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Your Happiest ICE (New or Used) Auto Dealer Story

Discussion in 'Model S: Ordering, Production, Delivery' started by Pollux, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. Pollux

    Pollux Member

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    Hi,

    In another thread, the conversation once again veered off into fulmination against auto dealers. I was one of the ones fulminating. :) And I wrote, "Rare indeed is the happy auto dealer story."

    Well... in these forums, I read many happy Tesla stories. I *write* some of those stories, as Tesla sales, service, support and the product itself have been eye-openingly good. I've been buying used and new cars since 1982, 31 years:

    Cadillac used Fleetwood limousine
    Dodge used Colt
    Saab used 99
    Nissan new Sentra hatchback
    VW used Golf
    Audi new A4
    Toyota used 2004 Prius, new 2010 Prius, new 2012 Prius, used 2007 Prius
    Tesla new 2013 Model S
    Porsche, Mercedes, Volvo, Acura, Honda, BMW, Ford - dealers I've walked into and walked back out of without making a purchase

    As I think back about those vehicles, I have decent or bad stories about the private purchases. The ones that involved used car dealers were all at best barely adequate. At worst, I got screwed in one way or another (or several ways). The new car dealer purchases were adequate, but none of the experiences filled me with anything other than dread, boredom, infuriating negotiations and incredible paperwork. The sales people at all the dealers ranged from friendly to indifferent and even to somewhat hostile, but uniformly I felt that I was being patronized, my concerns dismissed, and my attention constantly redirected to what the sales person wished to sell me as opposed to what I wished to buy. I was astonished at the lack of interest salespeople at Porsche, Mercedes and BMW showed in me; it was as if they couldn't be bothered.

    The Tesla buying experience was the first and so far only one I actually enjoyed. I dealt with 18-25 year old "kids", and all they did was fall over me like puppies, showering me with love and information and even on occasion **down-selling** me ("do you really want to spend more money on the + option? Our customers tell us that they love the car even without the +!").

    So, in an effort to acquire some positive anecdotes about non-Tesla auto dealership experiences, please share your absolutely *best* auto dealer experience. Whether used or new. Maybe you had a great experience with Mercedes or some other brand supposedly known for taking great care of its customers. Please do tell.

    Thanks,
    Alan
     
  2. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    I can say that I've had one dealership experience that was better than average. My wife was shopping for a new minivan and we were trying to keep costs as low as possible. So, Honda, Toyota, etc were out of the question. We went to a Chrysler dealer where we were immediately directed to the bottom of the line Town & Country which was being steeply discounted relative to the other configurations. The salesman explained that they often used this vehicle to attract people then tried to upsell features like stow and go seating, leather, DVD players, etc, which put people in the other trim lines. He was honest, direct, and gave us a fabulous deal when it was clear that we didn't care about those other features. Plus it was President's Day weekend and they had some great rebates. Got a 2005 with V6 for $16,500. Only $500 more than we had paid 10 years earlier for a 4-cylinder manual everything Caravan.

    I really appreciated the candor when we were clear about what we wanted. We did finance through them (at a competitive rate) so they made a bit of money on that end.
     
  3. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    I had a fantastic experience with South Coast Mitsubishi in California once. Bought a car over the phone, passed them my financing information, my shipping company picked it up and brought it to me in Ohio. Very good experience.

    That's the only one I have, though. The others were all relatively poor.
     
  4. bonaire

    bonaire Active Member

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    Wanted a Mazda 6 sport wagon in late 2004. Researched it, liked it. Found a Manual transmission one at my somewhat local Mazda dealer. January, 2005. It was a dealer demo so they took about $8K off the sticker for me and another $500 at signing. Took about an hour to go in, talk to the sales guy, work the deal and sign with F&I for a loan. Quite easy and it was a great car for 7 years before I got my Chevy Volt in summer of 2012.
     
  5. Rifleman

    Rifleman Now owns 2 Model S's!!!

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    Every ICE I have ever purchased from a dealer has been a major headache. I suppose the best experience was my Volt from Joseph Chevrolet, but even that was still a major headache, with lots of back and forth and fighting to a fair lease price.
     
  6. swaltner

    swaltner Member

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    Several new vehicle purchases over the years and the only good experience was buying my 1994 Saturn SC2. Showed me the car, gave me a copy of the price list that EVERYONE pays and soon had the deal complete. The fixed pricing like on a Tesla made the whole process easy.
     
