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View Full Version : Just Bought a 500L Trekking -- a week later it doesn't work



VALibertarian
02-03-2014, 05:29 PM
With my wife's excited urging, I bought her a 500L Trekking last week.

She LOVED the car, told all of her friends and family . . . and now she can't even drive it.

When leaving for shopping trip on Saturday, I was driving and on the first start, the car would not turn over over and start (it did crank). After a second shot, the engine weakly started and I put the car into park. The shifter just blinked at me and the car would not move.

I tried it again and voila! we were moving down the road . . . until we hit second gear.

The car would not upshift even at 5k RPMs. I put it in manual and it would not shift down or up at all.

I pull over on the side of the road and turned the car off. When I got to restart it . . . NOTHING!. The engine would not even attempt to turn over. No cranking, no warning lights, nothing. After ten frantic minutes with our infant in the back seat, something disengaged (I could feel it) and it started up.

Thankfully it was above 60 degrees on Saturday and not the normal 15 degrees it had been.

We took the car straight to the dealership and I dealt with a discourteous FIAT service rep, Jay, who typed on the computer the entire time as I was explaining things. I asked him to stop and he continued -- only to make me repeat the story minutes later while he actually was listening and typing incomplete notes on the computer.

To add insult to injury, we were given a dirty 500L loaner that was wrapped in horrible dealership graphics that we're forced to drive around. My wife is driving around a billboard for a car that doesn't work.

But it gets better . . .

Today, my wife was making a run in the rolling billboard and guess what? It wouldn't shift out of second either!

Given that I was driving the first time and she experienced the same problem in another car, FIAT seems to have a pretty big problem on its hands. You really can't blame driver error. You put your foot on the brake, put it in drive (making sure the shifter is not in manual), pull the emergency brake and drive down the road at normal speeds. When the engine smoothly shifts from first to second gear then starts screaming in 2nd gear, refusing to upshift -- it's pretty clear it's a problem.

A car that we've only put 400 miles on should not perform like this. It makes me feel, as a buyer, that I bought a lemon from a company that learned engineering by watching YouTube videos.

I don't know how this can be resolved but I do know my dealership, Safford, isn't stepping up to the plate. They let me know today that they "cannot replicate the error."

They did however replace our loaner with a non-FIAT which I appreciate. I have more confidence that my wife and child won't end up on the side of the road, sitting in a brand new car that is totally unreliable.

FIAT, help me out here or you're going to have a very upset, and a very vocal customer. It's your opportunity to turn this lemon into lemonade by resolving these issues.

9569

VALibertarian
02-05-2014, 01:23 PM
So my dealership tech contacted me yesterday and informed me it's a known issue. That alone is outrageous. I bought the car a week prior. Why in the world would they allow me to drive away in a car that has a known issue that leaves you stranded on the side of the road and hating your purchase?

The tech said that the do have a software flash for it but it has not been approved by the EPA. Really?

As an alternative, they are going to install a new shifter that has the new software on it.

Makes zero sense.

If the "EPA" hasn't approved the software, why can it be installed with new hardware? The answer is because it's simply not true.

I'm hopeful this will resolve the issue (although I have no idea when my wife will get her car back). But it does not change the fact that Fiat is selling cars with known and severe transmissions issues -- aka Lemons.

My preference and my wife's preference at this time is to give the car back and go with a reliable vehicle. After being stuck with not one, but TWO cars with faulty transmissions, she has no confidence in the vehicle.

It starts when it feels like it -- refuses to start in the cold at all -- and has a dangerous transmission that locks you into a gear. A Kia is more reliable.

VALibertarian
02-05-2014, 06:07 PM
not a good start to say the least especially with a young one to tote around. Any update?

The Fiat Customer Center did call today but all they offered to do was call the dealership and call me back. The lady I spoke with was polite but really had nothing to offer at all as far as getting this car back on the road and providing confidence that it's reliable.

shadowshaggy
02-05-2014, 06:14 PM
So my dealership tech contacted me yesterday and informed me it's a known issue. That alone is outrageous. I bought the car a week prior. Why in the world would they allow me to drive away in a car that has a known issue that leaves you stranded on the side of the road and hating your purchase?

The tech said that the do have a software flash for it but it has not been approved by the EPA. Really?

As an alternative, they are going to install a new shifter that has the new software on it.

Makes zero sense.

If the "EPA" hasn't approved the software, why can it be installed with new hardware? The answer is because it's simply not true.

I'm hopeful this will resolve the issue (although I have no idea when my wife will get her car back). But it does not change the fact that Fiat is selling cars with known and severe transmissions issues -- aka Lemons.

