I had a cute ute with more horsepower than most humans need, but a change in circumstances meant I had to go new car shopping. I dislike car shopping. A lot. In my opinion the process is needlessly complex, deal structures are often inscrutable, negotiations are overly tedious, and salespeople with megawatt personalities make my head hurt. Perhaps that explains why I am writing this review. I want to share with folks on this site how car shopping does not have to be like this, especially with the right company and the right professionals.
I hoped to test drive a Durango and a Grand Cherokee amongst others. I chose Crowfoot Dodge Chrysler because they are a quick scoot down the hill from where I live. I used the 'Connect with us now!" bouncy thing on their web page, played with the bot that answered my message, and was eventually connected to Dawn Koop on the sales floor. After establishing our cyber bona fides we decided to meet up the following day.
Dawn had a Durango ready for me to drive. I didn't hate it, I didn't love it, it was the epitome of okay. Undeterred by my underwhelming response Dawn threw a plate on a Grand Cherokee and off we went again. I liked the Grand Cherokee but quickly determined I could not afford it. I had spent considerable time with spreadsheets and knew exactly what my budget was. I also had a core group of features that were non-negotiable (I am ADDICTED to lane keep assist and smart cruise control) but there weren't any packages with those options available in my price range. Dawn kept trying to find ways to make my admittedly tight price range fit into something suitable but eventually exhausted her inventory. She ultimately found something at another dealer with a great price and a good feature set. The car she found was pretty much perfect.
At this point I had been at Crowfoot Dodge Chrysler for three hours. When I think about the time Dawn spent with me, despite me repeating the mantra 'too expensive' for hours, I am very grateful for her patience. This was a Saturday, a prime selling day, and here was Dawn sitting with an old guy quibbling over $2,000 on a $60,000 vehicle. I would have thrown me out after about an hour and a half, but unlike me, she was eminently patient and kind.
Dawn wrote up the offer on the vehicle she had found for me and I trundled off to the business office. We were going over the numbers and an alarm bell went off in my head. The discount on the vehicle was fantastic, but the trade in value being offered was lower than I had thought, and lower than I was comfortable with. I told the finance guy my concerns and he related them to Liisa Acheson, the new car sales manager. Liisa immediately reached out and we had a very fulsome chat about the differences between her and my valuations of the deal, and she agreed to re-evaluate it on Monday after she could confirm some data.
Monday came and Liisa and I scheduled a video call for the afternoon. She had indeed re-evaluated the deal and was able to offer me a much better vehicle for less money. I was sliding up in trim and features, and with the updated trade value and significant discounting, I was paying marginally less than the original deal I had contracted for. I was, and still am, very impressed with Liisa's 'outside the box' thinking.
The second trip to the business office was scheduled for Tuesday, and I met up with Dave Herard. He was professional, courteous, helpful, and efficient as we went through the steps required to finalize the sale. We had a conversation about ceramic coating (this is the second vehicle I have had it added to - highly recommended!) and he spoke to the competitive cost structure they had available for SUV coating. Suffice to say, we agreed on a price and the coating goes on tomorrow.
This old guy learned a few things over the last week. First and foremost, leave your hubris at the door. I told Dawn exactly what I needed and precisely what my budget was. I relied on her product expertise and honesty to make it happen. Secondly, understand the deal inside out. Liisa was wonderfully transparent when it became obvious that I was interested in some of the financial minutiae that would cause most folks to fall asleep. And finally, relax and have fun. Car shopping does not have to be overly onerous, especially when you are lucky enough to find professional and caring folks like Dawn, Liisa, and Dave.
Thanks Crowfoot Dodge Chrysler, you folks went above and beyond.