By on September 21, 2016

Tesla Supercharger With Model S At Tesla Dealership

Jeff writes:

I recently started shopping for my first new car in a decade. I have looked at Infiniti, Audi, VW, Cadillac, Genesis, Tesla and BMW.

Something that really stuck out about the process was the different dealership experiences. The quality and happiness factor of each dealership seemed to coincide with the price of their cars.

Tesla was by far the best — in another league really. BMW, Cadillac and Infiniti were next, with Audi and Volkswagen trailing behind. Genesis was an exception: maybe second best in terms of sales people, but set against the backdrop of a mediocre Hyundai showroom.

My question to you: how important is the dealership to the overall ownership experience? Is it worth considering a brand because of its dealers? The people waiting for service at BMW seemed happy, with their free coffee, wifi, and snacks, while the people at Volkswagen seemed depressed and, well, broke. There was a burnt pot of coffee and powdered milk there, while Infiniti and Genesis had fresh ground Starbucks.

The overall feeling I got from Volkswagen was that you get what it gives you. If you don’t like it, buy a different brand. VW won’t miss you. Higher-end stores made me feel as if they were doing everything in their power to keep me satisfied. Hyundai apparently realizes how important this is on multiple levels. Genesis doesn’t just have a concierge service for convenience; it wants to keep its high dollar customers out of its low-rent showrooms.

I don’t want to let my pride get in the way, but I also don’t want to give my money to dealerships who flaunt the fact they don’t really care about me as a customer.

What are your thoughts?

I have a few reactions to this, but let me get the first, most obvious one out-of-the-way.

duh

Yes, luxury dealers are typically going to offer a better service experience. For the typical Lexus shopper (think low driver engagement, focused on #brands, more concerned with type of coffee in service area than engine displacement), this sort of thing matters. However, there’s a reason that Ford/Volkswagen/Hyundai dealers don’t do this. Allow me to explain.

I was recently at a luxury dealership that sells several luxury lines (McLaren, Porsche, Aston Martin, Ferrari) as well as some more mainstream brands (Audi, Jaguar). This place was absolutely mind-boggling. Valets at the front door to park every potential customer’s car. A huge customer lounge with barista. A branded merchandise store with as much square footage as your average VW showroom.

Do you know what this GM’s biggest problem is with his volume brands? The showroom intimidates volume-brand customers. An A3 or XE customer feels like he’s not important enough or like he won’t be respected enough by the dealership employees when he shows up with his $30,000 car. They’ve actually considered moving the volume brands over to another showroom to solve the problem.

So instead of interpreting it as “the dealer doesn’t care about me,” maybe try looking at it from another perspective, which is that they’re crafting the experience that the customer expects.

There can be benefits to buying the most expensive car that a volume brand sells, too.

Back in 2001, I bought a Hyundai Santa Fe GLX, which was, at the time, the most expensive Hyundai money could buy. When I went to the dealer for service, it immediately moved my car to the front of the line for service. The service manager knew me by name, and acted as though the Beatles had shown up every time I was there.

My guess is that the Genesis dealer would deliver a better customer experience than a Tesla or BMW store would, simply for the fact they don’t sell many Geneses. It’s like the difference between how Kimpton treats me as an Inner Circle member versus how Marriott treats Platinum customers. Marriott has a million Platinums, while Kimpton might have a thousand IC members.

At the end of the day, remember that you’ll spend thousands of hours behind the wheel of your car, and maybe a dozen hours at the dealership — total. Pick the car you want, and don’t let your ego get in the way.

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75 Comments on “Ask Bark Brief: How Important Is the Dealership Experience?...”


  • avatar
    n_tesla

    I sold my Genesis because my dealer interactions were so poor. I imagine Genesis will have consistency in customer experience until they open their own stores and staff them with a team they hire away from an established luxury brand. Yes the experience matters. I have a friend who gets his Toyota Highlander serviced at the Lexus dealer and pays more for the experience.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think you’re foolish, but I do think you probably shouldn’t take one poster’s anecdote as gospel of an entire brand’s experience.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Dealership experience? What the hell are you doing wasting your time at the dealership? Negotiate online and have them deliver the car and paperwork to you.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Wonderful idea. Has that ever happened? The more likely response is, “When do you want to come in an talk about your new Corolla?”

