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This Is The "lexus Experience"?


PK in Atlanta
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We had an interesting experience today trying to purchase a RX350 in Atlanta. We had been working with a specific dealer for about 2 weeks and when we found they would be open today (Sunday), we decided to go back to actually purchase the automobile. Now we had done our homework both on the net, at these forums, and by getting quotes with a number of Lexus dealers that are pretty close to us. I was even willing to pay a little more at this particular dealership because we had test driven the car there and they had the most time invested with us. However, when we went to close the deal, it was just like the old days buying a car from Ford or Chevrolet.

First of all, the car that they brought in was supposed to be exactly the same but was $176 less expensive based on MSRP. The sales rep (sorry, Sales and Leasing Consultant) told me not to worry because the car was equipped exactly the same but was brought into inventory before a price increase. She could not tell me when that price increase occurred but did say that they happen all the time. No problem - I just wanted to see the document indicating when the car was delivered to the dealer. I was told somewhat testily that was unnecessary and that the car was exactly the same as what I had driven earlier. I looked at my notes and quickly determined that the $176 was also the cost of the C1 and WL options (Cargo Net/Wheel Locks). When I pointed this out to the Sales Consultant, she told me that the car was equipped the same and that this strange $176 was just a coincidence. So we look at the car - no cargo mats or wheel locks. I point out a wheel lock in the showrooom to the Sales Consultant and told her that the car I looked at did not have any of those. She stomps off to look at the car and then comes back and admits that they are not on the car. She still sticks to the story about the price increase. When she finally tells me when the car came into inventory (20-December - 10 days ago), she finally admits she was not correct. Despite this, we try to discuss price and she tells me that the price they gave is not negotiable. When I point out that I have lower quotes from other dealers in the area for similarly equipped autos, she tells me that if I don't want to pay that price, they will sell it tomorrow for $500 more. I asked another question and she tells me that we are done. She then tells me that I have been rude since I walked in that day and that we are done talking. Hmmm, she lies to me concerning equipment on the auto, I ask for documentation to figure it out and that is considered rude?! Now I don't really care about $176. The issue to me is the fact that the Sales Consultant assumed the car was sold to us before we started, could not answer our questions adequately, refused to check things out when we asked her to, and then got upset when we pointed out the discrepancies in what we were being told. We needed to be sold on this car and this dealership. We were clearly sold on the car - we planned to drive it home today. All it would have taken from the dealership was a bit of honesty.

Before leaving the showroom (in my old 4Runner), I talked to the Sales Manager. Of course, the Sales Consultant gets to prep him first with her side of the story. I did get a lot of time with him, which I appreciate and I asked that the Sales Consultant be there as well - I operate with a "no secrets" policy. In discussions with the Sales Manager, he was somewhat understanding and he was willing to throw in the C1 and WL options for the lower price as well as an additional service at 15k. We had a deal...until he told me that unless I was 100% satisfied (meaning that I could give them good ratings on the Lexus Satisfaction Survey) that he really didn't want me to buy the car at that dealership. I told him I didn't think I could do that based on being lied to and being called rude by the Sales Consultant when she was the one that was being misleading (and that is being charitable). So despite the fact that I was paying cash, he said he didn't want my business. I'm not sure if this was just a bit of reverse psychology on his part ("if you cannot do this then you are not good enough for this car"), but I do know that he talked himself out of a deal.

So this long story (and I do apologize for the length) leads to a few questions:

- Is it rude to ask for documentation to back up what Sales Consultants tell us or are we just supposed to accept what they say without question?

- This just smacks of the old days of car buying with all the games and secrets. Granted, the Lexus showroom is much nicer but the overall experience was the same. Actually, it was worse - we always bought cars in the past when we went out with that intent in mind. Are all Lexus dealers like this?

- Does Lexus just assume that people are so desperate to purchase their cars that they will accept any explanation that the Sales Consultants come up with?

- Any suggestions for Atlanta-based Lexus dealers who will listen to our questions and treat us with at least a little bit of respect?

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Good for you for walking out.

I have read about techniques for selling cars and the "be good buddies then act miffed if the deal sours" scam is a popular one to use on nice people. The buyer doesn't want to offend so buys at an inflated price. Then the service manager tried the "good cop, bad cop" angle on you. If they think you are attached to the car then the scare tactic of "it will be sold out from under you" is used.

The bottom line is that car salespeople are no different than politicians in their desire to get what they want. A different dealer may be more gentle but their intent is exactly the same - to make money. They are most afraid of an informed consumer.

Lexus must look at those surveys closely since the dealership where we bought our car was equally concerned about the survey. They didn't hinge the deal on it but encouraged positive marks. We were honest in filling it out and there were some negatives.

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GDixon - Thanks for the reply. It was an interesting experience at the Lexus dealer because I had heard and read so many good things about them that I expected them to be different than the normal car dealer. No such luck, at least at that first dealer.

Now the good news - After my failure to purchase a car on Sunday, I called Nalley Lexus Roswell Monday morning. I had communicated with their Internet Sales Manager (Jeff Rizzo) earlier in the buying process when I was getting quotes. His responses and follow-through had been good all along even when I explained that I was looking at a number of dealers and was not sure where I would ultimately go to purchase the vehicle. He told me that he wasn't concerned where I bought the car as long as I was satisfied - how refreshing! Anyway, I called him at 9am Monday, we talked about price, inventory, etc., and by about 1pm I was driving home in my new RX350. Okay, actually my wife was driving home and I got to follow in my 4Runner. The interaction/experience with Jeff was great. Overall, the deal that I would have received at the first dealership was matched with even a bit more thrown in. For prospective Lexus buyers in the Atlanta area, I highly recommend considering Nalley Lexus Roswell (it is on Mansell Rd.) when you are looking.

