options (here by weak options I mean as per my choice). As always, I was becoming impatient to buy a car. New options which I knew were really not a match in regards to my choice or my budget. New Options Pre-owned Swift diesel Toyota Liva Honda Amaze From this emerged a faint name which seemed weak but yes had big appeal to me - Fiat Punto (pocket rocket). My wife too had always liked Fiat cars for its built quality and long association with our country. She had also shortlisted a Palio while we were searching for our first car. But that time she had considered it as an option more for its price it was available in used cars market. Coming back, her school friend who is amongst her best friends also drives a Punto. So I could see the dots getting connected. But unlike other cars it was difficult to get accurate information about this rear Italian beauty which was pulling my heart and already had found its way in my ownership dreams. Fiat are you reading?? Please update the website. In products section I actually got options like Uno, Palio, Siena and Petra. Cars which are discontinued long back. I knew Fiat had split up with Tata and had set up its own showrooms but wasn’t sure about the locations. I got few showroom details from the web site but they were old ones from the times when Fiat was with Tata. I called on few numbers in the western suburbs and they just said we don’t keep Fiat cars and hung up. Finally I called Balaji Motors Thane, which was among the showrooms mentioned on the website. A lady answered but dint sound like a receptionist of a car showroom. Rather sounded like one we often encounter in a government offices. She asked me leave my name and number and told me that someone from the sales team will be giving me a call. Now, after experiencing Maruti service centres I expected a call in half an hour, no one called that day. Next day again I called and the lady said yes you had called yesterday, I said yes but I haven’t received any call from your side. She again asked me for my number and assured me that I will get a call from them in sometime. No call again the whole day, I was irritated and thinking of re-considering my wish to buy a Fiat. Third day I called again same lady answered and hearing the frustration in my voice told me to hold the line so she can transfer it to a sales executive. Another female who sounded little professional answered, I asked her for details of each variant with prices and if there are any offers going on. She told me that she will mail all the details in an hours’ time. She just messaged me her name with showroom address, but no mail till 7 pm. I was like forget it, but then I though let me give it a last try. I replied on her sms telling her that I haven’t received any mail from her. Received a sms from her that she is on her way home and will mail me in a hour’s time. Finally, I got the details I wanted but my dreams shattered looking at the on road prices, they were out of our budget of five and a half lakhs. No way could I exceed the budget to seven lakhs for which I was getting the base variant, that too after discounts. Apart from discounts they were offering some free goodies like road side assistance and absolute pack. At this point it really dint matter as I was sure I couldn’t fit the car in my budget. I called up my friend who has been a partner in all the car buying processes. He suggested we go to Thane showroom next day that was Saturday (weekly off for both of us) and see if we can negotiate. But there was an issue – this friend of mine had got operated for kidney stone a week before and he had to get his stern removed on that day. He had to go for this by 12 noon that day. After that procedure which I can imagine would be painful he was advised not to drive so I had to drive his car. So that gave me some hope but I was restless. Saturday mornings are always happy but my plan to visit Fiat showroom that day added to the excitement. While having breakfast I was browsing through Bombay Times and saw a Fiat ad on its last page. WOW!! It said Torrid Fiat now at Andheri East!! I jumped with joy that I don’t have to wait till 12 and neither do I have to travel to Thane. So now I don’t have to invest my time to get a Thane visa!! LOL!! I gave a call on the Torrid Fiat Andheri showroom number mentioned in the ad. The lady said they are located at the same place where earlier there was Kingfishers office, beside Sai Service on highway. Bingo! I was well aware about the location. A week before I was at Sai Service to inquire about Alto 800 and a week later here I am to check out an altogether different breed, just beside it. When I reached the showroom there were few workers fixing up the glass door of the showroom. I managed to enter and I was welcomed by the receptionist, she remembered me that I had called in the morning. She told me that I was there first walk in customer. I was also welcomed by a smart guy dressed casually wearing Fiat t-shirt, he introduced himself as Zen, the showroom manager, offered me a seat and inquired if I would like to have tea or coffee, I just asked for water. He said an executive will attend me shortly but I was so excited I told him I wanted to check out the Punto and can I go around the display car. There were three cars on display, two Puntos and a Linea. Punto I was attracted towards was a 90hp sports version pearl white with blackened roof and red side mirrors, looked hot!! A Tuscan wine Linea, worth a look! And another Punto 75hp Emotion version in pearl white but had amazing graphics all over the car. The graphics had god Ganesh in a very artistic manner, some mantre in Hindi and colors all over including the bonnet. Yeh, also had lord Ganesh’s ride a mouse as part of the graphics. Liked the graphics a lot. Time to get inside, I tried opening the door of the sports version but it was locked, the manager asked me to wait, ran across the other end and got the keys. Driver side door opened and the first feel getting inside this car got a big big smile on my face. Am I on the driver’s seat of a sports car!! The