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3 years of Audi (S3) ownership; and a chat with Audi UK customer services...

Discussion in 'General Automotive Chat' started by warren_S5, Mar 22, 2010.

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My personal experiences of Audi owenership have been (TICK ALL RELEVANT OPTIONS PLEAS

  1. Audi have been fantastic end to end, I have no complaints.

    7 vote(s)
    20.6%
  2. NEW CAR SALES: I was not happy with the NEW car sales process.

    2 vote(s)
    5.9%
  3. USED CAR SALES: I was not happy with the USED car sales process.

    6 vote(s)
    17.6%
  4. I find the service desk unhelpful or lacking competance

    13 vote(s)
    38.2%
  5. My car has left service with issues unresolved or have taken unreasonable time to fix

    16 vote(s)
    47.1%
  6. I have had to contact customer services to get resolution to an issue

    7 vote(s)
    20.6%
  7. I use the independent service and sales network instead of franchised Audi main dealers

    11 vote(s)
    32.4%
  8. I will buy another Audi in the future

    25 vote(s)
    73.5%
  9. I won't buy another Audi in the future

    2 vote(s)
    5.9%
  10. Audi; who are Audi?! I'm just here by accident surfing for questionnable content..

    3 vote(s)
    8.8%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. warren_S5
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    warren_S5 Moderator Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Mar 22, 2010]
    As many of you know, our S3 recently had it's 3rd birthday, and with it the MoT's have started and the manufacturer warranty has expired. It is now the time where you live with your fingers tightly crossed that all will remain as reliable as the VW adverts of the 80's would have us believe (if only everything in life was a reliable as a Volkswagen!).

    For a few days I've been looking at that boxed 4Gb USB stick which Audi UK sent me. I'll quote from the letter here:

    We hope you are enjoying your Audi as much today as when you first took ownership. We try never to forget that customers like you are the most important part of what we do.... and we really hope that your car, the service you receive....are living up to your expectations.

    As I'm sat at the cross roads of :

    a) Buying the car outright by paying the bubble
    b) Giving it back and walking away
    c) Trading the S3 against something else in the Audi range (with a cash bung and a revised PCP)

    I've been doing quite a lot of thinking about my love affair of 17 years with VAG, and how my expectations have changed as I've climbed up the pyramid of 'prestige' within their brand.

    I love Audi's. I honestly do. I love the design concept, I love the technologies, I love how the brand pioneers within motorsport with TDI and previously with Quattro. Since the mid 80's I've been a avid fan of the Group B rally cars, then onto BTCC in the 90's with the A4's, and have only ever aspired to own powerful Audi's since before I was even entitled to drive.

    But 25 years on, and I'm feeling reticent. I still love the cars (the RS4, S3, S5, RS5, RS6, R8...), and I can still afford to buy into (some) of them. However I'm feeling reluctant to pass my cash over the counter for another, and I'm looking at the finance agreements and wondering whether to take my car ownership away from Ingolstadt, and join the guys from Munich with the M badge.

    It's been troubling me so much, I decided to phone up Audi UK and let them know why I was stalling on the return of my paperwork. Dawn Cox is Head of UK Customer Service Development at Audi UK, and I was hoping to speak to her as she was the lady who had signed the letter for my freebie USB stick. After a considerable hold one of the agents put me through to her second in command, Jane Jones, and we had a lengthy chat about some of the highs and lows of my 3 years of Audi ownership has played out. I wouldn't normally bother, but I felt a compulsion to play back to the people who CAN AFFECT CHANGE what the ownership experience was like for the PRIVATE OWNER customer on the M4 corridor.

    We chatted for quite a while, and the conversation was not pitched as a rant at all, just a pure feedback session. I made it absolutely clear this is not a case of me venting frustration before I move on to another brand, it was about letting them understand my dilemma with respect to signing up for continued Audi ownership. I don't want compensation, I don't even want an apology; all I'd ask is that they record these thoughts and attempt to address them so that should I decide to stay an Audi customer I have a nugget of hope that the ownership experience will begin to feel more sincere and helpful, as that's ultimately all I ask once I've bought the car.

