By on March 7, 2014

1-72288352-sm

As part of a partnership with the nice people at Road&Track, I’ll be writing an opinion piece for them once a week. Because, you know, I have opinions. Today’s rant recaps my attempt to help a friend buy an FR-S. Check it out. And before anybody asks — I stole the above photo from the R&T website, but it’s okay, because I’m the one driving.*

*It’s still not okay, probably.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

107 Comments on “I Know You’ll Be Excited By Yet Another Article About The FT86...”


  • avatar
    krayzie

    Can we do a rundown on which blogger on TTAC has and hasn’t done an article on this car, and keep a tally? :D

  • avatar
    andreweku

    Outstanding article over at R&T. You really hit the nail on the head. I haven’t been in the market for an FR-S or BRZ myself, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been looking at a car and gotten pissed off when I know more about it than the salesman does. How can they expect a bunch of Corolla/Camry/RAV4-pushers to sell people on a car with zero practicality? You purchase one of these on an emotional level, not because you can fit more groceries in it than a competitor’s vehicle. They just can’t tap into the passion that needs to be involved with selling cars like this.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Car salesmen aren’t trained to know much about the cars they sell – they’re trained how to SELL. Remember that 97% of the people who buy new cars aren’t enthusiasts at all.

    Since the FT86′s are strictly aimed at enthusiasts, anybody wanting one should go into the dealership knowing what they want, and whether the dealer actually has it. All this can be done online and in advance.

    These cars will either sell themselves or they won’t. Don’t expect the salesman to sell them.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      In the construction industry you never meet a sales rep that doesn’t know their product. Never. That’s probably the case in ever industry other than cars. It’s absolutely insane how little car salesmen have to know about what they’re selling.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        carlisimo, you’ve never met a stockbroker.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Hahaha. So true.

          I have a good friend that works for JPMorgan Funds in Columbus, OH. He works on creating managed asset portfolios for higher end clients. Some of the poeple actually selling those portfolios at Chase branches have no clue. Luckily, its down to a science where the financial advisor is just collecting data and a wrap fee.

          Its the financial advisors that like to churn and burn that you need to look out for. Making a trade for the sake of making a trade is terrible. As someone who had to manage financial advisors, I’ll take the inexperienced guy that relys on the systems in place instead of the guy who tries to beat the street with grandma’s nest egg.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          Or been to Best Buy…!

          • 0 avatar
            wumpus

            Old joke: what’s the difference between a car salesman and a computer salesman?

            The car salesman at least knows how to drive a car. [Later, once everyone had a computer] a car salesman knows when he’s lying.

            Both pale before the ignorance of a stockbroker (or anyone in financial sales).

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Actually every automaker has detailed training on all their models. it’s just that most salesmen don’t care to retain the info in their brains.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheeljack

        Word. When I was selling cars, any prospect that wanted to tow their potential new purchase behind a motorhome was funneled to me since I knew what I was talking about and they (the other salesman) couldn’t be bothered to learn.

  • avatar
    vvk

    The problem with hachi-roku is 128i.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s actually 228i.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s really not. I looked at 128i and it was retailing up from $40k. I didn’t even take it out for a test drive (I know this probably invalidates my opinion).

      • 0 avatar
        vvk

        So order it. Does not take that long. Base model is under 30 grand with all discounts. Now your only option is used (not 228i, which is just too heavy) which means low 20s.

        • 0 avatar
          wumpus

          I know even Consumer Reports is underwhelmed by Toyota “quality” these days, but can you compare a used BMW vs. a Toyota (or can you buy a used 128i that still has anything left on the warranty for less than $30k?

          Sounds like apples and oranges (but I’m happy if there is a reason to buy either than 86 or the 1-series. I drove the hell out of a AE85 (mostly the same car without the 16 valves) in the late 80s and would love another go. Also love the idea of losing the pork of the 3 series, but understand that nobody is willing to pay 3-series money for an honest-to-FSM compact).