      • 0 avatar
        Erikstrawn

        A friend of mine successfully negotiated online a couple weeks ago. He emailed a few dealerships and never gave them his phone number. The ones who wanted his business dealt with him fairly. The ones who didn’t kept pestering him to give them a call or stop by. After a few days he had a short list of cars to look at and went to those dealerships and negotiated a good deal.

    • 0 avatar

      I had everything about my (granted, used) car purchase worked out before I ever walked in the door, including a worksheet with totals signed by the sales manager. There was some very brief discussion about the value of my trade in, just because they’d never seen it, but it was painless and the offered amount still in the range they provided before I showed up.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        I bought my car that way, and arranged an identical experience for my MIL just a week or two ago. Even the trade in was painless, I just told them what their goal was if they wanted it and they basically got there.

        As far as dealerships go, every dealer principal or gm runs their own business. Outside of showroom design and csi evaluations the manufacturers have to basically work with them if they want to politely ask for changes to the business model. Buy the car, not the dealer. The only exception is if you are only comfortable with dealer service and all the options are rated extremely poorly in your area.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Me too, when I bought the Jetta SportWagen in ’14. Granted, I was out-of-state, but all I had to do was sign some papers and drive off.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Well, most of us like to test-drive before committing to even a $15k car, let alone the minimum buy-in at a luxury brand, eh?

      (I cross-shopped Audi, MB, BMW, Honda, and Volvo *in an afternoon*, myself, with test drives of an Allroad, GLK250, X1 [no 328 wagons in stock], Crosstour, and V60R.

      It took that information from ass-in-seat time to realize I loved the Volvo interior and seats – and that the V60 was too small.

      Likewise, the Allroad was great except for its size.

      “Just send me one with the paperwork” would have been an utter non-starter.)

    • 0 avatar

      Test drive all you want. You still did. I’m saying once you know what you want, just ask the right question and make the offer contingent on test drive and inspection with a mechanic of your choice.

  • avatar
    cshouts

    I sold my Veracruz because the Hyundai dealer(s) in my area could care less that I had purchased their (at the time) flagship vehicle. The Hyundai service experience is terrible; stay away from the Genesis! Stick with your gut and go Tesla, BMW, or Cadillac.

    • 0 avatar
      here4aSammich

      Was there actually something wrong with the vehicle that couldn’t be fixed? Or did you sell it because they didn’t bring out a brass band every time you rolled up? I have a hard time believing you sold a car because your a$$ wasn’t kissed the way you expected. Personally I buy my cars on price and the expectation that I won’t need to be back for service.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      We have a Santa Fe Limited with tech, which is the most expensive non-Genesis Hyundai you could buy. We have been back to the dealer exactly zero times because nothing has broken, and it’s cheaper/easier/faster to go to a local garage for oil changes and tire rotations.

      If I have a warranty issue, I’ll be back there and mabye have a reason to complain about service, but as of now the vehicle has been rock solid. Even then, we generally drop off and pick up our cars when they get serviced. Dealership experience doesn’t matter to me since I’m not going to be there a second longer than I have to.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I have to second the “duh”. You buy a premium-priced car, you get a premium experience (which you’ve paid for.) Lower end brands aren’t “flaunting the fact they don’t care about you as a customer”; you simply haven’t paid what obsequiousness costs.

    Really, it’s stupid to buy a luxury car (vs. a VW or a regular Hyundai or a Chevy) just because you like the furniture and coffee in the service department. You can buy an awful lot of lattes at the Starbucks across the street and quite a bit of comfy furniture for your living room for the price difference between a Toyota and it’s Lexus equivalent.

    (And, really, even the most unreliable cars these days are pretty good, and you shouldn’t be spending much time in the service dept. either way.)

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Haha, I was going to say pretty much the same thing. Just bring your own Starbucks. You’ll save thousands.

    • 0 avatar

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Since most luxury makes provide loaner cars anyway, you won’t spend much of any time in the dealership regardless of how unreliable the car is or isn’t.

      • 0 avatar
        Hemi

        Nope go check out any Benz dealer in Long Island. Those customers love to enjoy the free food, coffee and swirl inducing car washes lol. People hang around to feel important and enjoy the free shit

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          @Hemi

          Evidently people in Maine have better things to do.

          That said, I did spend 30 minutes at the BMW dealer yesterday for my annual state inspection (they do it for free if you bought the car there). The waiting area is nice, the ubiquitous cappuccino machine worked well (real china), lots of snacks, fast wifi and an 80″ TV on the wall. Seating for probably 20, 3 people there at lunchtime. That’s about as many as I have ever seen waiting. I spent most of the 30 minutes chatting with my sales duddette. They hand wash the cars and do a decent job of it. First time in 5.5yrs I have waited for the car.