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Very nice to hear of the happy ending.

As with all businesses, leadership and attitude come from the top. If your annoyance with the first dealer was sufficient enough to warrant a follow-up then Lexus Customer Support could be notified of your negative experience. The first "Lexus Experience" is definitely not what is envisioned by corporate. A contact to Support may help a future unwitting customer that enters that dealership. Had you purchased a car there it would have be easy to give feedback on their survey but now it will take proactive involvement if you are interested.

Lexus actually does care about customers even if it is only a methodology for turning a profit. They realize that intelligent and affluent customers will be positively influenced by a superior product, superior service, and respectful treatment even if it is had at a price.

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GDixon - Thanks for the reply. It was an interesting experience at the Lexus dealer because I had heard and read so many good things about them that I expected them to be different than the normal car dealer. No such luck, at least at that first dealer.

Now the good news - After my failure to purchase a car on Sunday, I called Nalley Lexus Roswell Monday morning. I had communicated with their Internet Sales Manager (Jeff Rizzo) earlier in the buying process when I was getting quotes. His responses and follow-through had been good all along even when I explained that I was looking at a number of dealers and was not sure where I would ultimately go to purchase the vehicle. He told me that he wasn't concerned where I bought the car as long as I was satisfied - how refreshing! Anyway, I called him at 9am Monday, we talked about price, inventory, etc., and by about 1pm I was driving home in my new RX350. Okay, actually my wife was driving home and I got to follow in my 4Runner. The interaction/experience with Jeff was great. Overall, the deal that I would have received at the first dealership was matched with even a bit more thrown in. For prospective Lexus buyers in the Atlanta area, I highly recommend considering Nalley Lexus Roswell (it is on Mansell Rd.) when you are looking.

PK,

Found your initial post and the subsequent threads informative, including your recommendation of Nalley Lexus Roswell.

I recently relocated to ATL and am looking to replace my 2000 RX300 with a RX350. Have not begun looking yet, so would be interested in knowing name of first dealership that gave you hassle, so I avoid wasting my time there.

Thanks,

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Vfcoffey - The dealer where I had the problems detailed in the initial post was Nalley Lexus Smyrna. This is the Lexus dealer on Cobb Pkwy just north of I285. Maybe it was just a bad day for them or that Sales Consultant, but it was certainly a poor experience for us. This dealer is related to the one I eventually purchased the RX350 from (Nalley Lexus Roswell) but the difference between how we were treated at the two places was like night and day. I am not sure where you are located but I have also heard very good things about the dealer in Macon (Butler Lexus) as well as the one in Birmingham (Tom Williams Lexus). I spoke with people at both of those dealerships before we purchased our car but never went to their dealerships due to the distance from our house. I hope you have good luck at whichever dealer you go to.

GDixon and eddielasvegas - Thanks for the advice. I do plan on being proactive and telling Lexus how I feel about both dealers. You are correct - the one I purchased the car from is easy due to the survey. I will go back and look through the Lexus website to find out how to give them input through means other than their survey.

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- Is it rude to ask for documentation to back up what Sales Consultants tell us or are we just supposed to accept what they say without question?

Not at all! As a smart consumer, you did the right thing. She should not have had a problem with showing the documentation & I suspect knew that she was hiding something by getting upset by your request.

- Are all Lexus dealers like this?

No - just like all car dealers are not like this (Lexus / Ford / Honda...any kind). She was just having a bad day & you received the attitude.

- Does Lexus just assume that people are so desperate to purchase their cars that they will accept any explanation that the Sales Consultants come up with?

Lexus has their honest and plesant dealerships/sales people as well as a few that aren't so customer oriented. My guess would be that these sales tactics are coming down from the sales manager (good cop / bad cop). I think these dealerships need to realize that there is so much competition, they really need to work harder & better for your business. Repeat business is really important for dealers, as are customer referals. This dealership just received a negative word-of-mouth post on a Lexus forum...not good for business!

I hope you enjoy your new Lexus!

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  • 3 weeks later...

The important thing to remember is that all the dealerships are independently owned and the salespeople are employed by the dealership. The quality of your experience will differ. It sounds like the salesperson at the first dealer just sucked. The sales manager knew it. As for the survey, it has a lot of bearing on what rates dealers pay to hold onto their inventory and what inventory they get, its a serious thing. That however is not your problem, and you did the right thing.

I'm glad you found someone that satisfied you.

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Good job, I remember vividly how I was treated like white trash at the Mercedes dealership, so I went to Lexus of Sacramento and walked in, prepared, with the correct numbers for all options. I put them on the table, and happened to be dealing with the General manager that night. He looked at my numbers and compared to the vehicle we were interested in, Said Ok and the deal was done. The $43,000 sticker price became $36000 out the door with tax, license, etc. included. Made me happy, and my wife happy. The next day my wife received red roses from the GM sent from his business meeting in San Diego. I still own that 1999 Lexus RX300.

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  • 2 months later...
Good job, I remember vividly how I was treated like white trash at the Mercedes dealership, so I went to Lexus of Sacramento and walked in, prepared, with the correct numbers for all options. I put them on the table, and happened to be dealing with the General manager that night. He looked at my numbers and compared to the vehicle we were interested in, Said Ok and the deal was done. The $43,000 sticker price became $36000 out the door with tax, license, etc. included. Made me happy, and my wife happy. The next day my wife received red roses from the GM sent from his business meeting in San Diego. I still own that 1999 Lexus RX300.

My suggestion to all Lexus buyers.

Finding the right Lexus sales consultant is as important as finding the right car and getting a good price. If you can get this accomplished your car buying days just got so much more simple. Good sales consutants who have been working for Lexus for a long time are so valuable that most people have no clue.

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