  • avatar
    319583076

    The consensus on these cars seems to be that they suck. Whether that’s due to the hype machine that preceded the car or the execution and performance of the actual car is still a little unclear. I haven’t driven one and I most likely never will. Now I’ll obey JB and see what his take is…

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      TTAC’s opinion, maybe. There is a bit of pride on being a contrarian on TTAC, though. The model definitely had teething issues, but it is a fantastic drive for someone that likes small, light sports cars. If you like the Miata and the S2000, you will like this car.

      • 0 avatar

        I love this car. My sister bought one. The only reasons I haven’t bought one are that the roof is too low for me (head is right up against it), not enough greenhouse, and unusable back seat. (on the latter point, my brother in law has a Lexus, with plenty of back seat, and there’s a Volvo XC90… so she doesn’t need a useable back seat.)

        It’s wonderful to drive.

        Of course, so is my sister’s son’s ’03 Accord coupe, despite the slushbox. But the FR-S is tighter, more responsive.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        Not just TTAC’s opinion, but you knew that, right? Will the true contrarian please step forward?

        Let me clarify my poorly expressed opinion. The consensus on these cars seems to be that they offer no real compelling reason to choose them over other enthusiast options (driver’s cars) and furthermore, there seem to be several compelling reasons not to choose the FRS/BRZ. I say consensus because this seems to be the conclusion of the print and online sources I regularly read, which happen to be diverse and many. I’m aware that some people really love these cars, I’m not aware that those people are the majority who have expressed an opinion. Finally, they aren’t selling. Regardless of what the autojournos think about these cars, the real voting results are in…

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          Over 30k of the twins sold in CY13. According to what Subaru and Toyota were expecting, that seems in line (and quite good for a car that is so compromised for daily driving). You seem to be saying that the car is a failure because it doesn’t have a broad appeal. It is a niche product. It was always going to be a niche product. The bigger, easier to live with, cheaper Genesis coupe can’t be selling better considering that the sedan and coupe combined for 32k sales in 2013. It is only a failure to people that want it to be something it was never intended to be. It was never going to provide the space, cost, and big engines of the Mustang or Camaro. It was never going to provide the hot hatch practicality of a GTI or ST. It was never going to be a WRX. Yup, for $25k, you can buy a lot of things, but all of those things are very different offerings. The biggest thing that draws me to these cars is the fact that they are not trying to be everything to everyone. Good fun in the smallest, most agile package possible. The Miata is the only other new competitor, IMO. If I had no kids, I’d probably go Miata… especially due to the fact there are tons of NC Miatas on the used market for ~$10k. I have one daughter, so the twins it is.

          • 0 avatar
            bodayguy

            Yeah, people need to stop calling it a sales failure, at least in the U.S. It’s done fine so far (but sales will probably crater now that no improvements are ahead).

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            Even Toyota management has called it a sales disappointment.

            It’s tough to say it’s doing well when the company making them doesn’t agree with your viewpoint.

          • 0 avatar
            bodayguy

            They said sales in Europe were poor. I suspect the price point is an issue there, and competition surely.

          • 0 avatar
            84Cressida

            The US execs flatly said the car is selling well for them and they are happy.

            Try again.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            Revisionists. Show me an endorsement of the car from motortrend, car and driver, automobile, or road and track. Show me an endorsement from ttac, autoblog, jalopnik, or grassroots motorsports. One of you is citing Toyota execs as a source in support of your claim that sales haven’t been disappointing. Allow me to adjust my reaction, you’re not just revisionists, you’re credulous myopics!

