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The dealer problem

I'm new on this forum and I'm quite sure that someone has already raised this topic before, but I would like to share my (horrible) experience with the UK Alfa dealership.

I won't name the dealership directly, I just say that I live in Reading

I won't tell the whole story, it is too long. I just highlight some of the most interesting sales skills they have shown off.

- I was drooling in front of a Giulia QV, at their showroom. No one came to talk to me (I was the only customer in the premises)
- Finally got someone approaching me. He didn't know anything about the car or Alfa (mentioned the 159 and I felt he didn't know what I was talking about)
- No passion or love for this car, I wonder if they have ever driven one before (probably not, too lazy I guess)
- The super sales person offered me a test drive, but I was busy on that day. Tried to reschedule in 2 weeks but he said "why don't you call back next week and we schedule something?"....60K car and you expect me to chase you? ahahah amazing. I was seriously thinking of buying the QV but after getting home I changed my mind...I guess I needed a push, but it didn't happened.
- After visiting the same dealer a week after, he invited me to the Millbrook proving ground, great idea. They said "you will spend half a day driving Giulia and they will answer your questions" ...he clearly couldn't answer my questions. Well, Alfa UK did exactly what I needed, that sold the car.
- Brought my Fiat for service a week after, waited 2 hrs sitting and walking around the Alfa showroom. No one offered me a coffee/water, talked to me, bothered telling me anything at all. The super sales person was there, I went to him...did he ask me about the Giulia? NO! ahaha I would have bough the car on that day, I swear!
- I finally went to the dealer in Slough (someone in FCA suggested me to go there instead). The sales person was good, he clearly loves Alfa, he owned an Alfa and he has driven a Giulia. I didn't buy a QV, I guess they all miss the momentum, but I bought my Speciale. They were good, not great but good enough.

Now, why do I write this? Because I feel it is a shame that we have these punks selling Fiat or Alfa or Jeep. The only reason I bought one is because I desperately wanted to buy one, they didn't help at all! I swear if they would have pushed a bit, I'd bought a QV. (same experience when I bought my fiat 500 in west London, I went to the sales person and told them I was interested in buying a used 500, answer? "the used 500s are outside, go there, pick one up and come back to me"...awesome sales skills)

If every Alfa dealer works as the one in Reading, I'm not surprised they didn't sell much. Alfa UK should seriously work on the dealership, the sales and customer experience should match the quality of the car. I bet any of you have visited a BMW dealer before, the new one in Reading is amazing. I went for a 80 service once and I felt like I bought a new car, the customer service was stellar. Why is it so difficult to understand? I really don't get it.

By the way, the day after getting my Giulia, I went the dealer in Reading and parked in front of they door. Unfortunately the super sales person was not working on that day, what a shame! I really wanted to show him the car he didn't sell me!
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one of the first things i did when i got my new Giulia was to go back to the totally professional and polite AUDI dealership that i went in to when i was waiting for the Giulia to arrive. One of the salesmen in particular was interested to see the Giulia so i went in, and he liked it, another salesman came over and had a look, didnt say a word, not even when i prompted him for a conversation and walked away when i answered what the Quadrifoglio specs were (510hp, Ferrari engine, 0-100 etc)
they were totally professional when i first went in, they showed their wares for that price point, answered every question knowledgeably, didnt mention competitors by name, gave me their card, offered me coffee, the total VIP treatment ...



...pity about the product though
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The OP's experience is about the same experience I've had in virtually every dealership I've been into in the UK, regardless of make, including BMW.
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The OP's experience is about the same experience I've had in virtually every dealership I've been into in the UK, regardless of make, including BMW.
and me. Car salesmen are not as informed as car geeks. If you want to find out about a car use the internet.

BTW, we think we've got it bad, try buying a car in the US. It's borderline frightening. They wait around the outside of the dealer in packs and fight each other to ambush you on arrival. As almost all sales are dealer stock they are desperate for you to drive a car away TODAY, and if they think for a moment you won't you will be dropped like a hot spud and the salesman will join the circling pack waiting for their next victim.
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Sadly - I'm of the view that most Alfa / Fiat dealers have a long way to go. There are some good ones, but not many. I've just and still am having a terrible experience having purchased a Fiat through a dealer in the area the OP has had a better experience from. Likely to go legal.