          Their estimate for four new 17″ Conti RFTs for my wagon was hilarious though – over $1500 with an alignment. Yeah, no. And of course, their estimate for changing the coolant, brake fluid, and cabin filter was even more hilarious (and I had already done those things anyway). Can’t blame them for trying though.

          In case anyone is looking for a deal on an i8, they have a leftover 2015 they are willing to deal on, could probably get $20K off.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Also depends on the dealer – by which I mean, the Toyota dealer I take my Corolla to is freshly-remodeled and has great service and atmosphere, and is big enough to not be a zoo, at least in the evenings when I do my business there.

      Not as awesome as I hear Lexus dealers are, but not the commonly heard here experience of a Toyota dealer concerned purely with volume.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Yeah, we skipped 3 closer Toyota dealers (typical Toyota slice-and-dicers) to get to a newer dealership 10 miles away. Nice waiting area, free coffee, reasonable prices. Good folks.

        The 4 different Subaru dealerships I’ve been to have all done a great job. You can tell customer service is a priority for them.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Try harder Bark. The split brand dealership had a problem unique to them. A volume brand offering top tier service would not make the customer nervous that the volume brand car they purchase wouldn’t be respected. They’d see that respect delivered to all the customers, and enjoy it. Hate to burst your bubble, but my wife’s purchased used 3.3 liter 130k mile Lexus gets our names known, all star treatment, F-type loaners, and extra chocolate for the little one.

    Jeff,
    If you’re going to dealer service the car, it matters. It has more value than this Subaru buyer likes to admit. There is a certain level of connection even if you don’t plan to service it at a dealer because recalls, TSB’s etc. are treated very differently by a service oriented dealership than one that sees you as the scum they F’d in F&I. Bark makes a living by working with volume dealerships and there is some chance it influences his view of them.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      If you brought your 130K vehicle into my Lexus dealership, I’d fill your kid with all the chocolate in Belgium, because you’re driving off about $3,500 lighter.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        You’re frequently pretty smart, but wrong on ths one. The most expensive repair we’ve paid for was the (known weak point) steering hose. It’s more of a flexible manifold than a hose, but no where near 3.5k. Sorry to hear about your experience, mines been different.

        Oh! maybe that’s it. I didn’t go into your Lexus dealership. I went to a different one. You’re still smart.

  • avatar
    JLGOLDEN

    Over the past 6 years, my household has done business with Subaru, Acura, BMW, Kia, Cadillac, Chevy, Mazda, Audi and VW. We have also visited more than one Houston-area dealer per brand listed. Standout thoughts: Chevy stores seem the least consistent, while feeling the least distinctive. Subaru: We always felt like we were part of a special club at Subaru, we were greeted by name, and their Flavia coffee machines were mindless fun. It was a warm-fuzzy experience with Subie. Cadillac looked the shiniest and felt the most elegant, highly professional…and yet I felt out of place. Audi and VW seem to give us the warmest feelings, as we’re surrounded by a relatable customer demographic, engaging showrooms with branded merchandise displays, well stocked coffee bars, and cheerful staff.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      At my local Caddy dealer, it’s like 90% of the employees (exc for one hot receptionist and some of the techs in service) are on Social Security or at least close. If you were a 30-something person I think you’d feel kind of out of place.

      Every customer in the service waiting lounge was old like me also, except for one NFL baller who was getting his ‘Sclade worked on – those defensive backs aren’t that big but OMG they are carved out of granite like material.

  • avatar
    SearMizok

    Sadly, the term “Stealer” instead of “Dealer” is pretty accurate. Watch some of the YouTube videos for Car Salesman on how to improve their sales methods, and it’s scarey to say the least, borderline should be illegal.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I have never bought from a hard sell dealership. Can’t we treat each other with some respect?

  • avatar
    whitworth

    I never really thought it was all that important until the first time I owned a “luxury” car and had it serviced.

    I went from a few Fords in a row to an Infiniti, and it was night and day the dealership experience. The “sales” part of it was basically the same, a scummy car salesman that you had to play all the stupid games with (like walking to your car before you got the real price, etc) but the service department definitely was a big change.

    And the cost of service at a luxury dealership is not significantly more than what a non-luxury car dealership costs, at least in my experience. And getting things like a “free” loaner really is a game changer to make things easier.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Depends on the brand and such.

