How to Find the Right Car Dealership
It really shouldn’t be hard to find a good car dealership, but surprisingly it is.
I want to be able to trust the person I’m talking to, feel heard and understood, and know that if there’s any issues through the whole process of buying the car to the lifetime of the car that I’ll be able to fix it and be looked after by the Service dept.
As I’ve mentioned before, we’re looking for a family car that will be reliable, have enough trunk space, and be comfortable to sit in. A bonus would be that it looks good and has a high driving position so I can see what’s up ahead. I’ve been looking for a replacement for my Ford Focus for a couple of years while keeping up with the latest SUV and family car news for the past decade!
So, imagine my excitement when I had the opportunity to start properly shopping. I went to my local dealership for the SUV I’ve been lusting over since it was announced last Summer. I test drove it, loved it, and was happy to go through the numbers with the Salesperson who I flagged down after finding nobody at the reception desk. A bad start, but whatever.
He was friendly enough, happy to show me the vehicle and point out some of the features, of which I’d already seen in-depth through all the YouTube and forum content I could find. The drive was great and I loved the look.
The numbers were scribbled on the back of a piece of paper. Then he crossed them out and wrote new ones.
Wait. Is this how it’s still done? I would have thought it would be a bit more black-and-white rather than a convoluted mess that looks like my daughter’s been doodling on my work again. I asked him for some clear numbers so he left to speak to his manager. He said he’d made a mistake and the numbers changed. I asked for him to check. He left and they changed again.
Now I’m a bit annoyed.
“This is a mess” I said. “You’re making it really hard for me to trust you when every time you get up, the numbers change. I’m offering to sign up for a 6 year plan through you, so I need to be able to trust your dealership, and by extension, you. How can you make this right?”
I was ready to leave. He said he’d bring over his manager. So I kept standing outside having second thoughts about the vehicle and this whole transaction.
After 10 minutes, he approached without his manager. I questioned him about the window sticker on his car which he defended the price which was higher than the same vehicle was advertised for on the dealership’s website. As he became defensive, I realised that I was nothing to him. So I left.
The next day, still looking for our next family car, I drove over to Foundation Auto on Marine Drive, North Vancouver and the experience couldn’t have been different. The second I walked through the door, a salesman, Ramy got up and walked toward me. I’ll assume he was smiling since he was wearing a mask. Instantly, I felt valued. We proceeded to check out a few gorgeous Jeeps in the lot and after he enquired what I did, he recognized me from Instagram and thanked me for engaging on their posts. (I had also engaged on the first dealership, but they didn’t ask nor care.) I then met Clive the Marketing Manager and even the new GM, Fenton who was born in a city 20 minutes away from my hometown. I left, not with a car this time, but with my head held high.
If you’re looking for your next car, look for the dealership first. Here are a few things to consider first:
- Check the Google Business or Yelp rating. What did other people say?
- Any recommendations for the best dealership or salesperson to talk to.
- How easy are they to get hold of? Do they pick up the phone or answer emails?
- Are they being straight with their answers and numbers? If they won’t stick to a deal or hand over clear information, they’ll probably try every trick in the book to rip you off.
- Do locals shop there? If the community would rather drive for 30 minutes to avoid their local dealership, something’s off.
- They don’t own you. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been talking to them for hours or days, you’re free to walk away.
I’m still searching for our new family vehicle, but I know exactly what to look for in a dealership. I just want to be valued as an equal. I’d like to feel not like an inconvenience but someone worth talking to and not just because I might be their next customer.