Wednesday, March 02, 2005

When you're happy to hear that your car's service is gonna cost "just 234 rials"

BMW Showroom

The other day I took my car for service for the first time at the new BMW dealer at their huge- supposedly largest in the middle east- showroom. I was away that year when the dealership changed hands from Al Hashar to Al Jenaibi who is confusingly a Bahwan not a Jenaibi. (If anyone not from Oman is reading this, the Bahwan family are the exclusive agents in Oman for Toyota, Nissan, BMW, GM, Ford, Hyundai, Kia and Subaru but are somehow not considered a monopoly).

I was really dreading this service. You see when my car was being fixed for the accident I had in December, the garage that fixed it told me there's a small oil leak in the engine. That news sent shockwaves of fear into my spine. You see my cousin, who's car is identical to mine but a year older, told me that last year he spent close to 2000 rials servicing his car and I've been dreading the day when my car starts to cost me that much to maintain.

I don't know if it's the case in other countries too, but BMW in Oman has some of the worst sales people I've ever met. While I was waiting for my turn at the service, a salesman came and chatted with me- trying to scope out if it might be time to trade-in my car for a newer one. I asked him what's the price of the cheapest BMW these days. To my amazement, the new 116 is around 11,000 rials. No wonder they haven't sold a single one of them. So I asked about the new 3 series and found that the 320i, which is coming next month will be 13,500 rials. Four years ago, the 318 uses to sell for around 9.5K. When I bought my car in 98, a 528i used to go for around 16K, today a 530i is around 21K. This madness can't all be due to the Euro.

Anyhow, I was joking with the guy and said that my car is living on borrowed time since it's 7 years old and BMWs don't last much longer than that. Guess what? The guy actually agreed and said you should only drive a BMW for 4 or 5 years and then get a new one. Way to talk up the quality of your cars, buddy

Long story short, I got a call late the next evening telling me that the oil leak needs just a couple new gaskets and covers. Nice, how much will that cost? Oh just 40 rials, but the labor will be around 90 rials since it's a big job. And the regular oil service? Add like another 30. And the jammed driver's side window whose motor has already been changed before? Approximately 50 rials. But wait, when we took it for a test drive we noticed some vibration so we need to check the drive shaft and maybe change a few bushes and re-lubricate.

The total came out to about 234 rials (around $600). Looking at the bright side, at least it's not a thousand like my cousin's case. Now I can push the age of my car to the back of mind for another 10,000km and worry about bigger things.


Najah said...

for some reason, I felt like i have heard/read what you wrote before, might be the Deja Vu, but oh well best of luck!

Winger said...

I do not have a BMW but I did pop into their showroom and was visibly impressed by the 7 series (and who wouldn't be?) I got hassled by the salesman for ages afterwards!

The prices are such that they cannot be selling as many as before, which puts pressure on the salesmen, making them very aggressive.

Kazablanka said...

Thanks for posting that picture up! lol I've always wanted to visit that BMW showroom, it was like myt dream, but now i dont have to, that picture was enough lol

234 ONLY?? lol.. god that sucks!

you know how many snickers you could buy with 234 O.R.

*start dreaming*

anyway, I hate sales people, they are so annoying, they like following you around, sometimes i get the urge to shoo them away but then thats like really 3aib and stuff so yeah

so is your car ok now? no mashakil?

Desert Island Boy said...

When the US broke up the Standard Oil Monopoly, they churned out Gulf, Mobil, Exxon, Chevron etc. All of whom behaved as independent competitors, but the core shareholders were still the same.

The madness is due to the dollar, which khaleeji money is tied up to, meaning that you're spending more dananeer to get the same 100 Euro than last year. It sucks, but over the last 30 years the shoe was on the other foot. We'll take our lumps for a year or two and hopefully it will return to the status quo.

Anonymous said...

Can I tell you that the cost of a service can be bumped up considerably depending on how much is nicked from your car. I nearly died a bloody death when going back after a service, all my parking cash, CD's a jacket, umbrella,and a brand new perfume (30 riyals)had been nicked. The Manager shrugged his shoulders saying that I have to take everything from the car. To be fair they didn't take any brown coins, they must have taken a considerable amount of time just to pick the 25 and 50 baisas out!!!!

I freaked, shit for pitys sake this is the Bahwan dealership for Toyota (poor expat, haven't even bin to the BMW dealership!!!) not a back street outfit in Ruwi, what da f*&k is this??????

I did also snicker to myself the fact that Saud Bahwans photo is everywhere, saying "satisfaction guaranteed" yeah for the guys in his workshop taking easy pickings!!!!

I felt like running round sniffing all the workers to see who was wearing my perfume, but thought better of it, yeeks I would get a mixture of whiffs in there.


M-Pac said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
M-Pac said...

Bahwan family are also the dealers for Chevrolet and Cadilac. You missed those out.

And yah.. you can't say it's a monopoly. Overruled. ;)

Kazablanka said...

LOOL @ Jayb.

your post made me fall off my chair laughing.

Muscati & Wife, we need a new entry. This one has been up for ages now :p

muscati said...

Jayb- I always remove everything from my car when I take it for service. I only keep the coins that are in the ashtray, and they usually steal those every single time.

M-Pac- Chevy and Cadillac are both owned by GM which was in the list I mentioned.

Kaza- I got like 4 or 5 incomplete unposted ones which are currently saved as drafts. We were away for a couple days. Lots coming in the next few days.

Anonymous said...

damn n blast it, my car needs a service, takes about a bloody day to remove all the shit I keep in there. Oh well don't wanna be giving the lads at Bahwan a field day with my things. Mind you can't imagine the little indian laddie wandering round with my tennis skirt on!! ha!


gybexine said...

hi there ...
i was surfing on the web searching for some infos 'bout bmw in oman and middleeast ... and i reached this blog.
i wanted to apply for a job in this showroom actually ...
what u guys say is quite scaring ...
how can sales person be so silly with customers. i personally come from another country where i worked for a french brand car : maybe these guys are not well paid ? i don't know ...
anyway / i don't feel like i want work there anymore ... or should i ???
should i or should i not that's the question ...
see ya folks :-) take care ...

Omani said...

first of all, saud bahwan and suhail bahwan are different, they seperated in the early 90's, and the way that the BMW agency was transfarred from Alhashar to Bahwan, is that Suhail payed a 6m riyals bribe 2 the middle east manager, and to the BMW's head office, then it was taken,it wasent sold to bahwan or sumthin,it went in a haram way,thats what i heard from most people. in my oppinion, i think that Alhashar's service is much much better that Bahwan's, iv been dealing with them for 8 years and never complained. said...

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