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            Great reviews of the twins are all over the place (some even over the top trying to compare them to Caymans and such)…

            http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/articles/kids-are-all-right/
            http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/oneyear/coupe/1401_2013_subaru_brz_limited_verdict/
            http://www.caranddriver.com/features/2013-10best-cars-feature-2013-scion-fr-s-subaru-brz-page-10

            While the car definitely has flaws (which cars don’t?), those all seemed like pretty solid endorsements of the car.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    You could make this argument for any vehicle that doesn’t sell on space, looks, power, or fuel economy (you know, things you can see or read directly from the sticker and know what it means). They aren’t engineers or driving enthusiasts. They don’t care or want to know what a limited slip diff does unless it can help them sell a car to someone else that doesn’t know what an LSD is… and someone that doesn’t know what an LSD is doesn’t care if the car has one. Like you said, there is no reason to spend the time teaching people about that car. The internets give you all the info you need. The salesman’s only role is to copy your driver’s license and give you the keys for the test drive on something like a Miata, S2000, FR-S/BRZ. Other than looking nice, they just don’t make sense to most people. My dad loved his Mustang and Chevelle back when he was in his teens/20s. The twins make no sense to him, though, other than looking nice.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Until you’ve had a salesman tell you that a Mazda 6 wagon is the same length as a Mazda 3 hatch because he’s a golfer and he’s paced it out… That was the same day that I looked at a Mitsubishi with 15 degrees of negative camber in its left rear wheel. I said it was wrecked. The salesman told me that he had the Carfax, and it proved the car had never been repaired. That was the problem.

    I’m not sure what the right level of information is for a car salesman to deliver while you’re looking at a car. The dealer I worked for in college had a script for the guys selling Hondas. It was factual, but did anyone care that you could retract the windshield pillar periscoping antenna from the driver’s seat? Half the stuff they were supposed to cover was true of pretty much every car on the market and sounded condescending as could be, even if it wasn’t complete BS. A couple years later, I heard the exact same script in another city while looking at a used Corolla at a Toyota dealership. I started saying it along with the guy in the hope he’d stop. He didn’t.

  • avatar
    jco

    just listened to this story a few days ago, so I had a more vivid mental picture of the moron salesmen you had to suffer through:

    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/513/129-cars

    your friend is wrong, though. it may be FailWD, but Accord coupe doesn’t scream family car to me. even sedans at this point don’t always suggest a family. CUVs, though. yeah.. it’s a minivan, you’re fooling no one.

    • 0 avatar
      JKC

      They’re not minivans… at least not the smaller ones. They’re jacked-up station wagons. And that said, a lot of ‘em will embarrass an FT86 in acceleration, just like Jack’s Accord does. There’s an expectation of power for would-be sports cars, and the FT86 doesn’t seem to be meeting it.

  • avatar
    ant

    hey, you put up a post asking ttac readers to help you pick a new car.

    That post generated 500 comments.

    How about you tell us how you ended up buying a honda V6 manual.

    What other cars did you test drive?

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    That was hilarious. I love Fargo movie because of that TruKote pitch. So you had me laughing from the first dealer.

    Curious about the power discrepancy – first time since leaving the Eastern Block many decades ago that I’ve heard something like that.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Read the R&T article and learned that Baruth had to sit in the back of the BRZ. God is just.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    It’s funny how dealers selling a particular brand will spend 30 minutes talking up their product, how great and reliable it is, only to turn 180 degrees and say that if you don’t get the electronic rust inhibition module your new car will rust out from underneath you as soon as you get that first paint chip.

    If I was an automaker I’d be livid.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      This is pretty much the same tactic that they use to sell their extended warranties. At least in that case they wait until you’re in the business office and are signing papers to buy the car. Telling customers the car they’re looking at is a frangible piece of crud in the parking lot is taking stupid to the next level.

      When they try to fear sell their warranty, I like to recoil as if in shock and say that I’m going to have to think about the purchase and look at what else is out there.

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        I used to hate having to listen to electronics salesmen try to get me on the extended warranties, but I’ve found a way to make it amusing. Try to be holding the product in your hands when the inevitable sales pitch comes and then indignantly say “so this is a piece of junk? I don’t want it anymore” and then attempt to hand the product to the salesman.

