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Personal Kar-ma

2005-01-12 17:49:50.158272+00 by meuon 10 comments

Just a quick blip. I bought a new Subaru Outback Sport SE last month.- The car rocks but the dealer sucks, and it's becoming a Epic Saga of why car dealerships suck. - Today I find out they titled my car to someone else.. Just thought I'd share my rant.

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comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2005-01-13 16:15:32.808473+00 by: Shawn

Welcome to Club 'Ru! I've loved my Outback Sport. Did you get the standard or the WRX?

#Comment Re: made: 2005-01-13 16:54:30.51773+00 by: ebradway

I've always been amazed at how much effort car manufacturers put into the increasing the quality of the cars while they allow the dealers to continue to be complete scum. Despite my best efforts, I've never managed to be able to buy a car from the Toyota dealer in Chattanooga. One time when I returned after test-driving a new pickup and was interested in buying, my salesman was missing and no one seemed interested in helping me. Another time, more recently, I went to check out the Prius and they said that there was nothing they could do for me - they didn't even have a brochure.

When researching the Jetta TDi, I found out that many people have had significant issues with the dealer garage screwing up a timing belt change. In a diesel, that means the engine gets toasted as the valves protrude into the cylinder chamber during the intake and exhaust strokes and retract to closed during firing. If the timing is off, the piston will impact the valves, requiring a complete rebuild of the engine. I was also told by the local VW dealer that VW requires timing belt changes ever 40K miles and oil changes every 5K miles. The owner's manual and a call to VW Customer Service stated that the timing belt change interval is every 100K miles and the oil change is every 10K. This is a big deal as the timing belt change is $564 and the oil change (the TDi uses a very specific blend of synthetic oil) is $69.

I've driven a couple Subaru's at Kelly and came to the conclusion that they prefer customers who buy their Saabs, Cadillacs, and Hummers. I wanted a specific model and they claimed that they would change extra for getting a car from another dealer and that it was alot more expensive to special order from the factory. A good dealer LOVES special orders and basically gives you invoice because they don't have to take the car into stock (the dealers actually have to buy the cars from the manufacturer, so stock represents allocation of funds).

One of my wife's friends is a corporate lawyer. He always drives Saabs. He always leases. He always gets them from Atlanta. The Saab dealer in Atlanta delivers the car to him in Chattanooga. Another friend of mine in Knoxville bought a used BMW 7-series from the South Atlanta BMW dealer (Hank Aaron). The dealer happily delivered the car to Knoxville at no charge. My friend saved about $10K over the price of a similar certified used BMW from the dealer in Knoxville.

The net-result: car dealers suck but some suck much less than others. It is always worth your while to buy from the dealer that doesn't suck as much. My experience with dealers in Chattanooga is that they all suck. I've bought (or attempted to buy) cars from Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Honda, Subaru and VW. The Toyota dealer, as I mentioned, made it impossible for me to actually buy a car. Nissan, when it was Pye Nissan, was OK but I had to argue with the garage when my new truck broke down two weeks after buying it (they said it was just a fusible link blown - I said something must have caused the fusible link to blow - duh!). The Mazda dealer sold me an RX-7 haggled down to $3800 from $6900 on the sticker and when I tried to trade it a month later for personal reasons (needed something with more than two seats) they gave me a long list of problems they found with the car and only offered $1800 in trade. The Honda dealer sold me a Civic wagon (used, high mileage) that had the rear-view mirror missing when I test drove it. The salesman happily gave me a new rear-view mirror when I bought it. After attaching it and driving, I first noticed the giant clouds of blue smoke coming out the exhaust. A week after buying the car, the Honda dealer told me it needed a new engine. I bought a Nissan Pathfinder from a Kia Dealer in Florida. The price was $3400 but by the time I got to signing the papers, the price changed to $3900 before tax.

I've always had the best luck buying from individuals and it's always been on the most questionable vehicles. I bought an ex-farm truck - an old Toyota pickup that was severely banged up - for $1800. I drove it for 30K miles, putting tires and a new clutch in it. I sold it for $1000 because it reached a point it needed oil every time you drove it. The car cost me about $1500 for the $30K miles. I bought a 1986 Porsche 911 for $9000. Drove it almost 40K miles, put about $2000 in it in parts and labor and sold it for $12000. I bought a 1974 VW Bus for $1800, drove it for 30K miles, but about $1000 in parts and labor and sold it for $2000.

BTW, anyone interested in a 1994 Nissan Pathfinder for $2700?

#Comment Re: made: 2005-01-14 14:17:55.991503+00 by: meuon

Shawn, the WRX version was tempting, but instead I got an SE.. It'll keep me from getting tickets. Hopefully. An SE is an optioned out version. Mine looks exactly like the pic I posted (only much much bigger ;) . It's been a blast to drive and remarkably stable on rough, slippery and windy roads. I was really impressed when we hit a lost retread chunk (could not avoid it) at 90mph. [SLAMN] We felt the drivers front wheel hit the bumpers/limits.. and expected the car to swerve.. But it just took it and kept going straight without a yank or pull on the wheel.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-01-17 17:04:47.904407+00 by: ziffle

I have had good results with the dealers in Chattanooga. meuon, with your driveway you made a very good choice! and if 90 MPH is what keeps you from tickets I need the model of your radar detector.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-01-17 19:03:27.227196+00 by: meuon

The dealership is slowly solving problems.. Got to the owner (via e-mail), and it looks like I was the straw on the camels back that may get a sales driod fired and some clerical staff kicked in the ass. Will it last.. Who knows.

As for 90mph.. Circling Atlanta on the loop (I285) at 90mph keeps the semi's from running over me and the M3 Beemer Yuppies passing on the left at 110+. But seriously, I have incredible traffic karma: I get these urges to slow down. I do.. and then zip by the speed traps at 72mph and then get back up to speed. It's been many many a year since I was pulled over for speeding, but then, I'm not as much in a hurry as I used to be either.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-01-17 20:53:56.808288+00 by: Larry Burton

A bit of trivia for those people speeding through Georgia. Due to a past well deserved reputation for speed traps Georgia state law prohibits county and municipal law enforcement agencies can only give tickets for going more than ten miles per hour over the speed limit. Georgia State Troopers, however, can ticket for anything over the speed limit. With the speed limit on I285 being 65 miles per hour in most places that means that you can drive 74 mph without much worry of getting ticketed. That means that 85 mph is closer to the flow of traffic than the 65 mph posted speed limit.

Of course between the hours of 6am and 8:30am and 3:30pm and 7:00pm the flow of traffic can often be 2 mph on that Interstate.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-01-26 22:30:57.450373+00 by: meuon [edit history]

Just so ya know. I just found out in may be a felony to not deliver a title to a car within 30 days from purchase. And yes, the Saga continues..

#Comment Re: made: 2005-01-26 22:49:55.119257+00 by: Dan Lyke

Hey, that link asks me for a name and password... b

#Comment Re: made: 2005-01-27 04:02:28.379263+00 by: meuon

Sorry. Fixed it. - Oh, and it's been downgraded to a Class C Misdemeanor.. unless I can prove intent to defraud.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-01-27 13:46:23.242325+00 by: meuon [edit history]

Abusing Flutterby.. Just cause I'm only the #8 Link on Google for Kelly Subaru Cadillac and Hummer in Chattanooga TN. Please, forgive me Dan..