We’re definitely not there yet and there is still a very long way to go to achieve that goal. Our club will not rest until all issues regarding our taxis are resolved and members compensated. There is however some good news from Mercedes.
Following our efforts to get Mercedes to stock all the additional parts that go into the Vito Taxi at their distribution centre in Milton Keynes, we are delighted to announce that Mercedes will have all parts in stock in a couple of weeks . There has been a holdup because of legal issues We will soon have a guaranteed 24 hour delivery to all dealerships in the UK. We are told that if a part is ordered at 4pm , it will be delivered by 8am next morning . The final details are being sorted out this week , no one can say MB rushes into anything . Dealerships will no longer have to go back to KPM or Penso for parts, so next time you get a dealership that tells you they can’t get the parts, ask again, and if they refuse, go to another dealership for your work.
Over the next few weeks, Mike and I will be visiting the dealerships around London and we hope to get some feedback for you as to who is giving the best and worst service to our club members.
Parts availability is of course a major factor in the running and maintenance of our vehicle, but its only one part of the puzzle. Turn around times on warranty claims and repairs are still as much of an issue as they were before. We in the cab trade have had amazing service from small independent garages who were able to repair cabs almost immediately, often within an hour or two. Other trades and the ordinary car owner have not had this luxury. Repair times are often quoted in terms of weeks, not hours or days. Mercedes garages have generally been in this category. If Mercedes wish to stay in the London cab market they have to change and do so rapidly, particularly as other makes of cab will soon be available in London.
A major bone of contention from our members is the requirement to return to KPM for warranty work when it is patently clear that their workshops are unable to cope with the volume of work coming in. They have also recently announced that they are going into the hire cab market. This can only exacerbate their poor performance as we’re sure they will be putting their own cabs first.
Hopefully now that taxi specific parts are readily available to all dealerships, repair times will come down at KPM and across the board.
While replacement actuators are hopefully no longer an issue, and repair times come down, this does not however alter the fact that the problems with the steering has not changed. Work on resolving this problem is still ongoing at Penso and we hope to get some feedback soon. Our members cabs are still breaking down on a daily basis and owners out of warranty are having to fork out thousands of pounds to replace faulty components with yet another faulty component. This cannot be expectable and its an issue that if left unresolved can only end up in a court battle. This is a course of action that we hope to avoid but will not shy away from if no progress can be achieved in the coming few months. We at the club remain steadfast in our opinion that its morally and possibly legally wrong for these vehicle (new or secondhand) to be sold with a known unresolved component issue that is arguably dangerous.
Any warranty repairer worth their salt, whether it be a car, van or taxi should provide a loan vehicle for you to use as a courtesy when your vehicle is in repair. You wouldn’t use a garage for your car if they didn’t offer this service, you’d find a garage that did. The cab trade more than any other business requires this facility so why is it not being offered to us by the dealerships?
We know MB are encouraging dealerships to accept loan cabs and have set up an arrangement with KPM to supply them . It is up to the dealerships to take up this offer . Mike and I will be looking into this matter further when we meet the dealerships and will recommend the ones that do to you.
As we told you last time, replacement components that fail after the Mercedes three year warranty period expires, will only be considered for free replacement for up to six months after that date and then only if there has been a history of that part breaking down. If you remove the fuse on the rear steering and only address the problem at the time of your annual inspection then there will be little or no record of it breaking down and it will be unlikely that Mercedes will offer any additional help. This advice also applies to the side steps.
We are still trying to get an extended warranty deal for our members and a couple of underwriters are looking at it. We will keep you informed of any developments.
At our last meeting with Mercedes, it was agreed that an inventory/invoice would be issued by the dealerships for work carried out on your taxi, whether warranty or paid. This will enable you to have a complete record of your servicing, repairs and modifications to your vehicle. Please ask for this if it not automatically given to you. You can also ask for a full print out of the work previously carried out.
On the subject of warranties, a serious issue is raising its ugly head regarding the purchasing or leasing of second hand Vito Taxis from KPM. They are offering a very attractive two or three year leasing deal with a two year warranty. What seems at first to be a good deal is already proving to be a less than ideal for some owners. Their two year warranty has nothing to do with Mercedes and is only valid at KPM. Drivers who are having component failures under this warranty can only use KPM who are regularly offering ridiculous repair times of three to six weeks into the future. We at the club recommend that if you are thinking of purchasing one of these deals, you wait until the situation at KPM has improved.
We are also having many complaints from drivers who have bought three year old cabs from KPM with a warranty that the owners say does not cover some very expensive parts. If anyone is thinking about one of these deals, they need to check the terms of the warranty very carefully, but be warned, its not easily understood.
Unfortunately we are gaining new members every day. I say unfortunately because this type of pressure group should not be necessary in this day and age. New vehicles are still experiencing the same component failures as the first ones sold four years ago and the new owners are still facing the same delays on warranty work. Admittedly, new taxis are a little better than the first ones produced but are still a long way from perfect.
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Lastly, please let us know of any ongoing issues you have or even if you have something useful to pass on to other members.