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EIM & Renault Egypt Story continues live on Egyptian TV next week ... Chapter One - Never pick up your car without your lawyer and police escort!

Cairo-Paris-Dubai /

Do you know what the French car maker Renault, the Korean car-maker KIA and (apparently very soon also) the Italian car-maker Alfa Romeo have in common?
Well, first of all these three car-makers have the same importer in Egypt which is the Egyptian International Motors (EIM) owned by the well-known business man Mohamed Nosseir.

Secondly, and this is the more important thing these three car manufacturers have in common, sometimes you would probably need to bring along your lawyer and a police escort to pick up your own car after you finish your service or technical examination, especially at the Renault Service.

Some readers, and especially the decision-makers at Renault in France (and meanwhile probably also the decision-makers at Alfa Romeo in Torino), will wonder how that could happen at the Renault Service & EIM Service in Cairo and why it would be necessary to bring a lawyer and a police escort when picking up your car from the EIM service? Well, thatï?½s what happened to us.


How it all started

This was indeed one of the most unique experience I ever had in my past 13 years as a motoring journalist, when I went today (Sunday, 16.12.2007 at around 14.00h) to EIM / Renault Egypt to pick up our Renault Megane test-car, which we had sent to the Renault Service in Cairo on a tow-truck on 18.10.2007 after it had suffered a 'few small scratches' and dents, flat tires, broken brake-discs and broken alloy wheels due to 'minor' accident.

This 'small accident', in which our 5-Star EuroNCAP-awarded Megane kissed the sidewall of the Dairi-Road in Cairo, happened only one day after the Megane was serviced at the Renault Service for a leaking radiator, and since we were at the service station, also for the regular 20.000 km service which was due at that time. The car was delivered to Renault Egypt / EIM on 16.10.2007, was picked up on 17.10.2007 and the accident occurred on the 18.10.2007 and therefore returning back to EIM / Renault Egypt on 18.10.2007.
What\'s the use of five stars in the EuroNCAP crash test result, when the Renault Service is not even capable of fixing and maintain your braking system, and therefore affecting the safety of your car, yourself and all your passengers.


The Formula1-like service 'pit-stop' at EIM / Renault Egypt

During this 'service pit-stop', Renault Egypt was supposed to exchange the radiator on the warranty and do the 20.000 km routine service, and also exchange the brake pads if necessary. We went to pick up the car on 17.10.2007 and called the EIM / Renault Service at 15.30h when we got stuck in a typical Cairo traffic jam, to make sure that we will be able to enter the EIM / Renault service station as we thought they close at 16.00h. The customer service employee confirmed to us that we can pick up the car until 16.30h, and that the brake pads were not exchanged as they were still in a good condition.
Same thing was by the way said to us at 10.30h the same day, when I called them to double-check that the car would be ready for pick-up today.
When we arrived at EIM/ Renault Egypt at 16.15h the car was already parked at the customer parking, and the customer service representative told me to our big surprise that they exchanged the brake pads because they were in a bad condition! He continued "that in addition to that they exchanged the radiator on the warranty as well as the 'Stop-Machine' (in Arabic: Makanet El Stop). Renault France had issued several recalls worldwide in order to repair technical problems with the braking system. The stop of the brake pedal collapse system may be missing which in extreme circumstances could lead to the risk of excessive brake pedal travel, loss of braking efficiency and therefore affect safety. In such case the brake pedal system lock would be not in place. But we will discuss this recall-matter extensively in Chapter Two including a complete Renault recall list. At the end of this article you will find a temporary short list with some Megane recalls.
Light fenders and other body parts are supposed to decrease the weight, the center of gravity and therefore enhance the handling and stability. Without functioning brakes, this will be very hard.


Renault France sends an expert to examine the car and our complaint

Now back to our 'extraordinary' Formula1-like brake pad exchange service of our Megane test-car, which surely would have interested Flavio Briatore as well: When the customer service guy told me they exchanged the brake pads, I was surprised (and a little bit worried) about how they could exchange such important safety parts in less than 30 min. I was even more worried and suspicious when I saw the dirty condition and the damaged hood-rubber . When I noticed that the radiator apparently was also not exchanged, I was confident that I had all the right to be suspicious and also doubt that the brake-pads as well as the brake pedal collapse system were fixed or correctly mounted.

