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re: audi dealer thread

My opinion:
I don't generally mind paying a car dealership a labor rate that is somewhat
higher than an indepedant shop charges; I understand they have different
overhead requirements.  However, I do have a problem with dealerships charging
100% markup (or whatever ridiculous amount) on parts... they should charge for
what they do (meaning labor, diagnostics, etc.), and add a handling charge
onto the parts to cover interest, delivery, whatever.  But when they start
making a large percentage of their income on parts markup, there is incentive
to replace more than required...  As a somewhat savvy shopper, I know (in
general terms) what the cost of a new car or of a repair part costs them; make
a profit by treating me fairly and I'll use and recommend your services; abuse
me and I'm gone.  

I just bought a new car a month ago (for my wife); the process was very
painless because I was prepared, and the dealer (and salesman) made a fair
profit.  I'll probably also use them for service, based on my experiences in
the purchase.

Why use a dealer?  Well, the idea is that they have the specialized tools and
training to service your vehicle, in addition to personal experience with your
particular model.  Unfortunately, this varies widely between dealerships,
often because of how they charge and treat those people who's cars are out of
warrantee.  (It's not about access to parts; anybody can get any part they
need that's made/sold by Audi).  

Audi (both dealerships and the parent company) should realize the value of the
people on this list.  For example, this weekend I took a friend car shopping;
he has reward points through GM so he was looking at a Camaro (which is really
the only one of their products that interests him right now).  Fine.  After
driving there and back in my Audi, he was much more interested in the Audi
line, in particular an A4, even though he would end up wasting the reward
points.  (In no way did I try to dissuade him from the Camaro)

My parents are looking for a new or used car; they've decided on either an A4
or an A6 wagon.  Why?  Because my mother loves the heated memory seats in my
car; likes the idea of quattro in New England; wants a new car when they
retire that they can keep very long term; knows they are very safe (from me);
and has seen me happy with my Audi for years.  BTW, they're moving to Audi
from a Camry sedan and Accord coupe.

Every year, I help Audi sell at least one or two _new_ cars that they would
_not_ sell otherwise.  When people I know are looking for a car, they seek my
advice; I'm a motorhead, with a half-dozen auto magazines a month (and
Autoweek each week).  I like _cars_, not just Audis...although I've been
driving audis since 1991 (around 170k miles), and vw's for the 8 years prior
to that (another 150k miles). 

Audi should realize that people who buy cars as appliances will show little
brand loyalty, and may not influence many future sales; treat them badly on
service even one time, and they may move to another brand on that alone.  

People who love cars often develop fierce brand loyalty and can strongly
influence others on the choice of vehicle they purchase; treat a car nut
poorly in service and they'll just join an internet list for support.
chris miller, windham nh, c1j1miller@aol.com
'91 200q20v 110k miles
former '86 4000csq 180k miles