Not all car dealers are stealerships. Don't believe me? Read these ten stories and see for yourself.
10.) Bending Over Backwards For A Sale
Usually you expect top level service at a fancy luxury car dealer but Ill_Mac had a great experience with a Kia dealer.
"I was in the process of trying to get out from under my wife's house that I married in to, so I was looking to cut costs and get out of my 300 SRT-8 and into a KIA SOUL (I needed something small, cheap and could carry a Great Dane)!
I was visiting my mother in Midland (8 hours from my home in Houston) and I stopped by a dealer to show her what I was thinking about getting. I warned the salesman that I was only there to show my mom what it looked like. He said it was no problem.
The next day (Sunday) I was at Wal-Mart with my mom and bumped in to the salesman. He said that he'd told his manager and he said he was VERY serious that he could sell me a car and beat any deal I'd find in Houston.
So I stopped by early on Monday (my flight was around noon). The manager basically told me to pick out any Soul I wanted. He cut several thousand off of MSRP since they didn't have exactly what I was looking for. Got me .9% APR for 3 years.
He appraised my SRT-8 for higher than anyone in Houston had, then offered to truck the Soul out to me, and pick my trade-in up for free.
I got such a good deal, when I traded the Kia in on a 2012 300 SRT a couple years later (with 55K miles on it) I actually ended up getting nearly what I paid for it in trade in value.
I buy a LOT of cars, and it was one of the most pleasant experiences I've ever had. They literally bent over backwards to sell me a car. They expedited everything knowing I was in town visiting my mom, and needed to fly out that day."
Suggested By: Ill_Mac, Photo Credit: Cockram Kia
9.) This Usually Doesn't Happen
Have you ever heard of a dealership giving the buyer a discount without telling them? Reader Jay_BeIII got just that when buying his 228i
"On my 228i I requested the Costco pricing (which they did with no questions asked). I thought I was going to have to order one, but when I gave them my list of options they said they actually had one on the lot that was really close to what I wanted (turns out it actually was almost exactly what I wanted). Then when they gave me the final price for it, I found out that they had actually lowered the price from the Costco price down to invoice (confirmed it based on all the invoice info I could find), and then gave me the $1000 options credit available at the time on top of that.
So all in all, they didn't even tell me and lowered my price... when does that EVER happen??"
Suggested By: Jay_BeIII, Photo Credit: Maxwell Hamilton
8.) Beating Their Own Offer
MinuteRiceChannel's girlfriend wanted a Chevrolet Spark EV and the dealer clearly wanted to give her one because they beat their own offer three times.
"Wentworth Chevy / Subaru in Portland online has a wide variety of Spark EVs on their lot, and are showing a mark DOWN of $1500. We head out and find an easy going online sales manager who walks out and introduces himself. We look at the 15+ Spark EVs they have in their lot and he breaks down all the features and benefits of the car which we're privy to already. We're just anxious to see if this is going to be another shutdown the minute that we start talking leasing. He's making no promises on what he can do for us, and I appreciate that nothing sucks like getting your hopes up. Let's run the numbers he says.
So we do: they're coming up with $240/ month and $0 down, or $2000 down and $220/month. This is what the Spark EV forums thread on lease terms seemed to tell us we'd be getting offered so she decides to take the deal. Oh, but she needs to wait a bit to get the $2000 down together. They sign a purchase agreement and give her two weeks.
Oh shit, here they are calling on day 3… to offer her a discount on her monthly payment? Now we're at $210. After 7 days another call: now we're at $205. Final call on about day 10 and we're down to $198 and its freaking me out… nobody but Nigerian princes and international lotteries give away money with that kind of enthusiasm."
Suggested By: MinuteRiceChannel, Photo Credit: MarylandGovPics
7.) Have Your Cake And Eat It Too
Reader AlexOsadzinski had their cake and ate it too with a great dealership experience and a sweet 427 Corvette.
"Last year, I bought a 427 Corvette from Hendrick Chevrolet in Cary, NC. I'd never owned a Corvette, and the salesguy let me drive just about every different variant before I picked the 427. The price on the 427 was as advertised on their site, and somewhat below invoice. So no haggling.
I mentioned this to my tax guy in California a few months later; he had originally turned me on to trying out a Corvette. He really wanted a 427, but the CA dealers either didn't have them or were pricing them above MSRP. He called Hendrick, got a fantastic price (better than mine, because the 2014s were beginning to show up), and flew out to NC to pick it up.
At the closing, he happened to mention that he currently owned a Z06. They knocked $3,000 off as a Corvette loyalty special, without being asked, and without him knowing that they offered this.
Talk about a happy customer! They sent me a check for $100 for the referral, too.
Guess where I bought my C7?"
Suggested By: AlexOsadzinski, Photo Credit: Chevrolet
6.) Free Repairs
There's a certain sense of dread one feels bringing your car to a dealership for a repair out of warranty. Reader ndukyh was quickly relieved when their 335i was repaired free.
"Went in a with a limp-mode 07 335i (notorious for certain turbo/pump-related issues) in 2013 (far past any warranty expiration dates) expecting to spend a great deal of money on repairs only to be told that they are replacing both the LP and HP fuel pumps for free as a courtesy. I never asked any questions and went on my merry way with $700 that shouldn't have been mine in my pockets. Performance BMW of Chapel Hill thank you."
Suggested By: ndukyh, Photo Credit: BMW
5.) We Need More People Like This Guy
Doctor-G-and-the-wagen wasn't buying a car or having a repair done, but their story raises a great point. Not every salesman working in a dealership is a shark — sometimes they're gearheads like you and I.