      Doing the “maintenance warranty period” 10kmi oil change and inspections for my XC70 (basically “an oil change and looking at stuff”), the receipts claimed the “real cost” of the service if not under warranty would have been over $400.

      Which means *there is zero chance* of me ever, ever taking the car to them again, since the maintenance warranty is going to be up soon.

      (A Volvo-specialist independent, yes. The dealer, no.

      I mean, Any Quick Lube Place will do me full synthetic for under $100.

      That extra $300 is not plausible as Magic Volvo Specific Knowledge Application, not for looking at a car with 30kmi on it.)

      • 0 avatar
        whitworth

        Well to me, that’s a separate issue.

        Certain dealerships may be more aggressive with selling things like “30k mile service”.

        What I’m saying is, if you have an Acura dealer or a Honda dealer perform roughly the same job, the price per hour of labor is not that far off.

        Just a recent example, my friend had to have the fuel pump on his Tahoe replaced and it was basically the same price as I remembered from my Lexus.

        Of course, there’s always exceptions.

        Where “stealerships” really rake consumers over the coals are those package service deals at an arbitrary number where it’s a whole lot of “inspect this fluid, etc” that ends up costing like $800 and all that was done was a pint of new power steering fluid. Just follow what the owners manual says and just have those specific services done.

        The other area I’ve noticed a lot of upselling is brake jobs, especially with them pushing to do all 4 corners at the same time. Such a scam. Most rear brake pads don’t need to be replaced until around 80k plus miles.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          “Most rear brake pads don’t need to be replaced until around 80k plus miles.”

          This is true, but up north the rotors rust up within 5-6 years and need to be replaced anyways. “Enthusiast” maligned rear drums certainly start to make a heck of a lot of sense for daily drivers in northern climates.

          • 0 avatar
            duffman13

            “the rotors rust up within 5-6 years”

            I’m not sure I’m following here. Rotors develop surface rust in 2-3 days if there’s rain and the car doesn’t get driven. I find it hard to believe the center section rusts so badly the rotor has to be replaced in 5-6 years if you’re not putting mileage on the car.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Not such an issue anymore, at least with the best quality rotors. My BMW is now 5.5yrs old, in Maine it’s entire life, driven in the winter, and the rotors look like new, not a spec of rust. They are using some sort of coating on them now. Cheap rotors, yeah, after a year or two they look like they were on the bottom of Casco Bay. Other than where the pads actually rub, of course.

            When the time comes to replace them, it will be OEM rotors again, I will gladly pay the added cost. They also look like they will be good for another set of pads too, very little rotor wear, though I have not actually measured them yet.

  • avatar

    The showroom experience is a reflection of the brand, and what is mandated by the manufacturer. Furniture, lounge, delivery area, and so on. The people at any dealer are managed by the dealer, and ultimately its the people that make a difference.

    The showroom reinforces the product, the brand, and hopefully assists in the customer’s decision process.

    The best service experience is to get in and out quickly, unless you want to wait around for an oil change, or some diagnostic work. The luxury car customer has absolutely no desire to hang around a dealer when having a car serviced. They might linger a little longer when picking up the car usually after work.

    In for service have a courtesy car ready, return the courtesy, have a chat, pay his bill, and leave.

  • avatar
    nsk

    Collection does have the reputation of an extreme high-end dealership, so it’s natural that a guy shopping for an A3 would be intimidated by $300k McLarens in the service drive. That said, every service and sales experience I’ve had there has been very good, but for competitiveness in pricing for Porsches.

    This week I picked up a part from Hennessy Porsche, and it ended up being not the one I had requested. I didn’t mind driving 25 miles each way to swap it out for the correct part, since the dealership has seriously cool metal in the showroom, great snack and coffee selection, and genuinely competent people in the service department.

    MB Buckhead used to – maybe they still do – put a rose in the passenger seat of women’s customer cars in for service. I think that’s a ridiculous gesture, but my wife found in charming and has made it more likely to her for shop for a MB in the future.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Not sure how it is in the USA but in Ontario the experience varies by dealership more than by brand.

    Have a dealership near me that sells Cadillacs out of a run down, much too small building and lot.

    Meanwhile GM shut-down the nearby Pontiac-Buick dealership whose building had featured in some of their TV commercials and was widely respected for its community involvement. It had a 3rd party operated lunch ‘counter’ that people actually went to as a ‘destination’ for lunch as well as a separate waiting room with big screen TV and a wide assortment of periodicals & newspapers.