    I very much replayed my continued love of the physical product, but also tried to express (in a balanced way) the exposures you can feel subjected to at times when dealers are dismissive or occasionally condescending, or when they 'occasionally' fail to rectify issues especially where no DTC's are present (meaning I am forced to resort to the independents at cost to me, when I am already paying for maintenance). The more painful part of the discussion for me was that Audi franchises in the Southern M4 belt are at risk of becoming a conveyor belt service where only the product and the showroom are premium, and any essence of 'premium service' seems to be being eroded as volume sales increase, and margins tighten. The only time you often get treated with respect is whilst ink is drying on contracts, or when money is changing hands.

    Overall it was a productive discussion, and one where she said she will get Dawn Cox to call me back as they are always interested in OBJECTIVE feedback. I have made it clear I visit Audi forums, and keep an eye on the public perception, but I'd be incredibly grateful if you could do me a favour and fill in the forum poll at the top of the page, as it will be interesting statistically for the discussion I have with Dawn in the next week or so.

    Apologies this is a mammoth outpouring, but I hope that by having useful factual info to hand, it will stimulate useful discussion and maybe just help some of us who may have had less than positive experiences in the past. Likewise I am interested in the POSITIVE responses (where's Dave!) so that this doesn't just become a slagging session (maybe that we can see regionally which are the best performers at a later stage).

    Once again, my thanks for your time and any feedback you have!

    Warren
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
    #1
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  3. Staz
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    Staz is a retronaut Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Mar 22, 2010]
    I've found it difficult to tick the boxes Warren as they're a little too broad brushed for my experiences. Not an easy thing to solve I guess as you can't expect to match everyone's personal situations but I think it's for these sorts of questions where the usual 'How would you rate your experience with the service desk? 1-5' Can show more accurate results. For example 'I find the service desk unhelpful or lacking competance [sic:p]' applies to the experience I had last week (which I'll come onto) but not for in the past necessarily.

    You may be right about the M4 theory however. I travel between Berkshire, Bedfordshire and North Wales so I have seen differences in the various cars in those three areas quite clearly. Most prominant is the vast number of Audis on the road down here compared to NW. There are far more dealers down here without question (the nearest when I'm up there is in Chester) but I can imagine they're still being spread very thinly. Worse than that, as Audi have become the 'in' brand of late they've got a monopoly on after-sales and could take advantage more readily.

    I lost a lot of faith in Audi on Friday when my car was in Reading Audi for the day. I was lied to, patronised and found myself becoming openly angry with the girl on the service desk because of her attitude and incompetence. It was a very bad experience made worse by the fact that they cannot carry out any warranty work on my car until they have authorisation from Audi i.e. I have to go back! I usually go to Bedford Audi where I have always had fantastic results. I have never had cause for complaint, even when things didn't go the way I expected due to their error as they had the decency to apologise.

    Audi pride themselves on their customer care and as far as I have seen they are miles ahead of BMW on that. The problem lies in when Audi no longer NEED to be so civilised; I hope Reading Audi isn't a glimpse of that eventuality.
    #2
  4. warren_S5
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    warren_S5 Moderator Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Mar 22, 2010]
    Staz

    Poll approach was just to get a very basic feel of the general experiences; appreciate it has some pretty strong shortcomings, but if I can get 50 people to poll something it may start to paint a picture of sorts. The regional info would be very insightful, but I didn't want to conduct a full on interrogation of users!!

    Maybe one day the technology will allow us to conduct mini polls with slightly more focussed info (region / car / scoring!)
    #3
  5. paddy
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    paddy Audi=No fault code, no idea

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    [Mar 22, 2010]
    The cars are average for their class but the maintenance costs if something goes wrong out of warranty are prohibitive and as it gets older something WILL go wrong...thats life. I would never ever keep a car like this out of warranty again period..
    #4
  6. Staz
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    Staz is a retronaut Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Mar 22, 2010]
    No that's fair enough mate, it's just that I found it hard to click on anything because nothing really fits my feelings 100%. While you're collecting data anyway I just think it's worth setting up a more in depth questionnaire so you can pass on more comprehensive data. I'm sure Audi UK have their own questions but perhaps they're just not asking the right ones whereas we have the benefit of mass user experience.
    #5
  7. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    [Mar 22, 2010]
    Hard to comment on Audi directly from my Audi Ownership, despite owning the car for almost 10 years, my 8L S3 is my first Audi, and it certainly won't be my last Audi. Apart from the first year going back to Audi for servicing whilst it was still under warranty, it's all been independant and self serviced afterwoods.
    #6
  8. warren_S5
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    warren_S5 Moderator Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Mar 22, 2010]
    I think that is fair call Leon, forums like this can offer great insight.

