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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-03-2010, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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Just bought a Malibu - my dealership experience

I purchased a new Malibu last week. I thought some of the members here might be interested in my dealership experience.

In order to understand my experience, you should know about my previous experiences. Two cars ago, I called a dealer (import brand) about 90 minutes away. I told the salesman what I wanted. He said he had one in stock and gave me the price. A few days later, I drove down to the dealership, signed some papers and drove away. The entire affair took less than 30 minutes.

For the last car I purchased, I went to the brand’s web site, decided on the color and trim level I wanted and started calling dealers until I found one in stock. That afternoon I drove to the dealer, signed the papers and traded in my old car. I was there no more than 1 hour.

This time I went to the Chevrolet dealership. I told the salesman what I wanted, and I encountered my first problem. Unlike foreign (or at least Asian) brands, GM offers countless trim/option/color packages. There is no way any dealer can stock all of them. Therefore, it is inevitable that customers must either (1) spend money on options they do not want, (2) buy a car lacking options they do want, (3) ask for a dealer trade (problem with this discussed below) or (4) wait six weeks and order. None of these options promotes customer satisfaction.

I told my dealer I would accept any of the following: 1LT, black, power convenience package; or 2LT, red or black, no options. Nothing in stock (of course). I asked my dealer to see if he could find what I wanted and do a dealer trade. I sat in the dealership for 2 hours waiting for a response. I was told it was the end of the month and the other dealers did not want to agree to a trade if they could sell the cars themselves.

Finally another dealer agrees. I then learn that my dealership did not process any of my paperwork until it had a VIN. Therefore, I was in the dealership ANOTHER 3 hours waiting for my salesman to do his thing, then waiting for the sales manager to do whatever he does (???), then waiting for the finance manager to do his thing.

About my meeting with the finance manager, who was all of 22 years old. I sit down at his desk expecting to sign a loan agreement. Instead, he shows me a sheet of “finance options” (his words). Only because I am sophisticated and experienced enough do I realized that he is trying to sell my all sorts of unnecessary insurance (mechanical breakdown insurance that duplicates GM’s warranty, gap insurance, car payment insurance if I lose my job even though I told him I already have disability insurance). The price of this insurance was added to the auto loan payment so I was never told what it would cost, but I could calculate that it would be as much as $200/month.

After being at the dealership from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., (from what I could see, I was the only customer in site) I was told my car would be in the next day.

The next day comes. Around 3:00 p.m., I get a call and am told that my car has arrived (my “new” car now has 235 miles on it), it needs to be cleaned up and Auto Armour applied, and then I can pick it up. 6:30 p.m. comes and goes with no call. I have other plans that night so I drive to the dealer. I have the title to my trade-in with me. I expect to sign the title, get the keys to my new car and leave. Nooooooo.

At this point, I learn that the dealer trade arrived “trashed” (salesman’s word) and with damage that could not be washed out. My car was not ready because after the Auto Armour was applied, someone decided the car looked like crap and the undefined damage needed to be buffed out. Therefore the Auto Armour needed to be reapplied. This was taking time.

QUESTION: Didn’t I pay $325 for the jewel tint coat that was just buffed off my car?

The following is not a joke: during all of this, I had to endure my salesman telling me how great his Kia Optima was and how he also sells Hyundais, and the Genesis makes the 5 Series and E class look like junk. (He spent $950 on two pairs of eye glasses. Do you care?)

At the end of it all, I am sent to the dealership’s manager to take an “exit survey” (salesman hovering in the background). I am informed that GM is going to send me a survey, and if I answer less than “completely satisfied” for any of the questions, my salesman and the dealership will lose some bonus.

It is now 9:00 p.m. (again). I had already told the salesman that I needed to leave at 7:00 p.m. That does not stop him from giving me the full monty introduction to my car. (Believe it or not, I did already know that the snowflake button means “air conditioning”.)

Here is my perspective. The car is great. The salesman plays by the rules that GM and his dealership set, so I can’t get to mad at him (just annoyed). My problems are these:

(1) GM needs to offer products that can be stocked at the dealerships. I lost a $250 Visa gift card because I did not purchase from stock. The way GM builds cars forces customers to compromise and feel much less than satisfied. They need no more than 3 trim levels, with only dealer installed options. Forcing dealer trades costs everyone money. It simply is inefficient. By comparison, Go to hyundai.com and build a Sonata. 1 engine. 3 trim levels. 1 factory option (navigation). Everything else is dealer installed. Sonata outsells the Malibu. This is what I am talking about.

(2) Dealerships need to get real. I was told I needed to buy “today” (September 30) or I would lose the dealership’s preferred pricing offer. This is just a slimy sales tactic.

(3) The fact that one Chevrolet dealer sent a damaged car and another one accepted it pisses me off to no end.

