Chevrolet Aveo ownership report

In 2006, when I was looking for a sedan to purchase, I had multiple options. Ford fiesta and hyundai verna were recently released. Honda city was selling like hot cakes. I was opting for either ford or hyundai. But then while discussing my options around, I came to know the chevrolet aveo was also there in the same segment and has some features which really impressed me – like the ground clearance and the engine performance. Surprisingly as per the maintenance figures shared by all three of them the chevy was coming out to be cheaper to maintain. So I went ahead and got it.

For 4 years, I was extremely happy with the car’s performance. I used to get good average of around 12-13 kmpl. Maintenance was every 5000 kms and it costed me only around 3000/- per service. The car was peppy and light to drive. My daily driving was around 30-40 kms, so it was much cheaper to maintain.

Then my first accident happened – I was standing still while a truck chewed through the driver side of my car. Driver side door and fender were totally damaged. When I went to the GM workshop, I could see the “smile” on their faces – which I was able to decrypt later. I got a quote of 60K from the GM workshop. I went to many other workshops, but they denied having parts for chevrolet cars. Finally I was able to find a workshop which did the repairing in around 20K – from which I had to pay around 10K.

This was the point where I should have realized that life would not be easy anymore with my aveo. The 25K service was very expensive – costed me around 15K. My shockers had leaked. I could not feel the difference in the ride quality but as per recommendation of GM, I got them changed. From then onwards, every service started costing 8-10K.

My driving went up from 30 km per day to 100 km per day. And I would finish off 5000 kms in less than 3 months. Another service would cost me 8-10K. So in addition to the rising petrol prices, I had to pay around 4K per month on the servicing of the car. The pervious shockers had a warranty of around 1 year and immediately after finishing 1 year the shockers gave away. Got them changed again – paying from my own pocket.

At 34K kms, the default goodyear tyres that came with the car gave away. Once I had 3 punchures on way to office on the same day. The next day, I took an off from office and got new tyres – again costed me 18K. Another hit was immediately after the 35K service. At around 37K, my batteries gave away. Interestingly there is a cut in the battery fitted in aveo, so only batteries from authorized workshops can be fitted. Also the complete computer would reset while fitting the battery and needs the authorization code to enable the car to be driven further. It is advanced technology but a pain. The battery which was normally costing around 6-7K in the market costed me 9K when I got it from the authorized workshop.

When my 40K service again costed me 10K for all the injector cleaning, oil change and other stuff, I decided to call it quits. I dumped the car at home and got another one for office commuting. Decided to go for a tata safari which is famous for some issues cropping up now and then. I thought that a chevy sitting at home which gets driven for around 200-300 kms in a month will be cheaper to maintain. But I was wrong.

After 41K kms, one fine day, I took the car to GM workshop with the problem that the car keeps on racing – engine RPM stays above 2000. They did a thorough cleanup of the car engine, charged me 7K for it and told me that the car’s ECM has gone bad. For those who are not aware of the ECM, it is the computer sitting inside the car and it controlls almost everything in the car including fuel, acceleration and other stuff. It is supposed to be very rugged and can withstand extreme dust and temperatures which is always the case inside the car. It is said that if the ECM goes bad the car should not start at all. Surprisingly my car was starting and rolling but was rolling very fast. 

They told me that it would cost another 30K to replace my ECM – as electronics are not covered in car insurance. I raised the problem with GM india on facebook and they told me to take the car back. This time they did not charge me again but did some thorough examination of the car and again told me that ECM has to be replaced. They offered me a discount of 1000 on labour charges. I was furious. A car which has been driven only for 41,000 kms can develop a bad ECM. Fortunately one of my friends knew a 3rd party agent who dealt in such stuff. I was able to get the car working in 18K with the agent’s help. And sold off the car as soon as it was healthy – before anything else goes wrong.

Today, in less than 2 years, my tata safari has done 40K kms. With service interval of 15K kms and service cost of around 5-6K it is a much cheaper car to maintain with lesser parts going bad.

The problem with GM cars is that they give you a happy feeling for the first 3 years with around 30-35,000 kms. After which the maintenance cost shoots up. After the free service from GM expires, and since there is no availability of parts in the market, you are solely dependent on the authorized service centers to cheat you or charge you whatever they like. And since the cars are not very reliable, the resale price is very less. After 5 years of driving a GM, you may realize that the money you spent in getting and maintaining the car was too much.

Ford also follows a similar structure where parts are not readily available outside the authorized service centers. But still the availability is much better than that of a GM. Also ford cars are more reliable. Hyundai, maruti, tata and mahindra can be easily maintained outside the authorized service centers. And they are much cheaper to maintain as parts and service centers are easily available.

But I would clearly stay away from GM and would advice the same.

Carnation – is it really worth getting your car serviced there ??

Before I go ahead with a walk through of my experience, I would like you to answer some questions
1. Was the cost of your service at carnation higher than the cost of your normal service at your earlier service center?
2. Were some parts found to be faulty? Are you sure they were faulty?
3. Did you ever get a call asking for a feedback?
4. If you were offered tea/coffee and you said yes – did you actually get your tea/coffee?

