Are there any good dealers left?

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sgregory124

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Sep 11, 2004
Messages
1,186
Location
Derbyshire
Car
E63S
Apologies for the long post, but this is a bit of a saga.

I'm in the fortunate position to be looking to change my current car (2017 C63S Saloon) and I'm torn. The decision to change was always going to be difficult and because I've always been really impulsive in the past (see the first car I like and buy it), I thought I owe it to myself this time to find the right car and a worthy successor to my C63.

So I decided to line up 3 test drives this weekend, for the potential replacements. They are (in no particular order):

E63S Saloon (preferred option)
BMW M5 Competition (a distinct 'maybe')
Audi RS5 (the wildcard)

I realise that the RS5 isn't in the same market segment as the other two, but I've had 3 Audi's in the past and love the shape of the current A5, so figured it couldn't hurt to see what the RS is like.

I duly registered my interest on the respective websites and got an email acknowledgement from all of them saying 'someone' would be in touch.

My local Audi dealer called me within 60 minutes and we arranged a test drive for Saturday (yesterday). Nottingham Mercedes called me later in the afternoon and agreed to get an E63S from their Derby dealership (both Inchcape) and have it ready for Saturday in Nottingham, but they needed to confirm later in the week due to the 'Platinum Star' sales event meaning they were likely to be very busy. Sytner BMW however, just sent me another email, thanking me for my enquiry, sent me some PDF brochures and said 'If I still wanted to arrange a test drive, to call the salesman on the email'....not a great start. Given my experience of BMW dealerships in the past (as a past owner of an M3 and D3) I wasn't optimistic of anything being arranged, so thought I'd let them contact me and prove me wrong.

Finally, at 7pm on Wednesday this week, I got a call from David at Sytner, we had a long chat about the M5 and my requirements, it was agreed that I would drive a 21 plate car they had on-site, which although not 'prepared', would be sent for a safety check and made ready for Saturday. However, David wasn't working this weekend so said he'd pass my enquiry to his colleague, Malik, who would 'touch base' with me and take things from there.

Fast forward to Friday, I'd heard nothing further from Merc or BMW, so I called Nottingham Mercedes 3 times and left messages for Nick, the salesman I spoke to previously. At the same time, out of sheer frustration, I registered an enquiry at Derby Mercedes for the same E63S I mentioned earlier. I got an email with a personalised video message within 20 minutes, selected my preferred test drive day and waited for a call. That call came about 60 minutes later, I spoke with Jeremy and we agreed that despite the sales event taking place, he could squeeze me in today (Sunday) at 1pm for the drive.

Meanwhile, I get a call back from Nick in Nottingham to apologise for not getting back to me and that he couldn't arrange a drive after all because of the sales event that every dealer in the country was obliged to take part in, meaning no walk-in appointments and no test drives without being invited via the event. I also got some nonsense about the place being a building site and him having 20 people to call back etc etc....

Not to worry, Derby is now booked - or so I thought. I called Derby this morning (as asked to, to check they hadn't sold the car prior to me getting there), 3 attempts later I speak to a receptionist (who sounded like a 15 year old) who said that Jeremy has 'called in sick' and wouldn't be in until next week.

Bad luck I thought, people get ill, it happens, but surely someone will take over his prospects and take me out on a drive right?

WRONG. Nobody available to even talk to me and it would have to be rearranged next week when Jeremy returned.

Despite all the above, I managed a successful (and spirited) test of the RS5, had a long conversation with the salesman who basically bent over backwards to do everything he could to get me to buy a car yesterday. I have to say, I was impressed with the car - but it didn't quite tick all the boxes for me, despite being extremely quick, it was just a little 'vanilla' (although sounded incredible for a V6TT as it was fitted with the optional RS valved exhaust).

This is all leading me to the question in the subject, are there any good dealers left? There's me making serious enquiries on cars that cost in excess of £50k (£60k for the E63S) and it's almost like they don't want to sell them. Am I in some alternate universe wanting a bit of customer service here????

Answers on a postcard.....
(still no response from BMW even today - just cements my opinion of the brand these days).
 
I’ve had to deal with a Citroen dealership and a VW dealership over the last 4 weeks. The last time I dealt with a U.K. dealer was about 17 years ago when I got a new Transit.

Both Citroen and VW have been f*****g useless.
 
I'm sure there are some really good dealerships, but my own (thankfully limited) experience of both MB and BMW locally is that they appear to view a customer as an irritating impediment to the smooth running of the dealership; I'm sure they advertise on Indeed for Customer Prevention Officers.
That said, our family-owned SEAT dealer is great.
 
