It's Better to Travel than Arrive?

"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive"

Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque, 1881.

"Robert Louis Stevenson speaks utter tosh and has

obviously never flown long haul economy class"

Kristy, first ever blog post, 2011.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How NOT To Sell Me A Car

Now, if you're one of those people who doesn't like shopping for a new car because of the pushy, over enthusiastic, over fabricating, fibbers that work the car showrooms, please, come to Germany, I guarantee you'll be cured.

I guess we've met with about 15 car reps since we've been living here, whilst buying both of our cars, and the standard seems to run from indifferent to totally indifferent.  That's a generalisation of course, the guy who sold me my first car was lovely, as were two others I've dealt with recently, but the bulk of them honestly couldn't care if you were there or not.  And, yes, they are paid on commission.

We're thinking about trading my car in on a bigger car and I'm in the process of test driving a few different cars so I can narrow my focus down a little.

On Tuesday I tested the Mini Cooper, Mini Cooper S Countryman and the Ford Kuga (Kluger in Australia).  Yesterday I tried the Mercedes B Class in the morning and had a 2pm appointment at VW to try the Touareg, even though I wanted to try the Tiguan, but they said they didn't have one.

You have to make appointments here to test drive cars, you can't just walk in and take one for a try.  I actually went to VW in person on Tuesday to make an appointment for 2pm Wednesday, so I know I had it set up.

I lobbed in at 2pm and the conversation went something like this (me in italics):-

  • Hi, I'm here for my 2pm appointment to test the Touareg.
  • I didn't know you were coming at 2pm?
  • Well, yes, you did.  That piece of paper in front of you with my name on it has 2pm written on it.
  • I've got another appointment at 2pm.
  • And?  (This is the point where I started to get bolshy, there's only so much bad service I can stand).
  • Are you just here for fun or do you actually want to buy a car?
  • Um, sorry?  (And this is the point where he figured he'd be able to push around the blonde "auslander" chick).
  • Well, yesterday you said you wanted to drive a Tiguan.
  • Yes, but you said you didn't have one, so I thought I'd try the Touareg.
  • Well, we do have one.
  • Okay, can I drive it?
  • If you want to drive it you have to hire it by the hour.
  • I don't want to hire it, I want to test drive it to see if I want to buy it.  (And this is when I knew for a FACT that I would never spend a cent with this man, but there was no way I was backing down).
  • You can have it for 15 minutes only.
  • Okaaaaay.
  • And if you damage it you have to pay me 1,000 euros.
  • Right, I'll try not to damage it then.  (And I'll try not to stab you in the eye with your pen.)
  • I will expect you back in 15 minutes.  Have fun.
  • That's highly unlikely.  (Muttered under my breath).

Now, there was nothing wrong with the Tiguan (that I could tell in my allotted 15 minutes).  It was a perfectly nice car, not terribly exciting, but fine.

But there's no way I'm even going to consider buying anything from that man EVER, or probably from VW in general.  No way.

Customer service?  It's not just words.

Oh, and I told some of my German friends this story last night and they were horrified, so please don't think all car sales people over here are as rude at the VW guy.  One even wanted to get straight on the phone and give the guy a piece of her mind - yay for you Petra!


  1. Ugh, brutal. I mean, you can't even get to the no-speed-limit part of the autobahn (and back) in 15 minutes.

  2. Pfft. I didn't even bother. I just drove it around the block a few times. Seriously, the guy was a total tool, and young enough to know better.

  3. While I am sorry for your bad experience, your retelling had me laughing out loud. Thanks for the giggle!!!

  4. Looking back on it, it's hysterical, but at the time I was open mouthed with horror. I really wanted to punch him. I'm telling everyone I see, so it's true what they say "Like something, tell one person, dislike something, tell ten."

  5. It is really funny! Mostly because it happened to you and not me ;)


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