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'08 CTS
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm fairly new to the board, but I've seen a lot of complaints about the experience that folks have had at their Cadillac dealership. Just read a post from someone saying that he/she wouldn't buy Cadillac again if the purchase experience didn't improve. How much does the dealer experience really matter to you? I assume that when I go buy a new vehicle the experience is going to be less fun than a day on the golf course. I assume there will be some pressure and maybe even some BS tactics used by the people I encounter. But, knowing and expecting that, it doesn't really bother me when it happens. It just sort of "goes with the territory", in my mind. So question is, would you really not buy a vehicle that you otherwise liked and wanted because of dealer experience?
 

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Cadillac
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I will start things off...

The dealer experience is part of the luxury car ownership. Part of the built in premium in price should be reflected in the car but also in owning the car for years. It's similar to buying an engagement ring from warehouse clubs vs. Tiffany or Cartier.

I value this experience but only to a point. Great dealership experience wouldn't necessarily pull me towards a car. I usually have the car picked out before I venture out to purchase from a dealership. However if my dealership experiences are bad enough, then I may reconsider the marquee all together. This actually happened. My first car was a Nissan Altima that I paid with money saved from high school and with job I had during college. I bought the car in Georgia. I had service performed at the purchase dealership later. I had services performed at their rival dealer across town, in south carolina, a city over, and in Kentucky. I NEVER had a fair experience with Nissan dealers. And I think I gave Nissan dealership network enough chances.

So...of 11 vehicles or so in last 14 years...NON of them have been a Nissan product.

I've had about 8 years of relationship with my current dealer. I actually have a dealer less than 3 miles away, but I use this dealer 30 miles away. It's a small town dealer: there's no fancy caffeine machine, extra cushy Italian leather sofa, play area for kids, business center, or even a free coke machine. But I absolutely value their work ethics to meet your expectation, fair pricing, and above all...honesty. That's why I even go out of my way to this dealer for something simple as an oil change.

Ironically...it's also a Nissan dealer. : )
 

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2006, 2014 CTS, Currently 2018 XT5
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I have no issues with the buying experience over the last 10 years and 6 automobiles. Two Honda's, Two Cadillac's, One Buick and One GMC. What I have had issues with and others
on this forum are the SERVICE Department problems. Not repairing correctly in the first place or making it worse after they claimed to have fixed it.

GM, Cadillac and all the other manufacturers could make the BEST car in the world but if you have to deal with a crappy dealer the first thing everybody says is "I'm NEVER buying
another (fill in the blank) Again.

And yes. I have not bought a car that I liked because of a dealer experience. When I was ready to trade my 06 CTS I bought a Buick from another dealer because of my
opinion of my home town Cadillac/Chevy dealer. When I traded the Buick for my 14 CTS I had to return to the same Cadillac/Chevy dealer to purchase it because the Cadillac
dealer in New Orleans (Sewell) was bought out and closed by the competition.

Like I said before, The buying experience was first rate. But I'm holding my breath the first time I need to get some service work done.
 

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'19 CT6 Platinum 3.0TT
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499 Posts
To me the service department means more. There have been a couple of dealers around here I wouldn't buy a car from but their service departments are great so I'll go there.
 

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14 CTS 2.0T, (traded 08 CTS 3.6)
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136 Posts
I used to do a lot of the maintenance work on my cars, but not so much anymore so the dealership experience matters a lot more to me now than it used to.

As I've stated before, I "like" my dealership, but they have far from blown me away (purchased two cars and all service there for about 8 years now). My salesman, who I like, was very poorly informed about the CTS features for my recent purchase. At delivery the car had long, shallow scratches on one side. They buffed it but left swirl marks everywhere, a pet peeve of mine. He followed up, I told him about the swirl marks and said I'd probably be taking it into to a detailer. He never offered to correct it. I still bought the car from them, so it didn't make me leave, but it does leave a sour taste that will build over time with similar experiences.

I also shopped at a Lexus dealership and I would have never bought from the salesman I dealt with. He thought he was selling gold-plated Bugattis and seemed very offended by any critical comments I made, as if they were my problems and not the car's. Had I really wanted one, I probably could have requested a different salesman, but it didn't get that far.

Best dealership experience I've had was buying my son a used Monte Carlo at a BMW dealership.
 

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Buying vehicles I really want responsive and professional people. I could care less if they have crystal chandeliers in the waiting room.
My Caddy dealer has been pretty good and I know the service people after 4 straight vehicles. Unfortunately it was Caddy marketing, pricing, and design that caused me to leave the fold. When I talked directly to some of the Caddy sales group they were candid that they saw a slew of former customers leaving with the new pricing and they saw a sinking ship early on.
My wife has MB (second for her) and their service costs and program are a joke and the two dealers we have worked with are nothing special. BMW was probably the best dealer experience for us.
In my experience shopping for vehicles Lexus was a big disappointment. One dealer couldn't be bothered to work up a lease. At another the sales guy (who had been at the dealer for a decade) knew little about the car except how nice the wood is and that after 50k miles it won't be a bucket of bolts like the Cadillac. I pointed to my SRX with 66.000 and said this has been a good vehicles and there are no rattles. The guy ticked me off.
Hyundai did a solid job overall. There leasing program and dealer trumped up fees were better than Cadillac IMHO.
So now when I bring my car in I will have the 'best' car in the shop (except for the rare Equs' vs. having a lower car in the shop C
Class and 3 series so I guess that just points out how relative things are in life and car ownership.
 

