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saracen

How Do Other Dealers Manage To Sell Cars?

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It is that time again, my car is almost three years old and I'm due to change it in March 2006. So with that in mind I'm doing the rounds of all the car dealers.

My shortlist this year is Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi, Saab and of course Lexus.

Three years ago I visited:

BMW - dreadful customer service, waited 20 minutes, totally ignored and in the end I left.

Audi - Walked in, had a good look at the car and walked out. Just wasn't that struck by the A4.

Jag - the dealer didn't have a brochure for the X-type but gave me a brochure for the XK convertible (eh?)

M.Benz - nice guy in the dealership but they didn't have a brochure or price list at the moment but he would send me one. A week later I had a phone call asking if I had given anymore consideration about the car. I explained I was still waiting for the brochure and price list, I received an apology and a promise that it would be put in the post. Three years on and I am still waiting.

Lexus - never considered them before nevertheless I got exemplary service, the woman who I dealt with all through the sale was fantastic. Walked in to the dealer and was asked if she could help. We declined but just had a look around. Fifteen minutes later she came back and said "I could tell you loads about the car but the best way is for you to drive it". I agreed and went for a 30 minute test drive and I was smitten! Got back to the dealer and she said, don't make a decision yet but take the car for a day and then let us know what you think. Which I did the following week. Picked up a new demo car on 1st March with 80 miles on the clock! Drove the car, returned it and ordered one there an then!

Move forward three years:

BMW - Rang BMW to arrange a test drive, told all sales staff were in a short meeting and I would get a call back. Five hours later no call so I rang back, explained I was waiting for a call, no apology but put straight through to a sales guy. We have a brief chat, he takes my details and says he will look in the test drive diary and give me a call back. That was five days ago.

M.Benz - went to the dealer, had a chat with a guy. I thought I would take a brochure and price list and guess what? They have run out of price lists! Deja vu or what!!! How do they expect to sell cars this way? He did say that all the prices are on the MB web site. And guess what, they are not.

Saab - very friendly guy, easy going, knowledgeable and not pushy. I was more impressed with the 9-3 convertible but if I was going to go down that route I would really want a hard top convertible. So they are a maybe.

Audi - slimy sales guy took me for a 20 minute drive. Nice car but lacked that certain something plus the model will change next year so that put me off.

Lexus - actually went to look at an SC430. Told the guy that I had ordered an IS250 with another dealer. He then spent 30 minutes telling me how fantastic the car was as he had been to Monaco to see it. He told me to wait till I see the car before making any kind of decision. Which he didn't have to do as I had already told him I had a deposit with another dealer.

It looks like Lexus will get my business again...

Just a quick post script, with info on the web and what I received from various dealers to kit up either an Audi A4 2.0 FSI or BMW 325i M Sport to the same level as an IS250 SE-L with Multimedia and auto would cost as follows

Lexus £32,220

BMW £38,175

Audi £38,350

The base price for the Lexus is more than the other two but even then you get a lot more for your money.

Roll on March 1st and one shiny new IS250 sitting on my drive.

Sorry about the length of the post but had to get a lot off my chest :tsktsk:

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congrats on the new car mate.. hope you enjoy!

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Nice to share your experience,

good luck with the new car... :)

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Thanks for the info.

Just out of interest, how would you describe yourself? As I have heard that certain dealerships (including Lexus) sometimes look "down" on you if you don't have the "look" of a potential executive car-buyer...

There are a lot of young members, and have heard experiences from a few...

D.

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This is a good comparison of the dealers, I have to admit I've always been happy with the Lexus sales side of things, that's something they really have nailed down, just a shame the customer side of things is lacking at times and you have to push LGB to get a satisfactory outcome. I guess that's the world we live in nowadays - if you don't ask you don't get.

As for Derek's comment above that's bang on in regards to them looking down on you. I personally play on this a lot, those that know me know i'm pretty laid back and don't dress up smart but when I go looking for a car I tone that up so I'll not bother shaving for a few days, and I'll walk in wearing casual clothes etc and see what response I get. Lexus are always superb, the others dealers can be like day and night! I can power dress with the best of them (yes I do own a suit lol) and it's amazing how differently some people treat you when you're dressed that way.

I was in Lexus one day dressed down as I was off work and while I was waiting someone walked in wearing a suit, completely ignored the fact I was talking to the service people and butted in the conversaion saying they were in a rush unlike me and that they wanted their hire car etc.

