Problems wih Fiat Stillo 2.4 Abarth.

My Fiat Stillo 2.4 abarth 5 Door
1a. When I was shown to my new car I checked it over while I waited for David from ******* to join me and give me a run down on the navigation
system, I noted that there were lots of small holes through the top of the paint work on the drivers side wing and several others about the car. I immediately brought this to David's attention and told him that I did not want the car due to the paintwork, I had previously on numerous visits to the showroom checked the paintwork on the cars on display and had not found any faults with the appearance and finish in anyway of the models on display. I rejected the car 1b.The car was inspected and I was told that it was within factory tolerances and nothing would be done because to correct the problem it would require a full respray and this would only make things worse. I was also told that a copy of the report would be passed to me but this I have never received. 1c. After a few days I noticed a rusty mark on the side of the front passenger seat by the handbrake on closer inspection I discovered that on all of the metalwork of the seat that was visible had a coating of rust on it. While the passenger seat had been folded it had marked the surface of the leather as the metal had rubbed over it. I brought this to your attention on the 2nd or 3rd visit to have problems sorted and you told me that it would be sorted out but rust was still evident after it was returned to me on other occasions when the car was in for work I again asked for the rust to be removed but patches still remained. 1d. After some five weeks I noticed that the painted finish on the alloy wheels was coming off and reported this to you and you told me that the car would have to come in for a few days so that the wheels could be taken off and resprayed. I was very disappointed and thought that the alloy wheels with the fact of them being resprayed by yourselves as I wanted new replacements but this was not possible due to you no longer being a fiat dealer. ******** assured me that the move over to Alfa Romeo at the fiat showroom would not affect my purchase or the aftersales service I would receive with the fiat. In your letter dated 1st August 2002 (copy attached) this was not clearly the case.
2a. When I tried to open the boot I found that it could only be done by using the key and asked ****** for the correct operation he told me there was a problem and it needed to come in to be checked properly. They managed to fix it and get it working. 2b. The alarm on the car which was fitted by ***** Fiat caused me lots of problems with arming it and false alarms when I parked the car. After setting the alarm I had to wait about 5 to10seconds to ensure all was okay, it would chirp to tell me that there was a problem, which I summarised was after getting my things from the boot. I brought this to your attention and the car again was taken in for it to be investigated, I was informed that I needed to slam the boot shut by the mechanic as the catch was causing the problem somehow. Whenever I got my belongings out from the boot and setting the alarm I ended up opening again the boot and slamming it shut to ensure the senor had picked up that the boot was closed. Sometimes it took me a few minuets to walk away from the car after several slams of the boot and arming the alarm. During the course of the night when the car was parked on my drive the alarm would go off, I was woken to this fact on an average of two or three times a night and at worst 4am but no sign of an attempted entry was found. The cause for this I believe was in the boot catch switch telling the alarm the boot was open. This was also brought to the attention of yourselves along with the sensitivity settings, as a van or lorry driving past the car when parked on the road would set it off, The mechanic told me he would have to isolate the fault by disabling the various sensors one at a time till we found which one was causing the fault as he couldn't fix it in one visit.
2c. Within a few weeks the sunroof jammed open and I couldn't shut it, the mechanics managed to get it shut and the car was booked in so it could be fixed. I was informed that the switch which opened the sun roof was of poor design by the mechanic and when I turned the knob to close it I had inadvertently pressed it in slightly causing the sunroof controls to reset thinking it was closed leaving several blades still open with no way of shutting it myself. The sunroof again jammed open and I drove to you to get them to resolve it but this time they could only shut it. I was told that the sensor or something had gone and they would have to order parts in for it to be repaired. I was again without the use of the sunroof. 2d. I had on 3 occasions during my brief time driving the car been unable to play my cd's due to the 5 disk cd changer jamming up, no matter what buttons I pressed it would not work. Only by turning the ignition off and on again did it work again. I never got an answer from Westover as to the cause but due to various electrical faults with the car I was told to discuss them with the electrical technician next time I was passing which I did and the car was booked in. 2e. When using the onboard navigation system which gave spoken directions turn by turn to your destination, it would screech loudly in gibberish this was very unsettling whilst driving. The car was again taken in but they were unable to correct it. In the letter dated 30th April 2003 from ****** fiat confirmed that the problem is an unfortunate characteristic with the car and at this moment in time there is no cure to speak off. A replacement set will have the same inherent fault. Safety related problems. 