I was in the market for a Lexus 450h. When I initially visited the Bellevue dealership, the sales experience was pleasant -- they wanted to sell me a car. They didn't have the specific model I wanted, partly because of an inventory shortage resulting from the Japanese earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster. As expected, they tried to steer me to available models, but I was set on the 450h and willing to wait. As we began discussions about reserving and purchasing an inbound vehicle, they were unwilling to budge on the MSRP, and reasoned with me that I was lucky that the dealership wasn’t adding a surcharge to the price as is customary under these market conditions. (Really?) I understood partly, but at the same time felt that they were taking advantage of the natural disaster to exploit customers. Then another dealership which I had connected with via Edmunds.com offered to sell me the same car for only $1,000 less. I broached this with Bellevue. I wanted to provide them the opportunity to match the price since I had already begun discussing a purchase with them. They’re attitude was to take the price or leave it. They didn’t care about my business in the present or in the future -- they just wanted the additional $1,000. The salesperson was clearly agitated that I was considering taking my business elsewhere as if it were some kind of ethical violation on my part. They’re probably right in that they were able to sell the vehicle to another customer for the full MSRP. Seems to me, though, that it would have behooved the dealership to make a nominal concession in the name of customer service considering the car was $56,000 before taxes, fees, and any other add-ons, not to mention ongoing maintenance on the vehicle. However, the reason I would ultimately not recommend this dealership has nothing to do with the $1,000. It is their attitude and their embodiment of the stereotypical car buying experience.
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