Should have seen the look on their face when I drove off in a GS and they were told to get a taxi :lol:

Same thing anywhere, I have the same thing happen at Holiday Inn's when I'm checking in or out and I'm stood in the Priority queue, people suited and buited barge past saying they should get served first as they have a Priority card, I just agree with them and then pull out my priority card and smile :D ******s them right off :D

Anyway, looking forward to seeing how you get on with the new IS, will be good to see who is the first person on here to take delivery of their new IS so we can get all the reports :D

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Hmm now I think about it, most times I've been to the dealers I have been dressed in jeans and t-shirts but that is because I have visited over the weekend. But who wears a suit on their day off??

Having said that I visited a BMW dealer in another part of the country while out of the office one day, was dressed in a suit and pretty much got the same treatment. Plus the dealer I dealt with the other day was over the phone so they wouldn't have a clue what I looked like.

I guess the other thing I should mention is that I am black and mid thirties, but I would like to think that in this day and age this should not make a difference. Maybe my thinking is naive.

Regardless of all that, I am a credible potential purchaser which they would only know if they actually took two minutes to find out.

Their loss is Lexus' gain!

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Although I do believe the majority of Lexus dealers to be better than the other brands, I have had some good experiences with the others too. Was at a BMW dealer once, where again all the sales people were busy, so the manager himself came out and dealt with us until someone was available (pretty good service IMHO)

In actual fact, when my dad bought the Mercedes he has now, it was Lexus that provided us with the worst treatment. The guy we had dealt with all along was off on maternity leave when we went to test drive (which no one had informed us of) and then when we got there, they all just kinda went 'sorry he's on maternity leave' as though we should then turn and leave. It was only when I asked can someone else take us on a test drive that they actually offered it, and even then it was with one of the receptionists! After the drive, we got back, and were left with an awful salesman, who tried to give us a pitiful p/ex value, and we ended up leaving :angry:

That day we were all set to sign on the dotted line for the new GS, and that experience put us off totally, ended up buying a Mercedes :driving:

I do agree, this kind of service is appalling, but I think its starting to appear right across the brands now, you've just got to find the good ones among all the others :winky:

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The first time I turned up at Lexus it was in jeans and t-shirt and was only interested in seeing how big the boot was cause I knew that would be the deciding factor for the wife. The salesman was great and suggested we bring down suitcase and pushchair etc to test drive the boot or to take a 24hr test drive of the car. The service at Lexus Reading has always been excellent.

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This is a good comparison of the dealers, I have to admit I've always been happy with the Lexus sales side of things, that's something they really have nailed down, just a shame the customer side of things is lacking at times and you have to push LGB to get a satisfactory outcome. I guess that's the world we live in nowadays - if you don't ask you don't get.

As for Derek's comment above that's bang on in regards to them looking down on you. I personally play on this a lot, those that know me know i'm pretty laid back and don't dress up smart but when I go looking for a car I tone that up so I'll not bother shaving for a few days, and I'll walk in wearing casual clothes etc and see what response I get. Lexus are always superb, the others dealers can be like day and night! I can power dress with the best of them (yes I do own a suit lol) and it's amazing how differently some people treat you when you're dressed that way.

I was in Lexus one day dressed down as I was off work and while I was waiting someone walked in wearing a suit, completely ignored the fact I was talking to the service people and butted in the conversaion saying they were in a rush unlike me and that they wanted their hire car etc.

Should have seen the look on their face when I drove off in a GS and they were told to get a taxi :lol:

Same thing anywhere, I have the same thing happen at Holiday Inn's when I'm checking in or out and I'm stood in the Priority queue, people suited and buited barge past saying they should get served first as they have a Priority card, I just agree with them and then pull out my priority card and smile :D ******s them right off :D

Anyway, looking forward to seeing how you get on with the new IS, will be good to see who is the first person on here to take delivery of their new IS so we can get all the reports :D

Agree with some of your points Aido. But having worked in the retail industry for years now, customers love to try and get something for free whether their in the wrong or not.

Peaves me off when I get stupid cusotmers complaning about things outside of my control and the services I sell. Its like in this day and age peaople come to expect to much sometimes. Anyway, rant over............... :lol:

Good dealer experience anyway. :D

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I've had excellent after sales at BMW dealers, especially warranty work even when they weren't the supplying dealer. I took a 5 series to the Watford dealer without any notice and they immediately took the car in, spoke to the warranty company and replaced the drivers window switch module. Not a long job, but they couldn't have been more efficient.