My experience of premium (BMW / Audi / Merc) dealers is generally good, however some have been exceptional consistently across the brand (Land Rover)

Therefore, despite my passion for Alfa, I'd be worried about dropping premium money, as I don't think the network can step up to the challenge yet. I think they will, but when things go wrong, they will give good service, but not exceptional and over recover the situation to wow you.

Generally people are not happy when things go wrong, but when they do exceptional recovery is key.
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Likely to go legal.
I'm going legal too, I found some weird stuff in the contract which looks like pretty dodgy to me, unfortunately I signed it in November. The salesgirl said "don't worry about these figures here, what matters is the final price". Now that I have signed the contract with another FCA dealer (same template), all weird and dodgy stuff are simply not there and the final price calculation is straight forward...

Regarding premium. The is exactly my point, Giulia is a premium car sold from non premium dealers:

- location are quite bad
- showrooms look very upsetting
- dress code is ...so so (not Italian style for sure!)

I dealt with a rubbish BMW salesman, however they looked professional and the premises looked decent.
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I once worked in sales under a sales manager who knew nothing about cars. He knew about selling, thats why he was hired. I watched him one day show a customer the turbo on a jetta turbodiesel. The customer accepted completely that the air filter housing the manager was pointing to was the reason this jetta was better and more expensive than a non-turbo jetta. And bought it. This manager knew by the look of someone entering the gate whether or not it would be worth his time leaving his seat, with uncanny accuracy. He outsold me 5 to 1. Being a car fan is no guarantee of success in that game. You need to know people, and how to manipulate them. If you own a car franchise, thats the type of individual you hire, because he will make you more money. That type of sales guy has no time for enthusiasts, they know more than him about the product, and once that has been established, the enthusiast will walk away. So he stays in his office.
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Originally Posted by Hugh Myles View Post
I once worked in sales under a sales manager who knew nothing about cars. He knew about selling, thats why he was hired. I watched him one day show a customer the turbo on a jetta turbodiesel. The customer accepted completely that the air filter housing the manager was pointing to was the reason this jetta was better and more expensive than a non-turbo jetta. And bought it. This manager knew by the look of someone entering the gate whether or not it would be worth his time leaving his seat, with uncanny accuracy. He outsold me 5 to 1. Being a car fan is no guarantee of success in that game. You need to know people, and how to manipulate them. If you own a car franchise, thats the type of individual you hire, because he will make you more money. That type of sales guy has no time for enthusiasts, they know more than him about the product, and once that has been established, the enthusiast will walk away. So he stays in his office.
I agree with you, totally. That's why I'm so disappointed. The super sales guy who didn't sell me the Alfa failed to understand me. I'm not saying that they will sell more car showing love for the Alfa brand, but if a customer shows a lot of love for a product and a brand, you might want to stick with it and ask more questions....
With me, they totally failed to understand how badly I wanted that car and they didn't even ask my budget (which was definitely higher than what I ended spending with another dealer). I noticed that the only question they all keep asking is "what you do", nothing else.
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Selling cars like Alfa is generally going to be an emotive purchase even though now some common sense can be applied knowing that the Giulia is better than the competition, so will have some conquest sales, but at this end of the market people buy from people, and as it's not a high volume churn sale, the sales people will need to take every enquiry seriously. Yes they need to qualify each opportunity, but take them all seriously.
