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Discussion Starter #1
Aloha.

I've tried very hard not to have a negative post on the forum, but I've finally run headlong into the infamous FCA warranty processes. I'm seeking advise, support and help.

My car is not yet 60 days old [at the time of this post] , with only 3076 miles on the clock. Its stock with the exception of the door speaker, the sound dampening tiles and the Roadster Exhaust from Good-Win racing. The sound of my car is just as a big deal for me at its looks. It is my daily driver and muse for my Instagram account. I absolutely ducking love this car. I plan to keep this car for the rest of my life.


I have had two issues with the car, both cosmetic - there are two finger tip sized areas on the hood that the paint or clear coat has failed, and the leather of the driver set left side is wearing incredible fast (see attached image.) I've made a complaint to my local Fiat dealership (Cutter, in Honolulu). They have been very good to me in the past, I'm sure partly related to that fact I have a fleet of their trucks.

FCA has agreed to deal with the issue with the paint. They have rejected my claim for a seat cover. FCA digital image review team has made the determination that the damage is normal wear. If the car was two or three years old, I'd agree but the car is less than 60 days old.

My service adviser gave me a number to FCA, where I was flatly told "no." As the digital image team has the final word and there is NO APPEAL process. I'm upset. I'm angry , and I'm hurt. I no longer feel like singing the praises of the spider to anyone that would listen or even that those that didn't want to hear and instead tell everyone - "Stay the fell away from FCA cars and trucks..." The cars great, FCA... I have a very strong option of.

Help!
 

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Honestly, this is not what you want to hear, but what you're seeing is more than likely the rivets on your jeans rubbing the same spot over and over again and rubbing the coating off the leather.

A good leather conditioner will help that blend in some, or even better, a color-matched dye.

Unfortunately, this doesn't speak well of the leather quality on these cars.
 

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Many of us have experienced the wear on the seat, and it is something on your pants causing it, as XR said. Once I noticed it on mine, I adjusted how I get into my car and it has not worsened.
 

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Unfortunately I would also concur that the seat wear would appear to be from your clothing and possibly also the seat belt retracting. When researching my 124 and deciding on seats I became aware of wear issues with the red piping on the Recaros. I decided to go ahead anyway but I ensure I don't wear clothing with metal rivets/buttons etc on the back, and also don't have any sharp or potential sharp items in my back pockets. I've also adjusted how I get in/out of the car as I always slide the seat fully back before I get out of the car and I pay some attention to not running the seats.

Should I have to do this? absolutely not! but I accept it as part of driving the 124 (or ND Miata).

Sorry to see this has happened, as others have mentioned some leather conditioner/polish should help.

TheSalamander
 

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I know this is something you don’t want to hear. The first thing I bought for my spider was covers for the seats. Italian leather is beautiful, soft and doesn’t wear worth a ****. My 2 cents
 

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King,

I can only offer you two things:

1) My complete emotional support. I know exactly how you feel. My car is now 11 months old and has never worked properly, albeit not the most serious issue. But it's the way they treat you that smarts. Their customer service is frankly appalling. I had to learn to separate the car from the company so I could go on loving the car (which I do) while despising the company. I'm stunned that companies still operate in this fashion in this day and age, but it doesn't help that it's a very niche product - we don't have many (any?) other options really. Bottom line - what you're feeling is normal and justified - they suck, but the car doesn't (for the most part).

2) How exactly are you getting in and out? Do you slide in in one go similar to how most people get in most cars? That can wear the seats quite a bit (shouldn't but it does). I learned to enter/exit differently. Now I slide the seat all the way back, turn so my butt is facing the car, sit down in the seat, then swivel 90* right to swing my legs in. On exit, swivel legs out then stand up. This may help mitigate the excessive wear.
 

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If it makes you feel any better I have some scuffs and wrinkles on my Recaro's as well. If you don't plan on the car rolling across the Barrett Jackson stage in 20 years I wouldn't really lose sleep over it. Drive your car and enjoy it. Ultimately it's just a seat cover and a good car upholstery repair shop can fix it in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
King,


2) How exactly are you getting in and out? Do you slide in in one go similar to how most people get in most cars? That can wear the seats quite a bit (shouldn't but it does). I learned to enter/exit differently. Now I slide the seat all the way back, turn so my butt is facing the car, sit down in the seat, then swivel 90* right to swing my legs in. On exit, swivel legs out then stand up. This may help mitigate the excessive wear.
I sit and turn 90 degrees entry method. I try to avoid sliding down the seat.

