Re: Dealer experience
The dealerships are like politicians. They think they are so in tune with the peoples needs yet are governed by low budget efforts put forth by old people rooted in old school car sales of haggle and barter, get the most out of every sucker that walks in the door mentality. Lexus has the best service departments around. (with cars under a $100K). Some BMW dealerships and Mercedes Benz dealerships are nice, but you pay dearly for it. I think Lexus has the best "value luxury experience" as a whole. I have a personal service tech, his name is Lyndon, he's from the UK. He makes sure they don't wash my car, he knows I'm always a full synthetic oil change, and all required maint. only client. He arranges for my loaner car ahead of time, and when my wife or I decide to just wait, they have the best lounge anywhere! It's even nicer than most hotels and almost as nice as my house! Internet cafe, large HD flat panels, in a theatre style living room, seperate quiet rooms and, (this is the best part), a sound proof room for the kids to play in!!! I actually like being there. (For the short time I have to be of course.)
American car makers just don't get this. Every GM, Ford, or Mopar dealership I've ever been in is loud, harsh, hard surfaces everywhere, it's like sitting down in the middle of Kmart to wait for your purchases! And they think if they serve the worst coffee they can, it's all better now.
I've often said all car mfr's should look at this customer service model and adopt a version for their brand as part of the value of the purchase price of the vehicle. It's the best improvement to sales they can make without any improvements to the car itself! I have a 2008 Lexus IS350, purchased new in 2008, that I was starting to think we might update next year. It's been a great car, and not a single issue with it. (I should just keep it!) My wife drives it alot now as I drive the Jeep mostly, and the first thing she said was I hope it's another Lexus, I love the service department there. So, no matter what other make we look at, will be at a huge disadvantage and it has nothing to do with the car itself! I think that is really smart of Lexus to do.
The dealership and service department is as much of the vehicle ownership experience as parking it in your own garage. If it doesn't fit, it's such a hassle! By contrast, I hate going to the Jeep dealership, well, maybe hate is a strong word, but I sure don't look forward to it.
On the flip side though, I know that dealerships are wary and cautious of car buyers who think just because they bought a vehicle from them, that everything should be free and extra steps and efforts are just expected. They want to install and do everything themselves and if it messes anything up, then the dealership should fix it for free, and help them for free, and if the free stuff messes up anything, then they want more free stuff to make up for it. These people are never happy. But even so, if the dealership invested in good service techs that take a little time to get to know the car buyer, and transform the model from "seller" and "buyer" to "consultant" and "client", the freebie person is easy to identify and deal with upfront, and as a client, a real trust relationship develops and these situations are minimized. As the years go by, I've become more a part of the relationship, and I'll say it up front, we are getting another Lexus. It's just a matter of which one. I haven't even seen the new car line up yet. And from where I stand, most if not all the car makers would love their customers to feel this way.