29 July 2009

Hello, You're On Car Talk!

About ten weeks ago (Saturday, 16 May 2009), for the first time ever, I purchased a new new car (verses new-to-me used car). My last car was a 1999 Toyota Camry and was, save for a few hiccups, a great car.

Given the current state of affairs with "American Cars", which seem to be mostly a product of Mexico, I decided to stick with the Camry a "Foreign Car", made in Kentucky. I ended up purchasing a 2009 Camry Hybrid.

It is certainly more than I'd originally planned to purchase, but one option lead to another, one feature lead to another, and one excuse lead to another. But in the end, I was very pleased with my decision. And thus far, I still am.

Buckingham Palace

Brett, my partner, lives in Rochester MN, and purchased his Camry from Rochester Toyota a few years ago. I was so impressed by the dealership, I decided to accept the distance challenges just to stick with that dealership. They're that good! (Or perhaps Wilson Toyota of Ames is just that bad.)

First and foremost, Rochester Toyota is a No Haggle dealership. The term they use is up-front "Best Pricing" on every vehicle. In other words, they put the manufacturer's sticker on the window and their discounted final price right next to it. There's no bargaining, haggling, wheeling or dealing; they lay out their hand and say "here's what we've got, take it or leave it". It isn't for some, but for me it is awesome.

The salesman I worked with was Brandon Buckingham. He was absolutely fantastic. For a guy who doesn't get any direct commission on sales, he really goes the extra mile. He put up with all of my emails, phone calls, and random visits. He knew when to offer assistance and, perhaps more importantly, he knew when to just leave me alone. Never once did he use the Wilson Toyota's cliché line, "What would I need to do to get you to drive this car off the lot tonight?"

7 - 10 Split

The day I drove the car off the lot, Brett and I went to Minneapolis to visit some friends of ours. On the trip home that evening, approximately 12 hours after signing my name on the purchase agreement, I came over a hill...

I don't recall the exact expletives Brett used, but as I looked over to his side, a large deer, eyes aglow, flashed by the passenger side... no contact. Looking forward again, almost in slow motion, I saw another deer zip past my driver's side... luckily, once again, no contact. I had just driven between two deer less than 5 feet from either side of my car going 70+ miles an hour.

I remember thinking, "Oh God, dear Lord, I was really hoping to make it more than one day without fucking up this car." God listened... and laughed.

You're Driving Like a Bat Out of Hades!

On the fourth day, God said, Let there be an old woman of 86 years: and there was an old woman. And God saw the woman, that she was apparently blind and deaf: and God laughed and gave her a large 2005 Chevy TrailBlazer. And God directed this woman: Yea of little sight and hearing, go to Target and wait that I might smote the sinner. And the woman obeyed the Lord and parked in a handicap space across from his new vehicle.

And when the sinner left the store, and began to back out of the stall, with his 4 day old, freshly washed vehicle, with his three coworkers by his side... she too began to back out. And though the sinner stopped barely two feet out of his stall and honked wildly, the blind and deaf old woman ignored him and widened her arch so that through her, the Lord might smote him.

And as the sinner wept at the crunched bumper of his 4-day-old 2009 Camry Hybrid, the Lord giggled.

But by the Grace of God (and four witnesses) the sinner repented his vanity and the Lord blessed him with a favorable settlement so that the car could be repaired at no expense to him.

On the plus side, while my car was getting repaired, I was given a 2003 Mercury Cougar, manual transmission. And aside from killing it a few times on untimely hills, it was a lot of fun. The last time I drove a stick-shift was when I was dating my last girlfriend. It also gave me the opportunity to teach Brett how to drive a stick.

Check Check One Two Three Four

It won't take effect for another 3 years when the Standard Warrantee expires... but I am already feeling comforted that I purchased the Extended Warrantee. About a month after the accident, the five week old car's Check Engine light came on.

I took it to the dealer once again. The diagnostic code indicated a problem with the " Fuel Evaporator". But other than the code, they couldn't find anything wrong. It was possible, they said, that the gas cap wasn't on tight after refueling. That seems odd to me, but whatever. They reset the computer and said to wait to see if it happens again... it hasn't.

While I was there for a few hours waiting on the car, I had the opportunity to see Brandon, my salesman, again. While chatting idly, and laughing at my misfortune, he slowly guided me to the very center of the showroom... where my old 1999 Camry was situated?! Wait... WTF???

It turns out that my old car was selected for their annual Great Car Give Away! Wouldn't it be killer ironic if I won my old car back? After they spent the time fixing the dent, the window, and the catalytic converter? Unfortunately, as Brett pointed out, I am ineligible since I don't live within the requisite distance. Maybe he'll win it back for me.

Long Day

As I drove away from the dealership, I was dismayed to find a 4" blue pen mark on my dashboard, just above the steering wheel. My guess is one of the mechanics inspecting my car accidently swiped it. Nothing I tried was able to remove the mark, so I went BACK to the dealer. Three hours, and an interior specialist later, it was as good as new.

But all things considered, I still love the dealership. So if you're looking for a new Toyota, and are willing to drive the distance, I highly recommend Rochester Toyota. Talk to Brandon; and tell him I sent you. We'll each get $50 out of the deal.


1 comment:

bjkail said...

Contrary to that other website, I'm sure that God arranged for the woman's insurance to pay because God loves gays :-).