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At least you have dealers to go to. Coverage is somewhat patchy up here in Scotland.
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Originally Posted by gmore01 View Post
I'm a bit of a plant but I would like to share my (horrible) experience with the UK Alfa dealership.
- I was drooling in front of a Giulia QV, at their showroom. .... I bought my Speciale.
Your post was a bit long and dull but if I've got the gist, you were going to buy a 60k car - the best car on the road by some margin - but because the spotty salesman wasn't nice enough you bought the 30k version? Uh? Really? @cue2 I'm sure you'll have something disparaging to say on this one.
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I would never buy / not buy a car I wanted because of a salesman, someone who will be involved in a tiny % of the ownership experience of a car.
I'm not knocking anyone who does by the way, and I think its pretty shoddy, and it would irritate me. But Id get what I wanted. As has been said I doubt any salesman would know as much as a car geek about any car
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I would never buy / not buy a car I wanted because of a salesman, someone who will be involved in a tiny % of the ownership experience of a car.
I'm not knocking anyone who does by the way, and I think its pretty shoddy, and it would irritate me. But Id get what I wanted. As has been said I doubt any salesman would know as much as a car geek about any car
Amen!
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I would never buy / not buy a car I wanted because of a salesman, someone who will be involved in a tiny % of the ownership experience of a car.
I'm not knocking anyone who does by the way, and I think its pretty shoddy, and it would irritate me. But Id get what I wanted. As has been said I doubt any salesman would know as much as a car geek about any car
I sort of agree - I'd either walk away and go elsewhere, or use it to screw the sales person to the ground and get the absolute best deal. Problem is, if it goes wrong when buying a car through the sales process, it's unlikely that anything else will go right after, should a problem arise. Personally, I'd prefer some dealers to replace their sales people with the self service checkouts as used in the supermarkets!
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Originally Posted by 156GTASW View Post
I sort of agree - I'd either walk away and go elsewhere, or use it to screw the sales person to the ground and get the absolute best deal. Problem is, if it goes wrong when buying a car through the sales process, it's unlikely that anything else will go right after, should a problem arise. Personally, I'd prefer some dealers to replace their sales people with the self service checkouts as used in the supermarkets!
One of the car companies (might be Peugeot?) have just launched a buy online service, which is almost exactly that...
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I sort of agree - I'd either walk away and go elsewhere, or use it to screw the sales person to the ground and get the absolute best deal. Problem is, if it goes wrong when buying a car through the sales process, it's unlikely that anything else will go right after, should a problem arise. Personally, I'd prefer some dealers to replace their sales people with the self service checkouts as used in the supermarkets!
Or go through Carwow / Coast 2 Coast etc as they have feedback/reviews on the site too
That's what I'll be doing methinks, currently considering Veloce start of next year!
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I am back with the dealers in Knutsford (you know the one) - and compared to the shambles of Motorpark - its been top quality. They now have a Veloce demo in which they have kept me updated on - but do not want to torture myself going for a test drive as it will make the 6 week wait for mine even worse!!
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Originally Posted by chrisf_v6 View Post
Your post was a bit long and dull but if I've got the gist, you were going to buy a 60k car - the best car on the road by some margin - but because the spotty salesman wasn't nice enough you bought the 30k version? Uh? Really? @cue2 I'm sure you'll have something disparaging to say on this one.
awww apologies for my rather long and dull post, I will do better next time, ok?