And when I saw that Renault Egypt / EIM did not write down any warranty repairs on the invoice, and refused to add the 'radiator exchange' and the ' repair of the brake pedal collapse system' as warranty items on the invoice, I was 100 % sure that there was something wrong. Why would an honest and professional Renault service station refuse to write down the repairs which were done on the customer's invoice? In order to avoid any future damage claims? In order to claim those warranty items from the mother company and other expenses while those items weren't change at all in the customer's car? Or are there any other explanations which we don't know? Renault Egypt didn't have any convincing and credible explanation for us and simply told us: 'This is our company policy'!. I am wondering if this intransparent and obscure 'company policy' will be tolerated from the mother-company Renault for long when this business-harming and image-harming 'company-policy' becomes public not only in the media but also in the Egyptian Consumer Protection Agency CPA (www.cpa.gov.eg ).My worries were right in place. Only one day later our test-car suffered problems with the braking system, which inevitably led to an accident. Of course Renault Egypt / EIM denied any responsibility for a possible technical service failure. We werenï?½t quite convinced and so was Renault France, which did send shortly after Mr. Drouet (After Sales Manager For Africa) from Paris to Cairo to investigate in this possible technical or service failure and with whom we met on Thursday 8.11.2007. (More about this meeting and the follow-up meeting with the EIM / Renault Egypt employees and counselors, in which we were among others asked if we would like 'to take money' later in Chapter Two and in our magazine).
Unfortunately Renault Egypt doesn\'t recall cars at all. They wait until the car arrives for a regular routine service interval, and then \'surprise\'the customer with recall actions and apparent repairs they claim to have done, but strangely refuse to write down on the invoice or any written document. Very suspicious behavior, and even more suspicious is the fact that Renault France is still allowing this. I hope Alfa Romeo will not allow such suspicious \'company policy\' at EIM.
Unfortunately it seems that those mechanics who exchanged our brake pads and tried to fix the brake pedal collapse system won't make it to Flavio's F1 team.

When the police gets involved in Renault service issues

Anyway, this was just a short summary of our EIM / Renault Egypt 'pick-up' visit on 17.10.2007 and now back to our 'unique' visit of 16.12.2007. Well, first our Megane test-car was blocked by another EIM company car for several hours on purpose.
Secondly, they wouldnï?½t allow us to take our test-car unless we signed several papers, confirming that 'we refused to repair the car at the EIM / Renault Egypt Service on our own will and that we are now taking the car off the EIM / Renault Egypt premises in the same condition like it was brought in'. Although we only had the opportunity of checking the car from the outside through a 'normal eye-check', I was more surprised and annoyed by the length of this whole procedure, which almost lasted from 14.00h until 17.00h, especially when taking into consideration that all these problems occurred because of a negligent and careless Renault service with our test-car.

When we arrived at the EIM Renault Egypt service station, we asked one of the Renault customer service employees to prepare for us our papers and gate-pass tickets as well as getting the driver of the EIM company car which was blocking our test-car. We asked him three times within a period of at least 60-90 min, but the excuse was always that they couldnï?½t find the driver. Later on we found out that this was just an excuse to gain some extra time until the legal counselor of EIM / Renault, Dr. Amr Hasbo, whom they called immediately after they saw us at the EIM service station, arrived to the location.

After we brought our car to the Renault Service in a clean condition, this is how the car was handed back to us. Because Renault Egypt is using a junk-yard-like corner with lowest-wage workers for washing and cleaning the car, no wonder the car is delivered in such a condition to the customer.
Arriving at the customers parking lot 'scene' we had a typical Egyptian 'discussion' between our tow-truck driver and some EIM employees, which was a little bit noisy and earsplitting and which seemed to lead to no solution but calling the police as EIM / Renault Egypt still refused to unblock our test-car and asked our tow-car driver to leave the premises because he 'didnï?½t have a permission to enter the EIM / Renault Egypt premises'. I certainly refused that the tow-truck leaves the premises and called the police to make a report and so the police would come and solve our problem with EIM / Renault Egypt.

A while later a police officer arrived at the premises but his car was asked to stay off the premises, probably for avoiding unpleasant pictures in our magazine and website with this police car on the EIM / Renault Egypt premises.

The most interesting part of the EIM / Renault Egypt visit - The legal affairs office

The most interesting part of today's 'visit' to EIM / Renault Egypt though was like always the conversation with EIM's legal counselor Dr. Amr Hasbo.
This hood rubber was damaged by the Renault Egypt mechanic during the service. Customer Service representative Mohamed Abdel Nabi acknowledged this damage and asked us to leave the car for another day (!) at the Renault Service to fix it. Next time you pick up your car, check your car thoroughly.
The police officer arrived when we were already sitting in Dr. Amr's office 'signing' and writing down letter-long confirmations in order to be able to take our car outside EIM / Renault Egypt service. I would like to remind you here: This car is owned by our magazine and not by EIM / Renault Egypt. Very awkward and strange situation!

