Buying a car from Grapevine Jeep Chrysler Dodge
In late ’06 my wife suggested that she was ready to retire her minivan and look for a new vehicle for her 50 mile daily commute.
Since the days of diaper bags and strollers have ended, a smaller less utilitarian vehicle was in order and my heart leapt at the idea of having something other than a Dodge Caravan in my driveway. Make no mistake. This was to be her new car, not mine. I’d have to continue sweating out the long summer Texas in my Jeep Wrangler and if I was lucky, I’d get to drive the pending new ride to the store for milk on weekends haha.
After looking around at various dealerships, surfing the web and seeing commercials, we decided to have a closer look at the ’07 Dodge Nitro- a 5 passenger crossover that has an aggressive design and some cool options that appealed to us. I didn’t want to return to the previous dealership where we had purchased the Caravan in late 2000 because it was under major renovations and the lot had the look of downtown Baghdad. Instead, we headed over to Grapevine Jeep Chrysler Dodge (GJCD), located close to my office.
We meet Julian, a sales representative. After 5 minutes it was very easy to tell he knew less about the Nitro than my wife and I found on the Dodge website. He stumbles and fumbles through a test drive and despite this, we come away with a favorable impression of the vehicle.
I call Julian to setup a meeting to go over available options and discuss pricing of the Nitro. After spending two hours reviewing my list of questions, we prepare a build sheet for him to price. He returns from his manager’s office 30 minutes later with the news that the single most important option on my list is not available from stock nor as a factory order. He and his manager then try to talk me into agreeing to taking delivery of a vehicle without the option (A/V/NAV called MyGIG) and having it installed later. They want me to pay for it as part of my purchase but can’t tell me when it will be available or even if it will be a service department installed option. When I balk they try to get me to agree to having aftermarket A/V/NAV components installed at a higher price that the MyGIG option is priced. I walk out and tell Julian to call me if/when the MyGIG option becomes available.
After exchanging infrequent e-mails asking about the status of the MyGIG, Julian stopped replying. A week later I arrived back at GJCD asking to speak with Julian. I was informed he no longer worked there. I met the Internet Sales Manager, Kevin#1. We discussed the vehicle and he told me it might soon be available with MyGIG.
In the interim I watched the unofficial Dodge message boards and got word from a Dodge insider that the MyGIG option was going to become available for factory orders on January 8th. I quickly called Kevin#1 who told me he had no information about it and dismissed it as a rumor.
After reading on the message boards that a poster had placed an order for a Nitro with MyGIG, I quickly rushed over to GJCD to meet with Kevin#1. I demanded that he check his system and as expected the MyGIG was now available for factory orders. I spent the next 2 hours reviewing the options list, negotiating a selling price and getting a quote for financing. After reaching an agreement, I left him with a $1,000 deposit check.
From: xx xxxxx [mailto[email protected]]
Sent: Monday, January 15, 2007 11:11 AM
To: [email protected]
Subject: xx xxxxx- Nitro SLT
I'm feeling like there are loose ends on our deal for the Nitro SLT from last week. I don't have a contract, an order number or even a reciept for my deposit.
----- Original Message ----
From: Kevin xxxxx [email protected]
To: xx xxxxx [email protected]
Sent: Monday, January 15, 2007 11:36:25 AM
Subject: RE: xx xxxxx- Nitro SLT
Your order number is XXXXXX, you can print this e-mail for your receipt.
Xxxx xxxxx has placed a $1,000 deposit for a 2007 Nitro SLT with order number xxxxxx. The retail price of this unit is $xx,xxx and we have an agreed selling price of $xx,xxx plus tax, title, and license.
This was the extent of the communication I had from Kevin#1 for the months following my order.
I continued to watch the message boards about Nitro builds and the Dodge insider have me information on MyGIG installs, software problems and supplier issues that were delaying my order. After 6 weeks, I got a message that my vehicle was scheduled to build and my dealer should have a shipping date in hand.
I arrived at GJCD and asked to see Kevin#1. I was told that he no longer worked there. I asked for a manager and met with Tyler. Tyler explained that GJCD had no record of me, my order or my deposit. After presenting the only document I had- the mail from Kevin#1, Tyler found the order in their system but admitted it was not related to me and there was no sign of my deposit. The check had never been cashed but I assumed they held it until the vehicle shipped from the factory. Tyler assured me that everything was all set and that this order was scheduled for shipment to GJCD. He said it could be up to three more weeks before it arrived but that he would call me when he got word it had arrived in Texas to their warehouse lot.
I waited two weeks before arriving at GJCD again. I hadn’t heard from Tyler and I wanted an update on the vehicle’s shipment. I was informed that Tyler was “out of the office”. I asked to see a manager and met with Kevin#2. After giving Kevin#2 a briefing he went to his computer and returned telling me not only did he not have an order in my name, but that he did not have a Nitro matching my description on order from the factory. After challenging him he told me as the Order Manager he knew what GJCD had or didn’t have on order from Dodge. He also informed me that the MyGIG was not available on any Dodge vehicle and that I was mistaken. I showed him the email from Kevin#1 with my order number. After a visit back to his office he returned and admitted it was on order. Kevin#2 also told me he was surprised to see that it had coincidentally arrived by truck on the GJCD lot today. He needed some time for prep and we agreed I would pick up my Nitro the following day.
I arrived at GJCD and saw Kevin#2. He quickly introduced me to another sales person. I’ll call him Jake because I never did catch his name. He passed me over some forms and had my Caravan appraised for trade-in. He asked me how much I could afford in monthly payments. It was clear Jake wanted to kick-off the negotiations. I presented Jake with the email from Kevin#1. Jake then ushered me into the finance office where I spent an hour signing forms. After a brief but failed up sell presentation for an extended warranty, I was given the keys to my Nitro. Jake escorted me to the vehicle and gave me a 3 minute walkthrough where he pointed out how the doors locked, the hood latch worked and where the spare tire was located. He admitted that this was the first Nitro with the MyGIG option he’d seen and that he wasn’t working at GJCD when the factory reps provided the product training. Jake shook my hand and waved me off the lot.
Two weeks have passed since our new car purchase. I’ll admit my wife drives it 99% of the time. Heck, she works hard to earn the lion’s share of money in our household and she deserves to drive a nice car. We both love the Nitro and are thrilled with the styling, performance and, of course, the MyGIG
Last night the phone rang and I was asked if I could spare a few moments to conduct a telephone survey. It was GJCD and they wanted to know about my buying experience. After 4 questions where I rated GJCD 1 out of a possible 5, the man politely excused himself from the call.
I'm convinced that had I not continued to follow-up time and time again on my order that I might never had heard from GJCD and my Nitro would have been sold off the lot. I’ve never heard from Julian, Kevin#1, Tyler, Kevin#2, Jake or anyone else I met along the way at Grapevine Jeep Chrysler Dodge and I don’t expect to.