        Most people will instinctively accept an object when you hand it to them. The salesman must overcome that initial urge at the same time he has to suddenly defend the quality of the product. It can make for some serious awkwardness on their part. Fun!

      • 0 avatar
        JD321

        I work with a guy who had a similar “experience” with the gang of thieves that call themselves “automobile franchise dealers”…They tried to sell him a $2K LoJack Wallet-Empty Package and he said “I didn’t realize these cars are in such high demand by thieves. I need to reconsider my purchase”…And he just walked away.

  • avatar
    ant

    When I bought a new car two years ago (stick-shift TSX), I test drove a Mazda3, Impreza, verano, CT, Accord, civic si, and of course I had a loner TSX from Acura while my 04 was in the shop.

    All of the sales people were pleasant to deal with, with the exception of the dickhead at Acura.

    The guy at Mazda/Subaru was especially good at his job. Explaining the Skyactive technologies in the engine and transmission…. He also explained how a Boxer engine was different in easy to understand terms.

    The girl at Lexus was very nice, and explained the Toyo synergy drive tech in the CT to me in easy to understand terms.

    The guy at Acura knew that was the car I wanted, and just tried to make as much money on the deal as possible.

    I can’t help but think that dude at Mazda/Subaru in Green Bay would have done a great job selling a BRZ. He’d of loved to jabber with a gear head.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The problem I have with Acura is their scarcity of dealers. If a Honda dealer ticks you off, you go with the one in the next zipcode. If an Acura dealer ticks you off, you already drove 60 miles out of your way just to get annoyed. We have a 2004 TSX. It’s an amazing car, and it made the transition from 18 years of German cars a pleasant surprise instead of a compromise. We’ve followed it up with two Hondas instead of additional Acuras though, and the reason is the dealer treatment when the car was delivered.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        You can’t take an Acura to a Honda dealer? I’m not trying to make a badge engineering joke, even though it sounds like one. I take my Lincoln to a Ford dealer, because I trust that dealership, and I know someone that takes his ES to a Toyota dealer.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          You can absolutely take a TSX to a Honda dealer for maintenance, but you can’t buy a TSX or an RDX at a Honda dealer. That’s what prompted us to buy a Civic Si sedan and a CR-V after our experience with the Acura dealer.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Ok, thanks for the clarification.

          • 0 avatar
            sproc

            For full-price retail maintenance, yes absolutely you can go to a Honda dealer. But unless something’s changed very recently, they’re not going to honor the factory warranty.

            I once had a brake caliper hard fail on my under-warranty Integra many hundreds of miles from an Acura dealer. The only option was a Honda dealer or I was stuck. I did manage to get Acura to pay for it, but it involved much paperwork and reimbursement of out of pocket costs.

            If that’s changed and Honda dealers fully support Acura, I’d love to know.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Thats different than Ford dealerships then. I’ve had warranty work done to a Lincoln at a Ford dealer. They were more knowledgable of the problem than the Lincoln dealer.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            The Acura survived its warranty period without needing any repairs and the Honda dealer did perform a TSB inspection early on. A couple years ago, a squirrel chewed through a fuel line over the gas tank and the Honda dealer fixed that, but I think it was paid for by homeowners’ insurance.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Funny, I bought an Acura (2004 TSX, new) rather than a Honda because of the way I was treated at the local Honda dealers. I was 28 and a bit scruffy at the time, and I think that explains why.

        I gave up after three Honda dealers covering most of the Seattle metro area. At the first one a sympathetic receptionist couldn’t even get a sales guy to talk to me. At the second one, I at least got as far as a round-the-block test drive in an Accord V6 automatic, but the salesman refused to do anything but try to sell me that exact car (a blue demo) that afternoon. No interest in finding one in the color or configuration I wanted (this was before online inventory). The third one said (without knowing anything about my income or job) that a Civic would be more in my price range, and I walked out.