As an ex dealer (and current salesman) rightly or wrongly people who walk through the door get a better reaction than those they contact via email or pg9ne.So many or those email and phone appointments are either time wasters...or just don't show up. I know with cars like that there is always the risk of the car not being available....but I assume most manufacturers websites still have the feature that tells you which dealers are running which demos. I'm not saying it's an excuse for the way you were treated though.

My 2 pence worth. I have driven all three of those for one reason or another...sort of!

Equal first the E63s and M5 (I drove the non S and the non competition versions...but close enough). The AMG was more of an event and felt more special...but the steering lacked feel to me....not much info on what's going on up front especially when pushing...when you need it. The M5....fantastic steering by comparison.....but still not close to the old rear wheel drive F10 version IMO. Not very special inside and not different enough to the derv rep mobiles.
Very third....RS5....bland, bland, bland!. Good points...it's quick and felt much we quicker then the figures say...was quite vicious...which is nice.....and...well that's it....a real one trick pony. Boring styling and interior (looks wise at least....quality seems as good of not better than the other two)
Just my view and I realise that it's a bit different to most mag tests....but just saying it as I see it. To be fair I drove them months apart....and that might affect my review....back to back we would be better.
That said....on their own any of them would make a great daily.....until you drive the others!
 
So you didn't buy the RS5 from the helpful and knowledgeable salesperson, but you're still after the E63S in spite of being let down badly by two sperate dealers?

There's your answer then. If your experience is anything to go by, then car buyers buy based on the car on not on the salesperson.

Which, in the cold day of light, means that dealerships that have desirable cars, need not invest in having decent salespeople.

Sad but true.....
 
Not true IMO. Lots of buyers know sod all about cars....those people (most people?) will buy a car from the nicer, more professional sales people.....largely because they don't care what they drive (yes that includes you dad... sorry!) This is proven by the amount of complete crap that gets sold by kia, MG, Dacia etc!
 
Ho ho.....they are out there...and not many of them are under 30 years old.
 
In my experience, whilst there are exceptions, typically mainstream premium main dealers (like Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Porsche) are the worst for service when enquiring, then independent secondhand all-marque dealers, and then mainstream non-premium main dealers (like Toyota, Citroen, Ford) are often pretty good.

Independent secondhand specialist dealers (like sports car, supercar or specific marque specialists) are usually very very good, and pipping them at the post, very posh car main dealers are usually best of all. They both seem better able to work out who’s serious and who’s not, perhaps they know their target market better than the average.

If I walk into a Mercedes, Audi, BMW or Porsche dealer I will be ignored, blanked and have been on the receiving end of very rude behaviour. When I’ve bought new from those brands I have done it through a broker, by email or phone, and I make it clear that I know what I want to buy and will buy that day based on the best deal.

That avoids the hassle of trying to get the salesperson to phone me back, catch the sales persons attention in the showroom or worse still getting through the greeters, who make the average Doctor’s receptionist look like a complete amateur at being unwelcoming, unfriendly, inattentive, and as unhelpful as possible.

Mainstream premium car dealers must recruit people who start out in designer brand (or otherwise expensive clothes), shoes, handbag and jewellery shops, where the staff seem to think that they’re better than the people buying the designer clothes, shoes, handbag or jewellery and look down their nose at them. Very odd!

They possibly see me as just a scruffy old sausage cluttering up their showroom, and not deserving of their time. Now I know that that’s almost certainly going to be the case then that works for me - I just do what I described above - I don’t enjoy all that malarkey, in fact it’s one of the few things in which could get close to winding me up.

If it’s any other type of purchase, then I call ahead on the day I plan to visit, and I don’t mention a test drive until I’ve decided that I’m going to buy it if the deal is right. There just aren’t any poorly designed and engineered new cars anymore, and secondhand cars have a warranty or consumer rights, so the risk is low.

In practice I often do have a test drive if it’s a secondhand car but it’s almost certainly after I’ve negotiated a deal conditional upon the car being right when I drive it. I then drive it, pay the deposit and wave them good bye. The best sales tactic is to throw me the keys and say “see you later”as soon as I arrive, as I almost always buy!
 