Now for my experience.

It was one fine day that I decided that instead of going to my gm service center, I decided to go to carnation. I could say that it was a bad day because I did not know that I would be duped. So on 20th of November, i took my aveo for service at the Noida sector 63 service station of carnation.

Upon entry i saw that there are not so many cars there. Generally on a saturday or sunday, the service centers are heavily loaded. I thought that it might be better, because I would get better attention. I did not realize that this was due to the fact that most of the prople there are either too rich to care or first-timers like me. My car was taken to the workshop and examined.

They opened the bonet and showed me that the car has hit something due to which the fan is rubbing against some “lamda”. I would have to get a body work done. I was like hell. Cant you move the fan or twist the lamda. They told me that that neither can be done without hurthing the car. I was like… ok… You are the one who know more about the car. Upon delivery, i saw that in addition to the body work (pulling the front grill out), they have also moved the fan to the left — what? but they told me that this was not possible. So a simple “moving the fan” cost me 3000/-. I could have definitely avoided the body work.

Another mechanic came hopping around with his “light in mobile” and told me that the drive belt is faulty. It was totally dark and i was unable to see. I thought that he might be having “night eyes” like to owl to be able to see a fault in such a dark place. But then they showed it to me from below and it was really cracked up. I think that was what which gave me the confidence to trust(wrongly) in them.

Another mechanic hopped and told me that the suspention is leaking. The supervisor who was advicing me first told me that the suspention was fine. But then he looked at the mechanic and then back to the suspention and then according to him the suspention was faulty. It was leaking and should be changed. I should have said no. Now the new suspention which they have put in creaks like anything. I am not an expert and i do not know whether they have put in genuine parts or duplicate parts. They charged me around 2000/- for the suspension. I could have saved that.

And eventually the most absurd thing was when the supervisor told me that the disk brake pads were totally rubbed out. I was like – what? How can he see it without touching or opening them? Maybe they have a way which i am not aware of. I was like ok – replace them. They charged me 2000/- something for the brake pads and 500/- something for the labour. Now, by luck i saw them replace the brake pads. First of all they were not even 50% rubbed. And secondly it was a 5 minute job – just removing some screws, changing the brake pads and putting them back. I paid 500/- for this 5 minute labour job. And i am not even sure now whether they are genuine or not.

One another thing that they replaced was a bearing. The supervisor called me and told me that it is faulty and will not last for even 300 kms. I was like – ok change it. When i went to the shop and took the spare – he told me that it is faulty and i could feel the vibrations if i rotate the bearing. I felt nothing. Except for monetary gain, i am not sure why he changed it.

So, i would have gone to my normal gm service center, this service would have costed me 3000 (body work) + 2500 (brake pads) + 2000 (suspention) + 1500 (bearing) = 9000/- less. The service which was 14000/- would then be only 5000/-.

Now the question is why did I not feel that something was wrong – all the while they were duping me. The reason being that i am not a mechanic. I do not know what part will run and what will not run. Hell, i am not even aware of the location of all the parts. So, it is easy to dupe me. The second reason was that I wanted to get my car serviced by carnation – at least once experience what they have to say? In fact I should have drove out when they told me that the drive belt was faulty without even looking at it.

So, when did i realize that i have been duped? 1 week after the service, the car was as rough as it was before the service. That was when my doubt was confirmed that the service was not worth it. I had realized that i have been duped of a few parts. But 1 week after when the car was as rough as before, I took a look at all the parts. And then I realized that I have been duped.

What could i do? I sent a mail to j.khattar@carnation.in regarding the fact that i was duped. There was one call where the lady called at around 11 am – and started explaining that the parts that they had changed were supposed to be changed. I told her that I was in a meeting and asked her to call back in 1 hour. I did not get back any calls.

When I get my car serviced at GM, I get a call after a week regarding how the car is performing – or if i am facing any issues. But I never got any such calls from carnation. I believe the business model that Mr. Khatter is following is of duping first-timers. They do not expect the people to return. If by mistake anyone does, he is worth duping again.

Here is the mail that I sent to j.khattar@carnation.in. I did not get any response though.

Hi,

This is the first time i visited Carnation for servicing my car – Aveo 1.6 LT. For the past 4 years, the car was being serviced by the GM authorized service center in sector 8 noida. The average cost of my service for the past 4 years was around 3000/- per service. At carnation the cost of 1 service was 13800(something) It has been 10 days after the service and the car feels very rough. My previous experience is that the car becomes rough after almost 2 months – when i used to get my car serviced at GM.

5 parts were replaced and a body repairing work was done.

1. brake pads
2. shocker
3. spark plugs
4. drive belt
5. some bearing

Out of the 5 parts,
– the brake pads were fine – i have the old ones and they could still run for another 10,000 kms.
– the new shocker creaks a lot – i am not sure if they put orignial or duplicate.
– the bearing – looked fine to me – i am not sure why it was changed.

In addition to this the body repair for 3000/- was done, which was not required.
I was told that body repair was the only solution – i should have referred a local mechanic as well.

