Choosing where to buy you next car is like a secret barbecue recipe.
Everyone has their own recipe for success. Think about it. Do you go for the dealer or individual that has the best price, best financing, the best service facility, or the best customer service?
In a perfect world you would like to expect all of the above, however we don’t live in a perfect world. Many times you just have to balance the needs.
With 22 total car purchases over the years I have found that I am typically in the car dealership once every two years, so is there a method to my madness? Or do I just run wild?
Back in the "good old days" I focused mainly on price, I’ve always been a gearhead, and in the early years I did my own tune-ups, oil changes and maintenance. As cars began to progress over the years, some of my functions were supplemented with high tech tools and a laptop. Still no big problem, however the bigger jobs went to my local mechanic. While my local wrench always did a great job, I found up on more than one occasion I had work performed that would have been covered under a TSB for free at the dealership.
Now over the years factory dealerships have transformed themselves into a far more competitive service arena. Often matching prices, service and speed that only independent facilities could offer just a few short years ago So now I find myself with little free time and searching for the perfect maintenance facility. Dealer, myself, or independent?
Now as you all are aware my latest acquisition a MINI Clubman is still under warranty and has free service. I purchased my Clubman at MINI of Plano based partly on the low mileage, perfect maintenance record, and the fact it was $2000 below market value. That and the ability to meet the best interest rates at the time the deal was sealed all in house.
However now as I think of it, I am coming to value that finding a gem is only part of the equation. The ability to call ahead for maintenance, pick up a loaner, or sit in a comfortable waiting room high-speed Internet is now a serious factor. After all when you drop off the car for an oil change and it comes out freshly washed in under 25 minutes how can you lose?
The point is, that time is money and reasonable prices, speed, and customer service will bring me back every time. The purchase has now become dependent on the the service.
But does this do the trick for you?
Perhaps you have the time to do the basics and maintenance?
Maybe you do something different, and buy the car at one dealer for that killer price and get service elsewhere?
What is your magic formula in buying your car and continuing beyond that point?
In this case for me, the dealership wins for now, and as I look to the future I find it increasingly difficult to go elsewhere. After all I sort of like having my cake and eating it too.