(I’m going to have to take a page out of my friend’s sister’s blog and do some tricky little thing because it seems like every time I complain about a company, one of their PR people finds it and makes half-assed attempts at apologizing.)
On Friday – date day – we planned to test drives cars because, as you may know, we’ve been living on one since July. Ash had kind of already decided on the Honda Pilot. It seats 8, is reasonably priced, and we trust Hondas implicitly. To be fair, we also decided to test drive the To.yota Hig.hlander. But first, we went to the Honda dealership.
When we pulled up, I already felt comfortable because a.) I bought my Element there and b.) I go there every few months for my oil change. Someone opened the door for us and greeted us. He also asked if we’d worked with a particular sales associate before so I mentioned our dude, Billy. The other guy went to get him and, whether or not Billy actually remembered us from four years ago, he was the same easy-going, nonchalant salesman that I remember. We told him he we were interested in the Pilot, he quickly got a key and we were on the road. While we drove, he pointed out some features and made conversation. It was really easy to talk to him. When we got back, we inspected the outside of the car and the storage, etc. Then we went back inside and Billy went left us for maybe four minutes to draw up some numbers. They cut us a deal for being repeat customers and offered a really low APR.
We told him that he could pretty much count on seeing us back soon but we wanted to go discuss it. The great thing about that guy is that he pretty much acts as if he couldn’t care less if you came back and bought the car. Which is exactly why we did before!
But to be fair, we headed up the road to the other dealership. We got there and no one approached us. Upon asking the woman at the front desk – who was on a personal call, mind you – she made an all-call and we were rushed by a few different salesmen. The older man started speaking first so we were stuck with him. We explained what we were looking for and right off the bat, he didn’t really seem confident and he definitely didn’t make us feel comfortable. He left for a second to get a key then led us to the parking lot where he admitted he wasn’t sure where the Hig.hlanders were. We get out there and he says they only had Limiteds to drive, even though we wanted to see the base model.We checked it out then had to ask to drive it. He lets us in and as we’re pulling out he says if we want to leave the parking lot, he’ll have to go get a tag. Well, of course we want to drive it on the road. Duh. So we let him out and wait another five minutes before he gets back.
The drive was excruciatingly silent. That was his opportunity to sell us, you know? We’d already told him we had just come from Honda. And yet, he sat in the back and didn’t say a single thing.
When we got back to the dealership, we asked if that was my Honda, pointing, then said to pull it up and he’d have it appraised for trade-in value. We never mentioned trading – which we’re not – so that was another assumptive and poor move on his part. We sat down at the desk where he didn’t have a computer or a pen or paperwork or even his business card. The chairs were chintzy too. We told him we’d like some numbers on the base model so he left us – AGAIN – and was gone at least 10 minutes before coming back with an offer of a higher APR and some added things that it appeared he liked, like a specific sparkly white color that cost more. We told him thanks for running the numbers and we’d like to go home and think about it. So what does he do? He tells us he’ll be right back AGAIN.
He came back with new numbers and then asked us to go outside with him, where he showed us another Limited that was two years old. At this point, I was already agitated and I kept telling Ash we had to just make a break for it because he would not let us just go. The kicker for me was when we were inspecting that older one – half-assedly, because were so so exasperated by this point – and he showed me the automatic rear door opener and said I’d need it because I probably can’t reach it and I’ll have armfuls of groceries. Wow, you pig. I pretty much looked him in the eye and told him I won’t have trouble with that regardless.
After that, he offered us another deal and we tried to go so he asked us if we had to choose, right then, whether we’d buy that car or the Honda; we told him Honda. When asked why, I got nervous. But man, I was so proud of Ash because he really told him what’s what. We itemized all of his mistakes: not ready for our test drive, no business card, didn’t know a lot of details about the car, didn’t even have our model to show us, and put too much pressure. He apologized for coming off that way but nonetheless, he was so damned pushy, I wouldn’t have bought anything from him. If anything, his lack of tact pushed us towards the Honda even more.
Hopefully in another couple weeks we’ll have the Pilot and all of our car-pooling issues will be solved. Considering that other company is having some -ahem – specific part failure problems and is trying to recover from that debacle, they didn’t do such a great job convincing us they were better. Granted, this could be just that dealership but its the whole buying experience, you know? It’s not just the car that sells the brand. And again, we’re loyal Honda buyers.