I don't wear jeans, maybe with another 25 lbs lost I will. I've been keep my jeans in the closest just for that reason. I wear slacks, and Aloha shirts or t-shirts. Noting with rivets, I checked after XR post. I wear aloha shirts and t-shirts; I don't tuck them in... you know to hide the gut. Again in 25 lbs I'll likely change that.

I'm profoundly let down by this whole things. My love for the car, a dropped off a cliff. One look at my Instagram page would show anyone how much I loved the car. I was even trying to arrange models to take pictures with the car... now... not so much.

FCA response is terrible and if they treated me better, I'd likely not be so upset.
 

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King, I completely understand how you feel. Unfortunately, I’m also in agreement that is from wear.

The good news is that you can easily fix it yourself with much less hassle than dealing with FCA. I have a bit of a shoe collection and I like to take care of them. I think this polish might work very well for you. I’ve used the tobacco brown color on my leather couch and it worked like a charm. Good luck and don’t let this get you down!

If you try this, make sure to test in an inconspicuous place first to check color match. I'm sure you can find a color that will match good enough to do the job.



 

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Miata owners have the same problem, but Mazda USA is taking a different, more customer friendly approach than FCA. Try writing a short but well documented letter/email to the new head of FCA explaining the issues with your 60-day old car. Include pics, the steps you’ve taken and the FCA response to date. At the very least, they should out source your car to a local trim shop for repair.
Good luck and keep us posted.....

https://www.124spider.org/forum/129-2017-fiat-124-spider-issues-problems/29110-seat-wear.html
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I’ve been reflecting about this. Its not the failed seat cover as much as FCA absolute contempt and over all hostility towards us Fiat owners.

My Tesla Drive lady friend, had her model 3 smashed while it was parked at building Christmas Eve. She learned of it Christmas morning. I realized from her, my issues is not as much the car, as it is the way FCA is behaving.

My other Tesla friend has giving me ‘homework’ to help me re-bond with my car and rediscover the joy of it. Mostly driving around the island and finding a pretty woman, to ride with me (like I’m not trying).

It’s not the car though. What limited driving I did today, was fine, despite being all highway miles. The trouble is FCA...
 

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I don't see it as hostility, but more a complete lack of respect and caring about their customer base. On the positive side, I have an absolutely excellent service manager at my dealership. He and his team have treated me like gold. But, FCA... I've never seen so many layers of useless bureaucracy in my entire life. They make government offices seem functional by comparison.

Contact them with an issue? Get put on hold while the agent "checks with someone about that". And then the answer inevitably becomes, "nope, we can't do that". Useless as teets on a boar hog. So I side with Zumata's recommendation.

When I got my car and was bent out of shape with all the missing Abarth branding components, and getting nowhere fast with FCA Customer Support (I think that may be an oxymoron), I decided to wage holy war. They just seemed to be indifferent and completely uncaring about my concerns. I had owned a 500 Abarth edition before I purchased the Spider, so I was confused as to why the branding was missing, and more to the point, why they appeared to be going above and beyond the call of duty is disappointing a loyal, repeat customer of their premium line. I wrote a paper latter and mailed it priority post with signature required upon receipt. to the head of FCA corporate. I mailed copies of the letter to both FCA Canada and my dealership. That resulted in me being put in touch with a gentleman that worked for Fiat in their Italian facility, and then things got addressed. I had an issue, I emailed him. He would then directly contact FCA in Canada and light a fire under their a$$ to get things addressed. And they got addressed.

FCA Customer Support doesn't understand their role, nor do they appear to have any interest in supporting the owner base they're supposedly tasked to assist. The only way I believe you will get the attention you seek (and deserve) is to go the "old school" letter route. Clearly explain your issue, outline your correspondence and replies to date, and then concisely state what you want to see done to address your concern. We shouldn't have to take these steps, but if it's the only way to get their attention, then I for one will spend the time and effort to do it.

