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How many ADM members have been active on both sides of buying and selling new and used cars? For over 27 years I have personally bought and sold HUNDREDS of vehicles while working as a car salesman, as a private party, as a speculator titling multiple vehicles in each of my daughter's, brother's, sister's, cousins, dog's and nanny's names... etc., etc.. If you consider trade-ins to be a purchase, i have probably bought several thousand vehicles and sold several thousand more than that... TODAY, I used the Internet to buy a used 2002 Ford Expedition XLT 4x4 via ebay motors. But, now that I have put a $500 deposit down on the Expedition over the phone with Adora Fryant at Audi of Chandler, AZ and then went through the process of explaining to my wife how i was able to buy a used truck without driving it, using the Internet... I came to realize that not only did i pay about $1,000 too much for the Expedition, but i am thrilled and delighted with the purchase because of how well Audi of Chandler has managed their reputation in my market, and through their direct and personal dealings with me and my wife in the past. Heck, they are not even an ADP Digital Marketing customer! I lost out on their RFP proposal process for Penske Automotive Dealer Web Sites less than 3 weeks ago! yet, i felt good about pulling the trigger on making the Expedition purchase because of Audi of Chandler's reputatuion and how well they prepared their ebay motors listing, along with the prompt, direct, no-nonsense response from Adora Fryant after I submitted my offer on the Expedition. Here's a video clip they had on their ebay motors listing and on their web site at http://www.audichandler.com/detail-2002-ford-expedition-xlt-3539317...:

Here's what went down and some insight into the mind of a car buyer... Which i am. Starting about 30 days ago I realized my Impala lease was coming to the end of its 2 year term and I would have to turn it in to GMAC. So I called GMAC and asked them if there were any incentives for me to buy another new GM product... (DOH). Now, despite the fact that i looked up and found that there is anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 in lease end termination GMAC incentove to switch to a purchase, probably to keep GM lessees from leasing Toyotas and Hondas, the GMAC representative told me in no uncertain terms that "NO, JUST TURN IN THE VEHICLE"... This, despite my 800+ Credit Score, 7 figure income, and the fact that all my GMAC lease payments were made exactly on time via a bank draft automated payment system for the entire term of the lease... I though perhaps I had just caught GMAC's worst rep., so i waited 2 days and called back again... This time, the person with the obvious ESL issues kept repeating herself and saying "Mr. Paglia, your only obligation is to deliver the 2007 Impala to the nearest authorized GM dealership... Which GM dealership would you prefer to drop it off at?"... When i quizzically asked, "don't you even care if I continue to be a GM and GMAC customer?... After all, I have purchased, financed and leased 4 GM vehicles in the past 3 years for me and my family?"... The STUNNING response I got back from the GMAC representative was "No, Mr. Paglia we truly do not care what vehicle you choose to replace the Impala with... Is there anything else i can assist you with?"... IT WAS $#@!*&% UNBELIEVABLE!!! I did everything I could, including begging the GMAC representatives to tell me about the wonderful incentives that GM had put into effect for people coming off of GMAC leases so that GM dealers could switch them into conventional GMAC financing... But, GMAC insisted on daying everything they could to actually convince me to buy anything EXCEPT a GM product... I was shocked, dismayed.. Then I watched CNN and sat there with my mouth open watching Rick Wagoner absolutely FUMBLE the questions from the congressional committee reviewing the GM led request for $25 Billion in loans to save GM and Chrysler (Ford is OK)... I remember thinking to myself as Wagoner lips flapped and he basically said "ah... ah... ah... well all our financial models are based on current market conditions leveling,,, blah, blah, blah..." and for the first time in a long time I said to myself... "SHEEET, I COULD DO A HECK OF A LOT BETTER THAN THAT TESTIFYING IN FRONT OF CONGRESS..." And, you know what? I COULD!!! For example, I would have told that A-Hole congrssman "Sir, I will tell you EXACTLY what we are going to do with that money... We are going to save over a million American jobs, and these are going to be jobs that generate billions in tax revenue and social security contributions, while at the same time generating enough operating income to support GM's pension obligations so that the Federal Government's Pension Guaranty Insurance will not have to pay out 5 times as much as we are asking to borrow in the event of GM's default on its Pension Fund obligations... On top of that, we are going to use this bridge loan to get us past the financial morass that YOU and YOUR congressional colleagues have created by letting the financial community run amok for the past 10 years creating a house of cards that has now collapsed and left most Americans without the ability to buy a newcar or a new home... Sir, i submit that extending preferential financing to assist GM to survive and prosper so that millions of jobs are saved and America's manufacturing base can be preserved will be amongst the most noble and courageous acts of politics to emerge from this noble institution within the entire scope of the current financial crisis..." "Are there any other questions I can answer?".

So, that's when I decided to buy a used car... From a dealer with a great reputation, and doing as much online as i could reasonably get away with... MORE TO COME (Momma's calling).