3a. Over a period of 1 week I had 2 incidents whilst driving the car that the airbag system had failed and was told by the onboard computer that I should stop the vehicle immediately and contact the dealer. On both occasions after turning off the ignition and restarting it, the problem cleared. I then contacted you to alert you to the problem and it was agreed that they would investigate the fault; the mechanic diagnosed the problem to be another electrical system fault. I was concerned afterwards as to its worthiness in a bad accident now having had the problems. 3b. Several days after the car had been in for the airbag system to be checked, I went with my family to the park I locked the car up and on my return found the first blade of the sunroof open and the alarm going off I assumed that I had forgotten to close it but when my wife left with the children for school the following morning, she came back in to tell me that all of the sunroof was open and the windows down. It was very fortunate that it did not rain that night or that the car was stolen as my insurance would have been void due to the problems. As I was going in to see the electrician that day to explain about all the electrical problems in more detail, I thought I would alert you to my new problem with the unexplained opening of windows and sunroof the day before and today. Upon locking the car in the side road from your offices I turned the corner and everything opened again this was witnessed by you as it repeated itself. I stood in total dismay at the final straw and asked you to take the vehicle in as it was no longer possible to secure the car or have my young children left in it whilst I pay for petrol or pick up groceries in fear of them being taken or wandering into danger from the safety of the car. When we went inside one of the Fiat team commented that Mercedes do it all the time with a smile on his face, which I didn't find amusing, that they could laugh at such a serious problem.
In a meeting with the sales manager and the workshop manager, They agreed I had had a bad time with the car talking over all of the faults. I was told that all that could be fixed had been done with exception of the wheels and the screeching of the navigation system and paintwork. I asked the workshop manager for his assurance that the unlocking of the windows would not happen again and said he couldn't. I told them that this was a family car and that I was deeply concerned about the safety aspects of my children whilst in the car. During the four months that I drove the car I had only cleaned it once, nearly every week it was in for one thing or another and always returned washed and clean inside.
I am still having problems with the airbag system failing and the navigation, Alarm going off, taking into account all the grief I've had with the car I won't be buying another Fiat ever. It's a shame as it's a nice car
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Only one thing to say - As you're UK based, "Sale of Goods Act" - the car was not as described, in that the paint was shoddy, nor was it fit for the purpose due to it constantly breaking down. Should have taken it back and got a replacement or a refund.
Hellraiser............>
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Hello, I'm sorry to hear the about trouble you're having with the Abarth. Besides some small warning on the check panel which disappear rapidly and a difficult window on the passengerside I never had major trouble with mine. Please check out http://www.markgabriel.domainlesshosting.com/forum/board/upload/index.php as this site will give you some anwers to common Abarth problems. Surely you will get the feeling you're not the only Fiat driver in Britain with problems with the dealer.
Good luck anyway,
grtz Henny from Holland

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<snip problems>

I have to say that the only observation that I can make about said dealer is that they seem to be a bit lazy. I bought a brand new Seicento from them 5 years ago. The salesman was useless, it was fortunate that I wanted the car because he certainly didn't sell it to me. Thankfully I never had any major problems with it within the warranty period although the trip-meter did stop working once, but they replaced the instrument "pod" with no complaint. Any work that did need doing after that, I did myself, because I just don't trust anyone else to deliver quality workmanship. I did take it to them on a couple of occasions because I didn't feel that the car was idling very well, but they didn't really seem interested and told me on both occasions that their "diagnosis computer" didn't show any faults! Whatever happened to "real" mechanics, they seem to have been replaced by computer operators - "Well, the computer says it's OK sir, so it must be"!
The change to being an Alfa dealership seems to have meant that they have had to lower their customer service levels though! I got SO ANGRY that the parts department would never answer the phone that I decided never to give them my custom again. I currently own a Coupe and tend to go to Goddards in Salisbury. It's a long way to travel, but there's always someone on the phone straight away when I call up the parts department, and they are always very polite when I go there.
I hope your bad dealer experiences don't put you off for life, as when they work well, Fiats are the most fantastically characterful and fun cars to drive.
Pete
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