    The nearby Hyundai dealership has a brand new building with free Keurig style coffee, a shuttle service and a play area for the little kids.

    There is a Toyota dealership that offers an on-site exercise room.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    I’d submit the dealer experience for non-enthusiast shoppers is more important then the car itself.

    If the staff, service level, and attention to detail are on point the car can be a total pile of crap and the customer will only moderately care. They may be spending a lot of time in the dealer, but the experience is good enough that they don’t care.

    On the flip side, a skunky dealer experience means even if the product is bulletproof a customer isn’t likely to return. When someone feels their monthly payment bought them premium service , they’ll remember that long after the car itself has faded into the mists of memory.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      I think this is also correct. When they’re buying a new car, non-enthusiasts will notice the human touches and creature comforts of the dealer more than the technical and mechanical aspects of the car itself.

    • 0 avatar

      I disagree. This post makes things look skewed towards the dealership experience, but I think there are many more complaints on the web concerning reliability and usage issues with vehicles than the dealerships themselves.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    The last time we took our Infiniti to the dealer for service the customer waiting room was also being used to store and sell tires. Not impressed.

  • avatar
    Der_Kommissar

    When I tried to buy a VW Golf Sportwagen about a year ago, the experience was pretty lackluster. It was clear to me that they were used to selling to current owners, and were not concerned with bringing in new customers (this was prior to TDI-gate). When I showed up on a midweek morning in August, they had no salespeople- just their leasing specialist (I did not want to lease). He had trouble finding keys to cars. When I sat down to talk about buying the car, the price went UP from the internet price because they include lots of incentives that most don’t qualify for (loyalty, veterans, college grad). When I then offered a price that was within $1000 of the adjusted price, they said they try to be a fixed price place and would not bargain. Needless to say, I walked out- I would have bought the car that day if they could have given me the price they listed on the internet. This is why I’d rather buy a CPO BMW than a new VW, even though the price is the same- the dealership and service experience is sooooo much better at BMW. You know they both will break, but you might as well feel like someone gives a shit about it.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Last Fall I bought a ’90 Acura that had been 100% dealer serviced since new. Not wanting to break that chain, I took it to Acura of Las Vegas for an oil change.

    Wow! No stale coffee… hand-made latte. Fresh hot cookies. Free mini detailing kit. All for $29.95.

    Makes me wish I could afford a new Acura, or that they still sold cars with clutches.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Part of me wants to take my ES to the Lexus dealership where it was sold new (15 minute drive from my house) just to see what it’d be like to get an oil change there. The PO had switched to taking it to that same dealer-chain’s Toyota affiliate for oil changes the last decade and a half, a perfectly logical alternative to save some money (same exact motor as a Camry v6). if only he knew that he was missing out on “free” Starbucks!

      • 0 avatar
        whitworth

        I usually change my own oil, but decided to just take it to the Lexus dealer instead, and it was nothing to write home about.

        Basically chairs and free wifi, maybe a water bottle in a small office fridge.

        A big reason I change my own oil is not so much the money but it’s almost less time consuming and easier.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Yup.

          I could change my own oil (did on my old Mercedes, because it had … special challenges that I wouldn’t trust a random quick-lube to not screw up, requiring a mail-order from a recycler to remedy).

          I don’t.

          Because it’s work, mess, and trying to collect enough milk jugs to collect and recycle the oil is itself more work than just paying a bit more to have someone else do it for me.

          (Around here, you get free oil recycling curbside. But it has to be in milk jugs. Which is useless if you either buy cartons or – as my girlfriend does – stupid bottled milk.

          And nobody seems to sell oil recycling containers.

          And it’s both illegal and bad in itself to just *dump* it…)

  • avatar

    There’s these things called independent mechanics. Finding a good one can take some work, but once you do, they’re generally much less expensive than a dealership, and often the quality of work is just as good, if not better. Bonus: A good one is staffed by friendly, competent people who even get to know you on a first-name basis.

    My little 3 has 118k on the clock, and has been to the dealer exactly once.