executive was here too, Zen politely told me that he would explain me the details and he excused himself as he had some work. The exec took me around the car and explained me some features which I had already read here on the forum. I experienced the back seat comfort but was not very happy with the ingress and egress. I know that’s obvious after using Scorpio and a Wagon R very few cars can impress you on that front. But the looks and the external build quality wow!! I asked the exec to explain me the offers and variant-wise prices and we headed towards the discussion table. I told him that I am more interested in Active and Dynamic versions as that’s what my already over stretched budget would permit me. Prices & Offers: [TABLE="width: 1043"] <tbody> MODEL POWER FUEL EX- SHOWROOM REGN I/C SER CH INDIVIDUAL REGN I/C SER CH COMPANY INSURANCE I/C SER CH LOGISTICS CHARGES EXTENDED WARRANTY TOTAL INDIVIDUAL TOTAL COMPANY PUNTO ACTIVE 1.3 DIESEL 596070 72568 126214 23018 3500 6629 701785 755431 PUNTO DYNAMIC 1.3 DIESEL 663111 79942 139622 25367 3500 6629 778549 838229 PUNTO EMOTION 1.3 DIESEL 726978 86968 152396 27605 3500 6629 851680 917108 </tbody>[/TABLE] Punto (Diesel - Active) RSA + Exchange/ Loyalty Bonus of Rs.35, 000 + Gift Cheque Rs.25, 000 + Accessory Pack OR RSA + Gift Cheque Rs.25, 000 + Accessory Pack Punto (Diesel – Dynamic & Emotion) RSA + Exchange/ Loyalty Bonus of Rs.30, 000 + Gift Cheque Rs.15, 000 + Accessory Pack OR RSA + Gift Cheque Rs.25, 000 + Accessory Pack The executive asked me if I am going to exchange my old car to which I said I have already sold my Scorpio so he replied saying then you are eligible only for the second option for either of the variant I select. Prices after discount Active: Rs. 6, 76,785/- Dynamic: Rs. 7, 53,549/- I asked if it’s possible to get the loyalty bonus anyhow, he said ‘Not possible sir’. You will have to sell us a car only than we can offer you that. I played my ace card ‘All payment in cash’! The executive excused himself and walked to me with the manager Zen. Why is Fiat’s manager using competitor’s nomenclature? Is it due to proximity effect to Sai Service! LOL!! He sat and recalculated the price and we reached a figure. I asked for a test drive but he said they haven’t got the test vehicle yet and it’s expected only by Monday. I inquired if it can be arranged on that day itself so I can make a booking. Now it was quite apparent that I was a sure customer rather than a potential one and they just to conclude the sale with a ritual of test drive. So I was told that if the test car is arranged I will get a call in an hour’s time. I left the showroom little saddened as I was not very positive of getting the test drive on that day itself. But a good-bye look at the displayed Punto sports which stood there at the doors of the showroom gave me hopes in a mystical way. I got home had lunch and surprisingly got a call from the executive saying that he will get the car at my place in an hour’s time and asked me to sms the address. I was overwhelmed!! And guess what I got a call from an executive from Balaji motors that I will be reaching your place in 10 mins for a test drive and he wanted my address. I told him that I am interacting with Torrid Fiat Andheri and they too are sending the car to my place for test drive in sometime. The executive disappointedly said ‘sir we have come so far, please take a test drive of our car as well.’ I was like did I ask for a test drive, I also mentioned that I was fed up following up with their showroom for getting details of the car from past three days and had got very cold response. And now without informing me they have come with the test vehicle. The executive apologised and pleaded me to take a test drive. I finally agreed to take the test drive and gave him my address. After 15-20 mins got a call from this executive stating that they are at my building gate. I decided to test drive this vehicle alone and the later one with my wife. It was a pearl white emotion variant, for some reason the colour looked very dull and had a yellowish tint which I dint like . There were two guys, one an executive and another was the driver. The executive was in plain formals and the driver was in fiat t-shirt and black jeans. It seemed the driver represented the company more prominently. Anyways I got in the driver’s seat pulled the seat little ahead so my feet could reach the ABC of the car. As it was an emotion variant it also had height adjustment, so adjusted it to maximum level. Adjusted the three mirrors and on I went. As I was on a busy Vile Parle streets couldn’t actually drive the over 30-40 kms/hr. I found the brake pedal was too lose/soft and whenever I braked the car halted with a jerk. I guess that was because it was a test vehicle and it had been abused. Other than that the car felt solid, amazing pick-up, great external built quality and chilling ac. The auto climate control did a good job. However, the internal built quality and music system were not very impressive. But these were things I thought I can live with. I asked the executive for some details about the car which I already knew. Later I got the point – price, availability of colours and delivery time. He gave me the standard price quote mentioned on the price list, he wasn’t sure about which colours were in stock so he couldn’t comment on the delivery time either. He asked me at what price torrid is offering me the car to which I said its lower at which you are offering me. During our conversation I just asked out of inquisitiveness that why the active petrol version does have 195 mm of ground clearance compared to other version where it is 185mm. The executive looked puzzled and stared the driver who was on the back seat. As he too dint knew the answer he said we don’t know. I just reached a red signal I got a call from the Torrid motors executive that they have arrived at the address. I knew this will be an odd situation for both the executives to come face to face. So I informed the Balaji motors exec that the torrid car has reached by building. To Be Continued…..