Posted by Mofongo on March 01, 1999 at 17:05:33:
In Reply to: First 323i test drive posted by Oz on March 01, 1999 at 14:05:58:
: Well, I went out for my first test drive of the new 323i (third try) and the same thing happened. I couldn't have paid a sales guy/gal to help me. Maybe I just look too young or something, but this is ridiculous. I'm 26, make a decent living in the computer/internet field, am pretty "yuppie" looking, etc., yet I can't even get someone who will take me serious enough to open the damn doors up.
: Is this what BMW dealers are like? I sure haven't had any trouble at the Saab or Audi places. I definitely would expect to be treated nicely at a Bimmer place considering the great autos they manufacure, but can't even get someone to say hello.
: Oh, well, the money I have saved for this purchase at least will sit and make a bit of interest for the time being. I'm still dreaming of a future E46 purchase.
: Comments? Suggestions?
I have been to 3 BMW dealerships so far, one in Pittsburgh, PA (The Sewickley Car Store) and two in Seattle (Seattle BMW and Bellevue BMW). I'm 27 years old, although I'm told my smattering of grey hair makes me look a bit over 30. In all three places, I have had to look around for 5-10 minutes before being approached by a salesperson. Even then, they were a bit reluctant to invade my space until I made it plain by my eye contact and body posture that I was interested in talking to someone. So I think it's just that they're trying not to harass you. After that, I've been treated very respectfully.
At the Sewickley Car Store, they kept offering to let me test drive their cars faster than I could ask them questions about them. Typical conversational except: Me: "Do you have any 318ti's is stock?" Them: "Yes, we have one right over there. It's black with the sport package, would you like to drive it?" I was also wearing jeans, by the way, although I think I may have had a Ralph Lauren shirt. Alas, they had no 323i's in stock, however.
At BMW of Seattle, after I sat in a 328i (which had been sold so I couldn't drive it), one of the first words out of the reps mouth was, "You *really* have to test drive one of these." Unfortunately they didn't have any unsold E46's in stock, but they offered to call me as soon as they got one in so I could drive it.
BMW of Bellevue had actually just closed when I arrived at their store (didn't know they closed so early), but they still showed me around their lot and let me sit in their cars. The man apologized at not being able to let me have a test drive that day, but we set up an appointment for the next day. He arranged a test drive in a 323i Sport and a 323i Premium, so I could do a side-by-side comparison. He was very friendly and attentive the whole time and didn't pressure me at all.
Maybe it's just a Denver thing. They want to act like they're doing you a favor by letting you buy one of their cars. The other thing I can think of is that I have researched the cars alot, so I ask them lots of detailed questions...so they know I'm a serious customer.