    I mean, I understand the service experience is more important if you’ve got factory-guaranteed service for a while, but for everyone else, I don’t get paying double or triple just so I can sit in a nicer waiting area. I’d like to help my kids out with college and not the dealer’s. Buy the car for what it is, not the dealer you won’t interact with much, if ever. You shouldn’t be taking your car to the dealership unless it’s a really unusual issue anyway.
    To each their own, though.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    “For the typical Lexus shopper (think low driver engagement, focused on #brands, more concerned with type of coffee in service area than engine displacement), this sort of thing matters. ”

    I honestly think that BMW/Mercedes/Audi/Land Rover would be a much more fitting thing to put here. I honestly don’t think the Lexus badge has quite as big of a wow factor, it’s more like a Buick of yore in status in my mind at least (unless you’re looking at a GS350 F sport or something). People buy a Lexus because they want a really nice Toyota IMO.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Buying a car based on your anticipated satisfaction of the service department waiting room makes no sense. Who in their right mind wants to sit and wait? Find a dealer that gives out loaners and buy from them.

    • 0 avatar
      whitworth

      Most dealers though won’t give you an all day loaner for something like an oil change which is going to be part of the ownership experience.

      So there’s probably going to be some downtime in there even if you have zero problems.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Important enough that I will go back to one that treats me right… and abandon one that has treated me poorly.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The VW dealership experience for my former 02 Passat was very good for both sales and service.

    However, I was there every few months with a new problem, and some repeat issues. They got to know me after a short while, but that didn’t really make me any happier with the purchase. It was a bit like visiting my friendly dentist.

    After 3 years and a dozen unscheduled visits, I traded the VW for a Scion which visited the dealer once in 7 years.

    If I actually take delivery of my Model 3, I think the ‘dealer’ experience will be important since there is only one in town.

  • avatar
    hotdog453

    What percentage of buyers go back to the dealer for anything, period? I bought my Subaru WRX back in Feb of 2015, and have been back exactly 0 times. What’s the ‘average’?

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    Dealership experience for downmarket brands can vary quite a bit. We have two Jeep dealers in the town and one is downright shady – both at the sales side and on the service side. The other dealer was okay. It may make sense to talk about “Lexus dealership experience”, because Toyota is more strict with discipline for their luxury sub-brand. But otherwise everything depends on management and staff at a given location.

  • avatar

    the manufacturers have done more to ruin the dealership experience than franchisees ever will.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    From a sales perspective, a dealer should not make much a difference unless they hot box you. If that happens, walk. Once you know what car you want, play the dealers off of one another over the phone or email.

    Warranty service is a different issue. If you buy a reliable car/suv, it won’t matter, but buy a Audi/VW or Cadillac and the dealer experience plays a bigger role during the warranty period.

    My experience with dealer service echoes a lot of the sentiment around here – meh to not good.

  • avatar
    jimble

    I’m sort of a schlubby introvert so if a dealer tries to smother me with special attention it’s going to make me pretty uncomfortable (not that I have much interest in buying a high-end make anyway). When buying my Subaru I found that a benefit of buying a car that’s in high demand is that the salesmen don’t feel like they have to be your best friend, they just do their jobs and get you in the car. But the dealer where I bought my Subaru also sells Volvos, so they have to keep up appearances and the customer lounge is a pretty nice place to wait for an oil change.

  • avatar

    It’s all about the food service.
    VW-coffee, with powder creamer-no food
    Acura-coffee, with powder creamer and mini muffins
    Audi-Keurig coffee with half bagels-water bottles-creamer pods
    BMW-Keurig coffee with full bagels, water bottles and brand name sodas-sometimes sandwiches.
    You know you’ve arrived, BMW gives you actual liquid milk.

    Loaner Cars
    VW loaner with two week wait
    Acura-loaner with five day wait
    BMW-loaner tomorrow

    Caddy is either like the Acura example OR the BMW example, depending on store.

    I always make it a point to check this out…it isn’t ‘free’, it is included in the price.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    Jeff wrote: “Tesla was by far the best — in another league really.”

    I guess it’s up to me, late to the party here, to point out the obvious. With Tesla, you’re actually buying directly from the manufacturer, not some third-party dealership. Makes you start to think about why all those state franchise laws are on the books, forcing you to buy only from dealerships.

    Okay, I’l shut up now.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    I don’t drink coffee, so that isn’t important to me, but bottled water and maybe some bottled tea would be nice. Other than only free coffee, I have no complaints about my nearby Dodge/Jeep/Chrysler/Ram dealer. They all look about the same inside and out, but they haven’t done much of anything to piss me off. Yet. I can’t say the same for other dealerships, including one where I will probably buy my next car at, because I get employee pricing there. They pissed me off 3 times in the past, and I bought elsewhere the next time.

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