My preference and my wife's preference at this time is to give the car back and go with a reliable vehicle. After being stuck with not one, but TWO cars with faulty transmissions, she has no confidence in the vehicle.

It starts when it feels like it -- refuses to start in the cold at all -- and has a dangerous transmission that locks you into a gear. A Kia is more reliable.


Have to ask because I did have a bad experience with my Abarth at a particular dealer which will remain unnamed as it's not this one, are there any other dearlers in the area? It sucks, but several franchise companies have purchased rights to sell Fiats and haven't sent their guys to all of the Fiat schools. It's not all that uncommon, when KIA first came to the US - nasty, nasty ordeal. I worked from 06-10 for KIA for two different companies, I spent a ton of time in school; about 6 weeks per year or so. Incompetence is to blame for this, not Fiat necessarily.

Did they put out a product that has had failures in the mass market, yes; did you purchase a brand new vehicle in it's first production year, yes. Not trying to dump this on you if it seems like that, but everyone in the auto industry knows that first year production runs have issues in mass markets. The 500L is a brand new vehicle, uses a different transmission and is built in a Chrysler plant in Mexico....damnit.

I'm sorry to hear you've had such terrible luck with your 500L so far, hopefully the dealer will quit talking out of their butt and actually solve the issue. If you search around on here, you'll see some people ecstatic about their 500L's and some with similar issues. Some dealers handle the PR nightmare better than others, some don't give two **** about it.

However, if the dealer cannot repair in a timely fashion (30 days depending on the state) you can force them to buy it back unconditionally. As well, 3 unsuccessful repairs for the same issue they have to buy it back. I hate that you may have to go through that, but again - first year production runs always have problems; it sucks but it's a fact. The '12 Abarth's had several problems, but the '13's so far are wonderful. I didn't have a '12, but my '13 has 0 issues. I've heard of many '12's with problems, but they were solved pretty quickly.

Thanks for reading my novel, and hope that they get things sorted out for you in a timely fashion. Just be patient, Fiat has way more on their hands than expected with the 500L's; they apparently didn't think they were gonna do as well as they did for a first year.

VALibertarian
02-09-2014, 09:44 AM
The service department finally called me back Friday and said that they don't have the part, it's not in the warehouse and they don't know when it will arrive. They said "hopefully next week." The tech was friendly this week but that's the story that I heard last week.

I also heard from FiatCares (Jonathan) who said that he was confident the dealer would resolve the issue. Zero help there.

In the meantime, I checked the NHTSA and there are four complaints and two bulletins on the 500L's transmission. Not a good sign. Much more popular makes and models have fewer complaints -- that don't hone in on a single issue.

janaheim
03-12-2014, 07:05 AM
Have to ask because I did have a bad experience with my Abarth at a particular dealer which will remain unnamed as it's not this one, are there any other dearlers in the area? It sucks, but several franchise companies have purchased rights to sell Fiats and haven't sent their guys to all of the Fiat schools. It's not all that uncommon, when KIA first came to the US - nasty, nasty ordeal. I worked from 06-10 for KIA for two different companies, I spent a ton of time in school; about 6 weeks per year or so. Incompetence is to blame for this, not Fiat necessarily.

Did they put out a product that has had failures in the mass market, yes; did you purchase a brand new vehicle in it's first production year, yes. Not trying to dump this on you if it seems like that, but everyone in the auto industry knows that first year production runs have issues in mass markets. The 500L is a brand new vehicle, uses a different transmission and is built in a Chrysler plant in Mexico....damnit.

I'm sorry to hear you've had such terrible luck with your 500L so far, hopefully the dealer will quit talking out of their butt and actually solve the issue. If you search around on here, you'll see some people ecstatic about their 500L's and some with similar issues. Some dealers handle the PR nightmare better than others, some don't give two **** about it.

However, if the dealer cannot repair in a timely fashion (30 days depending on the state) you can force them to buy it back unconditionally. As well, 3 unsuccessful repairs for the same issue they have to buy it back. I hate that you may have to go through that, but again - first year production runs always have problems; it sucks but it's a fact. The '12 Abarth's had several problems, but the '13's so far are wonderful. I didn't have a '12, but my '13 has 0 issues. I've heard of many '12's with problems, but they were solved pretty quickly.

Thanks for reading my novel, and hope that they get things sorted out for you in a timely fashion. Just be patient, Fiat has way more on their hands than expected with the 500L's; they apparently didn't think they were gonna do as well as they did for a first year.

The North American FIAT 500 is built in Toluca, Mexico. The 500L is built in Kragujevac, Serbia.