I assume you don't work in sales?

I do and the difference from a 5 million deal and 500.000 one is ....the salesman. Uh? Really? yes. it is.
Why do a customer ends spending 10 times more? because a good salesman get to know the customer and find something, a compelling event, a driver, something that would make him realize that spending that money right now is not a bad choice after all, even if there not a clear immediate need.

Of course you don't agree, even the "bright Alfa supersalesman" wouldn't. You just don't know and it is not your fault.

If you would have read my dull post carefully, you would have noticed that I didn't visit the dealer because I wanted to buy something. It was just a scheduled service. I didn't go to buy a QV, if I was so sure about it I would picked up the phone and ordered one, since I already had a test drive and a rather good one.

I already bought a new car in November and I didn't need another one. I have money but I'm also aware that I have a family too (a wife that would kick my a.. if I come back with a new 60k car). Sales calls them "blockers".

My QV testdrive at Millbrook was amazing, that helped a lot. So when I was at the dealer and looking at the QV I was seriously thinking "mayyyyyyybe I buy???" but also "do I need????"

To make it short (an not too dull?), a good salesman would have sold the QV. Nobody needs a 60k car mate, but I'm an impulse buyer and on that day I know that I would have bought the car if someone would have made me listen to the "mayyybe" voice inside my brain. The bad attitude made me focus on the "do I need???" and maybe realize that....no I didn't.

Too dull? no issues just move on to the next post.
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Oh, if you really were serious about the QV then I agree. The salesman didn't do a good job. I could've sold it to you. Just remind you that every time you sit in your beautiful new Speciale, you'll think to yourself, this is such a great car ... but it's not a Quadrifoglio.
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Originally Posted by PR View Post
I would never buy / not buy a car I wanted because of a salesman, someone who will be involved in a tiny % of the ownership experience of a car.
I'm not knocking anyone who does by the way, and I think its pretty shoddy, and it would irritate me. But Id get what I wanted. As has been said I doubt any salesman would know as much as a car geek about any car
Me too. I decide what I want and the salesman is there to facilitate. I've tried dealing with salesmen as if they might be into their job but realise the successful ones know how to be suitably detached from the world. I trust that is suitably disparaging even if it's not intended to be. It's interesting that the OP is in sales so he appreciates the skills of selling. I assume he sells more expensive things than cars from what he writes?
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I trust that is suitably disparaging even if it's not intended to be.
Not really, no. Sorry for the wind up but I was expecting more, you know, self-righteous disgust about the state of ARUK.
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Its the Service Dept which matters!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PR View Post
I would never buy / not buy a car I wanted because of a salesman, someone who will be involved in a tiny % of the ownership experience of a car.
I'm not knocking anyone who does by the way, and I think its pretty shoddy, and it would irritate me. But Id get what I wanted. As has been said I doubt any salesman would know as much as a car geek about any car
I fully agree. I walked into to the local Alfa showroom knowing I would be buying a Quadrifoglio from some dealer and fully expecting that any Alfa salesman would know less about the car than I did from the internet.

If the salesman had given a very unfavourable impression I would have gone elsewhere. He was on the ball with finance options and I did get several cups of coffee, so we did a deal.

What care about much more is the competence of the Service Department. The months of battling I had with the then Cheltenham Alfa dealer getting warranty defects resolved on the 156 GTA is an experience not to repeat.

The local Alfa dealer's Service Department did impress me at the last Service of the MiTO QV so I have my fingers crossed that they will be able to look after the Quadrifoglio.

Andy
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I fully agree. I walked into to the local Alfa showroom knowing I would be buying a Quadrifoglio from some dealer and fully expecting that any Alfa salesman would know less about the car than I did from the internet.

If the salesman had given a very unfavourable impression I would have gone elsewhere. He was on the ball with finance options and I did get several cups of coffee, so we did a deal.

What care about much more is the competence of the Service Department. The months of battling I had with the then Cheltenham Alfa dealer getting warranty defects resolved on the 156 GTA is an experience not to repeat.

The local Alfa dealer's Service Department did impress me at the last Service of the MiTO QV so I have my fingers crossed that they will be able to look after the Quadrifoglio.

Andy
I fully agree, if I absolutely wanted to buy a QV I would have bought it regardless and I would have done exactly like you did.

What I wanted to point out is that the Alfa lovers don't have to be convinced, but there are others that might have some resistance, com to to the dealer considering an Alfa for the fist time and baaaam, they hit the wall.
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Originally Posted by chrisf_v6 View Post
Oh, if you really were serious about the QV then I agree. The salesman didn't do a good job. I could've sold it to you. Just remind you that every time you sit in your beautiful new Speciale, you'll think to yourself, this is such a great car ... but it's not a Quadrifoglio.
Trust me...I do. But there is still my wife BMW to be replaced in 1 or 2 years....who knows, I might give her my speciale and...
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I have a 159 Sportwagon that should really be replaced. The Giulia product plans don't include my requirement (I won't be buying a jacked up truck).
But what keeps me is the superb service department of my Alfa dealer. They are one of few who believe it should be a Service for customers. Their sales staff are so so and certainly don't understand much about cars.
I won't name them but they are close to Esher in Surrey.

Before I switch brands I'd want some cast iron assurances that the service departments are good.
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