I'm a first time car buyer, but I'm also a scientist so I've been researching cars and the car buying process for months. Armed with knowledge and the fact that I don't NEED a car -- public transportation works just fine, thank you -- I test drive a few cars. I know my script, and my script starts with honesty, that I'm a first time buyer. I see if the salesperson takes the bait, waiting for their eyes to light up, the lies to roll off the tongue. I also state that I'm here to drive, not buy. Will I get the same level of customer service as I would if I want to drive off the lot with a car ASAP? So let's compare just one example of my car buying experience at an anonymous Ford dealership versus Mungenast Honda and Kurt.
I'm interested in a Ford Fiesta ST and schedule a test drive. The salesperson walks up to me as I stand by the car and says, "That's 250hp right there." Our first interaction started with a lie. "Nah, you'll be fine with regular unleaded gas." Second lie. What about the potential for engine knock? "I think you'll be good." The salesperson doesn't know what engine knock is. I'm a first time buyer so I want to check out my other options. "These cars are selling fast so I can't guarantee it'll be here in a couple weeks." Third lie. It's been sitting on the lot for at least 2 months, and I've been watching it like a hawk. "At this price, we're barely making any money." Fourth lie. Ford dealers get a 3% holdback based on MSRP and a healthy profit is factored into the final price. Even if they gave me an additional $1500 off the car, they'd make a $2000 profit just for me driving it off the lot. Clearly, I did not get a follow up call or email from the dealer. I knew too much. I still fear I'll be kidnapped and forced to live out the last few days of my life in the back of a Ford Flex. How embarrassing.
Contrast that to my first interaction with Kurt at Mungenast Honda. It started with a firm handshake, and Kurt asking me if I'm still interested in the CRZ. Yes, I am, and I'm a first time buyer. I'm sticking to my script. Kurt doesn't bite. Instead, he says, "Well, we're here to get you the car you want." I'm here only to drive, not buy. Kurt shrugs, "That's fine. We're here to help you decide what you need." I test drive the car, and throw out a few questions. How much horsepower? "130, about 127 torque." True. Does it need premium gas? "Nah, just regular unleaded." True. How much horsepower does the battery provide? "I don't know, but I'll find out," Kurt said.
When was the last time you heard those words when buying a high ticket item? Most likely, never. Most likely, you heard a lie. I express concern about the price of the car, that Kelley Blue Book's Fair Market Price is lower. Kurt pulls out his phone, checks the KBB, and comes back 10 minutes later with a quote that is smack in the middle of the Fair Market Price range. For a certified preowned Honda CRZ with low miles, I knew it was a great deal. "Let's seal the deal, then," Kurt said. I'm not ready, I have to sleep on it. "Yeah, that's a smart move. Listen, take however long you need. And if someone else is interested in the car, I'll give you a call before we move it off the lot."
A day or so passes, and I realize that the CRZ is the car I want. But I'm a scientist...I don't get paid much. I need the best deal possible, understanding that the dealer also has the make a profit . No one sells cars as charity. I email Kurt late at night and threw out the lowest quote that I knew would be profitable, but affordable with my budget. If he can get that price, I'll be there tomorrow to sign the papers. Kurt emails me the next morning with confirmation that my quote was accepted. I drive off the lot at 4pm in the car I want at a price I can afford.
No high pressure sales tactics. Honesty about the car I'm buying and the humility to say, "I don't know, but I'll find out" because he wants to make sure his customers are informed about their purchase. "We're here to help," implying that it's a team effort focused on customer satisfaction. Kurt took a ton of pressure out of the car buying experience, which was so very important to me as a first time car buyer.
I highly recommend Kurt and Mungenast Honda to anyone looking for a reliable, affordable car and excellent customer service. Thank you, Kurt, for your expertise and help.
Kurt, I have a car now. It is not a new car. It is a certified preowned car, which is even better. Depreciation has been eaten up, paving the way for me to afford this car.
It is a two seat car so I can drive only one drunken friend home instead of four. It has limited cargo space so, sorry, I can’t help anyone move this weekend. For these reasons, it is impractical, but I’m impractical as a person. I understand why this car was made. It was made for me.
It is a beautiful car. One that my mom said I shouldn’t buy when I told her it is a two seater. Remember, it is impractical. I send her a photo. "Get it," she says. "It looks aggressive, just like you, Omar." As I drive it home, people are turning their heads. Some are looking at it jealously. They can’t have it…it is mine. Others are driving their luxury cars from Point A to B. A car is nothing more than a status symbol to them. They absolutely love their BMW 5 series as long as they’re driving it in a straight line with the latest Taylor Swift song blasting on the radio. I don't like those people.
I’m lucky because my car tells me that it’s fine with stop and go traffic in Econ mode. But it’s a nimble car, so it coaxes me into Sport mode. I press the button. The suspension stiffens. The steering becomes heavy and responsive, giving me a connected feel with the road. The accelerator tightens, daring me to use it. The car wants to go, and I want to go wherever it’s taking me.
I don’t need a computer to tweak the power to the drivetrain. Let’s turn off Traction Control. All the Econ trees on the dash are dead. Good riddens. Now the fun begins. I take an inclined left-hand corner a tad fast. The chassis rolls slightly then plants itself, as if it’s telling me that I can push it a bit harder. I do so into the next corner, a sweeping, flat right hander. The backend steps out slightly and rotates the car into the corner. Was that oversteer? In a 130hp car? Yes, it was.
Power windows. Who cares? Bluetooth. Who cares? Sirius XYZM radio. Who cares? Navigation. Who cares? That was oversteer, and it felt great.
The engine will last long enough to get me to the next eight Star Wars sequels. It is quiet when I start it, but growls under its breath at speed. Press that button, Omar. You want to hear that growl, right? Yes, I do. You don’t want to be like those other people on the road in their high volume sedans or luxury cars that they don’t know how to drive, do you? No, I don’t. Then press that button, Omar, and let’s have some fun.
My car is a Honda. It is a CRZ. It was made for me. I love it. Thank you for making it happen, Kurt.
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