Weiss Toyota STL Informative - Sales Dept Business Practices

Review by MRJR54 on 2009-03-17
03/17/2009

RE:
Weiss Toyota
11771 Tesson Ferry Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63128

Having owned 4 Toyota Motor Company vehicles over the past 20 years has always been a pleasurable experience inclusive of the purchasing process until our most recent experience with a local fledgling and apparently faltering Toyota dealership in St. Louis, MO.

Deciding to replace my 2005 Tundra SR5 DC totaled in an accident with a 2008 model seemed to be a simple enough task. Looking forward to an experience mirroring 4 previous Toyota purchases over the past 20 years, we expected a straight forward, highly professional presentation and sales protocol. Upon visiting Weiss Toyota in St. Louis, MO proved to be more like a visit to Broadway Marvin’s used car lot in a downtown crack district. While the initial interaction with a poorly prepared and obviously frustrated sales representative exemplified a level of business acumen and salesmanship typically expected from a used watch salesman, I discounted this presentation as a behavior stimulated by trying economic conditions and the like. This proved to be wrong as while reviewing the details of the vehicles that I had expressed interest in purchasing the representative was approached by what appeared to be a service advisor regarding a customer’s service issue. As the service representative requested some input from the sales representative in terms of how to proceed with the customer issue the sales representative responded “and what does she want me to do about it – sounds like “buyer remorse to me”. This observation proved to be 2 for 2 in the “run-don’t walk away” message taken away form this experience.

Deciding to proceed with the process, as I had never quite seen a circus act that I was experiencing, the conversation evolved to price. I made an offer and the illustrious sales representative scurried off to allegedly get approval from someone else. Upon his return a counter offer equaling ½ of 1% was presented with the standard “anything less would result in a loss” qualifier. I advised that I may give it consideration and rose to leave. I was quickly asked not to leave as to allow the sales rep’s boss to come out and meet me. I agreed and meandered around the showroom for about 5 minutes. Having tired of waiting around to meet Mr. boss, I simply left with no further interaction.

Shortly afterwards I received a call from the sales representative advising that he was surprised to see that I had left, but Mr. boss instructed him to sell the vehicle to me for the original price I had offered. After a few days of visiting competing Toyota dealerships, we maintained an interest in the vehicle we had offered to purchase due to the model, options, color and accepted price. I contacted the original sales representative to set a time to visit and complete the transaction. Apparently he lacked sales closing skills and referred us to
A fellow sales representative under the auspices of not being available at the time we were planning on arriving.

Upon or arrival, exclusive of any customer greeting we were able to locate illustrious sales representative #2 who presented himself and the product is an acceptable fashion thus substantiating the “run don’t walk away” message presented by the initial sales representative may have just been an isolated portrayal of this dealership.

End result = Wrong again !!, as representative #2 played dumb to the fact that the accepted purchase price was not what the now absent “mr. boss” had agreed to. Validating the increased “new price” by presenting the scenario that as there were 6 of the vehicles we decided on when our original offer was accepted and all but 3 were sold since then, they couldn’t sell our selection at the agreed price….. Incredibly disingenuous and shallow version of a bait and switch posture as there were physically 5 of the vehicles in plain view on the property.

Bottom line to this experience is that this experience is a sad commentary on the disingenuous mentality of this dealership from the front line sales representative to the alleged mr. boss. In today’s consumer market, be it paper towels or vehicles, the success of a manufacturer’s product line is directly influenced by the culture of the front line sales staff interacting with the consumer. In this instance, the unbridled ignorance in terms of credibility and lack of a viable, straight forward presentation greatly diminished the perceived value of the Toyota product line to the point of eliminating the Toyota from our short list, replaced by Nissan, Ford and Dodge who seem to place a markedly greater value in consumer confidence. Hopefully this fledgling dealership will eventually recognize the value of presenting a business transaction in an honest and professional manner and maybe reverse what appears to be a failing endeavor.

