Buyers of Honda cars-Beware of their clutch problems

I am sorry I have not been able to update you guys regarding my clutch problem with Honda City as I have been a little busy. I have 2 good news and 1 bad news. Now you must be thinking that this sounds good but actually it isn’t. The first good news is that the customer dissatisfaction cards that I sent and mentioned in my earlier blogs do work. At least, haraased and dissatisfied customers at least have a tool to get the attention of companies to resolve their complaints. The second good news is actually not good news for other Honda owners but in the short-term it supports my claim that something is wrong with Honda’s clutch. I have received a number of responses to my blog by Honda owners who are facing problem with their clutch. One of them says that his clutch started giving a burning smell at 5000 kms.

About 2 weeks back, I received a call from a Honda service deptt. His name was Prashant and he wanted to know the details of the problem. He was responding to the card that I had sent to Mr. Charavorty, GM-Honda Service. Prashant had no idea of what the issues were in spite of the fact that I have written detail emails to their so called One2One call center. Also, their dealer is also aware of the problem. This just shows how important the customer is to Honda, a Japanese company. I was told once that the Japanese have written the book on how to build and maintain relationships but my experience suggests exactly the opposite. Prashant didn’t want to waste his time undestanding the details of the problem, so he thought “why not let the customer waste his time?” So I told Prashant not to call me without finding out the details. The same evening another guy by the name of Rajesh (I think that was his name) from the service deptt. called and again wanted to tell me that there was nothing wrong with the clutch and that it was my fault. He admitted that he cannot prove that we were riding the clutch but still it was not their fault. I asked him to show me how one can ride a clutch because it is impossible to do so unless a guy is totally drunk or drugged. He had no answer. Actually, this is just an excuse that auto companies give when clutch fails because it is practically impossible to ride the clutch for two reasons as follows:

(a) It is very uncomfortable to keep your feet on the clutch all the time.
(b) If the feet is on the clutch, the vehicle will not accelerate which will make it clear to the driver that something is wrong.

Anyway Prashant wanted to know what is the solution. I told him that it is for Honda to decide what is fair. He kept insisting that I tell him what would satisfy me. I said that the most anybody in this situation would ask for is free replacement but before I could finish what I was saying, he asked me what is my justification. Actually, I was going to tell him that since I have used the car for 30,000 kms, maybe 50% of the cost of replacement would be fine. But you all know that all the big time executives in big companies want justification for every expenditure. More so if it involves the customer. Talk about spending millions on advertising, they would happily agree. But to spend a few thousands on keeping the customer happy, they need justification.

In any case, I didn’t appreciate his asking me for justification. So I asked him as to what is the justification behind Honda selling me a Rs. 7 lakh car with faulty clutch and not be willing to make amends. The call ended on a sour note and he promised to call back after discussing the matter with his seniors. As far as I was concerned, Honda’s service recovery was atrocious at best. I have not received any call nor have I received a message on my email till date.

If Honda car executives are reading this blog, let me suggest to them that what is justified depends on their attitude towards the customer and whether they BELIEVE that keeping the customer satisfied is the best investment they can make. Let me explain this with a true example I have included in my book Customer Math. After using a shirt for 2 years, a lady sent the shirt back to the company saying that she is sending the shirt back because its cuff had frayed in an unusual manner. She told the company that she was not a dissatisfied customer and that she didn’t want anything. The company sent back not one shirt but two shirts as replacement to the customer. The reason – the price of the shirt had come down by 50% as compared to what the customer had bought for. What more? They even sent her a cheque towards the mailing cost. What was the justification? Making sure that the customer gets value for money and that money spent on satisfying the customer is the best investment you can make.

So what am I going to do next? One, I am going to again send more of my customer dissatisfaction cards to Honda car executives. Maybe they will find the justication in one of them. Two, I am seriously thinking of establishing a website www.harrassedHondacarCustomers.com. What do you think?

Avinash Narula

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Comments

My Honda IVTec UP AC 6250, serviced regularly at Ace Honda, Noida purchased in Jan 2011 (One yr four months old, having completed less than 9000 Kms)had a clutch smelling problem. When I pointed to them about the Warranty Period of 2+2 yrs, they simply rejected saying ‘driver’s fault’ and charged me around Rs 21,000 to replace the complete assy. So, my question, how do I proceed? Thx.

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I had a2008 Acura CSX and the clutch burned out at 38000 klm. The second clutch burned out at 4000 kilometers, with no warning. Honda Canada insisted it was driver error. I had been driving with clutches for over 30 yrs. and the dealer sent a mechanic out with me,he only found 2 very minor things. the sales manager tried to sell me a CSX with 20000 kilometers on it, as a new car. I fnally went elsewhere

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