It has been three years since I've purchased a new car, so I was wondering how the car purchasing experience is. I continue to hear some bad experiences at dealerships which don't seem to care, but I believe that bad dealerships are in the minority. As a TOV Principal, I obviously would work with a dealership that was a member of our Dealer Network. The closest one to me was Sterling McCall Acura in southwest Houston. My wife and I made the 160 mile trek to Houston from Austin in my trusty '94 Integra GS-R. Coincidentally, I had purchased my '94 GS-R at the same place 10 years earlier when the dealership was called Southwest Acura. As you may know, my '94 GS-R was the impetus for my starting the Integra Performance Page and the subsequent merger with the TOV. Would history repeat itself with this '04 TL purchase?
Arriving at Sterling McCall Acura in the morning, I found a parking spot near the entrance on their very large lot and thought how nice it was to have plenty of space for me to park my car. The parking spots themselves were large too. There happened to be a salesperson nearby who immediately asked if I needed to talk to anyone. I responded with the name of general manager, Bob Cannon, and the gentleman immediately asked if I was from the Temple of VTEC. Maybe my TOV shirt gave it away, but it's always good to see people recognize the TOV. Entering the showroom, there is a receptionist immediately in front to great you. However, before I could even ask to talk to Bob Cannon or Mike Chan, my contacts at Sterling McCall Acura, a nicely dressed gentleman introduced himself to us as Mike Chan. We briefly talked and then was led to the back of the lot where our car was sequestered from the other TLs parked up front.
I asked Mike to explain and show all the features of the TL to my wife since this would be her car and I pretty much knew all the features already. Mike happily obliged while I wandered off to talk to the car detailing manager and PDI technician. Sterling McCall Acura has a single PDI technician who thoroughly goes over the car after it's delivered to the dealership. If he sees anything wrong with the car, he can request that various parts be swapped onto the car if it was not to his standards. There is a very long checklist that he must go through on each car to ensure that a customer will not have any glaring defects in the car. Sterling McCall also has a team of 7 people in charge of detailing the car before delivery. I'm happy to see that all the plastic cladding in the TL engine bay was not sprayed with an Armor All type substance which would just simply attract dust. I have seen some dealerships make this good intentions mistake when prepping the car. Having a shiny, clean looking car, and with no glaring defects is paramount when a person takes delivery of their car. First impressions of their car are very important.
Mike spent a considerable amount of time going over just about every aspect of the car. My wife now knows every little minute usage detail on the car: the XM satellite system, the DVD navigation, the voice activation, the Bluetooth system, etc.. I can see how a salesperson would definitely need to spend a lot more time with this car to show a potential buyer all its great features. On the flip side, Mike did tell me that some customers don't want to be taught everything about their car. Instead they want to discover everything on their own so that the car will feel new to them for that much longer.
Support the TOV by ordering your 2004 TL from a TOV Dealer Network Affiliate