During this meeting at EIM / Renault Egypt, in which this police officer was present for approximately 10-15 min, I was also asked by Dr. Amr if AUTO ARABIA will continue publishing features about our Megane test-car and the experience we had at the Renault Service. He reminded me again, like during our first meeting with Mr. Michel Drouet on 8.11.2007, that 'we at Auto Arabia are not certified and do not have the permission from Renault to test cars!'

We finally finished the paperwork in approx. 45 min and could finally move on to putting our test-car on the tow-truck.

I have to admit, this legal counselor is a very smart and clever person and Mohamed Nosseir can be proud to have a person like him in his team (we will talk about his other 'dream-team' - which has been named 'The Suicide Team' in connection with the Alfa Romeo Egypt story in the Egyptian media lately ï?½ in Chapter Two later).
an EIM / Renault Egypt company car blocking our test-car on purpose for several hours until the police arrived
Besides trying to find out about my smoking habits (whether I prefer cigarettes or cigarillos) and 'drinking' habits during an 'innocent' small-talk conversation, he later came up to me in his VW Passat when were finally uploading our Megane test-car at the customer parking lot after three exhausting hours, and asked me to show him again our receipt of the 1000 LE Egyptian Pounds (approx. which we paid for the so-called quotation or cost estimate (in Arabic called Mukaysa) so he would 'give me a discount'. I kindly thanked him for his effort in trying to give me a discount, and told him ï?½ like I told him also earlier in the meeting ï?½ that I am not interested in a discount from him or from EIM / Renault Egypt. He 'insisted' on giving me a discount and asked me to give him the receipt for a few seconds. I gave him the receipt while he was sitting in his car with two other colleagues of him. When they returned me the receipt a few seconds later, I found out that he had added the words 'storage fees' (Masarif Takhzin) and 'storage costs' (Ardiya Lel-Sayara) on the receipt in the description field next to the word 'quotation costs'.
We asked this EIM / Renault Egypt customer service representative three times to prepare our papers and arrange the unblocking of our test-car - but nothing was done.
It seems they figured out that Renault France will get a copy of this quotation-bill, and see that EIM / Renault Egypt is charging exorbitant and overpriced fees to its Egyptian customers.
Unfortunately Dr. Amr and his colleagues in the car didnï?½t have the same pen with which the receipt was filled out by the cashier, and therefore a clear difference in the color is noticeable and showing how embarrassing this will look like for EIM / Renault Egypt.

Fortunately there are also smart and clever motoring journalist and not only smart and clever lawyers. By 'mere coincidence' our video-camera captured this very delicate moment on video when we were 'offered a discount' Other similar video-captured 'incidents' and 'offers', which we will exposed in the coming chapters.
CLICK HERE (CLICK HERE FOR THE SHORT VERSION OF THIS MOVIE!)


I must say at this point: I am really impressed by the amazing sound and pictures quality of the current Canon digital-cameras.

Finally, after three hours of negotiations and paper-work, we are \'allowed\' to take our car! Customer Service par excellence!
The fees for a quotation or cost-estimation in Germany usually do not exceed 50-100 Euros, which is approx. 400-800 LE Egyptian Pounds. Charging 1000 LE for a quotation / cost-estimation is not only almost five to ten times higher than other automotive competitors, but could also be considered a daylight robbery when compared to the average monthly income in Egypt.

Media and court hype soon about Renault in Egypt?

According to Dr. Amr, the legal counselor of EIM / Renault Egypt, Renault Egypt filed or is just about to file a law-suit against our website at a local police station and at the Online-Crime department of the Egyptian Ministry of Interior Affairs, because of what we wrote (and will be writing) on our website and magazine.
I must say, I am very glad that this Megane- and Renault Service- and Renault-recall issue is growing more and more, and will surely be a very public issue very soon, not only in the media but apparently also in the Egyptian court yard, something we are looking very much forward to.
1000 LE Egyptian pounds (approx. 150 Euros) for a superficial primarily cost-estimation which wouldnï?½t take more than 20 min to write down. This means an hourly wage of 3000 LE (approx. 500 Euros) at Renault Egypt Service
From our side, we will also make sure that Mr. Saeed El Alfi, Chairman of the newly established Consumer Protection Agency ACP / www.cpa.gov.eg will be informed about this Renault-dispute, especially as he is a very energetic and enthusiastic person when it comes to protecting the rights of consumers.

