In India, donkeys are still used as a form of animal labor. They are used for many kinds of labor, carrying items like sand & bricks, threshing, ploughing land, raising water, and much more. So when one sees donkeys on road pulling or carrying items, its business as usual. But, when the city of Ludhiana, Punjab, saw donkeys pulling a Skoda Octavia, everybody took notice.
The owner of the said donkey-driven-Octavia says that the vehicle gave trouble from the start as he found himself having to tackle regular breakdowns. Attempts to contact dealers to rectify the problem caused more frustration while calls and complaints to dealer head and zonal office brought little respite.
The owner, with no other recourse resorted to donkeys to drive home the message of the lackadaisical attitude of the Czech brand. He tied donkeys to his Skoda Octavia and got them to pull the vehicle through Ludhiana, Punjab to make people wary of the kind of response one gets from the company after purchase of a car which costs over INR 20 lakhs.
In their defence, Skoda has revealed that the owner of this particular Skoda Octavia has carried out various modifications on the vehicle which has rendered the terms of warranty null and void. The terms of warranty clearly indicates that the manufacturer is not responsible for any aftermarket fitments to the vehicle.
Skoda has also announced that the company is very concerned about prompt after sales service and has initiated an investment to the extent of INR 100 crores to expand dealership networks across India. MySkoda app has also been launched offering customers a faster and more efficient way of interaction.
But this is not the first time this kind of incident has come to light in India. There are atleast three such more instances. One of them was by a Mercedes Benz car owner, one by a Jaguar owner and one by a Toyota Land Cruiser owner.
Frustrated with poor after sales, Kumud Patel decided to take matter in his own hands when his year and a half old Mercedes Benz E350 worth Rs 60 lakhs, was not fixed by authorized dealer over repeated attempts. Mr Patel made 6 donkeys drag his E Class around the city of Vadodara, in an attempt to vent his frustration.
Kumud, a local businessman, bought the E350 back along with Mercedes Benz Road Side Assistance Program. According to Kumud, problems with his new E Class started two months post purchase. Ever since he has been trying to fix his car, but every time he gets his car fixed, a new fault appears. his car is still not fixed and has problems in two of the wheels. Tired of calling and visiting local Mercedes Benz showroom many times, Mukud decided to take his car out for a drive, with the help of six donkeys.
After contacting Mercedes Benz India on the issue here, the first thing they said is that the name of the owner is not Kumud Patel, but Rakesh Patel. Below is a reply from their spokesperson.
“Mr. Rakesh Patel from Baroda is owner of a Mercedes-Benz E-Class 350 CDI and purchased the vehicle on 30-July, 2012 from Benchmark Cars, Ahmedabad.”
“Two tyres of his car has undergone damage due to external impact. Damages to the tyres due to external impact are not covered under the tyre manufacturer’s obligation as well as Car manufacturer’s warranty terms and conditions. ”
“Inspite of these, when Benchmark Cars learnt of the tyres issue, they offered to replace all the four tyres as a good will gesture to a valued customer.”
“Mr. Rakesh Patel has however, refused the offer and insists on replacement of the entire car. The act by Mr. Patel to try and grab attention is being reviewed from this perspective.”