(4) I feel sorry for the “finance manager” kid who is forced to sell ethically challenged insurance policies on commission. Once again, this is the dealership’s fault. I am sure the dealership owner makes money, but the sales tactics makes customers feel like they are getting screwed at every turn (they are if they but this stuff).

I will never buy from this dealership again (heck, I am not even going to get my "free" oil change there), and I will think twice about buying a GM product again.

(Other than that, the car itself is fantastic.)
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-03-2010, 12:33 PM
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Re: Just bought a Malibu - my dealership experience

My story sounds similar to yours. After test driving four cars (Malibu LTZ, Altima SR 3.5, Accord EX-L V6 and Fusion Sport V6) I had decided on the Altima narrowly over the Malibu.

When GM came out with the employee incentive package it made the Chevy 3k cheaper than the Nissan, both had 0% financing so I decided the Altima wasn't worth the extra cash.

I knew I wanted a black LTZ, and didn't want any other options.

I phoned the dealerships in my area, two had the car I wanted, but both had a sunroof and USB package. I was told most cars were shipped from the factory with the roof option and it'd be difficult to find one without it.

So I pick a dealer, negotiate the deal, get a great price and am really looking forward to driving my car. It's Thursday night. I'm told they have to do a dealer trade and won't be able to get me my car until tomorrow.
That's understandable, I start a two week vacation the next day so as long as I have my new ride for that I'm good.

Friday afternoon I call the dealership, I'm told the same you were about having to transfer the VIN and all the paper work involved. How they can't transfer the car until it's done and while they're "trying their best" it probably won't happen until Monday.

To make a long story short I didn't get my car until Wednesday, when I complained they told me these things take time and wanted to make sure my car was 100% before they handed it over to me.

The car did look great and only had 42 km on it, my salesman and new car manager treated me like gold, but the run around left a bad taste in my mouth. They should've been upfront about the process from the beginning instead of stringing me along.

Oh well at least we both finally have our cars, enjoy your Malibu, I know I am.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-03-2010, 03:41 PM
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Re: Just bought a Malibu - my dealership experience

I had a better experience but only because my car was on their lot already. I think the total time I spent at the dealership was about four hours over three visits. The only thing I didn't like was on my second visit. Another salesman saw me in the parking lot and came out to greet me. I told him that I was here to see so and so and that I will be right in. Next thing you know, he's running inside to get my sales lady despite me telling him that I'm coming in. The sales lady comes out looking for me after I took the scenic way in. I went in on a Tuesday and got my car the following Tuesday. It would have been Monday but my insurance cheque didn't come in until Tuesday.

Both my sales lady and her manager kept telling me about this survey, which I still haven't received yet. Apparently, if I check off "Completely Satisfied", my sales lady gets $40 towards her pension and I'm sure the dealership gets some points/bonus's. And the owner of the dealership left a voicemail earlier this week reminding me of this survey also.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-03-2010, 07:17 PM
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Re: Just bought a Malibu - my dealership experience

Ordering is what I did, with exact colors and options. You do risk missing out on incentives and/or financing. In my case, I just didn't have the time to look around for an LS (lower seats, 4-speed) with a few must-have options. It turns out my timing was almost perfect (even got the February auto show bonus). I brought in my own bank financing and thus they didn't have a chance to muck around with any obscure stuff.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-03-2010, 07:38 PM
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Re: Just bought a Malibu - my dealership experience

I have come to a conclusion, 99% of ALL dealerships, except maybe Ferrari LOL suck.




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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-05-2010, 04:18 PM
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Re: Just bought a Malibu - my dealership experience

I just purchased a 2009 Malibu LTZ with 18000miles. My dealership experience was actually pretty good this time. I did have to travel 90min to the dealership due to the fact the one in my town completely sucks and this was the only dealership that had a 2009 with ebony interior withing a 300mi radius. I was in and out in 2hrs. I called the day before and set my price for the trade and the price of the car, after some negotiating I agreed and explained I will only drive there if that is the final price after I test drive the car. I get there test drive the car and start the negotiation. The sales man was nice and explained he would have to sell my trade in to the owner, he was in the office for 10min doing what I don't know because he already did this the day before on the phone, came back out and said we have a deal. I went through finance who also went through the selling of extra crap, which I stopped after the highest package and explained I already have most of the insurance through work and with the trade I don't need GAP coverage. I signed and made them fill the car up. Got home and noticed the head light was crap, called and they said they will order 2headlights and replace. Overall I am happy with my 09LTZ, it is way better thank my 05Pacifica.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-06-2010, 08:14 AM
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Re: Just bought a Malibu - my dealership experience

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Originally Posted by Silver LTZ View Post
I have come to a conclusion, 99% of ALL dealerships, except maybe Ferrari LOL suck.
Honestly, I have found no dealership that I can even tolerate much less enjoy. BUT, it seems from on here that some dealerships DO indeed have a good experience/care about their customers. It might be closer to 80/20, and we'rd just living in the wrong (urban?) areas...