This media and court hype will surely also be of interest for the decision makers in Torino and Seoul. The new Alfa Romeo CEO, Mr. Luca De Meo, who just became the new Alfa Romeo CEO a few days ago will surely be impressed by the media and court attention his new importer EIM is receiving in Cairo. And I am sure that the gentleman in the KIA management-board in Korea, who have been suffering in the Egyptian market for years now because of the ongoing legal dispute between Mohamed Nosseir (EIM) and Walid Tawfik on who is the legitimate and legal importer of KIA in Egypt, will follow this media and court case very closely.

James Bond in a Renault Megane ï?½

When the legal team of Renault Egypt noticed Renault France would have a look at this cost-estimation bill, they decided to add the words\' storage fees\' and \'storage cost\' without telling me. They tried to trick me by using the \'discount\' excuse, but didnï?½t know that the video camera was already filming.
But the funniest today was the 'James Bond movie' part, when we found ourselves being followed by a Renault Megane (company car of EIM) throughout the streets of Cairo. When the drivers noticed we were taking pictures of them, they finally backed off. 007-style right on Cairo streets ï?½ only the Aston Martin was missing.

Dr. Amr had asked me during our extensive 'signing-meeting' to where I would transport our damaged Megane test-car. It seemed that he was worried about the possibility of us taking the car directly into a TV show, especially after he saw me talking about the Megane recalls and technical problems in one of the Arabic satellite channels.

Summary of Chapter One

As it is getting late now and after such a stress-full day, I believe it is enough now for this short version of chapter one.

Finally on the way to an honest, credible and professional service stations.
So after paying the probably most expensive Renault cost-estimate worldwide and receiving the dirtiest car ever in my life at a service station with several layers of dust on the car we finally come to an end of Chapter One of our EIM & Renault Egypt story,

This is just the short version of Chapter One of our EIM & Renault Egypt Story, as we wanted to offer our readers an interesting story to read over the Eid-vacation. After the Eid vacation is over, they will find the long version of Chapter One online

A temporary list of the Megane recall is listed at the end of this article. After the Eid-holidays and shortly before Christmas and New Year holidays we will update the Megane recall list with the latest recalls as well as another recall list of other Renault models like the Clio.

Customer parking and storage area which looks more like a junk-jard
In the coming chapters we will bring you the full and detailed stories of our Renault Megane night-mare and why we will repair it outside the EIM / Renault Egypt service and continue the 100.000 km test. We will also compare the weird service intervals of Renault Egypt with other professional and consumer-friendly service intervals like in Germany, France, Spain, Australia and other Arab countries in the Middle East and GCC region. We will also update you on the latest recalls from Renault and Alfa Romeo as well. And last but not least, we will also inform you about our 100.000 km test-drive plans with one of the latest Alfa Romeo cars.

And last but not least we will also have a special feature of the current 'Dream Team' of EIM, also know in some Egyptian media as the new 'EIM Suicide Team'. We will highlight the 'modest success' of that dream-team in the past few years in the EIM company as well as in their previous company Egyptian Automotive Company (VW Importer / Audi ï?½ Distributor), which due to the devastating results and performance of this 'dream-team' in the last few years recently had lost the VW Light Commercial Vehicle dealership to the new official VW LCV Nutzfahrzeuge, the Turkish company Dogus Auto.

We will also update our distinguished readers about Renault Egypt's attempt to file a complaint at the Internet & Information department of the Egyptian Ministry of Interior, claiming that we are intending with our 'coverage' to harm Renault's business and car sales in Egypt. After a long and informative meeting between Auto Arabia's representative and the gentlemen at the Ministry of Interior, the whole story became much clearer to the Egyptian authorities. Next week the whole 'Renault' will be discussed live on air during one of Egypt's most popular TV program. I hope Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn, who is from Lebanese origin, will tune in to listen to this very interesting program.



write comment

Readers Comments:

Ahmed A.Maksoud from Dubai - UAE wrote:
Well this may be too much late, but late better than never.

Although that you thankfully commented on my post, I want to tell you that I sent an earlier post that you didn't show, about my positive 5 years experience with EIM, and this is your right to publish what do you want but you will lose credibility.

My question now to you, why didn't you report them to the police or the CPA (Customer Protection Authority )?????