        By contrast, the Acura salesman was a model of helpfulness and good service. I test drove his demo, he pulled out his inventory sheet, we saw that a car in my desired configuration wasn’t on the lot right then but was on the way from Japan in a couple of weeks, and I put down a deposit for that car.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Our Acura salesman was charm incarnate. We agreed on a price, ordered a car from him and gave him a deposit. When the car arrived, I wasn’t there but my parents were taken into the business office and worked incessantly for after-sales BS.

          • 0 avatar

            My only palatable experience buying a car, ever, was at a Lexus of Albuquerque. Our salesman was a gentleman in his 80s, but extremely well preserved. I think he had some clout with the store, so didn’t have to do the usual customer abuse routine or meet his quota. He knew basics of the cars he was selling, too. Bet he met the quota anyway.

            We cross-shopped with Acura (tried TSX), and it seemed like the salesman was bored out of his skull.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Your story is all the more remarkable for the guy being older. Sometimes you catch someone new to the profession that is good to deal with, but generally the good ones don’t last.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    “No, the numbers aren’t great, but you can’t say that I’m not doing my part to encourage people to buy the little Subaru that could (…). A few days ago, I fired up my brand-new Accord V6 Coupe and drove it forty miles to my friend Albert’s house.”

    This, this is comedy gold. Well done.

  • avatar
    Cubista

    The question that I can’t believe anyone hasn’t asked yet is:

    What’s the deal with the exhausts on the Hot Lava 86 at the top of the R&T article? Them’s lookin’ NICE.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    I’m pretty sure every sales rep featured on This American Life episode about a Long Island dealership (Town & Country Jeep Chrysler Dodge Ram) having to sell 129 cars in one month (it’s a good episode, and not Communist at all; you should check it out!) would laugh the dealers you dealt with off the lot. “French stitching or some s***?” “Capable of being dual?” What a couple of clowns!

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    To answer the last question and primary point of your R&T article:

    I doubt that salesman-illiteracy is the issue behind BRZFRS selling, most people don’t know a single thing about the cars that they spend hours upon hours and money with, they just treat them like TVs.

    Though, to question a smaller point, why is it that BRZ’s have “weaker” engines than FRS’s despite putting out the same specs? Is the BRZ supposed to deliver things a bit more smooth but constrained?

    No kidding on the BRZ being gutless though, a few weeks back I was beside one that was trying to get in front of me, I matched its speed and we were even enough to where the BRZ dropped back, my basically stock Volvo 240 having been gutsy enough to hang with it.

    Truthfully I am getting tired of the FRZ stuff, they’re shallow attempts at what a sports car should be. They’re less Mazda MX-5 and more generic-grade Nissan S12.

  • avatar

    Amusing but ultimately pointless tale. The cars are enthusiast vehicles and any reasonable salesman knows it so there is no need to ‘sell’ the vehicle. Besides enthusiasts in every category know miles more than every salesperson. Try buying a tv if you know plenty about them or audio gear the list goes on.

    I don’t know what you guys do but I’ve usually decided what car I’m going to buy long before I ever walk into a dealership.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      They don’t have to ‘sell’ the car, but they should know at least a little about it and realize when they are digging themselves a hole and need to shut up.

      So what that most of their products target a different demographic. Learning at least the basics of the products they sell isn’t a big request.

  • avatar

    I don’t know about others, but I’m quite excited about another of those articles. Derek summed up the conventional wisdom in respect to engine power, but I suspect there’s more to be said. And frankly, being reasonably affordable, FR-S is much more relevant to me than BMW X6 or whatever.

  • avatar

    I’ve been through the article and frankly Albert’s adventure was a carbon copy of me buying a Wrangler. The salesman asked what color I would like. I answered that I don’t care, I just want a 2D Rubi with 42RLE. It went downhill from there. But they had some kind of Mopar display car in the lobby!

