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Discussion Starter #1
Further to the issues I've mentioned before on here with excessive swirl marks and light scratches in the paintwork (or more specifically in the lacquer top coat) I have decided to return the car for a refund.

I'm hugely disappointed to have been forced to make this very difficult decision, but I just cannot live with a car that I am afraid to wash for fear of making it worse, and where I cannot help but notice all these marks whenever I see the car in sunlight, or under the lights in my garage, or at a petrol station.

The dealer has seen similar marks in all their red cars, and on mine they tried some minor machine polishing which did remove the worst of the marks, but they are still there, and in my opinion, unacceptable. As far as I can tell, the damage had been done at the import centre, probably with a careless quick wash using an old sponge and dirty water, perhaps after an equally careless pulling off of the white protective covers over the main panels. The Passione Red is particularly unforgiving, being a dark colour and non-metallic, but the dealer has seen similar marks in the Ice White cars too.

I've seen similar reports on other car forums, and whilst most people can't even see the marks, or don't notice them, or choose to ignore them, there is a tiny minority out there for whom these marks are unacceptable, and that now includes me.

The sales manager at the dealer has escalated the issue to his General Sales Manager (for the West London Motor Group) and I suspect it will go further up to Fiat UK, although they are aware of the issue and had agreed to carry out the machine polishing. I suspect it will not be all plain sailing however.

I can't get the Photobucket slide show to work, so check out these image links and see what you think...
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I agree with @racergary, I absolutely cringed when I seen those. I would have lost my mind when I seen that especially in person. I can't disagree and say what you're doing is a bad idea, I would do the exact same. What're you're plans now though ?
 

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Just saw the pics. As bad as they look, I'm nearly certain they are all superficial and removable by an EXPERT detailer. Go online and you'll see much worse swirl marks completely eradicated, even to the most discerning eye. These seem limited to the clearcoat – not the color later – and don't appear deep. Even the slightest abrasions will cause light to reflect as if the damage were extreme, when in fact it's not. I've shown many cars in Concours, and witnessed/experienced detailing miracles. I would not give up on this car... yet, anyway.
 

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"...a careless quick wash using an old sponge and dirty water...". Yes, that's what it looks like in the photos. This is why I never allow the dealers to courtesy wash my car when I take it in for service. A teenager will do a 4-5 minute car wash, which almost guarantees damage. Which reminds me, when I take delivery of my Abarth I'm going to supervise prep, and I definately won't let them wash it.

I feel sorry for you. Hopefully your next car will be perfect.
 

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What a mess, much worse than I thought.
As you know I have the same car. I too have scratches but they are nothing like yours. At worst it is a single line scratch for about 1/2 inch to the worst one is 4 inches, but you can only see them by 'looking' for them. I will go and look again under a strong light to see if I can see any swirls. My dealer had 3 passione red and one white in their first batch of cars, not heard of any complaints from the others but will ask for you. Danny
 

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You've been remarkably forgiving to put up with it this long azzura. They have accepted the issue and failed at the remedial work.
If all goes to plan will you be opting for a metallic finish next time?
 

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If they're willing to refund you, go for it, expect the best. That can be fixed, if this amateur was able to do this, they could fix up your car if you really did want to keep it. I haven' had any issues with dealers washing my vehicles, I hate plastic windows and they have some magic trick that they won't tell me as to how they can get the plastic windows like new every time I go in.... I have the plastic polish, mopar kit still doesn't come out as good...

 

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I have decided to return the car for a refund. I can't get the Photobucket slide show to work, so check out these image links and see what you think...
That's really grim, I quite understand how you feel. Sadly after just over 500 miles I may have to sell my Azzuro Italia metallic blue Lusso (with tobacco upholstery) due to a knee problem. So just in case you're interested at say £1,200 under what I paid last month (and to include the personal reg), drop me a PM. Check my profile and Garage for more pics.
 

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Hi Azzura, I have just been out to my car No 12. In very good light in the garage I cannot see any swirl marks at all. I have then used a 500w roving floodlight and looked again especially in the areas of your photos - nothing. I have taken some photos under this intense light but they don't show any imperfections on your scale.

I would be happy to let you use my car as an example of how it left the factory and remained in acceptable condition at delivery, to prove that yours has been damaged prior to delivery. I am retired so time is not a problem. If I can be of help just send me a PM. Danny
 

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For consumers, Meguiars makes a fantastic like of compounds for paint and/or plastic finishes. Highly recommended.

Excellent local detailers can sometimes be found by inquiring at ultra-high-end supercar dealers. See their work before hiring, and have them do a test sample on a small inconspicuous area before proceeding further.
 

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That looks like something a good detailer could clear up to me. Mine did wonders on my 4c.

That said unfortunately some of the paints used now because they're water based scratch if you just look at them wrong, my black alfa 4c was horrendous, but in alfa circles, the red was rated the most fragile.

I'm not horrendously particular about the paint figuring it will get scratches, dings etc.
 

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Worst case scenario a professional could wet sand it, then polish it. However such methods are getting into the concours territory, and doesn't come cheap. Mind you, the paint work would look better than factory...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the expressions of sympathy. I know that there's a good chance that a professional detailer would be able to remove most if not all of the marks, but the dealer already tried (albeit not very hard). I did obtain a quote for a further machine polish from a friend who I trust, who runs a local Fiat-approved body repair place. But I figure that even if the selling dealer agrees to pay, it would be on the understanding that I could not return the car afterwards if I was still not happy, and I've proved that the marks will readily re-appear, so I feel that's too much of a risk. I do use Meguiars products (I have just clay-barred and 3 stage polished/waxed by hand my Peugeot 306 cabrio ready for sale) and have been looking into getting a DA with appropriate polishing wheels and compounds, but then why should I have to think that way? Surely I shouldn't need to DA polish the car every time I wash it?

But I am thinking of replacing it with another, and am extremely grateful to lordofthewings for the offer of his Blue/Tobacco Lusso. Whilst the lacquer coating on a metallic colour would probably be just as soft and ready to accept swirls marks and fine scratches, the reflective flakes in metallic paint make the marks much harder to see, so yes, I would consider a metallic colour.

I have been put in touch with the Fiat and Abarth Country Manager UK who has promised to get Customer Service to investigate, and at the same time the dealer is trying to figure out what to do, so for now I will wait and see, but sadly I'm not driving the car any more...
 

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under those circumstances I would of not taken possesion of the car. And would ask for another one without scratches. Let them figure out their problems or ask for a new paint job and and some rebate.
 

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I first wanted the red color and when I saw one on the dealer's lot, when we were first looking, it was displayed on a ramp under intense Florida sunshine and the paint appeared dull and almost old looking. I would have expected a metallic red or something richer with the name Passione. Anyhow, after seeing that car I was turned off by the red (I have had 3 previous red cars) that I began to look at the other colors with metallic. Ended up with the Argento Grigio (aluminum) and absolutely love it with the saddle interior. One of my friends also pointed out the cool brake lights in the rear would have not shown up as well in the red.
I imagine what I saw in the red is what you are seeing in your blue. Other red Spiders did not look as bad but they were not in the intense sun light.
I hope things work out for your car.
 
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