Saturday, December 09, 2006

On Not Buying A Toyota--Take Two

This morning I got an email from Dealix, the guys who run, wanted to know--Hey, Jane! How did your car buying experience at Elk Grove Toyota go? Didja buy the car?

I thought I would spare them the rather lengthy version you got. For one, they only gave me one of those 250 words or less windows to write my comments in. So I winnowed them down to the following:

The service I got in the dealership was sloppy and inadequate. Although, they knew the model and color of Prius I wanted, the car's battery was dead, and the salesman was unclear about how to recharge it. His explanation of why the battery was dead left me wondering if Prius's are susceptible to this. I thought that by going through the internet, I would avoid the typical sales ploys. I was wrong.
The long version of this is: Chris, the first salesman called last Sunday and left a message saying he had read my blog, taken note of my advice, and was sorry he was busy with another customer when I came in. That's actually the short version of Chris's rather lengthy message, but you get the point. Apology accepted, okay...but hey, wait a minute, you were busy with another customer?

Yes, but were you busy for the 36 hrs before? Did you not have enough time to make sure that the car that I explicitly said I wanted was fully charged. Does it not seem to you that making sure a brand new car is in running order for a test drive is--is--mandatory?

And that got me thinking about my first experience with Toyota, this time Toyota of Hollywood. I got my cute little VW convertible there a couple of years ago. Then, too, I went for a new car, a Scion, but that little Cabrio called out to me. Although it was used, it was shiny black, perfect it seemed, and the salesguys were all over me. Sure, the Owner's Manual is missing, but no problemo! we'll order one for you. Drive it, drive it. And I did, and it was cute, and it did seem to drive nicely, although going around the block in the middle of Hollywood is hardly a fair test of LA driving.

So I signed on the dotted line, and drove it home. I, Jane, was now the proud owner of a convertible. And I lived in LA. Those two facts alone made me a whole lot cuter and a whole lot younger. As I drove down Melrose, the sun shining, my hair blowing gently in the breeze, I smelled something. And my new car started doing something. And then it stopped doing anything at all.

I forget now what the problem was that caused my engine to seize up, it had something to do with a faultily installed ignition switch and fire. It took several weeks to order the new parts from Germany, and, frankly, I never felt the same about the car. I also never got the Owner's Manual. And did I mention that the car was sold to me with a cracked windshield wiper bottle? And those pristine camel seats? I don't know what they did to get them spotless that day, but over the months I've driven it, strange stains have emerged, making me wonder what was done in this car, and by whom.

Thus, I felt compelled to add to my response to Dealix:
The fault is not yours; it's Toyota's. This is the second time I've encountered shoddy and inadequate work at a Toyota dealership, and they are in opposite ends of the state. I love the Prius, but I'm very suspicious of Toyota.

And so I'll wait for another hybrid to get that kind of mileage. Maybe the Saturn will; they're sorta cute. I hate to say never, but now I'm saying it: I'll never buy at a Toyota dealership again.


  1. RAR! I love this post, because it is "In Which ByJane Stands Up For Herself". RAR, RAR, and even more RAR!

  2. See, we've had nothing but good experiences with Toyotas bought from dealerships. Three of 'em, two used and one new. Great cars, all.

    Oh, well.

  3. I love my used 2003 Toyota Carolla which, believe it or not, I bought from Enterprise Car Rental company. I take it to the local Toyota dealership for maintenance and it's great so far. Check out these informative news headlines before you deal with a dealership.


So--whaddaya think?