I wish you success in the resolution of your issue.

PS On a personal level, I too am seeing wear on the inside left side of my Recaro seat. I have purchased a black leather touch up kit to address the wear and scuffing, and longer term, I will have both seats completely reupholstered using higher quality leather via a local auto customizer in my city. I now no longer wear any pants with rear buttons or any other "hardware" that will abrade the leather. I too plan on owning this vehicle for as long as I exist on this planet, and I merely wish FCA had half as much loyalty to me as I do to my Spider. End of rant...
 

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While this is no excuse, I would say you are dealing with old school Chrysler people, not necessarily FCA or Fiat people. Yes, they should be one and the same, but when you have been told to deal with different Euro cars - and change the way you do business - there may be a bit of resentment. Throw in the fact that the Chrysler people don't know what a Fiat actually is, and there may be that 'unknown' aspect. It's also a very low volume, cheap and cheerful, car.

Maybe I'm wrong. I suspect there would be a more support if you had issues with a Jeep or a Dodge.
 

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I hate to see this happen, but I'm just not surprised. The downside of Fiat, and Chrysler for that matter has always been dealer service. There are a few good ones out there, and I have mentioned those in the past, but there are a lot of bad ones. On the upside, the Fiat owners community is one of the best out there. On this thread people have already chimed in with good suggestions to partially repair the leather and to avoid issues in the future. Many of us here try to help out. On this particular issue (leather seats) I can't offer much because it's outside my area of knowledge, but I'll help out with other subjects when I can.


Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #16
King, I completely understand how you feel. Unfortunately, I’m also in agreement that is from wear.

The good news is that you can easily fix it yourself with much less hassle than dealing with FCA. I have a bit of a shoe collection and I like to take care of them. I think this polish might work very well for you. I’ve used the tobacco brown color on my leather couch and it worked like a charm. Good luck and don’t let this get you down!

If you try this, make sure to test in an inconspicuous place first to check color match. I'm sure you can find a color that will match good enough to do the job.



Thank you. I have the polish in my Amazon cart as I type this.
 

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I love my Spider and care about its looks too. I felt the problem with the seat was that the fabric and stitching looked like it was going to wear through entirely! I put shoe polish on the whole threatened area and then a coat of the transparent plastic stuff you can buy in the paint section of the hardware store. It looks too shiny but, screw it, I think it's the way it has to be. Not going to let it ruin my life.
 

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The seats are crap in this car. No ifs, ands or buts. I’ve always had leather seats in my cars. In 2000 I bought a 1980’s rx7 with blue leather seats. They looked brand new and I didn’t baby those seats at all. I babied my 124’s seats. Didn’t help. They are brittle as a China plate.
My Lexus I pile in and out. Jeans, keys in my pocket, you name it. Don’t even think about my seats. They are 2 years old with 30,000km. They are FLAWLESS. Not a wrinkle.
124 seats = crap.
Too bad because it’s an AWESOME car. It’s the Achilles heel.
IMHO
 

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The seats are crap in this car. No ifs, ands or buts. I’ve always had leather seats in my cars. In 2000 I bought a 1980’s rx7 with blue leather seats. They looked brand new and I didn’t baby those seats at all. I babied my 124’s seats. Didn’t help. They are brittle as a China plate.
My Lexus I pile in and out. Jeans, keys in my pocket, you name it. Don’t even think about my seats. They are 2 years old with 30,000km. They are FLAWLESS. Not a wrinkle.
124 seats = crap.
Too bad because it’s an AWESOME car. It’s the Achilles heel.
IMHO
Tom how's the leather quality in the 4C, since is built in Italy, I think Italian leather should be pretty good. Do MX5 owners complain about their leather seats. If so, them Mazda must buy their leather from their neighbor CHINA.
 

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There’s not a single thread or complaint (that I’ve seen) on the seat integrity. It’s robust and has none of the issues that we see on the 124.
However. We have different problems. Our leather dash panels (seemingly limited mostly to 2015) have bad delamination problems. The glue holding it in place seems to lift in a few locations. Mine suffers from it as well. However- Alfa replaces it without even a whimper. No questions asked.
 
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