Wednesday, February 08, 2017

I wasted a day on an i3

Are you ready for a frustrating story?

I was finally ready to lease a new BMW i3 today.

I wanted a rare i3. I wanted the Range Extender scooter engine. I wanted full leather (Tera package). I wanted navigation. And it couldn't be white. There was only one car that fit this description in the entire Bay Area. (Actually, this car has the basic Business navigation, which comes with a smaller screen and the navigation only shows arrows. The better Professional navigation has a bigger screen and has a 3D map. I knew I couldn't have the perfect i3, so I settled for the smaller and more basic nav screen.)

Back to the story. My dream i3 was at Stevens Creek BMW in Santa Clara, 55 miles away. The following BMW dealers are closer to me:

  • Concord (13 miles)
  • Berkeley (15 miles)
  • San Francisco (21 miles)
  • Pleasanton (27 miles)
  • San Rafael (29 miles)
  • Fremont (42 miles)
Obviously, I really wanted this particular i3. After all, I took a bus, BART, and Lyft to get to the dealership. It took two hours in the rain. My socks were wet. I might get pneumonia. 

I had my checkbook, credit score print-out, and insurance policy number. I was ready.

But before I left home, I called the dealership and confirmed the car was there. Yes, it was. Here is the internet ad, showing that it's a new 2017 model.

After two hours, I arrived. The car was not at the dealership. It's in the body shop because of a minor dent that happened on the lot. There was no apology. Not even a hint of it. I was pissed and left.

On the way home, the salesman emailed me. The car was actually a demonstrator used for the Extended Test Drive program. It was involved in a four-car collision.

I am exhausted and really hope I don't get sick from being in wet socks/shoes all day.

I think it's time to revisit the J100 Land Cruiser.


Ripituc said...

I would have been furious! Did they have time to have let you know the car was unavailable for testing?

m4ff3w said...

I'm sorry for your experience.

I had a friend looking for a new work truck, he drove from San Antonio to Austin because he wanted a non-extended cab version of the truck. He called the dealer before leaving San Antonio to verify the truck was there. The sales guy verified it was.

We get to the dealership and find out the truck had been out on an extended test drive since the day before.

He left and bought a cheaper version (4cyl instead of 6) of the same truck at a different dealer.

Anonymous said...

Dang, just do the Cruiser!

Been following you for a while now, through many Cars, Volvo, Saab, ETC. As for the Cruiser, you will kick yourself for not doing it sooner.

I hate new cars because of the fact you have to deal with a Dealer! Used to work in them and left for the reason its just a horrible environment.

We had the old 4.2 TD 80 Series, back in the late 90's early 00's used it to tow across many countries bring Land Rovers back to sell. Massive Miles and still reasonable economy. Maintenance is key, if it needed doing, it got done.

Now we live in the sticks, I have gone back to Land Rovers, have a 110 (soon to be an Auto, so will sacrifice a Discovery 1 for this, as the Mrs wants to use it) Discovery 1 x2 and Discovery 2, plus a RR P38. All require regular maintenance, but I can do 99% of it myself with the aid of Youtube, ebay, Forums, local Specialists that are all invaluable for a resource, advice and spares.

I also have a £400 E39 525d Wagon for all my running around and over to Europe trips with the Dog, big miles and still working as it should, all work done by me even bought a spares car as it was cheaper than a set of injectors!

F1Outsider said...

What about the Chevy Bolt? It seems like a great car!

Maxichamp said...

@F1O: No, because I really like the look of the i3 (exterior and interior).

Maxichamp said...

@Anon: If you're up for it, please email me pics of your fleet and maybe we can do a fun 10-question interview. My email is milhousevanh at geemail. Thanks!

Lukas said...

Someone was telling me that in the US you pick the car up straight off the showroom floor, in the configuration you want. That's not so common here - usually you go to the dealer first to look around, then place and order for your selection of options and colour etc, and then the car is delivered to you a few weeks later (or more).

Edvin said...

@Lukas: A few weeks?? For a factory order it's a minimum of a few months here in Finland. Sometimes even 6 months to a full year. Of course if you go for the plain-jane KIA in grey, you can probably drive it straight off the lot..

Ed Kim said...

Lukas - yes, it's quite different here in the US. Dealers stock an enormous selection of cars (for dealers of big brands like Toyota or Ford, there are many hundreds of cars in their inventory), and people pick what's closest to what they want. It's extremely rare that people special order exactly what they want. We are a very "NOW" focused consumer culture. If the dealer doesn't have what the customer wants today, that customer will just go to another dealer that does have it. So dealers stock lots of inventory to maximize the likelihood that they'll have what the customer wants.

Oddly, this also has the effect of somewhat limiting choice. Dealers tend to be quite conservative in what they order for the inventory because they want to stock the models that are most likely to sell. It's why there are so many white, silver, and beige cars in America. They are the least offensive, so dealers stock them. It's also why options and packages are comparatively limited in the US market. There is obviously incentive to the dealers to minimize the variety offered.