Fiat dealer

Opinion: Buying a new car – a tale of two dealers

Fiat dealerLooking forward to taking delivery of your new 68-plate car this weekend? Here’s hoping your experience was a little more straightforward than ours…

Our old car was a Fiat Panda. The original three-year PCP deal was amazing. I saw it on the back of a bus and still couldn’t believe it was true even as we signed the contract.

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Another great thing about PCPs is that you often get into positive equity well ahead of your contract ending. Which means you have the option of trading into a new car early.

We got the letter this summer. Mrs A has always loved the Fiat 500 and, now the kids are out of baby seats (meaning a five-door wasn’t imperative), we felt it the perfect time to get the car she’s hankered for.

It should have been easy. We visited the dealer, thought we’d found a PCP deal from reading the signs in the windscreen, made contact with a salesperson to do the simple transaction bit. We didn’t even need a test drive – a 500’s a 500… which, deep down, is a Panda.

We were a little surprised, then, when they said we’d have to put aside a couple of hours to do it. The kids were already getting twitchy, so we agreed to meet the following week – at 2pm. Email address and telephone number in the dealer system, we left slightly deflated (we’d expected to buy a new car that day), but excited about next week.

You can almost guess what’s coming next, can’t you?

Finding a Fiat

The following week, we turned up early (we sure were excited) and booked in with the person at reception. The salesperson was dealing with someone, but that’s fine, we thought. We hung around in the waiting area for a bit, occasionally glancing over to them. We sat in a 500. An Abarth. A 500X. A Jeep Renegade. Even a Compass, for heaven’s sake. Our 2pm time slot was long gone.

Then, the other couple departed. We wandered over. Too late. They’d pounced on another couple. They took them over to their desk. Still we weren’t acknowledged. So they didn’t see our disbelieving faces.

Half an hour after arriving, we once again left a dealer after walking in ready to buy a car. Literally, no selling was required – yet still we couldn’t get someone to take our money!

Naturally, Mrs A was fuming. I was in disbelief. It was harder for them not to make a sale, yet they still managed it… twice.

So, what to do? Pick another small and compact city car, one ideal for squeezing into the spaces at the school Mrs A works at. Which offers the best combination of ability and value right now? The Suzuki Ignis, I reckoned.

Seeking a Suzuki

2018 Suzuki Ignis

I wasn’t sure if the quirky styling would pass the test. But, next day, when we wandered into the local Suzuki dealer, she loved it. And the deals were sharp. Winning so far (but so too was Fiat dealer by this stage, too).

A salesman came over. Know what? He was brilliant. He listened to what we wanted, walked us round the Ignis, offered us a test drive, then sat down with us to talk through what he could offer. He valued the Panda, pulled together a package, and we were sold.

In well under an hour, he’d sold a car, and we left delighted. 

Sealing the deal

It was painless, enjoyable and, when we picked up our brand new, metallic blue Ignis later the very next week, left us both committed evangelists of the dealer, Suzuki Autosales. This is how it should be done. This is how dealers like Autosales do such good business on word of mouth.

2018 Suzuki Ignis

How hard can it be to sell a car to people who really want to buy a new car? If you’re good, not very hard at all. Which rather makes you wonder how others can make it so hard…

Do you have a similar tale of trying, and failing, to buy a new car? Share your stories here…

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