"One time I took some one to a Honda dealership to pick up their Odyssey. I was driving an old 3rd gen Prelude Si at the time, and while waiting one of the sales folk came up to me. "Is this your Prelude?" He asks, to which I nodded. At this point I'm thinking "go away I don't want anything," but then he starts asking me things like how the four-wheel-steering is, or if I've had any problems with the 2.1 litre engine. He explains that he used to have a Prelude and he really misses it (and now I miss mine!) and started sharing lament about how Honda had become so boring in the past few years.
I didn't buy a car from them, and my friend's Odyssey was good as new, but it made me realize that just because a car maker might be turning bland doesn't mean the people that work for them or sell them are. There are some dealers out there that might actually like the brand and know their history and love what the brand has made, and not just seeing people as walking sacks of money. We need more people like that guy at dealerships, at all ends."
Suggested By: Doctor-G-and-the-wagen, Photo Credit: Ian Muttoo
4.) Out Of Pocket Dinner
Reader The Devil Drives A Rotary ended up getting a free meal on the salesman's dime when purchasing his Cobalt. Too bad the car wasn't quite as good as the dealer experience.
"My Cobalt Coupe from Reliable Chevrolet in Richardson. Surprisingly decent car with a trunk load of quality problems, but the dealership is the best that I have ever dealt with. The car was $13k out the door after a number of discounts (student, etc). The F&I guy saw the number and was surprised so he went to confirm it but once he did he proceeded normally. I can understand that. I have gotten stuff across my desk before that makes me pause and say "what?". The car was late in getting out of detailing so the salesman gave my wife, daughter, and I $50 from his wallet to get dinner. I don't know if that was a ruse to cover something else up or if they really were being honest about it, but for $50 for dinner I was willing to not think about it too hard. When I received the car the salesman sat down and explained everything, not that there were many features on a $13k Cobalt but he was very thorough and clear."
Suggested By: The Devil Drives A Rotary, Photo Credit: Getty Images
3.) Dealer Sanctioned Joyride
It's good to have cool friends who work at dealerships, as Chairman Kaga found out.
Back in 2002 a buddy of mine worked at the local Honda dealership. We were out having some beers one night and he let me know they had an '01 S2000 in PMY come in on trade. 15,000 miles. Come out tomorrow and drive it, he said. So I did.
I showed on my lunch break and he literally tossed me the keys and said have fun. No scrutiny or BS. I put close to 100 miles on the car over the next hour (or two, as it was), trying out a few of my favorite back roads, top down, radio on classic rock. Best lunch ever.
I headed through town on my way back to the dealership. There was a construction project that had a section by my office more or less closed down. There was one lane open and people generally avoided it, so it was basically an ad hoc drag strip. I knew the S2000 wasn't a drag car, but it was still relatively powerful and I wanted to see what the redline was like.
And I was busted. A cop off a side street saw me hauling ass and slipped in right behind, lights a blinking.
He was another old high school friend. So go the benefits of living in a small town.
'Damon let me drive it.'
'Awesome. Think he'll let me have a go when I'm off duty?'
'Cool. Be safe.'
After showing back up, engine popping and pinging, I told my friend at the dealership the story and he shrugged it off.
'Chris is cool. He already called to see if he could drive it later.'
And the best part of the story, he didn't even ask me to replace the gas I'd burned.
Suggested By: , Photo Credit: sadaton
2.) Powersliding In Manhattan
Reader cwang089 got driven around by a professional race car driver in an E63 AMG. Need I say more?
Couple years ago I was shopping for a family sedan and was deciding between the A6, 535, and the E350. I went to Manhattan Mercedes Benz and was approached by a guy with a German accent. I forgot his name but he had a race helmet at his desk. Since I attend used to attend HPDE events I asked him about it and he said he was a pro race car driver and races in the 24 hour of Le Mans. He was only working at this dealership since he was being moved to a high level position within Benz and they make their guys work at major dealers.
I forgot how we got on the topic but he was talking about how customers come in with AMG cars and complain that the handling sucks and that he would take them out for a spin in it and prove them wrong. I asked him for a ride and he proceeded to take me for a spin in a E63 and power sliding onto the westside highway with DSC off.
At the end of the day, he could care less if i actually made a purchase or not. Also since I arrived 10 minutes before they were actually closing, it was really nice of him to even approach me.
Suggested By: cwang089, Photo Credit: FotoSleuth
1.) Just Take The Keys
This story from BrentK660 is downright heartwarming. Maybe dealerships aren't so bad after all.
Chaplins Chevrolet in North Bend, WA. Started on a vacation; wife, two small kids and all our gear packed into our 27' travel trailer. I'm pulling it with my 2005 2500hd Silverado with the 6.0 gasser over a nearby steep pass. At 4500 rpm the truck sucked a valve. I limped it over the pass and coasted into the dealer making all kinds of racket. This is 6pm on a Friday evening.
The service manager meets me in the back lot, helps me unhitch the trailer and pulls the truck right in ahead of paid vehicles. He sees my small children and distraught wife, looks around the corner and calls in the lot kid. He says they can't touch the truck to the following week, but has an idea. The lot kid pulls around a brand new GMC 3500hd dually crew cab Duramax diesel truck, he throws me the keys and says have a great trip.
He even helped me unload my assorted camping gear from one truck to another. No charge nothing, he says he'll call when the diagnose the truck. We continued on our vacation, only losing less than an hour, I drove the truck to work and back for 3 days after we returned home before my truck was done.
Throwing a 30 yr old kid the keys to a $65,000 truck in return for my $15000 blown up one is unheard of these days. I'll never forget it, and the white leather interior while cruising at 85mph over the pass in that dually....."
Suggested By: BrentK660, Photo Credit: GMC
Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Top Photo Credit: Alden Jewell