OK, I am back from the Phoenix Botanical Gardens Luminaria Tour with the extended family here for holiday... Anyways, so here i was, due to drop the Impala and now thinking I want to pay cash for a big-ass 4x4 people haulin' urban assault vehicle... What to get? A used Suburban? Nah, Rick Wagoner mealy mouthed lame excuse for a response to congress, combined with the DUAL incompetent GMAC rep's combined with a phone call from David Blankinship at my former employer (Courtesy Chevrolet) which he never followed up on, after i send him an email saying I HAVE TO BUY A NEW CAR RIGHT NOW... Heck, I even filled out a complete online credit app. that was automatically submitted and generated an electronic approval!!!! Still, no damned follow-up... Can you believe how hard it is to get someone to sell you a car in this economony?!?!?!? And, i have $20K in disposable cash in my checking account, an 800+ Credit Score, over 30 paid satis auto loans, 50% equity in my home, and I CANNOT GET GMAC OR COURTESY CHEVROLET TO FOLLOW UP AND SELL ME A GOD DAMNED GM PRODUCT!!!

So... I call my old BDC manager Joel Matteson who is now a Sales Manager at Chapman Chevrolet in Tempe and leave him a message that i need to buy a car... Holy Car Grail, Joel actually calls me back... He is great, tells me no problem, I can drop my Impala off at Chapman and he will find a deal on a used SUV for me and call me right back... DOH! No call back... 24 hours later... No call back... No email asking me to wait, hang in there, i'm checking, whatever... I think he also complained to me about how hard it is to sell cars right now... Huh!?!?!?! Seems like everyone's too busy to sell cars right now... Except for Audi of Chandler ( a Penske Automotive dealership).

So there I am sorting through used Expeditions on ebay motors... I decide I want to the 2002 model year body style, 'cause i like it better than the newer body style... I want a 5.4 Triton 'cause I know they are tougher than post-nuclear blast cockroaches... But, finding a 4x4 in AZ is tough... I start bidding on about a dozen different Expeditions between Dallas, LA, Las vegas, denver and Phoenix... Then i see a used 2002 Ford Expedition XLT 4x4 with low miles for the year... Crappy color, but oh well... And I go to the ebay motors detail page... Hmmm... Nice listing, about a dozen or so pic's, one of those faked out videos made from the stills... BUT, I notice the vehicle is from Audi of Chandler, where my wife and I came THIS CLOSE to buying a new Audi A5 last March, right before SHE opted for the Cadillac CTS (when you turn it on, does your car return the favor... yeeesh).

However, the people at Audi Chandler were so darned nice, accomodating and transparent in their dealings with us last March, i am looking at the Carfax report on their used Expedition, and it shows one local owner, AND a steady history of detailed service and whatever warranty and customer repairs had been done (cruise control replaced)... So, what the heck... It is listed for $7,995 on ebay motors, and the KBB ranges from $5,300 to $9600... I enter an offer of $6,000 because if it was anyone else i would have low-balled the ebay motors offer at around $4,000 to $5,000... But, this is a one owner, 12K a year 4x4 in what appears to be flawless condition being sold by a dealer THAT I KNOW HAS AN IMMACULATE REPUTATION!!!

Guess what happens? First, I get an automated email from Audi Chandler that was built smart enough with merge codes to regurgitate everything back to me that i had submitted, which is good when hot-to-trot buyers like me are making offers on a dozen vehicles at the same time... Then, I do not think it was 15 minutes after i submitted the offer that my cell phone rings and it is Adora Fryant from Audi of Chandler (not David from Courtesy, not Joel from Chapman and certainly not someone from GMAC, who all had a head start). Adora identifies me, clarifies my offer of $6,000 plus T, T and L... and then says, "Thank you very muchfor your generous offer Mr. Paglia, we would like to go ahead and accept it... When would you like to take delivery of the Expedition.." She then offers to pick me up at Chapman when i drop off the Impala, reviews the docs i need to take delivery and we schedule an appointment for Monday at 10:30AM... She then asks me if I want to put a $500 deposit on my credit card to secure the vehicle from prior sale.... Sure, why not, this is a dealer with an impeccable reputation!!! Now, for all you car dogs out there... I know I am paying anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 more than what this car will wholesale for... You know what? It is not that i do not care, it is worth paying a little more when buying a cheaper used truck to buy a one-owner Carfax clean local vehicle from a REPUTABLE DEALER that i already know treats people exceptionally well... So, yeah, maybe I am getting grossed... But i am happy to do business this way!

Comments and evaluations welcome!

Tags: Additional, Equals, Gross, Management, Measurable, Profit, Reputation, When

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It seems like some people are still asleep at the wheel. Maybe the chevy dealer you worked for was having a meeting on how to get more customers into the showroom. They also may have been having a meeting on building their brand name for the dealership. Whatever they were doing they were certainly neglecting a serious buyer. It's no wonder why consumers are still frustrated with the buying process. Again, inadequate professionalism!

I must tell you that the Penske operations have always been on top of their game. As someone who competed with Longo Toyota for years, Penske has the focus on the customer. Your story is one experienced throughout the country on a daily basis. I'm not surprised at the response from General Motors and certainly not surprised with no followup calls. What else can I say? It's just another example of people not performing their jobs properly. One word for the entire process: AMAZING!

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