Once upon a time the automotive market was radically different. Just a few decades ago things were much simpler for consumers than they are today. Unless they’re shopping for a new Tesla, buyers face a borderline-absurd number of choices when they walk into a typical dealer showroom. This is why we’re here. Ask AutoGuide’s expertly trained, nationally certified Oracles are ready, willing and usually able to help new-car shoppers in distress. Think of them as caped crusaders fighting for what’s right… as long as they don’t have to get up from their desks or change out of their Velcro Hush Puppies.
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Every week Ask AutoGuide provides iron-clad vehicle-shopping advice to distressed, confused or otherwise bewildered consumers. Whether they’re in the market for a family-friendly crossover or something that’s good in winter weather, the Oracles of all things automotive have been there to lend some helping hands. But this week they’re taking a slightly different approach.
With whacky choices like the Holden Commodore Maloo available, it might take more than a powerful V8 to catch an Australian customer’s attention.
You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes before you made sure they fit your feet, so why would you purchase a car without a test drive? According to a Maritz Research study, 11.4 percent of new car buyers did not take a test drive before purchasing their vehicle.
There’s always two sides to a story, and earlier we reported about how a Nissan dealership sold a $62,130 Murano Crosscabriolet to a man suffering from dementia. Now North Bay Nissan, the dealership in question, has agreed to take back the vehicle while explaining their side of the story.
Ed Dowdall suffers from Lewy Body Dementia and currently lives in a care facility in San Francisco, California. According to his doctor, Dowdall suffers from “markedly impaired judgment, lack of impulse control, aggressive and compulsive behavior, and an almost total lack of insight into his condition.”
Greg Dexter on the other hand, owner of North Bay Nissan, claims that Dowdall gave every indication of having a sound mind when he purchased the vehicle back in December. Of course we wouldn’t expect the owner of the dealership to say otherwise, but whether it’s an admission of guilt or just wanting all the negative press to go away, Dexter has agreed to take back the Murano, relinquishing the $923 a month car payment. Dexter however did not make a firm statement on whether or not the down payment would be fully refunded.
Dowdall’s attorney, Michael Baddeley has said that both parties reached a mutual agreement on the fiasco and confirmed that the sale has been rescinded. The dealership’s story however is that Dowdall was a returning customer, having purchased his Altima Hybrid there back in 2008. He originally visited the dealership in November inquiring about the Murano before purchasing it the following month.
Two phone messages were played that Dowdall had left the salesman after purchasing the car, sounding coherent and happy about the purchase. There were also notes during the sale that Dowdall was on the phone with family members during the sales process including Amy Dowdall – his separated wife – and her brother-in-law Mike Dowdall. Both Amy and Mike claim that they were at the Petaluma Police Department during the purchase to report that Ed attempted to kill Amy the night before.
“I knew the car should have gone back that day, but Mike talked me into keeping it until (my husband) went to the home because it would have been upsetting for him,” Amy Dowdall said.
Clearly this is a case of he-said, she-said, but we’re glad the matter has been resolved. We personally think Mr. Ed Dowdall really wanted the Murano CrossCabriolet and of course the dealership had no gripes selling it to him. But whether or not he was ethically taken advantage of, well that’s up to you.
[Source: Press Democrat]
Two knucklehead dealership technicians decided to borrow a BMW 1 Series M Coupe and put it through its paces. What makes the video even more painful to watch is that the technicians have no sympathy for the car’s delicate break in period.
Interstingly, members of the 1Addicts forum managed to narrow down the location of the joyride and trace it back to Pacific BMW in Southern California. Fortunetly the car had not been sold yet, and the dealership asking price was a whopping $20,000 over MSRP.
Once the driver knew the heat was on, he attempted to cover his tracks by removing the video from his account, but someone had already made a copy. The BMW abuser has apparently been fired by the dealer after forum members reached out in outrage. Furthermore, local city spokesman Tom Lorenz also indicated that local law enforcement is investigating the technician in regards to the obviously unsafe and illegal speeds obtained during the joyride in residential neighbourhoods.
Check out the video after the jump!
Xou Vang thought he scored a sweet deal on eBay: $55,100 for a 2009 Nissan GT-R with just 36,069 miles on the clock. But Honda of San Marcos, Texas, is refusing to honor the sale, pressuring Vang to pay the full $59,000 sticker—and violating eBay’s stringent rules in the process.
