Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Lease-end Approaches...

In my snail mail box this past week I got a letter from Bunnin Chevrolet, the dealer I leased my Volt from down in Culver City advising me that it might be time to come see them about things like:
  • My lease contract and any end of lease fees
  • The condition of my vehicle and ways to avoid any wear and use charges 
  • Methods to avoid any possible mileage overage charges (Ha! 15K used out of 36K)
  • Early termination options prior to the end date 
  • Instructions and assistance should I wish to extend my lease or even purchase my lease vehicle
Since this is my first lease, I'm naturally curious but also not particularly interested in doing further business with a dealer so far away when I have several that are much closer.

My first inclination was to ignore this letter, but then I decided I could just ping the nearby dealer I have my service done at and see what they thought. I suspect that was a mistake. Of course Community Chevrolet is not a bad place but their Internet sales girl, while sweet, is a bit dizzy. She apparently can't take notes either as she's gotten confused more than once on what I have, the particulars about my time-frame and what I want. Hey, get Evernote or something. 

Emails and calls were exchanged a couple times with "Autumn" and I decided to take advantage of her offer of an appointment for a quick trip over to Community yesterday. "Autum" was there and still was not remembering exactly what's going on with me. She fumbled me over to "Carlo" who is cold on all this and needs me (and "Autumn") to explain things again. Nice warm handling of prospective repeat GM customer... not! Again, not *bad* but also not very professional. This was a scheduled appointment, after all. If I had an otherwise busy day, I would have considered it a colossal blunder and waste of my time. As it is, I had nothing better to do and I got a chance to at least take a peek at a SparkEV they had there. 

The upshot of talking to "Carlo" is that they would love to talk "numbers" with me but currently they only have 2013 models in stock and no numbers are available on 2014s yet. Fair enough. (I did tell "Autumn" I wanted a 2014. There is a pattern here...) He tried ever so slightly to interest me in the 2013s... telling me there is a $5,000 incentive on them that the 2014s won't have. But I said I was aware of that and also aware the 2014s will have a $5,000 lower sticker price which this "incentive" is a precursor to. Don't you hate it when your customer knows too much? I was not particularly comforted by the way he said they could handle me turning my car into them instead of taking it back to Culver City either. He said they could buy it outright or do some kind of "arrangement" to send it back to Bunnin Chevrolet... all sounds like it's subject to the leasing company not being entirely satisfied. Not something I'm confident about. 

I thanked "Carlo" and left, taking his card and getting his assurance they would reach out to me in a few weeks when the 2014s arrive so we can discuss further. I think my next step will be to call the leasing company, US Bank, and see what they say. I can also always do as the letter from Bunnin suggests, and call them, which I think I am more likely to do given the dizzy handling I got at Community. 

I think Tesla understands how we buyers feel about the state of the car buying experience these days. I'm not willing to spend the money it would take to buy a current Tesla model, but I sure look forward to the day when getting a car does not involve the annoying and life-disrupting circus that a car dealership is. 

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