    One sad part, however, is that Scion was supposed the _exactly_ what Jack seems to be proposing in closing. You come into the store, pay the Pure Price, pick up the keys and drive it away. And they tried to do this back in 2004, they really did. But in the decade since then Toyota sales force conquered and assimilated those little enclaves, and it was a significant factor in Scion de-facto put on death watch at TTAC.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      It sounds kind of Saturnish doesn’t it.

      Saturn was a no-haggle, here is the price, simple option tiers, here are the keys. They started with competitive products, that died on the vine due to non-investment. Then came the 3.0 54-degree V6, CVTs and the L200 – game over.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Well, a broken down C4 Corvette is definitely slower than an FR-S – unless the FR-S has failed bearings, then they’re about a dead heat in the 1/4 mile. ;-)

    Not directed at the number of B&B who sell cars here – by the simple fact they read here indicates they are a cut above.

    I have never in my life in buying a car run into a sales person that knew more about the vehicle they were selling then what I researched in my buying decisions.

    Wild claims of the 1/4 in 13 flat for the FR-S/BR-Z, faster than a Corvette, and watch yourself with the dangerous 200 HP I need to drive it first only hurt the reputation.

    • 0 avatar

      Well you have to realize that a certain legend is being sold here, like when Takumi is on the bumber of Keisuke and the latter tells himself: “This cannot be happening. I have 350 hp!”

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      >I have never in my life in buying a car run into a sales person that knew more about the vehicle they were selling then what I researched in my buying decisions.<

      I bought a few cars, new and used, from a guy that was president of the BMW CCA for many years. He knew what he was talking about. He's the only person I've ever bought a used car over the phone from. Last I heard, he is still selling new BMWs. The funny thing is that he knew BMW was phasing out making good cars about a decade before I accepted it.

  • avatar

    > If Subaru and Toyota are in a position where the most knowledgeable advocates for their product are the buyers themselves, why not deal the dealers out for once?

    We need to get ruggles here to get the dealers’ position on this. Probably something like “I let these nerds think they know so much better while I milk them for those $850k profits, but dealers are so great, srsly guys”.

    • 0 avatar
      koshchei

      In so many transactions, dealers come across as uneducated inarticulate sociopathic mouth-breathers who work tirelessly to undermine the tens of millions that automakers spend to craft the perfect message to their prospective buyers. They seem to exist for no other reason than to extract profit from a transaction, while guaranteeing that the buyer drives away feeling like they’ve just been raped by a gorilla.

      It would make so much more sense to visit a company website, tick some boxes, pay a fixed profit margin built into a non-negotiable price, and then drive to a company outlet to pick up your new wheels when they arrive.

      • 0 avatar

        From what I can piece together about the reasons for this setup (from pch et al), the primary seems to be that manufacturers as a class of companies with ~4% expected margin don’t want to absorb dealers as a retail org w/ ~2%. Stock-equity/etc on wall st. is generally graded into these bins and from external experience with the other end of that spectrum it’s beneficial to be higher up.

        So apparently the Real™ reason why we’re stuck with dealerships is the way our financial system is set up.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    ***Spoiler Alert***

    In the sequel, Albert says “screw this noise,” and proceeds to buy a Hyundai Veloster.

    • 0 avatar
      koshchei

      Or a gently used STi that a senior citizen was talked into buying when she turned in her 2008 Lincoln Town Car, equipped with the Church Parking Lot Bumper-Car Edition™ trim.

      • 0 avatar

        > Or a gently used STi that a senior citizen was talked into buying when she turned in her 2008 Lincoln Town Car, equipped with the Church Parking Lot Bumper-Car Edition™ trim.

        Too soon.

        http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2014/02/03/22562716-elderly-driver-backs-over-7-killing-3-after-church-in-florida

        • 0 avatar
          koshchei

          The best part is that she won’t be facing charges; apparently multiple vehicular-homicide doesn’t count if you didn’t mean it.