As of yesterday, the GT-R is still listed on the dealership’s inventory at $62,674. While a three grand reduction off the price is impressive enough, it still isn’t what Vang is legally bound to pay. He called the dealership repeatedly, arranging a deposit and a time to pick up the car, which the dealership refused. A sales manager told Vang.
“So he kept telling me he will not sell it as he has the rights to not sell this car,” said Vang, “as eBay is not a contract and eBay has fine small prints that says dealers are exempt and they do not have to sell the vehicle. I asked him where was this and he was unable to point me to the information where he is finding this small print.”
Vang wisely contacted as many offices as he could: eBay, the Better Business Bureau, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, Texas Attorney’s Office, and the Federal Trade Commission. But he lives all the way in Anchorage, Alaska, and the idea of making the trek down south makes him feel “hopeless, since I have no one to turn to,” he said. For now, however, he’s got his comrades at My350Z Forums, and as we’ve learned time and time again from similar cases—don’t underestimate the power of the Internet.
A Honda dealer in Vancouver, Canada who wanted to show support for the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks was forced to remove the team’s logo from their showroom.
Kingsway Honda manager Doug Lum told the CBC that the NHL informed Kingsway Honda that the use of logos constituted copyright infringement and had to be removed immediately. Lum cited Honda’s sponsorship as the NHL’s official car, and noted the irony of the legal reprimand.
Lum said that he didn’t plan to fight the NHL’s demands, but had the lettering altered to read ”Go ‘nucks GO.”
The California New Car Dealers Association is accusing Chrysler of operating a factory store illegally in the Los Angeles area. The showroom, dubbed Motor Village L.A., was designed to boost Chrysler’s profile and show off their revised product lineup, as well as the new Fiat brand.
The dealer group filed a petition with the California New Motor Vehicle Board, asking for an investigation and disciplinary action against Chrysler, including a possible revocation of their business license. The dealer group alleges that proprietor Howard Drake lacks any financial stake in the business, making it illegitimate. Motor Village also is within a 10 mile radius of other independently owned Chrysler stores, which violates California law.
In a statement, Chrysler spokesman Ralph Kisiel said “looks forward to discussing the matter with the Department of Motor Vehicles.”
[Source: Automotive News]
If you’ve ever driven on Interstate 95 north of Fort Lauderdale, you’ve doubtlessly seen Champion Motors in Pompano Beach, Florida, home of the world’s largest Porsche dealership. Unfortunately, the dealership also suffered a Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year, and its recovery story in Portfolio magazine gives the layman an interesting look into how dealerships operate.
Dealerships must keep an inventory of cars, and use whats called floor-plan financing for this. Essentially, it’s a fancy name for a loan provided by the bank to cover the cost of buying inventory from the manufacturer. At the time, Champion was getting credit from VW Credit, due to Champion’s Audi franchise sharing real estate with the Porsche showroom.
However, VW Credit cut back the repayment time from 10 days after a vehicle’s sale to 3 days, a move that caused major headaches for Champion, as the cutback came in the middle of 2009′s economic downturn. Undoubtedly, the large and expensive inventory Champion must carry exacerbated the problem.
The Portfolio article explores what happens during the bankruptcy, but also details the various maneuvers used by Champion to shed their dead weight (in this case, an Audi franchise) and re-emerge as a leaner, more profitable business. The article also details how dealership financing works, an interesting topic for those who have overlapping interests in business and cars.
Mazda Canada announced Friday that a dealer that sold a Mazda6 demonstrator to a woman for nearly $25,000 above retail value has had its franchise agreement terminated. Mazda of Orangeville, situated about 35 miles northwest of Toronto, will no longer be able to sell new vehicles or parts or make repairs.
Mazda of Orangeville attracted a flurry of negative press after it emerged that it sold a disabled woman a 2010 Mazda6 demonstrator for $66,000, when it should have sold for roughly $41,000
In an interview with the Toronto Star, Greg Young, Mazda’s director of corporate public relations explained the reasoning behind the termination. “We informed the dealer this morning that we were terminating the agreement because he had not adhered to the business standards, under the terms of the sales and service agreement.”
Young said that the overpriced car was one example found during an investigation into the dealership’s business practices. The dealership charged the buyer, Madeline Leonard, nearly three times the retail price for various accessories, and gave her an 8-year loan which added significant costs to the vehicle. Leonard is on a fixed income and should not have qualified for a standard loan.
[Source: Toronto Star]