Their sales side however is hard work, you just get the impression that unless you are waving a brief case full of money around, and wearing a suit they're never going to take you seriously. Never any follow up calls either which is just plain odd

The Lexus dealer for me was something I've never experienced before when buying a car, this is my 16th so I've bought a few. Test drives were not a problem and they had the car sorted the next day :D luckily it was already registered tho. I've never been to buy a car in anything other than jeans a T shirts

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Thanks guys for some great comments. It would appear that it is not just me who has experienced bad service.

Martin C - your 16th Lexus!! You change your car more often than some people change their underwear!!!

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Martin C - your 16th Lexus!!  You change your car more often than some people change their underwear!!!

No mate, lol, my 16th car, 1st Lexus I've owned :D

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UPDATE

OK, the story to date: After relaying the whole sorry episode to a friend, they suggested that I contact BMW UK Customer Service. He reckoned by doing so they would be on the phone kissing my @ss and asking how they can restore my faith in the BMW brand.

Email sent Monday, automated response promises reply within 48 hours.

Wednesday late evening, no response, send another email saying where is promised response. Receive another automated response promising reply within 48 hours.

Finally Thursday get a phone call from customer service apologising profusely, saying they are in contact with the dealer and will give me a call when they have a satisfactory answer.

Next the dealer manager rings apologising and that he will get someone to deal with me personally and they will ring back to organise the test drive. I asked about the reason for no call back, he claims my phone number was taken down incorrectly. I tell him I would accept this had I not given my number to not one but two different people at the concerend dealership. For two people to get the number wrong is just inept. He says he will investigate further.

Then BMW GB contact me to say that the dealer will be contacting me to arrange the test drive.I explain that the dealer has already been in touch.

Then the dealer rings back to organise a day. The dealership confirmed that I could take two vehicles (330 diesel and 325 petrol) for an extended test drive.

The test drive can't happen til 5th November because I am away but I will keep you posted.

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yeah, i had similar experiences... Lexus really does have the sales service down...

But what really irritated was - A Nissan dealer i visited was better than most BMW and Audi garages..

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On Saturday I went for my test drive with BMW, a 325i M Sport. The guy who took me out was very good, offered me coffee before and after the drive. Took time to go over the car and its features. It was a real revelation after my initial experience with the dealer.

Test drive took around 50 minutes, got a real good feel for the car, it did great to drive BUT I won't buy one, why? There are too many on the road, I hate the iDrive system, and it's too expensive when compared to the Lexus, how long is that options list!

While in the dealers I did notice that on the side of every desk was a laminated note detailing how to deal with customers coming into the showroom:

Greet customers within two minutes of entering the showroom

Offer them coffee/tea

Offer them the opportunity of a test drive

Answer phones within 5 rings

Take customers details and follow them up

I guess BMW drivers will soon know what it feels like to visit a Lexus dealership.

At the end of it I rang Lexus and managed to go for a drive in an IS250 SE-L with Multimedia. It was great to drive the two back to back. My personal opinion, the Lexus beats it hands down, mostly because it is great value for money, more technologically advanced, interior quality has no equal, it's a great car to drive and it will not be as common as the BMW.

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see i had a very different view of the dealers

i went looking like a hobo, amazing how people pre-judge you. With my old fleece old trousers on, unshaven for about a week.

Lexus - werent interested

BMW - fine test drive straight away in the 5 series, staff fairly friendly, never gave me a contact number though

Merc - Very friendly, helpful, test drive straight away. didnt judge me at all

Audi - arrogant salesman, test drove A6, he suggested an A2 for me, as that looked more in my budget, he didnt know my budget.

Saab - All salesman were too busy, so after an hour we walked out.

so there we have it and the best drive was actually the merc. The salesman was actually interested in his cars, he was the only one who knew about the range he was selling. So my mum bought another too.

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If they are the York dealers (n/a for Lexus) Thom, your experience mirrors mine, except you could substitute saab with jaguar. Merc York have sold three new cars to members of my family in 12 months. The way they look after us has a lot to do with it.

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Martin C - your 16th Lexus!!  You change your car more often than some people change their underwear!!!

No mate, lol, my 16th car, 1st Lexus I've owned :D

I've lost count of how many cars I've had, but I'd be happy to compare notes sometime :D

Must do that on a more general thread I guess...

Leland

Edited: Just done the count.. I'm waiting on delivery of number 15 (i.e. the RX400h which should be delivered the end of next week... fingers crossed)

L.

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If they are the York dealers (n/a for Lexus) Thom, your experience mirrors mine, except you could substitute saab with jaguar. Merc York have sold three new cars to members of my family in 12 months. The way they look after us has a lot to do with it.

yeah well my family have been merc familys for a while, have just gone with them now.

pick it up in morning.

tbh they have great customer service there

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