Searching for a New Car, Part 2
"I love me some Hyundai." --- John 'Schecky' Caldwell
Yeah, where was I in the last post? Hunting for new transportation, that's where. With my Saab having numerous mechanical problems and a March date with the emissions-testing center looming, I'd decided that the future was now in terms of me and a newer means of transport. I checked with Jo and Meg, who are really my family in this area, and heard reports of a decent dealership out on Randall Road in Algonquin, IL, several miles from where I live. The place was a new Hyundai dealership under the Rosen dealer name, with "Rosen" having several other dealerships in the area and known for flooding the Chicago market with cheesy commercials where they sing "Rosen, Rosen, Rosen" to the tune of "Rawhide."
By the way, major rants contained herein. Be afraid. Be very, very, afraid.
The stop didn't go that well. The salesman who greeted me didn't seem much interested in what I was saying, although this was still while I was still focused on a half-decent used car, and not a new one. I walked pretty quick, just as I did from nearly two dozen other dealerships in the following days, even though I did begin my refocus onto a possible new car when the lack of decent used ones at the right price became apparent.
A few dealers tried hard to sell me, while other didn't. Used-car places in general showed more interest in selling me, because I was driving a bomber to begin with and I tend to dress pretty raggy at times; working at home has its effects, y'know. But I figure my money should spend the same anywhere, right?
Not so at the side-by-side Spring Hill Ford and Piemonte Chevrolet dealerships in East Dundee, where I spent a combined five minutes. I couldn't even get waited on in the Ford place and when I asked the same simple question three straight times in the Chevy place and the sales guy would not answer me, I walked there, too. No loss; after a couple of days of shopping, it's plainly obvious why U.S. automakers are getting their asses collectively kicked.
After a couple days of frustration, I made a concerted effort at finding out what the best foreign ecomony cars were in my price range: cheap. That's when John expressed his like for Hyundais and a couple of other brands were recommended to me as well. I tried to do this while doing the normal work load of course, including plenty of Aussie Millions-related work, and several people pointed out that I didn't seem to be around Skype as much as normal.
Meanwhile I was considering going postal on several car salesmen. My final judgment is that they pretty much all suck eggs. Some were mediocre and some were really, really sleazy, at least in terms of how I rate 'em.
I went to another mostly new-car place called Pauly Toyota Scion, just a few miles up the road, and gave a serious look to the Yaris, the bottom-end car. After a long talk, I told the guy I wanted a specific set of very basic options and told him to give me a serious price, because I wasn't in the mood to mess around and planned on shopping elsewhere, too. The guy still wouldn't name a specific price, but hemmed and hawed around and finally gave me a rough figure on what I could pay if I wanted to pay cash and drive it away. I wasn't much impressed with the pitch, but I hadn't totally given up on the Toyota.
I checked out a VW Rabbit, a couple of different Nissans, and two or three others. Based on John's fondness for Hyundais, and my trust in John's judgment (because it's pretty good), I tried to take a really close look at a Hyundai Accent, but ran into a sales dude named Jasper who left a big negative mark on me; so bad, in fact, that I crossed the Hyundai off my list.
It was back at the Rosen, Rosen, Rosen place, and I asked the guy to quote me a very basic car virtually scripted right out of the sales brochure --- a hatchback Accent with a stick shift and a nominally powered interior. The sales brochure said it was an available combination, and Jasper said, "Sure, no problem, what color do you want?" and after I gave him three choices he did that "I have to go talk to the sales manager" thing where they disappear for a while and come back with a price.
Good ol' Jasper came back with a really, really good price. He got me happy, he did, and I was already pretty sure I was gonna like myself some Hyundai. And he tried to talk me into this option and that option and the next option and asked me if I was sure I wouldn't like something else, and why didn't I take this car for a test drive. And I kept parrying him off because he was trying to upsell me and I already knew what I wanted. After 45 minutes, he stunned me, saying, "Oh, by the way, the hatchback doesn't come in a standard transmission with a power interior."
"What? It says so right in the book!"
"Yeah, but it doesn't come that way. That's what our sales manager says."
Well, screw the sales manager AND this dude for keeping me there for almost an hour after giving me what now seemed to be a great quote for an imaginary car... in other words, great pricing numbers that they never had any intent of living up to while they tried to bait-and-switch me to some other car on the lot.
Fuck that. As the levels of BS became more apparent, I told Jasper I was gonna check things out at another Hyundai dealership. He quickly told me that the nearest Hyundai dealership was in Rockford, another 40 miles off in the direction opposite where I live.
"There's not even one in Schaumburg?" I asked. Golf Road in Schaumburg is probably the biggest collection of car dealerships in the entire western Chicago suburbs.
"Oh, yeah, well maybe, there might be one there." Lying sack of shit. Worse, when I checked, I found that there was another Hyundai dealership in Elgin, only about 12 miles away and almost as close to my place as this dealership. You're a sleazy goddamn liar, Jasper, and fuck Rosen forever. You cost Hyundai a likely sale, too.
I was on poker tilt for two days after that. I don't deal with slimy salespeople well, I guess. But it wasn't like good 'ol Jasper was the only one.
I'd went back to Pauly Motors to give the Toyota Yaris another look. Fortunately, the first salesman wasn't there,and the second guy I talked to went in back to get me a quote after a short talk, and came back a full $800 lower, including a $500 rebate that the first guy never bothered to tell me about, likely in hopes of pocketing it himself. But Pauly salesguy #2 confirmed that the options I wanted did actually exist as a real-life car, and lo and behold, there was even one in the color I wanted sitting out back, fresh off the hauler.
I said I'd likely be back to give it a drive. I came back the next day, almost 24 hours later, and they still hadn't even taken the shipping paper off the top of the car or pulled the styrofoam blocks out from beneath the wheels.
Lord. Dear car dealerships: If you had someone express interest in a specific car, would you at least make some effort to do the 30 minutes of work to check that car in during business hours the following day, so it could be taken for a test drive?
The answer apparently, is no. So I left Pauly Motors in frustration, and filled out an online quote for a Yaris instead. That one was forwarded to East Elgin Toyota, a fraction of a mile closer to my place and, coincidentally, only a block or two from the Hyundai place my buddy Jasper from Rosen didn't want me to know about.
I got a call from East Elgin Toyota a few hours later, from a sales officer named Julie who insisted that they had exactly the car I had requested a quote for on the lot, and it was available for a drive immediately. I knew Jo had the day off so I asked for a ride down there, half figuring I'd buy it on the spot if I likedit.
Julie 'assigned' me to a young sales guy named Dana, who was way aggressive and if categorized on the poker scale would fall squarely under 'Tool'. They showed me my car.
It was fire-engine red. I'd asked for a quote on a blue one.
I took it for a test drive anyway, just to see how the stick handled and how the interior seemed. The dealer joined us on the test drive and allowed us to drive around one oversized block, a distant of about a mile and a half. When we got back, he reached into his desk, pulled out a paper, and tried to get me to sign a blank red sheet confirming my offer on the car, without even showing me any numbers. When I told him I wasn't signing anything without seeing some numbers, he gave me a dirty look and then came back with a "best" offer nearly $400 higher than Pauly's numbers for the same car. And thrust the offer sheet back under my noise.
Get lost, Dana.
As we departed, this overslick middle-aged executive sales guy rushed over, trying to save what he saw as a blown sale. This guy had carefully Brylcreem-ed hair and oozed smoothness. He didn't save the sale.
Boy, was I tilted from dealing with these slimeballs. I took two full days off from the car search.
Next time, Part 3 of all this joyousness.