          • 0 avatar

            > The best part is that she won’t be facing charges; apparently multiple vehicular-homicide doesn’t count if you didn’t mean it.

            Naw bro, she’ll plead it down to 4th degree vehicular negligence and community service at the senior home, and she bakes the cookies on bingo night anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            koshchei

            Nobody deserves bingo night at a senior’s home. It’s like a slow-motion reenactment of the trenches of Normandy, smothered in a marinade of mothballs and industrial-grade disinfectant.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Nicely done. Can’t really blame the sales drones though…if you get 40 Camry buyers a month and one or two guys looking for an FR-S, which car are you going to know inside and out? And not just the tech specs, but the paperwork, and how much you can tweak the numbers on the pricing. Those guys can probably write up a Camry in their sleep, an FR-S probably requires looking things up and some phone calls. You know…work.

    Sure, it’s their job and they should be on top of it, but that’s humans for ya.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Agreed. I’ll concede that as a Hyundai salesman I was much more familiar with the sonata and elantra than the genesis, since I was in those cars every day. I did know how to jump start the dead battery in the genesis very effectively, though.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Great article, Jack. I’ve given you some static for a few of your recent contributions so I have to give credit where deserved. Balanced treatment of the car and great illustration of the trouble with the modern buying process.

    The way to do it at this point is to get a test drive of the vehicle(s) you want first, to decide what you want (or if you actually want what you think you want). Then go home, find all the dealers that have a car more or less like the one you want in inventory (doesn’t need to be an exact match), and email them for prices. Within two or three rounds of back-and-forth you will discover which dealers really want to work with you and which can’t be bothered. At that stage, you can go back in person. I’ve bought three new cars this way and have never had to go back in person to more than one dealer, and the experiences have been universally good.

  • avatar
    ajla

    No one over the age of 16 cares how fast your Accord is.

  • avatar
    wmba

    The FR-S salesman was clueless, revved the shit out of the engine and laid a strip of rubber before beckoning me to get in. Told him I was going to drive, not him. After the drive, he wanted my Visa card so he could ask the Sales Manager about my trade-in. Since I could not see the connection between my credit card and an appraisal, I declined and left, because I couldn’t have cared less anyway.

    The Subaru guy knew nothing about the BRZ, but was cagey enough to figure out I knew my stuff. This happened twice, once for auto, once for manual. No accompaniment on the drive, he just threw me the keys. I’ll deal with a guy who knows when to keep quiet. It’s a talent.

    Yessir, that Accord V6 6MT sings a siren song though.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    Damn it Jack. Now I am lusting for a V6 Accord Coupe with a stick!

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    Awesome article.

    When I looked at a Forrester the dealer was “BOXER ENGINE!!! MY GOD YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE BOXER”. He then started a long explanation and pumped his fists together up and down “this is a regular car” and then towards each other “this is a boxer. See the difference?!?”

    I thought about asking for a repeat performance for youtube.

    • 0 avatar
      koshchei

      You could have made it better by asking the salesman to illustrate using various objects around his cubicle, and then adding a Kids of Widney High backing track.

  • avatar

    i was seriously interested in the toyobaru, particularly the baru version as scion frankly makes me want to puke. so i called my local baru dealer and asked if i could have a test spin. no way, he says. nobody wants a car than you’ve test driven. huh? so i tried the local scion idiot. same response.

    thus i have a focus st. but i still am seriously interest in a toyabaru ….

  • avatar

    Jesus. Tell me which dealerships you went to, so I can avoid them forever. They were at 270/Sawmill, weren’t they?

  • avatar
    tedward

    I’m not surprised at all that the Toyota sales guy was ill equipped to handle an FR-S customer. What bothers me is that the Subie rep was a total incompetent. This is the company that sells the WRX and STI! At the same time! For that much money! What do they do when those customers come in?

