Is this the real life? Is this my Mazda 3? Got a painless buy, but I swear it's reality.
No, seriously. Read the whole thing. I can be a pain in the neck, but I'm blown away.
I cold called on a used 2014 Mazda 3 Wednesday night and had the good fortune of peaking with Steve. I ran him through my issue on my trade, which was troubles tribulations with VW credit leasing. "Come on by whenever you can. We'd be happy to see you." 40 minutes later I was there. Steve was polite, courteous, knowledgeable, and very low pressure. I spoke with Tom, ran him through the deal, and his eye twitched when I ran him through the why of my reasoning for looking to trade. He gave me an offer on my trade, and I told him I'd walk. He came back with a better offer. Steve and Tom made every effort to be as transparent as possible to convince me that this outfit was run by straight shooters.
Tom put in the inquiry. Finance company wanted 1500 down and out of pocket sales tax for the 2014. I balked at that. "I'm sorry, Tom, but I can't make that happen after tax time." "I get it, Chris. It's a lot to shell out. But dude, your credit is outstanding. I can get you into a new car and you'd probably have the same payments. I have two lenders willing to play ball." I balked at that, as my then-current finance company was reporting erroneous information to the credit bureaus. Tom was super patient and very courteous. "You're only going to have two inquiries, even if we change the car out on a different day, because it's getting a bit late. I'm sorry the bank was slow." Ten minutes later I was told I could get into a brand new purchase, 63 months at 0%. It was late. I was insistent on a manual. By the time they got the car out of the back lot, Tom and Steve had to man the fort, and a porter took me on a quick spin in a 2017 Mazda 3 sport hatchback. I got back, and Tom said "So, the bank closed, and we're both out Tomorrow. Can you have the car back by Friday at 5?" "Yes. I haven't signed a contract." To which Tom replied "Of course not man! you haven't signed yourself to anything. Bank's closed. Only thing you're signing is a loaner agreement. Think of it as an extended test drive. Bonus points if you come in Friday mid morning."
So began a 36 hour extended test drive. More time revealed that the car was a revelation. But the sport trim was missing a couple things I liked about my VW, and the looks of the hatchback didn't quite sell me. I came in this morning at 9:15,was greeted by Steve at the door, and asked "brownie points?" Tom and Steve were cracking up.
I asked about the SD card that made the navigation work as well heated seats. They could be added for a grand to the sport in either flavor. But after looking around at the hatches and sedans, I was set on a sedan. And then found that the sport sedans only came with steelies. The Touring was another grand more than the sedan with the heated seats and navigation, but it had a sunroof, 9 speaker bose system, leather interior, 18" wheels. It felt a solid five thousand dollars more than the Sport, and ten more than my 2016 VW. Tom ran the numbers. I balked a bit. Asked if I could have a minute to check if the insurance rates were different than the hatch. "Take as much time as you need. No pressure. We just want you to leave here feeling comfortable with whatever you leave with. I'll have the other one pulled up. Take your time."
"Guys I've made up my mind. The Touring is the answer. One question though. Where was the grid?"
Steve made a face and waved his hand dismissively. "That claptrap? We don't need it."
At no point did I feel as though I was being pressured to do anything. There was no double-teaming. I dealt with one salesperson. One single solitary salesperson who was Steve. At no point did Steve use "the Grid." Tom was switch hitting between managing the place and filling in for finance on Wednesday evening.
There was no funny business with the numbers. There was no nonsensical line item required to get Gap coverage. Tim went through every last piece with me, when the numbers were just hypotheticals on a screen and when papers were signed binding me to those numbers.
At all points of my experience it was made clear that their concern for customer satisfaction came before sales numbers and revenues. The rewording of Queen comes from how low pressure and utterly painless the process was, because I was at a loss as to how to describe it.
Tell your friends to do business at Northtowne. Have your friends tell their friends.
No pressure? Professionalism and courtesy? Salespeople focused on customer satisfaction before sales numbers?
This is the only dealer I've ever been to that has it all.