"Purchase Great...Everything After is a Bit Downhill"
I'm originally from Seattle where Subaru vehicles are ubiquitous and there are a number of great dealerships to visit. Here in Calgary I was a bit disappointed by the lack of competition and the poor customer service from the two dealership choices (Subaru Calgary and Centaur).
I write this after the purchase process and one-year ownership of a new 2018 Crosstrek from Subaru Calgary. I knew the vehicle I wanted to buy, cross-shopped with dealers throughout the province. I eventually decided on Subaru Calgary over Centaur, as the latter had openly lied to me during the negotiation process. I test drove and then purchased the vehicle in cash from Ivan Tjan (though he appears to no longer work at the dealership), so there wasn't much Subaru Calgary needed to do for the sale. Price negotiation was fair and the dealer included some extra accessories. So, all in all, the buying process was great. Unfortunately, once the deposit was in hand, I felt that all the customer service went out the window. Here are a few highlights (or lowlights?) from my experience:
1.) Vehicle "On-Order"
They didn't have the exterior/interior color combo I wanted, so the vehicle had to be "located" and procured. There was a general lack of communication about how long this would take. I was initially told one-month for the vehicle to arrive which later slipped to "several months," as the vehicle was now on a boat from Japan. There was no communication during this interim. In the end, the vehicle was secured from a dealership in Richmond, BC and arrived in around one month.
2.) No Communication
As mentioned, in general the communication from Ivan, the sales managers, and the finance dept left a lot to be desired. I would repeatedly call to get updates on the vehicle and my calls would never be returned. Every time I received a message back it was from a different salesman I had never heard from before. I received a call out of the blue that said "come pick up your car" with no advance warning. Luckily it was the weekend so I was off work and could visit the bank to finalize the purchase.
3.) Delivery / Pick-up
My car arrived dirty with blue goop on the wheels and seats. The vehicle was shoddily washed and detailed. Someone lodged adhesive paper between the infotainment screen and the air vent that I had to later have removed by the service department. The leather seats were streaked with cleaner and the steering wheel had loose threads abound. They had installed the wrong accessory on my car (rear bumper guard) and didn't have the actual accessory in stock that I had paid for (rear seat back protectors). The entire pick-up process felt rushed and unprofessional. Vehicle features weren't adequately explained to me and finance tried to last minute bundle in their own extended care package lwithout advising me as to what I was paying for.
4.) Service (or Lack thereof)
I've also had less than stellar experiences with the Service department for routine maintenance (6 and 12 months). Even if you make scheduled appointments over the phone or speak with specific advisers, they never seem to remember your name, vehicle, or issues when you actually show up, leading you to repeat everything. I had to return to the service department for the rear-back seat protectors once they were in stock. It was only by calling in myself that I even found out my part had arrived. The techs didn't install them properly either and I had to redo the job at home.
I came back a separate time for an intermittent ignition issue and engine whine and the techs said they couldn't observe or diagnose the problem. So, I was told to "tow the car to the dealer when/if it dies" so they could actually observe the issues. Or, wait until it is super cold and the car acts up more regularly. This seemed like such bizarre advice for a new vehicle still under warranty. Of course, dealers are not paid much for warranty work, so I wonder if delaying or denying (?) service is part of their tactic to prolong mechanical issues and make more profit?
I have discussed some of these grievances with a sales manager. Laughably, he too is no longer there. Everyone I dealt with for purchase or service (Ivan, Ken, Myles, Steven, etc,) has left the dealership in the span of one year! This place seriously seems to have a revolving door. This doesn't inspire confidence about the management of the dealership and it makes it much more frustrating when trying to establish connections with trusted advisers for quality of service over the longterm.
Overall, I have mixed feelings about this dealership. I like my car and Ivan and the initial test drive and purchase process was smooth. However, the delivery, pick-up, and post-purchase service and communication needs some major work. When you're spending over 35K for a new car, you expect more professionalism and service from your dealership. I really do think this is an area that should be addressed with both Calgary locations as it doesn't seem to extend to other cities or provinces.
Employees Worked With
Ivan Tjan, Ken Woo, Myles Nordlund, Steven Abfalter
"Proud owner of a Crosstrek "
Mukul was extremely friendly and knowledgeable. The process of buying a car was relatively painless. There was very little upselling which I greatly appreciated. The car took 4 weeks to come in but it was worth the wait.
- Team Chalifoux
We had terrific service provided to us by Dylan DeJong. We were thrilled with the entire experience we had with Subaru Calgary and would highly recommend them. Dylan went out of his way to make us feel comfortable and important clients.