The personal experience was good – but i get almost similar personal touch at GM as well.

Would i get my car serviced at carnation again ?
No

Reason :
I am not a car mechanic. I cannot tell whether a part is defective or not, genuine or duplicate. The service is not good.
Parts are unnecessarily replaced – even when the current parts are in working condition and doing fine. The service is very expensive – and not worth it.

Service location:
Sector 63, Noida.

2 of my friends who have got their car serviced at carnation have similar feedback.

Regards
Jayant Kumar

This review is intended to prevent people from getting duped by carnation. People at carnation ask you for tea/coffee. But if you say yes, you would never get your tea/coffee. Have you noticed it?

cars

Where do i start from?? Ummm, well, I have got a new car – a chevrolet aveo 1.6 LT (limited edition). Pic below…

The question is why did i get an aveo. Why not any other car? First of all, i never wanted to get a small car. I could have got a santro or a zen or an alto or a swift (i would have preferred the swift). But i wanted my car to be loooong. The options that i had were

1. honda city
2. chevrolet aveo
3. ford fiesta (petrol & diesel)
4. hyundai verna (petrol & diesel)
5. hyundai ascent (petrol & diesel)
6. Maruti Esteem
7. Maruti Baleno

If you look at both comfort and mileage and ease of maintenance, the best car is maruti baleno. But i dont like the looks of baleno. Ummm, let me give you some chart for comparison. Which is available from any other site (try carwale.com).

First of all, i was confused between getting a petrol or a diesel car. Though theoretically diesel cars are supposed to be much stronger and last longer(you can refer to my earlier posts for info on this.), but the initial cost and maintenance cost of the car is high. So unless and until you have to drive more than 100 kms in a day, it is not advisable to get a diesel car. The diesel car is approximately 1.2-1.5 lakhs costlier than its petrol counterpart and the maintenance of the diesel comes to be about 3000-5000 Rs extra per year.

If I would have gone for a diesel car, the cost of the fully loaded car would go beyond my budget. I liked the fiesta diesel and the verna diesel. Though the turbo lag is very much pronounced in the verna, but the pickup and power of verna is too good. Since my daily run would not be more than 50 Kms, i decided to go for a petrol car. I could get a fully loaded petrol car for around 7.6 Lakhs. Where as if i get a fully loaded diesel car, it would cost me around 9 lakhs.

This narrowed down my list of options to

1. hyundai ascent viva crdi
2. hyundai verna xxi
3. ford fiesta 1.6 sxi
4. maruti baleno
5. honda city
6. Chevrolet aveo 1.6 LT

Again knocking out what i did not like. Hyundai ascent viva crdi – wonderful car at reasonable price. I could have got this car for 7.2 lakhs and saved on petrol also. But the point was that the crdi technology in this car is somewhat old.

Well, I dont like the “ass” of baleno, so that also gets knocked out. But baleno has the best average among all cars. Baleno would give you an average of 14 in city and 17 on highway. And the interiors of baleno is very classic.

So now i am left with 4 options. And this is the comparison chart i made.

Car Ford Fiesta Honda City Hyundai verna Chevrolet Aveo
Price 7,65,000 N/A (but 8L approx.) N/A (but 7.2L approx.) 7,00,000
Engine Technology Duratec i-DSI VTVT (Variable timing valve train) VGIS (Variable Geometry intake system)
Engine capacity (cc) 1596 1497 1599 1598
Power (PS@RPM) 101@6500 77@5000 103@5500 102@6000
Torque (NM@RPM) 146@3400 125@2700 146@3000 147@3500
Fuel system SEFI i-DSI N/A Sequencial Fuel Injection with 32 bit ECM
Turning radius (m) 4.9 4.9 5 5
Average (kmpl) 11 12 11 11
Length (mm) 4282 4390 4130 4310
Width (mm) 1686 1695 1695 1710
Height (mm) 1468 1495 1490 1505
Wheel base (mm) 2486 2450 2500 2480
Ground clearance (mm) 168 160 170 181
Music system 6 CD player with RADIO (no Mp3) Radio + CD/MP3 player with remote Radio+mp3+cd player (4 speakers) Alpine music system with CD+MP3+Radio (6 speakers)

After going through all the options thoroughly, i zeroed down on the aveo. Well why not fiesta – coz it is costly to maintain. Another point was the music system. The music system in fiesta is damn good, but it cannot play mp3s. Imagine creating Audio cds – 6 of them to play in car and they would carry around 60, maybe 70 songs. Whereas one mp3 cd carries more than a 100 mp3 songs of really good quality. And I can cut one whenever i like. And the biggest point is that the ground clearance of aveo is very good. If you drive a fiesta on a road with potholes and mountains, you can expect some scratching on its base. But with aveo, the chances are grossly reduced. Aveo has got all wheel independent suspension – much better to drive on indian roads. And the best part is that it is cheaper than the other cars.

The city is a piece of trash – no power all style. Verna is a also a good car, but the diesel version is a lot better than the petrol one.

Lets see how things go…