    I’ve dealt with a lot of dealerships and there are only two common threads I’ve seen that lead to good sales staff. They are 1)a low percentage of income derived from commission, and 2)a sales manager who is an enthusiast. #2 is more important in my opinion, the enthusiast won’t tolerate ignorant staff unless they get stellar numbers, and that doesn’t happen unless they are an awesome person to talk to (hence, no problem even if not really knowledgable.)

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I bought a Forester about a year ago from a very good salesman (Dave Wheeler at Carter Subaru in Shoreline, WA). He wasn’t that knowledgeable about the product, but he was a nice guy and very upfront — no b.s. We talked a bit about that. For every performance Subie he sells, he sells 20 Outbacks or Foresters. Performance is just not the bread and butter of Subaru’s business.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    Funny article but I have had the same experience with any kind of car, sports car or not. There are a lot of salesman that simply don’t want to know about cars, they want to make the quickest, easiest sale. If they think you are wasting their time they cut bait and move on. Sure, I have met some good ones, enthusiasts who just like cars, or professionals who take their job seriously, and they are a pleasure to deal with. But its a transient job, and sale in general is about 80/20 for morons to good guys, why should car sales be any different.

    Two of our three local Subaru dealers LOVE the BRZ, the third I think doesn’t even know what it is. The local Toyota/Scion dealer I went to had a sales guy much like yours, knew nothing about the car, or any car, and didn’t even seem interested in showing us any of them. But the more dedicated Scion dealer in Tampa was very proud of it and very knowledgeable.

  • avatar
    sastexan

    Great article as usual, Jack, but the headline is completely misleading (on TTAC; the R&T headline is on point). The article primary subject is the salespeople and process; the Toyobaru has a minor plotline. Also, despite you harassing your buddy about the Accord being faster, I’m pretty sure that you have said in your writings that ultimate speed is but a minor issue in a vehicle. Maybe it was your piece on taking the Camry rental to Summit Point?

    Also, like a few others have said, the Toyobaru lower-than-expected sales projections are in Europe, not here in los Estados Unidos. That statement might get you a few more clicks but it does degrade your journalistic (blogolistic?) integrity.

    I am one of the few (maybe not in this crowd) who enjoys battling with the salespeople, lecturing them how they don’t know the product they are trying to sell at all. I still don’t understand how anyone can be successful in sales and be clueless to their product (and customer), but that seems to be the preponderance of car salespeople.

    • 0 avatar
      koshchei

      Misleading how? The article is about the FT86, so Jack’s on solid ground there. Were you not excited, or are you calling into question his prescient foreknowledge of your excitement?

      I agree with your appraisal of ignorant salespeople and ever-elusive success — I don’t get any pleasure from lecturing them though; I honestly don’t see enough value in the service that they’re supposed provide as a profession to make any effort to get them back onto the straight and narrow of providing a positive experience to people who walk in the door.

      Either they’re prepared to deal in a prompt and efficient manner, or they’re not. The second I see them start typing random numbers into their archaic AS/400 interface, I know that it’s going to be several hours of meaningless back and forth before any semblance of reality enters their pitch. In a sense, I miss the old four square forms. I could at least colour in the boxes, which would cut through the nonsense faster.

      The most useful piece of information I’ve ever been given when dealing with salespeople is that there’s no such thing as a standard form of agreement — you can do whatever you want.

      • 0 avatar
        sastexan

        The article really is not about the FT86 – it is about his friend car shopping and the worthless car salesman they met. Yes, the car plays a role as a niche product, but his buddy could have been set on a Chevy SS (salesman says – I can get you in an Impala at a lower rate and today only, the 2LT is half off!), Fiesta ST (I got a few of ‘dem Fusions in every color, and it got that same fancy turrr-bow charged motor!), or Audi TT (we have some very nice A4 and A5 that for the same price, have a back seat and a better lease rate). That was my only point about the headline.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States