The beauty of this experience is that Toyota has recruited a perpetual and active Free Advertiser!!!


Sincerely,

Michael R & Regina L. Rutter
New Nissan and Former Toyota owners
Comments:9 Replies - Latest reply on 2009-09-22
Posted by dan gordon on 2009-03-17:
your review is well written though hardly unique to most of us that have ever bought a car. It sounds just like an episode of King of Cars when it was on. My comment is simply the dealer and not the mfctr. To indite a mfctr due to the actions of a dealer is silly. If they owned the dealership you make a point but independent dealers can run their companys as they wish.
Posted by MRJR54 on 2009-03-17:
Relatively valid point Dan. Then again, in light of the typical hair splitting sales presentations geared
to validating a nickle and dime pricing theroy subscribed to by a sizeable number of auto dealers, many consumers place an increasing value in integrity and fair practices credibility. While it may be somewhat old fashioned, it is the beauty of capitalism and competition. Should a manufacturer condone their product line being negatively influenced by a poor business posture and bait and switch tatics, they are in essence a contributing factor to the eventual and inescapable true perceived value of the product and a solid indicator of the integrity of ongoing support, or the reality of that expectation vs the all too often forgotten and critical element of any transaction > the presentation.
Posted by GenuineNerd on 2009-03-17:
You could have probably stuck with Toyota...there has to be several other Toyota dealers in the St. Louis area. You should have walked out the door the moment you noticed the unprofessionalism of Weiss's sales staff.
Posted by Aerocave on 2009-03-18:
MRJ:
I appreciate your "detailed" explanation of the experience at the Toyota store. Unfortunately, some dealerships have not made the necessary changes to both sales tactics and personnel to meet current customer needs and expectations. It truly is unfortunate for our business.

I assure you, this is not the case everywhere you go...and I would also add that--it goes both ways. There are still a large number of consumers who walk in the store with the "I'm better than you" attitude, demand our "best price" upfront (saying the old "I don't want to haggle"), we give it...and then the customer proceeds to make a crazy offer much lower than our price we offered, utilizing the newest and most recent line I've been hearing, "Well, with the economy the way it is, you should be wanting to sell cars, profit or loss." Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

I'm certainly not saying that's what happended in this case...but I do believe that all the negativity in our country has affected all of us--and I can tell you that auto dealers, including the good ones, have all been met with unprecedented challanges.
Posted by JOSHUA234 on 2009-07-03:
Judging by the way you wrote this piece, I am suprised you could buy a soda at a Quick trip without getting thrown out!!
Posted by BokiBean on 2009-07-03:
If Quick Trip called him, told him the price of a soda was $.20 and when he got there it was a buck..he'd probably walk out there too. As he should.

There's nothing wrong with the way the piece was written, it was intelligent and well thought out...if that's a problem, perhaps its personal one.
Posted by JOSHUA234 on 2009-07-03:
In response to B-bean;going from .20 to $1.00 is a bit of a stretch probably like the original story. I am a retired arbitrator and there are always two sides to everything. What makes the least sense is the fact that the writer of the post was so angry he went and bought a Nissan! Well he showed them didnt he? Ended up with a less quality car!
Posted by BokiBean on 2009-07-03:
Well, don't take my example too literally...it was an was about as pertinent as your example of the OP getting kicked out for trying to buy a soda...

And indeed, there are two sides to every story..especially when it involves used car salesmen. Because they're known for their..gee, wait a minute...

Does the poster sound unhappy with his Nissan? I couldn't tell it.

Posted by MRJR54 on 2009-09-22:
JOSHUA234 - As a former (no surprise, eh?) arbitrator your diligent investigation leading to your truly "profound" commentary is a testament to the unbridled ignorance of your conclusion that bagging Toyota was motivated by anger. No anger here Einstein - simply refuse to do business with wannabee's ! By the way - Nissan has proven to be far superior in terms of product and service expectations !

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