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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2011, 10:57 AM
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Re: Just bought a Malibu - my dealership experience

I know this is an old thread, but figured I would post anyhow. We just bought our first new car last night, at a local dealership here in cedar rapids. 2011 Malibu LTZ, silver with ebony interior, no sunroof, 3.6L v6. I had been negotiating with the internet director of sales over the past couple days, told him what I wanted to pay, and we came to an agreement abit over what I wanted. (I didnt truthfully expect to get out the door at my given price, but it let him know I wasnt messing around for days on price) Through this entire time, the guy was nothing but OVER THE TOP helpful. At one time going between both me and my wife. I know that can get frustrating in the least, but never once did he bat an eye at it. Got to the dealer last night a little after 5. He had our car pulled up front, and setting there. Went inside, and told them who I was looking for. About 5 minutes later our walks a salesman we were told to meet with. His name was Matt. Matt was the type of guy I could set down with and drink beers with for hours on end, like I had known him my entire life. We went through the normal BS of options, safety, etc, went on a test drive. Got back, went in and sat down. He had the paperwork that me and Cory had discussed, even at a slightly lower price then we had agreed on. Signed it all and went into finance. That fella was just as helpful and nice. Not pushy, not hurried (since we were there later then closing by this time), same sort of great attitude. We had already lined up financing, so it literally took us 20 minutes in his office. paperwork signing, etc. Car was being detailed while we were doing all that. The salesman comes back after finance, with 5 free oil change coupons (of which I asked for, but was told I couldnt have). He took it apon himself to go talk to the sales manager, and get them pushed through. Car came back, he set up our onstar and XM for us, and we were out of there by 7:15. So we spent 2 hours and 15 minutes at the dealership. I wont ever buy a new car anywhere else. Period. I cant say enough about the experience. Our salesman also told us if we ever needed service, call him directly. He will set it up for us, and we wont have to wait for anything. I cant say enough good about these guys. So infact, there are good dealerships out there. Just have to find them.

Pat McGrath Chevrolet
1600 51st St NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
888-309-4067

Last edited by RodneyPierce; 04-21-2011 at 01:04 PM.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2011, 12:53 PM
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Re: Just bought a Malibu - my dealership experience

That is a fantastic experience! You should post the name, address, and phone number of the place. It can't hurt.


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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2011, 02:04 PM
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Re: Just bought a Malibu - my dealership experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by RodneyPierce View Post
I know this is an old thread, but figured I would post anyhow. We just bought our first new car last night, at a local dealership here in cedar rapids. 2011 Malibu LTZ, silver with ebony interior, no sunroof, 3.6L v6. I had been negotiating with the internet director of sales over the past couple days, told him what I wanted to pay, and we came to an agreement abit over what I wanted. (I didnt truthfully expect to get out the door at my given price, but it let him know I wasnt messing around for days on price) Through this entire time, the guy was nothing but OVER THE TOP helpful. At one time going between both me and my wife. I know that can get frustrating in the least, but never once did he bat an eye at it. Got to the dealer last night a little after 5. He had our car pulled up front, and setting there. Went inside, and told them who I was looking for. About 5 minutes later our walks a salesman we were told to meet with. His name was Matt. Matt was the type of guy I could set down with and drink beers with for hours on end, like I had known him my entire life. We went through the normal BS of options, safety, etc, went on a test drive. Got back, went in and sat down. He had the paperwork that me and Cory had discussed, even at a slightly lower price then we had agreed on. Signed it all and went into finance. That fella was just as helpful and nice. Not pushy, not hurried (since we were there later then closing by this time), same sort of great attitude. We had already lined up financing, so it literally took us 20 minutes in his office. paperwork signing, etc. Car was being detailed while we were doing all that. The salesman comes back after finance, with 5 free oil change coupons (of which I asked for, but was told I couldnt have). He took it apon himself to go talk to the sales manager, and get them pushed through. Car came back, he set up our onstar and XM for us, and we were out of there by 7:15. So we spent 2 hours and 15 minutes at the dealership. I wont ever buy a new car anywhere else. Period. I cant say enough about the experience. Our salesman also told us if we ever needed service, call him directly. He will set it up for us, and we wont have to wait for anything. I cant say enough good about these guys. So infact, there are good dealerships out there. Just have to find them.

Pat McGrath Chevrolet
1600 51st St NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
888-309-4067


Thank you for taking the time to post. All to often we only hear of the negative experiences. It's refreshing to hear a positive story.

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