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Audi: A Trinidad Nightmare

Audi Driver
Trinidad and Tobago
October 05, 2007

I would never recommend that people buy a BMW or an Audi in Trinidad and Tobago if they are intent on having the companys maintain the car for them. That is a nightmare.

I own an Audi and my friend recently bought a BMW, and for the cost of those cars, which is about three times the cost of the similar cars in the US, one would think that the service would be a lot better. But no, it is the same old sloppy service; only this time you pay a whole lot more for it.

You should be sceptical when Audi and Bavarian Motors in Trinidad (part of the Southern Sales group of companies, which also has the franchise for Isuzu, Kia and Mazda) tell you they are ordering a part for your car and that it would arrive in a week or even a month, as that almost never happens. After a month, you may be told that the order has not reached, or it's on the docks still to be cleared, or the order was mixed up and they are reordering it. That one month could turn into several months while your car is down. You are better off trying to source the part for yourself and maybe getting them to install it. That may solve the problem only if they correctly diagnose the problem with your car in the first place.

They almost never admit to making errors so if they are wrong you would have to figure that out for your self.

Let me give some first hand experiences:

One day, they told me that my Audi wanted some new sensors together with some other parts and that they ordered the parts. I was told it would take between three weeks to a month for the parts to arrive. After a month, I called to enquire about bringing in the car to have it fixed, only to be told that the parts had not arrived as yet. Six weeks later, I called and was told that they had some shipment problem and they reordered the parts. That went on for three months until I decided to ask them for the parts' numbers to order them for myself. The sales manager told me that I could go ahead and order the parts if I wanted and they would still attempt to bring in the parts.

One week later, I had the parts I ordered for myself and they installed it. The sensor problem was fixed, and I also discovered that I paid about one-third the cost of the parts by ordering them myself.

Some time later, after another service, I observed some drips of oil on the floor of the garage at home. I took the car in and told them that there was a leak below the engine. They checked and told me that the car needed some seals replaced and they could order the parts. I then asked them if the first set of parts they said they had on order (the sensors) had arrived. I was told they had not.

I asked them to check and see if there were any other seals in that area of the engine that could possibly go bad that we should also change and told them that I would get the parts myself. I was told to get three seals. I ordered the parts and the following week they installed them. But when I reached home, I observed the leak did not stop. I took the car back and they checked it again. I was told they did not see any leak(s) and the service manager asked me to come and look below the car. He pointed to an area below the gearbox and said, "Look it is dry, no oil leak." I said, "But I never saw oil on the floor below the gearbox area. I said it was below the engine." Then I looked to the area and saw the oil bulging to drip again. I showed it to them. They looked at each other.

After they did some more checks, they said I needed some other seals. I bought the seals and took it to them again to install. After they were installed the leak did not stop and they kept the car longer doing tests. Finally, they said that they changed another seal and that all was well.

Again, when I drove the car home, a distance of about five miles, I saw oil drops in the garage on the same spot.

I took the car back and they did further checks and said they should change a set of seals in the engine. They gave me a list of about five seals to get. I got the parts in about two weeks and took it to them and they said the job would take four days. After the fourth day, I called to find out if the car was ready. I was told they took out the engine and saw that some other seals needed to be changed and they ordered the seals from their other local branch. Ten days later, the manager called me to say that he did not get the parts he ordered and the engine is still out of the car. He says that he hopes to get the parts soon.

I told him that I usually get my parts quickly, and if he had told me what parts were needed, the car would have been fixed already.

Next week would make it three weeks that they have the car.

About the BMW my friend owns:

He took it to the company to change some suspension parts - a rather costly job. I warned him about the ordering problem, so he sourced the parts they did not have in stock before taking the car in. He also ordered another key for the car for which he had to pay the full amount in advance: $2000.00TT. They told him that he would get the key in a week.

When he collected the car from the suspension job, he opened the trunk and those fools had placed all the dirty and oily parts that they removed in the trunk on the carpet which stained the carpet of his car. Incidentally, it is about two weeks later and he has not gotten the key. He is getting his first taste of how Bavarian Motors (BMW) operates.

While I like the Audi and BMW cars, I would never want another car with that company. They are unable to diagnose many problems and their mechanics are simply parts-changers. They are also extremely unreliable. If one wishes to own one of those cars, it should be one's second car and not be the car that one is relying on to work.

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