Amazing car-buying experience!
December 3, 2018
I am an older person who has gone through the joyless process of buying a used car many times (I gave up buying new cars long ago). I was about to enter that process again with a conventional dealership for a late model, low mileage BMW 328i, when I ran across the Austin eAutos listing of the same car - it was a similar price but had 20K less miles. Actually it was a 2015 off-lease from Southern California with only 10K miles on it (I thought it was a typo). I began thinking about strategies of how to negotiate and play the dealerships off each other (the usual game). I set up a meeting at both places, AeA first. Upon arriving it seemed fairly normal, except there weren't sales people looming everywhere, and all the cars were in a huge steel building next to the offices. The people were smiling and friendly and seemed stress-free. Everyone was wearing jeans and casual shirts. I talked with Gary a while and learned that everyone there, including the owner, had been in the car sales business for decades, hating the typical way it's done; they were taking advantage of the internet era and a personal commitment to having fun to run a radically different dealership. They sell/ship lots of cars all over the world out of there because they focus almost exclusively on the top-tier of used luxury cars. I did a long test drive of an essentially new used car and got ready to start negotiating.
I had done a LOT of research on the car I was after and my trade in (a 12 year old Toyota Avalon that I knew wasn't worth much). I told Gary I wanted a total walk-out payment of $22K (car, TT&L, fees) plus the old Avalon. I steeled for what was to come. He and his mechanic looked over the Avalon for a few minutes and came back in and he said, "Ok". I knew I hadn't left any money on the table and he was still making some money, so basically he took a couple $K off the asking price and accepted it as a fair deal. I was stunned for a few seconds and said, "Let's do it". While he was pulling together a couple of papers I cancelled the other appointment. I had to get back to work, so I did the close with Dave (finance guy) the next day (took about 20 minutes, including processing in the credit union loan). While in his office the owner came in - a friendly guy in shorts and a T-shirt. He confirmed that for them (and I confirmed for me) the goal is to have fun sales experiences. They succeed.
They did offer me a very well-priced extended warranty, but I said I'd do that closer to when the factory warranty is going to run out (over a year from now). Their was no pressure on that point (or anything else) at all.
A week later, I got a call from Logan in the their service department apologizing that he'd been on vacation and had not had a chance to do the 10K mile inspection and oil change, so I am going in today to have that done (no cost). They didn't have to do that.
As long as I live, I will never buy a used car any other way and probably any other place, since I've never seen another dealer like Austin eAutos, .