  7. Plug Me In

    Plug Me In Member

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    I've bought 3 new cars in my life, the Tesla being one, Toyota Prii being the others. Never had any problems buying used from private sellers. The first Prius I bought in 2006 was pretty painless. They were in high demand then, so I was fortunate to find one with no wait. Many dealers were selling above MSRP, but this one in Jackson, TN asked MSRP. I went in, signed some papers, handed over the check and drove away. No shenanigans. The Plug In Prius in 2012 was a different story. Different dealer, this time in Virginia. Lot's of back and forth, haggling, "let me talk to my manager", and we settled on a price below MSRP but then the final invoice showed a mystery $750 fee that was explained as a transport fee, in addition to the delivery charge of $750 already listed. A couple of different vague explanations were offered for the fee and the dealer "did me a favor" and lowered the price a little more, but I don't think it matched the $750.

    In comparison I took home delivery of my Model S after having forwarded them the loan paperwork but they never asked for the down payment ($30+K). Things were a little haphazard in the early days of Model S deliveries but I never got the feeling of being intentionally scammed,screwed, or otherwise taken advantage of. This, unfortunately, is par for the course when buying through a dealer. Of course, after the first drive with my new Tesla, I was so excited I went right to my computer and sent them the cash.
     
  8. breser

    breser AutoPilot Nostradamus

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    I've actually not had too bad of experience buying cars from dealers. First vehicle ('95 Toyota Camry) I bought was used and I bought it from a dealership where I knew the owner in the town where I grew up. Moved out of state and replaced that vehicle with a '98 Toyota 4Runner that I actually ordered via the same dealer and then drove home (traded the Camry) and dove back. The closest to shenanigans then was they put their advert badging on the vehicle when we'd agreed not to do that, but they removed it after it was pointed out.

    Since then I've bought a '99 Lexus GS400 from Lexus of Bellevue which I felt fairly treated (traded the 4Runner). They let me drive the vehicle home that day despite the cash to pay for it not being available for another week. Nothing more than a handshake and a promise to bring the check back the next week. Though I had been shopping for a car at other places at that point and several of the dealerships wouldn't even give me there attention (hint sales people, you never know who can buy what you're selling).

    Later I bought a 2004 Ford F-150. This is probably the first experience I had with slimy dealers. There were plenty of dealerships in the area, I knew what I wanted and I knew what I was willing to pay. The F-150 was just redesigned and dealers wanted to sell because their future inventory was being determined based on their early sales. On a counter balance to this inventory was slow showing up and so some dealers were trying to mark the vehicles up quite a bit. I sent a fax (or maybe email) to a number of dealers saying what I wanted and what I was willing to pay. One dealer told me they had what I wanted and were willing to accept what I wanted to pay. I showed up at their lot and they didn't have anything close to that, effectively wasting my time. Another dealer wouldn't sell to me unless I bought a service plan. Eventually one of the dealers I'd contacted earlier that initially hadn't had what I wanted called me up and said that a vehicle matching my request was going to be delivered in a few days. I was skeptical, but the next day they called me and said it was there. Went out to look, was a perfect match, bought it on the spot and picked it up a few days later after they had it prepped. However, since then whenever I take the vehicle in for service it's very difficult to get them to do anything. I have to convince them that the problem I'm complaining about is real. For example, I took it in due to a leak. They tried to tell me it was just the A/C system and that they couldn't find a leak. After having it leak some more, I crawled under the vehicle and pinpointed the leak. Took it back, again they tried to give me the whole A/C condensation line. I told them what I'd seen, where I'd seen it and this time they found that the front differential was leaking, took it apart, replaced the seal and my leak was resolved. But every thing even when the problem is obvious requires convincing them the problem is real. Strangest thing since you'd think they'd want to take my service money.

    My Model S replaced the '99 Lexus. Still have the F-150.
     
  9. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    My high point with any dealership starts and ends with the statement, 'you seem like a nice guy, so..'
     
  10. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    When I purchased both the 2001 and 2004 Prius, Toyota had their online ordering up so that the price was fixed and the dealer only had to deliver the car, so I didn't get hit with a "market adjustment" which sometimes added $5K to the price. Even so, both experiences were a pain as the dealers made it as uncomfortable as possible.
     
  11. cgiGuy

    cgiGuy Member

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    I once purchased a Jeep Grand Cherokee from CarMax. I didn't have a trade-in, so it was a fairly simple process, since they are a "no haggle" place. What I thought was the most impressive part, was that the salesperson also printed all the required paperwork right at his desk. I never spoke or dealt with another person (accessory/warranty up-sell person, finance, etc.). Probably took 30 minutes.

