Dennis Doeil – General Sales Manager,
Stuart Grey - New Car Sales Manager,
Julia Weber – Customer Relations Manager,
Michael John – Manager, Technology,
O’Meara Ford, Northglenn, Colorado
As a potential customer, I would like to share a review of my recent experience with O’Meara Ford in Northglenn. I won’t mince words. I am incredibly disappointed by my experiences with O’Meara Ford, and it is exceptionally unlikely that you will earn my business. Your sales staff did not listen to what I had to say – to the point that I had to repeat myself four or five times. They took us straight to talking about finance and money, trying to prod us into starting to “work the numbers” on a deal for a car that we hadn’t even seen. If that weren’t bad enough, we’ve had a similarly bad experience using the “Online Quote” functionality from the Ford Website.
We visited O’Meara Ford, and this is our tale.
My girlfriend and I are currently cross-shopping the Focus ST and the Fiesta ST against the MINI Cooper S Clubman, the MazdaSpeed 3 and the Fiat 500 Abarth. We have arranged financing ahead of time. (this does become important.)
We have already stopped and talked with sales staff at CarMax, Sill-Terhar Ford/Volvo/Mazda/Maserati/Etc., Mike Shaw Subaru, and Denver Isuzu/Suzuki.
We visited O’Meara Ford on Saturday the 10th of August in the afternoon. We were greeted by a salesman shortly after we got out of the car (this is good, and in line with our experiences elsewhere), and the salesman asked us what we were interested in. We described the cars that we were cross shopping, the cars we currently owned, and what our plans for them were at the time. We told the sales associate that that we were there that day to do a walk around a Focus ST and see if we liked what we saw. The salesman indicated that O’Meara Ford had several on the lot, and that O’Meara Ford has 23 acres of cars (so?), and is so big that golf carts are used to get around.
This set an expectation that our next stop would be a ride on a golf cart to go to where the Focus ST stock is “out back”.
We were guided into the building, and the salesman excused himself for a moment to “go talk to the Sales Manager” – and I presumed to also line up a cart to take us in to go fulfill our request to (and I emphasize this again) LOOK AT a Focus ST. While we were waiting, we did avail ourselves of the lovely Tangerine Scream example that is in the lobby – but the battery is disconnected, so the power seats don’t work – so that’s not a fair “look” as we both were squished pretty much right up against the steering wheel.
The salesman came back and guided us to a table, where he started grilling us with the following questions, to which we replied:
What we could afford for a monthly payment: We’re not payment shoppers. We have our own financing.
How much would we be putting down? Nothing. Again, we have our own financing.
What cars do we currently have? A 1997 BMW M3, and a 2007 Toyota Yaris. We already told you this. Were you not listening, or do you just not care? Also, you’re fishing for a trade, and we’re not trading.
Which one of those cars would you consider trading in? Probably neither. As we said, twice now, e’re bringing our own financing. We’ll pick out the car, negotiate a price, write you a check, and drive away. Do I need to say it again?
Well, how much do you owe on the Yaris? About $6300. Why? Do I need to say “We’re going to write you a check, sign some papers, and drive away” again?
At this point, I think the salesman got the point, because he got up and went and conferred with “the Sales Manager” again.
When he came back, he stated:
“Out of respect for the future owner (Emphasis mine), it’s O’Meara Ford’s policy to not allow test drives of the Focus ST”
Note: Not once in our exchange did I say that we wanted to DRIVE a Focus ST. I said that we wanted to SEE a Focus ST. We wanted to SIT in one and see if the Recaro seats are comfortable. We wanted to HEAR one.
The Fiat 500 Abarth, which we did test drive, pretty much sold us instantly on the song of the exhaust note). We wanted to touch the dials, and take 5-10 minutes to learn the Sync and FordMyTouch systems and see if they are intuitive and easy to use. Not once did we even hint that we wanted to take a Focus ST out on the road.
We wanted to see if we liked the way the car looked. The way it felt. Whether controls fall easily to hand (the way they VERY much do in the BMW M3).
Instead, at this point, the salesman took us out to the front of the lot and showed us a blue Focus SE. SEDAN…automatic(!).
No keys in hand, so even though it wasn’t even remotely similar to the car we were interested in seeing, we still couldn’t do any more than adjust the seats and mirrors and pedals and pretend to fiddle with the climate controls.
Already having decided that even if we purchased a Focus ST, there was NO WAY we were going to purchase from O’Meara, we pretending to fiddle with things in the car for about 2 minutes before thanking the sales associate for his time, we returned to our BMW and drove directly (do not pass go, do not collect $200) to Sill-Terhar Ford – where a very nice salesman showed us (but we did not drive, since we’re not at the “test drive” stage yet) a Focus ST, a Fiesta 5-door Titanium, a Fusion Energi (WAY out of our price range, but super slick technology!), and – seeing that we’re looking in the low-to-mid-20k range, suggested two different Mustangs they had in stock (a V6 Base and a used GT). It was a pleasant experience, and if we decide on a Focus ST, we will likely return to Sill-Terhar.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
On Sunday the 11th, I heard about the upcoming Fiesta ST. I did a few days of research and ultimately wound up asking for an online quote.
* I got an autoresponder that said that I could expect to receive a personalized response within 24 hours.
* At 7:41am on August 18, I did receive a reply. It was a (barely customized) form letter.
My name is Michael John. I am the internet manager for O’Meara Ford. I am honored and excited to provide you with any information you may need. We have a great selection and Ford has huge incentives on the new Fiesta. With O’Meara’s invoice plus value pricing, you are sure to get a great deal. When would you like to come by for a closer look? Please contact me at 720-262-6733 I would like to discuss what you are looking for, or simply reply to this email.
Our customers enjoy the highest market value for their trade.Are you thinking of trading anything in?
When you stop by, be sure ask for Michael John for a special internet offer.
Today, I received the following – another form letter:
On Tue, Aug 20, 2013 at 12:42 PM, Michael John <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I wanted to check in with you to find out when a good time would be for you to come by and take a look at our entire inventory. We have a great selection and our entire inventory is sale priced for huge savings.
Please let me know at 720-262-6733 or simply reply to this email.
When you stop by, be sure to ask for Michael John for a special internet offer.
At this point, my impression of O’Meara Ford is that – perhaps as a side effect of being in business since 1913 – you are “stuck” selling cars like it’s 1983.
Every other place that we’ve gone in our search for a car so far, the emphasis has been very strongly on providing 21st Century Customer Service.
This focus is on answering ONE question based on three (VERY) accurate presumptions.
Presumption 1: You are going to buy a car.
Presumption 2: You know what you want and you have more choice than ever. As a result I am potentially competing with every dealer within 500 miles for your business.
Presumption 3: You have more flexibility than ever. It is extremely unlikely that you will buy a car today. When you are ready, you will go to directly the dealer of your choice and purchase the car of your choice, at an extremely competitive price. Everything I do contributes to your decision.
Question: What can I do *today* to ensure that you will choose this dealership when you are ready to purchase?
At this point in our Customer Relationship, my experience with O’Meara Ford has been SO negative that I would gladly drive to Omaha, Kansas City, Albuquerque, Salt Lake City, or any Ford Dealership in between to make my purchase.
Dennis, Stuart, Julia, Michael – It’s your move.