Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Crosstrek Hybrid Internet Buying Experience

Crosstrek Buying Experience

Purchased from

If you read my other posts, you'll remember that I live in Michigan and bought the Crosstrek Hybrid in New York because there aren't any in Michigan yet, and I could not wait.

I actually purchased it from Northtown Subaru in Amherst, NY. They are located pretty close to the bridge to the USA from the Ontario 405. Jack Cohen was the actual salesperson, and I can recommend him if you are looking in the area. He was friendly, not pushy, and made our time in the dealership pleasurable. My experience with him was better than my experience when shopping for vehicles from other brands in the past. He made our time in the dealership waiting on some paperwork as fun as paperwork can be, almost like a casual conversation instead of a sales conversation.

However, special thanks also go out to Karen, who follows up on internet requests, then passes the leads on to a salesperson, I believe. The car I inquired about had actually just been sold, but she located another for me, and explained how things would work and what to expect. Not only was she a fantastic resource, but I believe she understood and respected how some people (at least me) prefer to use the internet when car shopping.

Five new cars since 2012

I've actually had the pleasure, or felt the pain, of purchasing five new vehicles since 2012. There was:
  • 2012 Grand Caravan we purchased when we gave the 2002 Caravan to our teenage son (yes he was thrilled to have a minivan, I say sarcastically). That 2002 had almost 240K miles when he got rid of it.
  • 2013 Dodge Dart I purchased to replace my Saturn Ion Redline, which was a real gem, 195,000 miles, running great, and it gets totaled from a rear-end collision on the expressway. This would be my last Dodge (even though I got the employee discount at the time) because it had more problems in 40K miles than all of my other six new cars did in about 800K miles.
  • 2015 Subaru Impreza which replaced the Dart that was rear-ended by a Kenworth. I was glad to see the Dart get totaled, even if it did sacrifice itself for my safety. This would be my first Subaru. 
  • 2017 Subaru Forester which replaced the 2012 Caravan when it was hit, in my wife's work parking lot, by a Grand Cherokee. The driver claimed sudden acceleration. It did $14,000 of damage. We decided the kids are older and we really didn't need another minivan, plus the Forester does get about 33% better mileage.
  • 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, because I was in need of a new car when I gave my 2015 Impreza to my daughter when she graduated from college.

In the picture below, you can see the Dart being towed away, again, as the clutch stopped working. The minivan was hit so hard it pushed it almost into the diagonal parking spot. 
Then the Red Impreza, Blue Forester, and Lagoon Blue Crosstrek.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

I Understand Math

I'm a mechanical engineer, with all the stereotypes that go along with it. I am frugal, research major purchases to the nth degree, and I understand math. I have never once in my life made a major purchase just because a salesman asked me if I could, "handle the monthly payment."  It's never worked on me, and probably never will. 

Also, having worked in and with product marketing, inbound marketing campaigns, digital, social and persona-based marketing, I understand a fair amount of how it works. One pet peeve of mine is that when I see a button on a web page that says, "Get a Quote" then when I press it, I expect to get a QUOTE. Maybe they need the answers to some questions, which I normally already know:

  • Buying not Leasing
  • Not trading in a car
  • Not turning in a lease
  • No veterans discount
  • Often qualify for Suppliers Discount (depending on the company)

However, at some point, after the questions are answered, I expect to get a quote. Vehicle price, any discount, dealership fees, etc.  I'm good at math; I can figure out the payment, or use literally one of dozens of websites, programs or calculators to calculate the monthly payment. 

Also, If I fill out the form on their website, and select the box that says my preferred method of contact is email, I really don't want to get a call, while I'm in the middle of a meeting, from a salesperson wondering when I can come in for a test drive. 

This is usually the point in my long opining session when someone will say, "dealers get a ton of requests in for a quote, lots of tire kickers, how do we know you are serious?" - However, in my request, I usually will mention my time frame and seriousness. For example, "My car was just totaled, and I need to replace it in about a week or so." - To me, that shows one is serious and has limited time.

Since I have a short time window, I get the quotes, weigh pros and cons, and only visit and test drive those top few that are the most interesting. These are dealers of different brands, not the same brand, as I try and be openminded to all brands when shopping.

From there I make a decision and go forward. I try not to waste a salesperson's time, and appreciate the same courtesy in return.

In this case, I bought the Crosstrek without test driving it first because I was already familiar with the brand. My Impreza gave me an idea of the interior size, and the Forester gives a good idea of how the extra ground clearance feels. I did investigate some other brands (Buick Regal TourX, VW Alltrack, Jeep Renegade and Compass)

However, I have to say that Karen at Northtown understood my needs. She did not waste my time, and I hope I was not a burden on hers. She contacted me by my preferred method, which was email. She was prompt in replying to emails, she understood exactly what I was looking for, and went out of her way to find it for me. 

Bravo to doing internet sales the right way, or at least doing it the way this customer preferred.

If in Michigan

I also recommend Sellers Subaru in Michigan. I have had a good experiences with purchases and routine maintenance with them. The only reason I did not buy the Crosstrek from them is that they are not authorized to sell it yet.

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