Not true IMO. Lots of buyers know sod all about cars....those people (most people?) will buy a car from the nicer, more professional sales people.....largely because they don't care what they drive (yes that includes you dad... sorry!) This is proven by the amount of complete crap that gets sold by kia, MG, Dacia etc!
A neighbour has just bought a Kia XCeed.
I have to say, the fit and finish is pretty impressive. Paint quality is excellent.
7 year 100, 000 mile warranty.
It might not be the most dynamic or engaging vehicle to drive, but "crap" it ain't.
 
Hi , from my experience dealers in the same group can be very good or terrible.

What annoys me that you have to make an appointment to spend £60000 on a car but you can go shopping in Tesco without an appointment.

Porsche dealers I understand are rather complacent but the wheels could about to fall of certain models in the 911 line up.
 
A neighbour has just bought a Kia XCeed.
I have to say, the fit and finish is pretty impressive. Paint quality is excellent.
7 year 100, 000 mile warranty.
It might not be the most dynamic or engaging vehicle to drive, but "crap" it ain't.

I had a Kia Soul II, and now have a Hyundai (sister company to Kia), and I fully agree. These cars are very well put together.

In contrast, back in the nineties I drove a rented Kia Shuma 1.6L automatic, and thought at the time that this must be one of the worst cars I've ever driven.

Yes, Kia have come a long way.
 
Porsche dealers I understand are rather complacent but the wheels could about to fall of certain models in the 911 line up.
If you mean that used prices on their cars are softening (as per the rest of the used car market) then I it won’t affect Porsche too much because Porsche sell those cars at list price with huge demand. It’s on the used market that the prices have gone nuts with people paying a lot more (“overs”) for a secondhand car than a new car.

Even if all of the speculators and investors are removed from the market entirely as a result of economic conditions, as long as Porsche continue to design, build and sell GT cars in the same mould as they do today then I’m sure that they will still sell out as there will be enough serious car collectors to keep buying them.

There might be a small impact on volumes of their non-911 range because Porsche main dealers might not be able to insist with such zeal that buying a Macan, Cayenne, Panamera and Taycan will put you in good stead for receiving the 911 GT3 allocation, but demand for even those should remain fairy bouyant.
 
In the past few years I have bought cars from Mercedes, Volvo, Audi, Porsche and BMW dealers and have had no issues with any of them. Maybe I'm just lucky or tolerant, but I do always have a very clear idea of what I want and have researched the car well before getting near a showroom.
Certainly the last two, Porsche in Norwich and BMW in Canterbury I really would have no cause to fault in any way. I got the cars I wanted, at the price I thought was right and was treated very well. Isn't that the way it is supposed to work?
So yes, good dealers with good people do still exist. Oh! and both the sales persons on those two occasions appeared to be under 30 (ish!)
 
So you didn't buy the RS5 from the helpful and knowledgeable salesperson, but you're still after the E63S in spite of being let down badly by two sperate dealers?

There's your answer then. If your experience is anything to go by, then car buyers buy based on the car on not on the salesperson.

Which, in the cold day of light, means that dealerships that have desirable cars, need not invest in having decent salespeople.

Sad but true.....
Given I never got to meet either of the sales people from Mercedes or BMW to even start building any kind of rapport, I would say it's not as cut and dried as you suggest....
 
In my experience, whilst there are exceptions, typically mainstream premium main dealers (like Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Porsche) are the worst for service when enquiring, then independent secondhand all-marque dealers, and then mainstream non-premium main dealers (like Toyota, Citroen, Ford) are often pretty good.
This is also my experience to be fair. Back in May we bought a new Dacia from Renault Derby and their sales process was excellent. Not only that but the aftercare has been amazing also - we recently had a couple of minor niggles sorted under warranty and the process was super slick. In contrast, of the prestige brands i've dealt with for buying my cars, Audi have always been best (particularly Nottingham (Sytner)) - which is strange because Sytner BMW have been universally awful at multiple dealerships. Mercedes have been simply 'meh' - even when I was considering a new E-class back in 2017, the sales guy was very non-plussed and didn't even clean the interior of 'his' demonstrator for my test drive.

They possibly see me as just a scruffy old sausage cluttering up their showroom, and not deserving of their time. Now I know that that’s almost certainly going to be the case then that works for me - I just do what I described above - I don’t enjoy all that malarkey, in fact it’s one of the few things in which could get close to winding me up.
I don't generally enjoy the process of buying a car either, but I see it as a necessary evil. In other words, I fully expect the sales person to put in some effort to actually 'sell' that vehicle to me, I want to be schmoozed - may as well make the process as bearable as possible....
 

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