A Windsor, Ont., man says all he can do is watch his luxury car's condition decline on the dealer's lot while he waits for a part that can fix it.
Pushkar Kapil brought his 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 in to Mercedes Benz Overseas Motors on Tecumseh Road East to get fixed in April of 2023 after being told the vehicle was subject to a recall, but still hasn't returned home with it.
"I really like my car and yeah, I miss my car a lot," Kapil said.
Kapil, who came to Canada as an international student on a work permit, uses his car to get to work and for pleasure.
He is a car enthusiast and has long wanted a Mercedes Benz. He invests a large portion of his income on the roughly $1,000 payment on his vehicle loan and insurance, he said.
"I work as a security guard and [I] work really hard to afford everything. And now I'm really struggling for that," he said.
Kapil said that he was provided with a different Mercedes vehicle in the beginning but more recently, he was given a rental vehicle that was covered by the manufacturer — a 2022 Hyundai Venue.
"It's not even, like nearly ... close to the car which I used to drive," he said.
The issue arose during the repair to the power steering unit and a part related to the steering mechanism is needed, according to Hamoodi Rafih, who is the group vice-president of Rafih Auto Group, which owns the dealership.
The estimated time of arrival for the needed part is Jan. 25.
When asked about Kapil's situation, a Mercedes-Benz spokesperson also cited "supply chain disruptions that have been creating delays in parts availability across the industry."
"We have been awaiting the arrival of a part that is required to complete the repair," they wrote.
Rafih said it has been an "interesting journey" since the COVID-19 pandemic when it comes to getting car parts from manufacturers. Other customers were waiting fo the same part, he said.
Kapil is also worried that the condition of the vehicle has degraded since leaving the car at the dealership, where he says the car is left parked outside much of the time. In one instance, he notes that the disc brakes on the car, virtually new when he brought it in, now appear corroded. He worries, too, about the battery and condition of the engine.
Kapil says he's a bit of a car enthusiast and spends a large portion of his monthly salary to own a Mercedes. (Pushkar Kapil)
"I used to care about my car. Like I care about my car a lot. And the way they treated my car is really bad."
Rafih said that Mercedes did approve a complimentary servicing on the vehicle while under their care.
He also said that at one point, when checking on the car, he noticed that two of the alloy wheels on the car were different. He said when he approached them to ask, it was only then conveyed to him that the wheels had been stolen.
"Like my tires are tires got stolen and like, I never knew about that."
Rafih did confirm the theft and said that they were covering the entire cost to replace them with a matching set.
When asked if he would consider getting a Mercedes again in the future, he says no.
"I won't get one again like for sure because the service is really bad and they don't know how to talk to people," he said.
Expert weighs in
George Iny, director of the Automobile Protection Association, said that Kapil is lucky to among those receiving a free replacement vehicle, as many who are waiting for parts do not have that luxury.
"There's good reasons not to leave a vehicle outdoors that long and there is deterioration," he said. "I might also add that the Venue is the cheapest car in the Hyundai lineup."
"He's paying a Mercedes price to drive a Hyundai. That's OK when your car is in for a month or two — at nine months, you should be asking yourself, should they be making you whole, at least, for part of the overpayment you're making?"
One way out of the situation would be to find the part on your own, he said.
"If it's not available new, look for it in the aftermarket," he said. "The dealer won't do it, but you can do it. That might mean... sourcing the part as a used part... it would be on your dime."
Kapil says that the disc brake have corroded since bringing it in to Overseas Motors. (Pushkar Kapil)
Iny says that if the manufacturer hasn't been able to supply the part for nine months, there's been a higher demand than predicted and their production schedule, for whatever reason, was off and they weren't able to catch up.
He says many cars have been off the road for months because of delays with parts but nine months is on the longer side for a wait.
"[Receiving] replacement parts is a problem right now," Iny said. "People are timing out their insurance-paid courtesy cars because car makers aren't supplying parts within a reasonable delay."