    I have had another fruitless day at audi local dealer, so I am sending car off for independent inspection tomorrow. God help them if anything comes back.
    #7
  9. PaulAr
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    PaulAr S3 (8P)

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    [Mar 22, 2010]
    The problem with most modern stuff is that major fixes are expensive regardless of the badge.
    A mate of mine had to replace the TDCi lump in a 4 yr old Mondeo after it let go and even using a second hand engine and an independant to fit etc.it still cost him around 1.5K. all in.

    If a modern bomb proof car has been invented when I was eating my tea I would like to know what it is.

    It sounds like you got a bit of a pup mate, a V6 that runs on 4 pots kinda defeats the object.:sly:
    I had a **** experience with a CRX years ago. Rubbish example, rubbish dealer experience. Yet after a few years of VAG, I went back to HONDA and the CTR I bought was one of the best cars Ive owned, hassle free, and great dealer support.

    My point is, I personally wouldnt write off a global brand based on one duff pruduct.

    Back on topic, Ive only used 1 AUDI dealer and have very limited with another so Ive tried to consider both when ticking the boxes.

    Cheers
    Paul
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
    #8
  10. N8
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    N8 Kowalski Details VCDS Map User

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    [Mar 22, 2010]
    I think Warren is an asset to this forum, he has a good contstructive point of view. I've had my A3 since new (March 2008), its 2 years old now, 1 year of warranty left, I'm very impressed with the build quality and reliability of my car, I will be buying Audi again. Their customer service is poor, but then we're in England, English ppl haven't got a ****ing clue when it comes to alot of things, the cars are made by the Germans who know what they are doing, thats whats important :laugh:
    #9
  11. 10blazin
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    10blazin HYPERDRIVE NEEDED

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    [Mar 22, 2010]
    Well i can honestly say that i loved my a3 sportback , although when they dropped it off it was missing spec they listed and said it had , also when they dropped it off scratched one of the alloys in front of my eyes to bits , wouldn't return my calls to repair also when i contacted customer services they didn't return the calls ..

    Then we had further problems with the car which Audi failed to diagnose and were basically trying to wash there hands of the matter the only time i got any help was when i contacted Jeremy hicks himself , Who may i ad is very helpful , But why should i have to contact Audi's top guy due to absolute effin ignorant tw*ts who just want your signature not doing there jobs and because of this I'm pretty reluctant to buy another tbh ...BUT I DO LOVE THEM :wub: SO IM NOT SURE .... Audi is kinda like a drug or a beer habit i suppose , i know its bad for me but i do love it ...
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
    #10
  12. Gti Jazz Blue
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    Gti Jazz Blue Active Member VCDS Map User

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    [Mar 23, 2010]
    I will let you know when I hear back from Harwoods regarding the rust on my drivers door :motz:I should hear back within a week.
    They are putting the claim into Audi as we speak, it looks like the early 8P may suffer from the same problem as the 8L. I also showed the body shop assessor the design change that was made to the door (I have a 1 year old passenger door, replaced due to a foreign truck driver) there is a small cut out so that any water doesn't get trapped behind the plastic trim at the bottom of the door.

    Paul
    #11
  13. warren_S5
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    warren_S5 Moderator Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Mar 23, 2010]
    A massive thank you to all those who have commented and those who have submitted comments.

    I think the part which is the most positive outcome for Audi is that a significant number of us would still buy another one despite the patchy customer service.

    Incidentally (and this is not meant as a sales pitch), our Management Consultancy supported a 'premium' brand manufacturer develop and hone the sales process (not Audi I hasten to add) when they launched a new saloon car back in 2007/8. I always believed that this is the easier part of the process, and actually the make or break part of the ownership experience comes in the form of the longer term service and support being well managed.

    Oxford and Newbury Audi are both part of the Ridgeway Group. One conducts customer surveys after each customer intervention, the other doesn't. One goes the extra mile to ensure all raised issues are attended to, the other doesn't always seem to get it right. You'd expect it would be consistent (within the same group), but not even close. I think this is what interested Audi HQ most, as in their eyes there should be a consistent service across the group for all customers, and no-one should have to traverse counties to get a quality experience.

    Thanks again for all your feedback and comments. It feels like a bit of a step forward that Audi UK are interested in feedback, the way they seem to be selling cars at the moment it would be easy not to care!
    #12

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