I’ve been looking for a car for a long time and
occasionally would see something that Prestman that caught my eye, however, when I read the online reviews I thought, “sounds too good to be true – s
occasionally would see something that Prestman that caught my eye, however, when I read the online reviews I thought, “sounds too good to be true – seems like the reviews were written by friends and family members.” Then in February I found an Audi S4 come up on KSL.com and called to get more information. I was impressed by Tracy Ball who fielded my call and told him I’d be up to drive the car in 45 minutes.
Walking into their showroom is dreamlike. Very clean, warm greeting from the receptionist, classic cars, a nice motorcycle or two, and a brand new 2013 ‘Vette with 5 miles on it set on the showroom floor. It just feels good. We were introduced to Tracy – liked him right off the bat. I didn’t see any “slimy” looking sales guys lurking or swarming anywhere. We went to his desk and signed the paperwork to take a test drive and then he took us out to the car. He told us a little about it and showed us a few of the cool features, but we could tell he wasn’t really an expert on this Audi model. He encouraged us to really “drive” it and to take 20 minutes or more to go wherever.
We loved the car and told Tracy we were “in” when we met him back in the showroom. We learned that they don’t dicker on price (which I actually like) and they don’t have an extra set of keys usually. It took a while for them to finish the paperwork as Tracy was working with multiple customers, but I just sat on the comfortable couch and watched television while the receptionist asked if she could get me anything to drink. The final paperwork with Cory (as I remember) was painless with no hard sell on the warranty or anything – he positioned it, but when I said I wasn’t interested we quickly moved on.
After finishing the paperwork, Tracy told me to pick out a couple of Prestman T-shirts from the two racks they have on the floor while his guy detailed the car. When it was ready, he gave me the keys and I was off. The first thing I noticed when I got in the car is that the detailer must have thought “detail the Audi” meant to take the floor mats out of the trunk and put them in the car! The console storage was dirty, dust all over the interior and in the ash tray, floor not vacuumed. It had not been cleaned, much less detailed! I was so excited I didn’t care – plus it was right at closing time. My son worked at a carwash, so I figured I’d just get it done correctly when I got home.
As I got on the freeway, I noticed that the MMI system (navigation/stereo) on the Audi had gone dark and wouldn’t boot back up when I pushed the power button! “NO!” I immediately called Tracy and he said, “Don’t worry, bring it back Monday morning and we’ll take care of you.” For whatever reason, the system started working on its own Sunday afternoon. On Monday I decided to take the car to the Audi dealer to have them go through it since I knew that Prestman probably wouldn’t have the diagnostic equipment necessary to address a computer system issue on an Audi. When I met with the Audi mechanic he pointed out some things about the car that I should have noticed had I not been so enamored with the beauty of the car. For instance, the car was covered with overspray and orange peel, there was a spot where the body shop buffed through the paint all the way to the metal (I actually noticed this before test-driving it), there were several runs in the paint, the sunroof was installed crooked, the doors were not aligned, and one of the parts was missing from the front end (the car had been damaged in the rear). The tires were also rubbing on the fenders because it had been lowered too much and there was a hole in the muffler. Upon further inspection on my own, I could see the obvious sloppy work of the repair shop that Prestman uses for Audi work in California with body bolts missing and a water leak into the body cavity where they stereo amp is housed (rear driver’s side – where the car had been wrecked), etc.
After leaving the Audi dealer with the bad news, I immediately called Tracy and he again reassured me that they would totally take care of me and to bring the car up with the list of stuff that the dealer found and they would fix it all. My wife took it to them later that week and left it with them for a week. They sent her home with a nice Acura loaner, which I thought was very classy! After talking to Tracy and finding that his mechanic had taken care of everything, I went back to get it, I discovered right away that they had not buffed out the paint to remove the overspray and it was still not detailed (which was interesting because the lot boy was spraying tire cleaner on the tires when I picked it up – didn’t wipe it off, so it splattered all over the white paint as soon as I drove off, but it looked like he’d been assigned to “detail” it). They did straighten the doors, lifted it a bit so the tires didn’t rub, and the sunroof doesn’t leak. Until I get under it, I won’t know if they repaired the muffler or got the missing part on the front end. They couldn’t replicate the MMI problem and until it happens again there’s nothing Prestman can do. Tracy said they would take care of me if that happens. Tracy wasn’t there the day I picked it up, so I called him the next day and told him that the paint hadn’t been taken care of and it had still not been detailed at all. He said he would talk to his guy and find out what was going on and to bring it up and they would get it right.
I happened to be in SLC a few days later on a Friday and went to drop it off. Unfortunately, his guy was gone for the day and they didn’t have a loaner. I couldn’t leave it and so I determined that I would bring it up from Utah Valley that next Saturday. However, after thinking about what my time is worth (and the time of the other person who would have to take me up there, bring me home, and take me up there again 4 hours later) I decided I would be better off to have the car detailed at a local car wash. The paint was so bad that the detailer at the car wash had to do what’s called “gray barring” to remove the overspray and orange peel and get it buffed and waxed. They discovered when they did that that the body shop failed to Clear Coat the inside of the door wells, so they cannot be waxed/buffed/shined and will always be dull and rough. They also showed me where one of the rims had a big ding in it that had been filled with some sort of weld and then spray painted with some cheap paint. (I can’t believe I didn’t see that. It is so obvious now!) They had a guy working on the car for 10 hours with two helpers and charged me $361.55 - they gave me a huge discount because my son used to work there.
Bottom line: I love the car and feel that it was offered at a fair price had it not had the issues with the bodywork that I was too inexperienced and “ga-ga” to notice. I like the fact that they don’t dicker on price. The price is what it is. My wife and I really liked Tracy and I feel that his intent around taking care of customers is sound. The buying experience at Prestman is great. The attention to detail in terms of the lot experience and the paperwork is fantastic, however the attention to detail on our particular vehicle was really bad for both the body work and the “detailing” of the car. If that is typical of the body work their Audi guy does in California, I’d steer clear of Prestman’s Audi inventory. Whatever car you look at there – don’t be too excited about the shiny rims and the take a good hard look at the body work. Rub your hand on the paint to make sure there are no rough spots. Make sure the lines in the doors match up and that there is no orange peel in the paint. If you get in the car to take it off the lot and it is not completely flawless inside and out, stop, take it back, and have them detail it right.