Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Car Buying Adventure

Well, we've settled on a car . . . in fact, we ordered a car . . . in fact, we don't have the car, we've seen the car, we've sat in the car, but we don't have the car. Ready for the story . . . ?

There are not many Toyota Corolla XLE's out in the marketplace. That is the one we selected and are working through Toyota of Muncie. I sat at the computer with the salesman, Matt, and the sales manager, Scott. After awhile I learned the codes and was able to use the computer and search for the specs we wanted for cars within 300 miles.

Next, they have a vehicle trader employee whose job it is to trade their vehicles for vehicles at other dealerships. A trade was consummated and our car was coming from Wisconsin. Muncie sent out 2 cars for the one. A driver returned on Thursday night from Wisconsin and we were to pick it up on Friday. That's when the fun started.

First, the salesman, Matt, couldn't find the car. It was not entered into the computer and was parked in a corner he didn't see. Then he found the car, called us and said it would be cleaned, detailed, and ready to go. YAHOO!!

We got to the dealership and talked to Matt for a few minutes, got a cup of Starbuck's (YES) and waited for the car to be driven around to the front. One of the detailers noticed something and told Matt, there was a cigarette burn on the floor under the drivers car mat. Matt was fuming. I had to calm him down. The sales manager asked what we wanted to do, after talking about it, they were going to throw in some heavy duty car mats, good enough. He also saw a coffee stain, so they were to have that cleaned.

The car was brought back and Matt noticed a pen mark on the drivers seat, and a stain on the headrest, back it went for cleaning. After it came back, we were talking and we noticed more stain marks on different areas, plus we discussed the fact that the car had 747 miles on it. Far more than the 300 or so we expected. The joy was fading and Matt was fuming.

Matt and Scott spoke, then spoke to the General Manager. Eventually, he came out and spoke to us. For Debbie and I the warm fuzzies were gone, the new car smell was gone. The other dealer probably used that car for their managers to drive, but didn't tell our dealer about that.

Toyota folks were wonderful. They didn't seem upset with us, not that we did anything wrong, but I do know some places would have tried to push us into the car. They didn't. The general manager knew we were doing a trade in and Debbie mentioned it as well, so he gave us a 2008 Corolla to drive until they get our new car in.

When we left, Scott virtually hugged me. I think they are so used to people who would become furious and rip into them over this. We never did, in fact, we felt kind of guilty for not taking the car since the dealer now has it, and will have to sell it, but it will now be cleaned and in good shape.

Overall, our experience was positive. We were disappointed, but never angry. Nobody at Muncie tried to rip us off, they were helpful and willing to work with us. In the end, we told them order a new car, we're not going to another dealer, we're here and staying here. I think they appreciated our attitude . . . which led to their approach.

As I told Matt, the cool part of it all is that he and his wife came to church last week, and this week his wife brought her mom. What adds to that is that she and her mom are both Catholic.

Anyways, that's our saga, hopefully we have a new car soon and new attenders from Muncie . . . and if not, at least we opened the eyes of Matt's wife, Sarah, to new possibilities she did not know about before . . . she assumed all Baptists were jumping up and rolling down the aisles, playing with snakes and shouting . . . She enjoyed the worship experience and found it refreshing.

I'll keep you posted.

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