Saturday, October 21, 2006

Poor General Motors

First, I have been a loyal GM man for many years. My first new car was a 1965 Pontiac Lemans convertible. Over the years I have owned new or used every GM make except Cadillac. I came close once after driving the SRX. I wanted two wheel drive and was told that I live in New England (as if I did not know that) and should get AWD. No one had a RWD.

Yesterday I received a survey from GM concerning service work completed by a Massachusettes Pontiac dealer on a Chevrolet that I traded 3 weeks before the service took place. Perhaps its because for the first time in over 40 years I purchased a foreign brand, so GM has no notification. I did try to buy a GM van. I really did.

I have been escaping to Florida for several winters. Last year I decided that I would no longer stuff everything into my wife's Bonneville. My first stop was my local Rhode Island Pontiac dealer. This dealer is absolutely the finest car dealer I have ever dealt with. The salesman informed me that Pontiac was out of the van business. No more 06's to be built and no 07's. My next stop was to the Chevy dealer where I purchased my Malibu Maxx, a neat car with a wide range of amenities, but too small for the winter trip South. As we approached the 06 Uplander, I asked if it had the 3.5 or the 3.9 engine. Neither he said with authority it has a 3.4 engine. Not so said I. Thats when he told me he was certified salesman and he knew he was right. I asked him to pop the hood and lo and behold, it was a 3.5 engine. So much for certification. As I only wanted the larger engine and this was their only van on the lot and I had no interest in a gas sucking SUV, I left. I now decided to wait for the 07's. In early September I found a Buick dealer with an 07 Terraza. The 07's only come with the 3.9 engine as GM figured out the smaller engine did not cut it. The salesman listed the options and I made an appointment for the next morning. In the interim, I researched the internet and had a good handle on the dealer cost and the value of my trade. After a test drive, the salesman huddled with his manager and gave me a price about $1500. more that I thought it should be. Before, I could start to negotiate, he said "this price is only good until 5 PM tonight". I said I would think about it. As soon as I got in my car, my wife looked at me and said where they could stick that car. I might have tried to talk a deal, but the Buick cornered like the Queen Mary in heavy seas, and I was being careful. So GM, I tried. I'm not sure who took the car for service.... for sure it was not me.

How I ended up with my Honda Odyssey, will be a story for another day.

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