CHAPTER 3:                 Dealing                 with the                 dealer                 Walking into a big, shi...
Keep in mind, however, that a car is just like agirlfriend or boyfriend:                           Joseph Cueter, operatio...
before trying to steer you towards any                                                                                    ...
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First Gear English edition, Dealing with the dealer (Chapter 03)


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Everything you need to know about your first car.

Welcome to the wonderful world of wheels!
We know that every single person dreams of owning a car. It’s understandable: a car epitomises independence. Success. Stature. Mobility. The freedom to go your own way. But we also know that the decision to purchase a car can be fraught with challenges. What car do you buy? What can you afford? What about the servicing requirements? What safety features should you look out for? What about safety out on the road? These and many other important questions plague your mind. First Gear aims to address all these topics and many other essential issues associated with car ownership. We have canvassed the opinions of the world’s leading authorities and this book aims to give you independent, authoritative and utterly essential advice. We want to take the mystery and malaise out of car ownership, and replace it with easy to follow advice and tips… so that your road to car ownership isn’t filled with potholes! We trust that it will provide you with a stress-free introduction to the world of wheels.

Enjoy your first car; you’ve worked hard for it!

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First Gear English edition, Dealing with the dealer (Chapter 03)

  1. 1. CHAPTER 3: Dealing with the dealer Walking into a big, shiny car dealership showroom for the first time can be really exciting – and often intimidating. But don’t be scared. Remember, at every step of the way, that the sales team is there to serve you. The customer is king – or queen – of the showroom!22  First Gear First Gear  23
  2. 2. Keep in mind, however, that a car is just like agirlfriend or boyfriend: Joseph Cueter, operations manager forLooks are not Ford’s Customer Service Division, Asia Pacific and Africa.a guarantee “Your local dealer should be what we at Ford like to call a ‘hometown hero’,” he happiness. “They should be engaged with the local community – supporting local schools, sponsoring sports programmes.” Dealers that advertise in smaller, local newspapers and support education, sport, Choosing a dealer that’s right health and environmental initiatives in the for you community are more likely to form a long- Start by looking at dealer outlets that are term relationship with customers. “Look for close to your home or workplace. “You can anything that indicates they are not just build a lasting relationship and get better looking for a one-time sale,” adds Cueter. follow-up service if you stick to your Of course, you may be able to get the car hometown or where you work,” advises you want at a cheaper price from a that prove the repair shop meets international standards. Ask to see the qualifications of the technical staff and service advisors. Certificates from the Society of Automotive Engineers, for example, are good professional credentials. dealership in a neighbouring province or city. So are factory certifications from Ford- But any discounts you find may not be authorised dealerships that show the worth it in the long run. It’s inconvenient and mechanics have been specifically trained to costly to travel a long way to bring your car work on certain components. in for service or repairs. Since dealers are generally the best Communication is key source for warranty-covered repairs and Dealership sales staff should be friendly and maintenance, take a close look at the helpful, but not pushy. You should be service centre. Ask around: have your warmly welcomed when you enter the neighbours or colleagues been satisfied with showroom. The salesperson ought to ask the service provided by the dealership? It’s how they can be of service and offer some also a good idea to look for certifications general information about the dealership 24  First Gear First Gear  25
  3. 3. before trying to steer you towards any As you do a particular vehicle or promotion. To avoid 360-degree stroll the hard sell, you may want to tell the around it, check salesperson that you won’t be making a model. If you live in a tropical climate, you purchase today, and are only visiting to may need air conditioning. If you drive a the seams gather information. vast distance to work every day, you’ll need between body “You want a salesperson who listens to a car that cruises well and has excellent you and asks meaningful questions about fuel economy. If you have a big family, a panels and doors; your transportation needs,” says Cueter. roomy interior will be a requirement. are they evenly spaced, You also want a salesperson who treats “Make a checklist of what you need to be without gaps or you with respect; someone who truly has a satisfied owner,” advises Cueter. “If the car your best interests at heart. meets all of these requirements, performs irregularities? Does Prepare a list of the top ten features that well on the road and appeals to you the colour look good? you require in your new vehicle; this will visually, you’ll be in good shape.” help the salesperson direct you to the right Is the paint smooth, with make sure the seats are comfortable and that the controls are easy to reach. The The test drive mirror like reflections? speedometer, fuel gauge, and other Ensure that you test drive and carefully instruments should be clearly visible. The inspect a car before buying it. You wouldn’t driver should be able to glance at the buy a USD 15 jacket without trying it on instruments and adjust the controls without first. So why should you buy a USD 15,000 performance, etc. If you haven’t driven taking his/her attention off the road. car that you have never driven? much, you may not be able to realistically If you are an inexperienced or unlicensed Fast facts compare the car’s features or performance driver, bring a qualified driver along who can to competing models. evaluate the vehicle’s driving dynamics: Check the exterior carefully, with an eye handling, acceleration, braking for details. Open the boot to see if there’s enough storage space. Is there a full-sized 100 spare tyre? If you drive on rough roads you may need one. Consumer Reports, a U.S. magazine and Find a dealer near your workplace website published by a non-profit consumer or home who you can trust and advocacy group, recommends walking in a with whom you can build a lasting Do your research – on the Internet circle around the car to perform an overall relationship and with consumer groups and quality check: magazines – before negotiating Keep in mind, however, that a car is just Make a checklist of what features a purchase price like a girlfriend or boyfriend: looks are not a you need to be a satisfied owner guarantee to happiness. And while it’s great and bring it to the dealer It’s a good idea to test drive the to have a sexy car, you and your passengers car before you buy will be travelling inside the vehicle. So Look for a salesperson who listens The number of new dealershipsto you and is focused on your that Ford plans to establish inneeds. Avoid the hard sell China to meet demand.26  First Gear First Gear  27