    Most other experiences were just plain bad, though.
     
  12. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    the only "happy" experience I've ever had at any dealership is when I search around for the exact configuration I wanted , found a list of matching cars, and then call ahead to the dealership and ask for their internet sales manager and completely negotiate thousands of dollars off before I even bother to step foot on their lot. this has always been very successful for me because internet sales managers are paid salary, not commission, so they aren't in the business of haggling and they almost always give you the lowest possible price. if they don't give me the price I won't over the phone, no problem. I call the next dealership on the list. I've received many thousands of dollars UNDER INVOICE using this method including sales offers + manufacturer rebates + cutting down their private dealer holdback %." it completely cuts out the dirty salesmen. luckily, I'll never have to do this ever again because I'll never buy another car that's not a Tesla.
     
  13. Pollux

    Pollux Member

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    Great stories! Keep 'em coming, please.

    I'm going to start a counterpart thread that may gather quite a few more stories, of a different sort...
     
  14. astrotoy

    astrotoy Member

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    Back in the early, mid 90's GM had a credit card which for every dollar spent you would earn 5 cents credit toward the purchase of any new GM car. Our daughter was going to turn 16 in 1995 and I got a GM card in anticipation of buying her a car, but not just any car. It was going to be a Geo Prizm, made locally, at the Numi plant in Fremont (where guess what are made today). It was actually a Toyota Corolla with a different branding and a slight body shape difference for a couple thousand less. I told her she could have it equipped the way she wanted, whatever color, but I would choose the engine (the lowest powered 4 cylinder engine they made) and anti-lock brakes.

    When purchase time came near I had earned about $4000 in GM credits. Through the Consumer Reports car buying service I found a local Chevy dealer (who also sold Geo's) who would sell the car at invoice and order it directly from the factory with exactly the configuration we wanted (sounds a bit familiar?). It was ready in two months and we picked it up from the dealer at exactly the price we had agreed upon - invoice, minus the $4000 credit. Total was about $12000 for a new Geo. My daughter drove it for ten plus years, including moves to Chicago and Boston and actually sold it to a friend for a few hundred dollars. She is now 35 with 2 kids and no moving violations, which her friends and husband say speaks much about her good luck.
     
  15. Btrflyl8e

    Btrflyl8e Active Member

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    this is how I purchased the 3 cars before my Tesla. Still had to spend hours at the dealership doing paperwork and waiting for who knows what. Mercedes was the only good experience I had, older gentleman handled the deal and didn't treat me like a kid just because I'm a woman. Infiniti on the other hand... First sales guy didn't want to be bothered because I wanted to test drive a specific car in their inventory and he didn't want to get it from the overflow lot. Well, that was the one I wanted to buy, why would I drive a different one? He handed me off to a new girl, so I got a deal and she got a sale.
     
  16. William13

    William13 Member

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    My happy dealer story is not for my car. I called my childhood friend and asked him to sell my dad the Buick he wanted but to make sure it had lane departure and blind spot alarms on it. My dad (85+years old) dutifully bought the car from my friend but complained about the cost versus other dealer prices (likely without the warning systems). The first year he complained about the alarm bells. Now he praises the alarms. He and everyone else are safer. I am happy.
     
  17. Evbwcaer

    Evbwcaer Member

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    Bought a Toyota Tacoma and they offered to give my paint protection, basically clear film, for $500. I said no...because I had noticed the car already had it. It took forever for the paperwork to get all finished....because they were peeling the film off the car! I called them out on it about two days after, when I finally figured it out. There were still little pieces they missed, they seriously offered to finish the job, offered no refund, apology, remedy, but fully admitted to it. That was Walser Toyota in Bloomington, MN
     
  18. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    If that was your happy story, I am dying to hear your worst dealer story !
     
  19. skdave

    skdave Member

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    My Lexas 2003 SC430 was the best ICE car ever. Never any issues. Always got thumbs up even after 11 years. Now my Tesla makes me think it was junk. crazy!!
     
  20. karmamule

    karmamule Member

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    In my case it was when I bought a Saturn around 1995. They had a fixed price sheet they handed to you so you knew you were getting the same price as everyone else. You worked with the salesman to figure out exactly which options made sense and it was surprisingly similar to my Tesla buying experience. No hassles, no haggling.

    When I came to pick up my car they brought me into a delivery room with just my car in it, and photos on the wall. Almost everyone from the dealership came in to give me a round of applause as they took my picture with my new car and stuck it on the wall with the others. I'm a bit on the shy side so was embarrassed, but at the same time enjoyed it.
     

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