I'm back, job done, car bought :0) It was a toss up between a Fusion, a Meriva, or an Astra, and the Meriva won. I checked out the Fusion diesel first on the way to Doncaster, it was an ex Motorbility car for sale at a small independant garage. I wasn't that impressed with the interior, a bit basic, perfectly adequate as a runabout car, but I didn't feel it offered much in the way of comfort on a long run. It also wasn't really big enough for what I want it for, chucking things in the back. Shame because it would have been very good on fuel consumption. They got the emissions wrong in the advert, it wasn't £30 road tax, it was into the next bracket at £90 a year, still cheap. They also had a slightly cheaper petrol version with only 3,000 miles on the clock , but the emissions took it into a higher tax bracket at £155, and I thought if I am going to pay that I want a better car.
So off I went to Perry's at Doncaster. Lee, the salesman, said on the phone yesterday that they have access to a lot of ex Motorbility cars and they were coming through at good prices. After going into all the details, what I was looking for, what I was going to use it for, price, engine size, etc, I decided to have a test drive in a Meriva 1.4 petrol. I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting it to have no ooomph at all, but it was quite nippy with good acceleration. The driving position is slighty higher than most cars as it's classed as a people carrier, and it was comfortable. The car is light, as is the steering, and it cornered well.
Now down to the nitty gritty. The price of it had been reduced by £500 in the sale, which brought it comfortably below my budget, but given the choice of cars that he could get hold of I asked if he could find one with a lower mileage than this one at 15,000. He checked the Motorbility web site, and showed me one with 5,000 on the clock, he said he was able to knock £1,000 off the site price, which brought it to £500 more than the one I had driven.
So for an extra £500 did I want one with less miles? I decided no, 15,000 is pretty low anyway, it has been looked after, and is in mint condition. At this point I wondered if I should start to haggle, I had my list of comparison cars and wafted it in front of him. I did make him work hard, and enjoyed watching his sales technique, but I was happy with the price as it was below the others on the list. Then he asked the closing question. 'I'd like you to tell me what else you would like so we can go ahead with the sale?'
I had already decided at this point that I was going to buy the car, so I thought I would have a bit of fun. I said I would like to go and have look at an Astra, so could I have a couple of hours, then I'll let you know. Poor chap was beginning to flounder as he had worked right through his lunch break. I could see he was wanting to wrap it up, and I was starving hungry myself. I had one last question for him, can I have a full tank of fuel? He went to ask his boss, and the answer was yes.
I have to say, Lee was an excellent salesman. He didn't give me a load of bullshit and had a real passion for his job. He told me that he is the second best salesman in the group, and I could see why. While he was away for a few minutes checking something, I had a quick word with a couple who were waiting to see him. They were in the process of buying their second car from him, and couldn't praise him enough.
I am fascinated by the art of selling, when it is done well it is entertaining to watch. Some people have a natural ability, but it's also something you can learn. It is very much like an actor putting on a performance, but it can easily go wrong if the actor shows no empathy towards the customer. Anyway, I've enjoyed my car buying experience, and it's getting late again, so I'll continue tomorrow with a reply to abc1's points.
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