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2014 CTS Luxury 2.0
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Put me in the hated the buying experience category. I was handed off to three separate salesman. Even though I'd had an email quote for a specific vehicle which I brought to the dealership with me, the sales manager initially refused to honor it saying that the first salesman didn't have permission to authorize the figure. My final salesmen had limited knowledge of the features of the vehicle and then 'claimed' he didn't understand or had never handled a lease before. The negotiation took almost 4 hours and ended up a couple hundred bucks below the price that I'd been given in the email. (Note I would have gladly foregone the 275 bucks to just go in and out.)

I was given a complete lowball on my trade in that was 3500 lower than what Car Max offered the next day. And at one point the salesman said "Wow, you've got a really good credit score." The salesman made several snide remarks about the sales manager and explained that he has given him permission to offer a price in the past but had changed his mind.

I was pressured to by the protection coat package and told that the car had a 'dealer added' security system that they needed to charge me for. The car actually had the OEM system. Twice I got up to leave and once they came out to my vehicle and the second time they had the sales manager call me on the phone. After negotiations finished there was an hour wait to go through finance and yet the car wasn't ready because they'd forgotten to send it for prep until I was actually in finance. I was promised that I'd get the updated navigation for 2015 when it came out but the salesman didn't want to write it into the deal. Only after I finally said that I wouldn't sign papers without the provision being included did they tell me that they weren't 'allowed' to have navigation updates included in the deal. Something I've never heard of. Sensing my frustration the salesman went online and ordered the update and had it sent directly to my house.

Now this is a sharp contrast with my experience with a decade of BMW purchases. Obviously I want a good deal and accept that can be some give and take in that process. But even getting a good deal doesn't require that kind of stress and combativeness at my BMW dealer. The last two BMW's I leased I only had to show up to go directly to finance. There was no need for bickering or arguing. Instead, my salesman sent me a complete write up package for me to study and assess at my leisure.

Yes, put me in the category as someone who will not buy Cadillac again -- and I love the car -- unless this aspect of the ownership process is addressed.

As for the dealership itself, the Cadillac dealer had the coffee and chocolate cookies and the laptops and wifi etc as well as the wood on the walls and the marble floors. But looking good doesn't make up for an awful purchasing experience. It reminded me of the time as a college student I went to the Ford dealer to buy a car when I was about to graduate and head off to a new job. They wouldn't let me test drive the car and insisted I provide 'earnest' money to demonstrate I was serious.

Its one thing to be hassled when you're a college student. It's unacceptable for a luxury marque.
 

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2014 CTS Vsport Premium
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550 Posts
I'm sure if you wanted to pay the going rate, either for a lease or purchase (MSRP), the Cadillac dealer would have taken you right into finance also.

I can't say I was overly happy with my purchase experience either, they played every trick in the book - the handoff, the "gotta talk to my manager", the "hold his keys hostage", even the bait and switch. It took 5 hours. But in the end, I got the car I wanted for $20k below MSRP and the same payment as I had for my Suzuki Kizashi. If you look at it in $/hr, it was well worth my time.

It's just business - you want to pay 0, they want to charge a lot - you need to negotiate a mutually agreeable price. The lower they let you go, the less money they make - and that's not necessarily good business.
 

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2014 CTS Luxury 2.0
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I'm sure if you wanted to pay the going rate, either for a lease or purchase (MSRP), the Cadillac dealer would have taken you right into finance also.

I can't say I was overly happy with my purchase experience either, they played every trick in the book - the handoff, the "gotta talk to my manager", the "hold his keys hostage", even the bait and switch. It took 5 hours. But in the end, I got the car I wanted for $20k below MSRP and the same payment as I had for my Suzuki Kizashi. If you look at it in $/hr, it was well worth my time.

It's just business - you want to pay 0, they want to charge a lot - you need to negotiate a mutually agreeable price. The lower they let you go, the less money they make - and that's not necessarily good business.
Well perhaps if I'd gotten 20k off I'd have your perspective that it was worth my time. On the other hand the discounts I've consistently gotten from BMW -- again not 20k off -- didn't require hours of back and forth.

And yet the BMW dealership seems to be able to operate a "good business" without the hassle and drama. And let me say that there are perhaps loads of buyers who don't mind the Bataan Death March every 3 to 6 years because they got the deal they wanted. But there are plenty of people like myself who have changed our shopping locations precisely to avoid the experience. I hadn't considered Cadillac at any point in my professional career until I read about the CTS. Having owned over time 5 different cars (not at the same time) from Car and Drivers 10 Best list I was eager to acquire one. Well like some bad parts of town, some brand dealerships are best avoided no matter how tantalizing the offer.

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I have been to a close by dealership that is Chevrolet/Cadillac. The dealership where I purchased the car is a stand alone Cadillac Dealer near Washington DC and the two experiences are vastly different. The chevy dealer is more hometown and fairly unaware of what the experience should or could be. The Cadillac dealer near DC is top notch and it's all about the experience.
That's reassuring to hear. Perhaps my experience was an anomaly. But I'm not heading back to that part of car town until the urban renewal is completed.
 

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Sorry to say overall the auto purchase/lease experience is miserable. The industry works hard to keep the consumer in the dark. The
dealer groups are fighting hard to keep the direct buying model out (Tesla). Basically we have a distribution network through dealers
that dates from the invention of the car. The internet helps but simple info (residual values, money factors, incentives, dealer hold
backs)is still relatively hard to find. Only the timeshare experience can compete with the negative buying experience and the medical
industry with restraint of info to the consumer. JMHO.
 

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2017 MB C300 Cabriolet, 2019 Volvo V90CC
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The sales aspect is part of the deal. After all, the salesperson gets part of the profit, no? A bad sales experience will drive me out of that dealership, but I'd be willing to try them again if the deal was good enough and if I could find a different sales person. A bad service department, however, would drive me away forever. And since it's not often you have several same-model dealerships in the same neighborhood to choose from, it would also probably drive me away from the brand as well.
 
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