Here is my experience with them starting Aug/20/2012. At Downsview Place Auto Group(DPAG) Lots of cars outdoors, the indoor facilities are tight due to the amount of highend vehicles parked inside. But they do have a large selection of vehicles overall and pricing is very good(my main motivator). My routine for the last 2 weeks has been run out at my lunch hour on the weekdays and check a dealer(new and used) on something I saw in autotrader or autocatch or wheels.ca. Then if I find one or two models that meet our criteria, bring my wife to check it out later before they close. I really hope I don't have to do this for much longer and it looks like I won't.
For each car I was interested in, Iíd first check the web for negative comments about the dealership, how many threads, determine what part of the comments were emotional versus factual, he said/she said, etc..
Now before I came shopping at DPAG, I had checked out some other used car dealers(based on my approach above) and when I pieced together initial data collected on the desired car and found something fishy, I thanked them for their time and walked away. I found these blogs and those on TorontoMazda3 where very helpful to me in my research on DPAG but still wanted to give them a shot. The general rule of thumb is that for every 1 dis-satisfied cutomer there will be 10 satisfied.
I have had NO affiliation whatsoever with DPAG or their members/employees in the past. Iím hoping to be a potential customer (hopefully soon).
My experience is the Sales Consultant was very direct in conversation(which I like), he knew the brand line extremely well, which should be the case. If he didnít know something he said so. Very upfront with information he knew about. We asked a lot of questions and wrote down any answers and then emailed to them in one note, this leaves a nice audit trail. If your not sure, always ask and assume nothing. However what someone else experiences may not be what I experience though. If you go into any business with the mentality that they are out to rip you off, you will bring in a crappy attitude and get crappy attitude in return, thatís true for anything.
I am waiting to sign the papers for a BMW 328xi. Now that I am close to signing a deal at DPAG, I thought I would return the favour to users and offer my personal experience and some basic tips to others as well for buying used cars.
Businesses exists to service the community and make a profit - that's reality. When you are in sales, you have to make judgement calls. Meaning the seller will have to assess the buyer, are they kicking tires or are they ready to buy. So best that you are well prepared, meaning provide the brand, model type, your budget and purchase timeline. A seller only has so many hours in a day to sell and make target quota/profit. Remember this is not a Brand name NEW car dealership with a bunch of people ready to serve you with in a instant. That's part of the reason your paying a higher price for a New car dealership's overhead costs in the purchase of a new or used car.
If you walk into a used car dealership knowing only the brand name you want, that's a pretty broad request. You should bring print outs of the vehicles your interested in. This saves them and yourself time and effort. Do your research. To get better service (used or new car dealership) I usually carshop off busy hours like during the weekday or early on the weekend, that way I have a better chance to get serviced faster. Iíve found that if it is busy, if I make eye contact with the salesperson and smile at them, they nod in acknowledgement and will come to you when they are free. This is simple courtesy and common sense. If they have customer in the office, typically it means they have a real prospect (IE. The customer knows the Brand, model, budget, purchase timeline).
As far as the test drive goes, I can see why some used car dealers don't want to let people test drive unless youíre a serious buyer/put down a deposit. I could say this is somewhat true for some new car dealerships as well. I have a tradein - 2003 Acura in great condition with new brakes, etested, safefy certificate and NO accidents that I posted on Autotrader to sell privately. I got emails and calls from prospects. I had people wanting 2 things, drop my price and a test drive at the other side of town. The problem you face is finding time to sell it and then the buyer may have financial issues, back out, not show up for test drive etc.. Besides, if a potential buyer is young (eg. 21) and they want to test drive it, they may do things you donít normally do in normal everyday driving like red line it in first gear(if a manual) and then your stuck with the damage. So I decided to do a trade-in to forgoe hassles. Besides you save a few bucks on the HST with a trade-in.
I put a deposit down and wanted a test drive. Problem was the actual car we wanted to drive was stuck inside a line of cars so they would have to spend 30 minutes to get it out and it was near closing time. So we test drove another similar model and year instead that was parked outside. We stayed well past their closing time so kudos to them.
Honestly, they would have probably let me test drive as many cars as I wanted after putting a deposit down. We made arrangements for the test drive for Saturday on the actual vehicle we wanted. We also asked for a Independent inspection(at our cost) at a BMW dealership and it be ready for Saturday. Keep in mind that for most people a car is the biggest ticket item they will buy besides a house so this was worth the investment. It was really nice to pop in Saturday and have the car ready for the test as well as the Independent inspection report. Lets us get down to business pretty darn quick.
At the end of the day it's always buyer beware so it's best you arm yourself with information and ask alot of questions (like my wife and brother-in-law that I brought with me to make a final decision). Many people on this thread are 100% correct when they recommend you be a educated buyer and set your expectations. Remember your buying used so a key factor is have it brought to a independent shop or a brand dealership for a inspection and pay for it out of your own pocket. Ensure it's a condition of sale on your part that the vehicle passes inspection. If it doesn't your out a few hundred and you avoid a potential problem. Very important to document the transaction items. IE. manual, spare tire exists,2 pair of keys, courtesy key etc... because the dealer may not have received these when they bought the car and you may have to work out a deal or compromise. Again, remember your buying used... not new. The car we plan to buy does not have a courtesy key, no biggie for us. But if it only came with 1 set of keys, that would have killed the deal for sure due to security concerns. So again ask alot of questions, my past work experience has conditioned me to trust but verify.
Another reason why I asked for a brand dealership(BMW in this case) to inspect the car is this was a nice way to implicate the brand maker in the event they were incompetent in the inspection. A Global brand like BMW wonít stand for any type of this nonsense. It also gave us confidence to call the inspecting dealer shop up and ask about which dealer originally sold the car new, ask about the service dates, odometer pattern etcÖ then take this and cross reference with a Carproof report. Trust but verify. DO YOUR RESEARCH.
They provided the carproof - pretty standard for all new and used dealerships now.
When you view the carproof report, manually input the web url link into a web browser. All Carproof reports will start with the url http://reports.carproof.com/Ö
. Reports are posted for about 6 months from when they are submitted. Highly unlikely any car dealership would have the skills and time to create a webserver and highjack the web address by re-directing the DNS and then dropping modified reports.
Do new and used dealerships have a standard routine to try and get additional revenue, of course. Some try with additional warranty, rust proofing etc... With DPAG itís with the tires it seems, where after the independent inspection, the tires need to be changed before they pass certification on the vehicle. Of course they can either find old used tires that just pass safety or offer you new ones at a discount. My take on this is, if they can get me new decent tires(including balance and installation), offer me advice and tire options at a reasonable cost or close to it (check out prices on the tires and compare- do your research), Iím fine with that because we are talking safety here. BTW, this is pretty standard practice with any new/used dealership selling a used car. When I first check a car out, at some point I will inspect and physically feel the tire tread height (never on a new car though).
Also, I made observations while their service department was fairly busy and all customers seemed to be quite content IE. No heated/negative customer/dealer service discussions during a 6 hour visit at their location. I hope if I use their post sales service I will experience the same. Time will tell.
Iíll be sending them a summary delivery expectation/itemized list via email in a few hours to avoid mis-communication and any disappointments when I go to pick the car up and pay the balance. Nothing major (aside from the tires). Iíll see how well this goes.
I'll be sure to provide updates as my transaction progresses and with future business dealings(hopefully) for a end to end descriptive sales/post sales experience.
Hoping to be new 328xi owner soon