By David Thomas on March 31, 2009
A month ago, 33-year-old Vince Ferrari posted on his personal blog about a bad experience he had trying to buy a new Chevy Malibu. The tale caught fire among consumer blogs, reinforcing many people’s negative feelings toward car dealers. We contacted Vince via Twitter to see if he’d be interested in telling us how his car shopping went after that experience. The Bronx IT professional ended up purchasing a new 2009 Chevy Traverse — that's it pictured above — but from a different dealer.
KickingTires: Why did you decide to buy a new car in this economy?
Vince: Recently, my company merged with another company, and my daily commute doubled. I wanted something I could depend on a little more than my eight-year-old 2001 Malibu LS (which was, for the most part, a very reliable car for me). The economy didn't really come into it, honestly. My company is stable and I knew I wasn't leaving my job. I've been at the same place for almost 13 years now, so it wasn't a real concern for me. Plus, the deals in general on new cars are pretty good right now. It isn't a fire sale like people exaggerate it to be, but it does seem like a good time to buy.
KickingTires: You blogged about your bad experience at a Chevy dealer and it got a lot of attention. If you didn’t have a friend at another Chevy dealer, would that experience have sent you to a different brand even though you liked the new Malibu?
Vince: It actually did send me elsewhere. I was ready to go to Honda and get the Accord EX-L or Nissan and get the Altima 2.5 SEL. I figured if I was gonna drop $30,000 on a car, I could pretty much go anywhere and get anything. I did love the Malibu I test-drove, but I wasn't about to go get beat down at another Chevrolet dealer; that is until I found out my brother-in-law's cousin worked at one and he promised to take care of us. Those guys were top-notch from minute one in the showroom and really turned me around after a horrendous experience.
KickingTires: Why did you decide to go with a bigger, more gas-thirsty vehicle like the Traverse in the end?
Vince: As soon as we got to the showroom my sister sat in the Traverse and called me over. "Sit in this," she told me. I'm like, "No way, what am I gonna do with something that big?" Then I sat in it and called my wife over. "I want this." That was all I could say. We left the showroom for the lot, and the Malibu selection wasn't great (they have very high turnover on that car; it sells like hotcakes apparently), so I asked if I could test-drive the Traverse. As soon as I got it on the street, I had to have it. I utterly fell in love with it and knew that my 60-mile-a-day commute would be very pleasant in it. In the end I got a 1LT with the backup camera option and a remote starter, and the walk-out-the-door price was pretty good. I was very satisfied with the deal they made me.
KickingTires: What about that second purchasing process did you enjoy? What did you not like?
Vince: Honestly, there are only two quibbles, and neither are unique to Chevrolet:
1: Banks are closed on weekends. I don't understand how, in the year 2009, credit applications can't be processed on weekends, but that's just the way it is. It was the same at both dealerships.
2: Since my truck was a special order and was driven down to NYC from Saratoga Springs (to the tune of 480 miles), I had to get the truck visually inspected by a third party, something I think the dealer should be allowed to do before the car leaves the lot. It wasn't the end of the world, just something I saw as a pointless hassle. Other than that, I got the promotional financing I was looking for so the world is a happy place.
KickingTires: How are you enjoying the car now?
Vince: I love it. It is a bit of a gas-guzzler, but I knew that going in. Honestly, what it lacks in fuel efficiency it makes up for in comfort. It's so smooth and quiet, and the ride is just outstanding. I sprung for the 18-inch wheels, and it just makes the ride so nice. It has a nice solid feel, and it doesn't really handle like a 5,000-pound truck. In fact, you should see the parking space I have to maneuver it into every night; if I didn't do it, I'd never believe it could even be done.
If you’ve recently bought a new car and are interested in sharing your experience, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Q&A” in the subject line.
Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David