Sunday, August 31, 2008

BMW Lost my Vote

In this election season it might be good to ponder the other areas of our day-to-day that involve a vote of sorts. We choose to stop at a certain gas station, for example, not necessarily for the quality of gas, but the quality of service, convenience, and maybe the Quik Cup of Coffee. Every time we stop in they either work to retain our vote, or alienate it.

Car dealerships also get votes. I'm in the market for a car and as I review my options and update myself on the various offerings each auto maker has, there's a running vote in my head. In my early twenties I got cornered by the high pressure salesman and his bad-hair piece credit manager and barely escaped with my life. As a result I've never entered a Nissan showroom nor considered them an option. Their attitude has tipped my vote against them in an irrational and permanent way.

BWM of Roswell has also lobbied for a vote against BMW [Update: Yes, Grant - specifically, this is about this dealership, and the service department people. It might be about Friday afternoon too.]. My 91 Camry is on its last metaphorical leg. Though I've fixed this and that it sometimes doesn't want to start. I stopped by the BMW dealership on the way home to take a look at the new 1-series, which looked very nice on the web, and turns out looks very nice in person. The sales guy was helpful enough, though he did not offer a test drive. I guess it was the unshaven Friday face, jeans and loud Siveillance Orange T-Shirt. And maybe that was also why when my poor Camry failed to crank up I failed to get them to help jump start it.

In the end I spent an hour in the BWM parking lot, just outside their showroom floor, surfing the web looking at Audi, Lexus, Volvo and Honda. While they wouldn't help start my car, it sure was nice of them to give me free wireless to research all their competitors.

Upon telling this story to Joe Robb, my excellent Lexus sales rep, who has now received repeat business from me, he said I should have called him and that he'd have sent someone over or come himself. I actually don't doubt that he would. Even if it had been totally self-serving on the part of BWM to help me with a friendly attitude in order to sway me to buy that nice would have gone a long way in swinging my vote their way.

BTW, when I say BMW wouldn't help what I should say is that three people from their service department said they'd help and then left me waiting in the very hot car while they went to get something...or a car... or did whatever they did. Fortunately, after I was done using their wireless and my battery was getting low, I expertly (er, randomly?) jiggled some wires under the hood and she started right up.

1 comment:

grantbob said...

Keep in mind this really says more about the dealership than the manufacturer. In any case though it is pretty sad. There's an odd mentality in the BMW dealers that I really can't explain. I think it has something to do with the cost of people's shoes. In the 5 years that I've had Maxwell I've watched Global MINI do more and more to separate from the BMW side (I think the MINI folks were making the BMW crew and customers uneasy.) At first they had the same drop-off, waiting, and pay areas. Then eventually they separated the waiting area, then the drop-off, and now the checkout counter. The MINI area is in general a happier place where people actually talk to each other.

That being said I'm done with Global anyway. I can't pay their $$$ to keep Maxwell alive.

I like the "My car won't start. Help me." test though. I might have to try that with whoever I buy from next.

Get a used Lexus just off lease. It will be a better relationship.