Editors response:
Dear Ahmed, we usually publish all reader's letter even if they do not agree with our opinion, as we believe in the importance of absolute transparency. Please send us your post again. You asked why we did not report them to the police? Well, actually we called the police (nagda) when the problems occurred when we went to pick up the car. Why we did not report them to the Egyptian Consumer Protection AGENCY? Well, we sent our complaint directly to Renault headquarter in France as we believe it is much better to inform the mother-companies directly about the mismanagement of their dealers, so they can take action and change their dealers in Egypt if necessary. Renault France understood the serious situation and sent the 'Service Manager Africa' immediately to Cairo to investigate the business-harming behavior of Renault Egypt. And the story is not over yet. Stay tuned for more development on this issue.

noha from cairo - egypt wrote:
I want to add that the way they deal with customers are nice .. they smile and talk in a good manner .. thats a nice touch .. although i was angry at first, but still i cannot deny they were nice in dealing with customers. maybe they need some improvments, but that should be done by R&D department . I felt glad they cared and called asking me if the service was good or bad.
I just want to be fair.
Thank you so much.


Editors response:
You are more than welcome. We are glad we could help you.

noha from Cairo - Egypt wrote:
I went back today... they were nice .. and helped me.
They even will check some things I didnt notice before.
And they called me back to say what do I think about their service.
Maybe things improved since this article.

Editors response:
Car companies always change the way they treat their customers, when they send their complaints to the media. We are glad that publishing your reader's letter improved their customer service with you.

Noha from Cairo - Egypt wrote:
Dear Sir ,
I had an accident with my new Renault Logan.
There was some sand on the road while I was turning left.
I could not control the steering wheel and the car become out of control.
Anyway, I was feeling the car was pulling a bit to the left. I mean before the accident the front wheels were always drifting to the left side.

I took the car to the Renault service station after the accident.
The left part of the car was destroyed, in specific the front suspension (ma2as, in Arabic) and the driving wheel bar and something else. Anyway, I paid almost LE 1600 Egyptian pounds.

But now the car is still pulling left specially when using the brakes to slow down.

Still i will try to call them tomorrow and ask for a re-check, as I have picked it from the EIM / EIT service station 3 days ago .

I feel this whole thing was a technical failure (3eeb sena3a), but I can't prove it and I feel sad about it :S
It is a waste of money.

I will see what they will do tomorrow. May be they will take an action regarding the service I had and it is not not good as I described before.





Editors response:
Dear Noha,
we strongly recommend and advice you to file an official complaint at the Consumer Protection Agency in Cairo (www.cpa.gov.eg). We receive a lot of complaint from Renault Egypt / KIA Egypt (EIM / EIT), which is part of the Alkan group. We ourselves at Auto Arabia had serious problems with the service of Renault Egypt / KIA Egypt, and our impression is that EIM / EIT is one of the worst car dealerships and service stations in Egypt, if not the worst. Their service is totally unprofessional and is a total rip-off. The prices are much too high, and they make you come to the service every 5.000 km whereas the first service according to the Renault mother-company should be at 30.000 km. So, they make you bring the car six times just to rip you off without any reason, especially that the Egyptian climate conditions are ideal for cars, even much better than in Europe or in the Gulf region. Keep us update with your problem with EIM / EIT and we will definitely help you in forwarding your complaint to the Renault headquarter in France.


Hussain Elsayes from Cairo - Egypt wrote:
Thank you very much. What you wrote seems typical of many of auto agents in Egypt. I wanted to purchase a "Renault" car, but I'm reconsidering this choice. Thank you again and I'm going to be a regular reader of this site.

Editors response:
Dear Hussain,
I am glad we were able to assist you in your car-purchase through our information and alerts. That is precisely the job of professional media. Renault in Egypt is indeed one of the worst auto agents and also offers one of the worst and most expensive services in Egypt. Not to be recommended at all.
I am also happy to hear that you will be a regular reader of our site.
Editor


Ahmed A.Maksoud from Cairo - Egypt wrote:
Is in it weired that this article is always on the HOMEPAGE ?

Editors response:
Dear Ahmed,
No, it is not weird at all that we have the EIM / Renault Egypt featured on our website in a very distinctive way. That is because we believe it is one of our main missions to inform the Egyptian public and the mother-companies about the weird behavior and disastrous service of some car companies in Egypt. And when this customer service becomes a very criminal one, then we believe it is even more important to expose such business-harming and criminal behavior even more.
I hope this answer your question.
Editor


Ebrahim from Cairo - Egypt wrote:
This is EIM!



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