I'm a firm believer in rewarding hard work, especially when it comes to helping the vitality of a business through word-of-mouth advertising and customer testimonies. McKinney-Salinas Honda has had a lot of that same feedback over the years, as is evident from their excellent rating here on Dealer Rater. Now, I can see why! They have a relatively low-volume sales department, so in order for the business to thrive, they have to develop a top-notch service department, while fostering repeat sales and referrals from excellent customer service on behalf of their salesmen. At the end of the day, they do just that! Fantastic people.
I recently purchased a new 2014 Accord Sport through them, and have had a poor experience with the product received, but an overall great experience with the service and sales staff.
Originally, I was planning on buying a new-er used car (3 to 4 years old), and that's what initially attracted me to their dealership. Being a local Gastonian, I wanted to support a local business if they could match the prices I had been getting from other Charlotte area dealerships. I found a lightly used 2014 Accord Sport which fit my needs perfectly. Unfortunately, they couldn't come down on the price at all, However, they were able to offer me a lower price on a nearly identical new car! Sometimes year-end clearances are advantageous in that respect. Not being a high-volume dealer, I wasn't able to get them to match the prices I had been offered in Charlotte, but the fact that they were local and had invested time in me as a customer made it worthwhile.
One thing that set them apart from some of the 8 or so dealerships I've worked with over the last month, was the sales manager's (Roger Hoyle) willingness to deal directly and transparently with me as a customer, instead of sending a salesman back and forth to negotiate pricing. Being able to judge his character, and his reactions during the sales process was a key element in sealing the deal for me. I felt that the deal was thoroughly explained, and that I was valued as a customer.
The new car I was considering had a few on-the-lot issues with the paint, and a problem with the door closing completely. As a mechanic and engineer, I knew that the door closure issue alone, while not too uncommon, could indicate that further hidden problems existed with the car. If a shift at the Marysville, Ohio manufacturing plant was underperforming for one reason or another, issues could easily make it past quality control that would turn the car into a money pit after the warranty expires. The staff was tolerant and accommodating with my request to do a thorough inspection of the automobile, and to compare certain potential problem areas against another.
I bought the car late that evening, contingent on the door being properly repaired quickly, and the staff was happy to stay past closing hours on a Friday (I would imagine some dealerships could get grumpy about it, even if they did make a sale). The finance manager, Angela, was extremely helpful and accomodating. My co-signer decided to purchase an extended warranty, which I did not support (based on the hard facts and monthly payment I'd be paying down the road), but in no way did she pressure us in making that decision.
In the end, I was correct about the car, as it did have several other initial quality issues aside from the door closure. However, my initial inspection had not turned these up, and instead found them after buying the car and using it over a period of two to three weeks. Since they are still in the process in resolving these issues, and for the sake of their reputation (since this is the fault of Honda Corporate), I won't go into detail on the rest of the problems.
As with all mass produced goods, cars come with certain problem areas that will need adjustment or replacement from time to time. Mine just happened to come with a few more than average, and is not what I expected from a brand like Honda. I am now in the process of sorting out those other issues, and so far my experiences with the dealership's service department have been mixed. I have also had quality issues with a few dealer installed accessories, and will need a few items replaced. Thus far, two visits were spent at the service department where the technicians could not fix items on the car, for various reasons. Also, I directly requested to speak with the 3rd party contractor doing my dealer-installed tinting 3 distinct times, but never met the man in the end. Now, I'm questioning what he did with my car!
Frank, the salesman that helped us primarily, has recently become a great liaison for me with the service department, making sure they understood my needs. He has invested time in me far beyond the sales process, which means a lot.
I met with the service manager earlier this week, and will be getting the issues addressed in one large go sometime next week. He is a great guy, a former detailer, and all-around quite experienced with automotive service. He seemed genuinely eager to get the issues properly fixed and to help with coordinating the process.
Due to the lapses of customer service quality in the service department, I am only giving the dealership a 4/5 for overall customer service, but I would change that to 5/5 if I continue to receive good experiences in the future.
Since I have had several issues with poor accessory installation and initial product quality with the vehicle, I am only giving the dealership a 2/5 for servicing, vehicle delivery and product quality. However, I would raise that to a 4/5 if all is completely resolved to my satisfaction in the coming weeks. Just to clarify, no major integrity issues, like the dealership hiding accident repairs or the like have popped up, only quality of work on repair and installed accessories. To be fair, I likely notice more quality issues than the average customer, but the fact that they were not repaired warrants the rating.
Overall, the dealership deserves a 5/5 for friendliness, as everyone has been more than welcoming and friendly. You feel like you're appreciated after the sale, and that goes a long way. You won't "just be a number" at this dealership.
Price receives a 3/5 (or average) rating, as the out the door price was decent, but not at all what I could have gotten by visiting dealerships in Charlotte. Their accessory and warranty prices are extremely high for the product received, but it is a major source of profit for any dealership. I would suggest going to a reputable 3rd party for Non-Honda accessories. To be fair, they were losing money on the deal, but so are all other dealerships this time of the year. Regionally, moderate sales over the months of July and August have led to a buyer's market, so I tried to take advantage of that fact. Since I am paying for the car (mentioned a co-signer earlier), and am living on a limited student income, I needed the best deal that I could get. So far, for the quality of product received, I feel that I overpaid.
Overall, my experience at McKinney Salinas has been a good one. Generally speaking, the people in the sales department are hard-working, honest, friendly and transparent. They are willing to stand behind their products, and make sure that customer needs are properly addressed. They have earned my trust, so hats off to them!
Based on my firsthand experience and knowledge from primary sources, the service department is average for a value-brand car moniker, but I would be willing to rate them higher if the follow-up repairs go favorably.
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