Your Thoughts : Car salesmen??? Don’t get me started!

Another tale from your point of view. This time, Roger Cronin of Cambridgeshire explains about the worrying lack of service from main dealers he experienced when changing his car….

Roger Cronin :

Crap car salesmen - despite ever tightening profit margins and FSC regulations - they're still out there Image: Tyson Benton / BBC
Crap car salesmen – despite ever tightening profit margins and FSC regulations – they’re still out there. Image: Tyson Benton / BBC

Having driven my Audi A3 – an 08 plate from new, covering some 120 thousand miles in  7 years with only regular servicing and replacement of 6 tyres I can only heap praise on our  German colleagues for quality. Having retired from the truck aftersales industry, the present Mrs C and I moved from Kent to the fens to be closer to our daughter and in the hope we could see out our days trolling along the highways and byways.

Nature has taken her toll upon me in the form of silver hair and old age, and through no fault of the Audi we both were at the grunting stage on getting in and out of the car. Having had deep discussions we decided to look around for a replacement new vehicle. The parameters were set as to cost, colour, height-  as to getting in and out, the level of gizmos. All the usual things you want or can (or not) afford.

We looked very carefully for a  vehicle as described  in criteria set , which narrowed down our search to some degree. The both of us looked at many of the SUV’s on offer and eventually settled on a KIA. The KIA we thought, although not perfect, ticked more boxes than some and having taken a test drive quickly found things we didn’t practically like but could live with.

We entered the local Kia Dealership and were left to our own devices, not one member of staff approached us or even acknowledged our presence.

Having looked at the vehicles in the showroom and being nothing short of ignored, it was seemingly down to me to approach the service receptionist that grudgingly went over to a salesman who in turn at least managed to stand and ask us across the showroom if he could help rather than come over and greet us formally. We nearly did an about turn and left but thought we had decided to investigate so we may as well see what was on offer and how they would preform when they realised we were serious in our request.

We were then into discussions as to our requirements and all seemed to be going well, except the salesman, if that’s what you call him, didn’t know the basics. He didn’t know the service intervals, service rates and a host of answers to more minor questions. Each of the questions asked was met with “I will have to ask my sales manager” – a person if he/she existed was never seen, the order taker aka salesman would disappear into the abyss at the rear of the showroom only to reappear some minutes later mostly with a negative answer.

We then got the crunch as to what price they would be prepared to offer on the Audi. He informed us it would take about 30 minuets to get a price from their computer system. I was going to offer to ring my former colleagues in Kent if his system was so cr*p. but I somehow resisted.

Whilst waiting for the computer to spill its guts we went for a test drive, I was happy with that, albeit a short drive and on returning to the yard reversed into the parking space earlier vacated. I don’t really care for reverse aids as the mirrors give a pretty good idea for seeing behind. The salesman was going to have a accident as I got closer to the fence than he thought I should even to the point of running to the rear of the vehicle to check if I had in fact made actual contact. I knew I was close, I purposely did that because he was by that time getting on my nerves with his inane chatter all the way through the test drive – commonly known in the trade as talking b****cks.

Further talking an offer was made on the Audi, One I thought as low as I had previously checked with Glasses guide and my former Colleagues. When I pushed on the price, I was told they had met their quota for that month and therefore didn’t care if they sold the car or not. Having been in the trade for 47 years I was aware of the practice of purchasing to meet your quota and selling at a discount to move those on. But you never tell the customer that. Stunned or what.

My parting shot was get nearer to my price and we could have deal, please consider and ring me later. Looking back, we should have walked there and then, but If they had rung back at met me half way we could still have a deal. No such call was received. A couple of  days later following the usual leisurely breakfast, I was reading one the two, yes two, free papers delivered and happened across an rather large advertisement for the local Auto Devotion site. In that advertisement was a couple of nearly new Kia Sportage models..

On arrival at their site we were greeted with a cheery: “have a look and if anything is of interest we can talk about it“.

On chatting I stated the model we were looking for, and was told there was one, the salesman own, but it was out at present and would be available later or the following day. I then stated my interest on the proviso that the vehicle fitted into my garage. Having researched that info online knowing it should just fit, I was duly offered a test drive back to home some 40 miles round trip, just to ensure all would be OK.

Following a successful test drive negotiations were concluded and a date for the sale agreed. I had one minor issue with the vehicle but that was sorted along with the deal all with the minimum of fuss.

At time of purchase I also took out a 2 year service and MOT package – exactly what I sold in my working life prior to retiring, knowing there was no way on gods earth I would use that aforementioned KIA dealership… or any other of their locations if that’s the way they treat their customers. Not only did I purchase a low mileage vehicle that exactly suited our criteria but saved a few grand against the price we were prepared to pay.

 Enough to buy a very nice holiday… but don’t tell Mrs C

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