I’ve just bought a new car. Not completely new mind, it’s 18 months old. I decided I wanted one of these cars (a BMW 318Ci Coupe) for several reasons:
- It has a big boot that I can get my mountain bike in to.
- It has climate control and I love climate control.
- It has a 6 CD multi-changer and I stay awake on long journeys by singing (not necessarily in the right key).
- It has ABS and traction control which a bad driver like me really needs to stop me from crashing my car (I’ve had a few knocks over the years).
- It’s completely over the top as far as quality goes (I’d previously been in a couple of new BMWs and always thought they were superb).
- When I have kids I’ll never be able to afford / justify one, but I can for the moment.
I wasn’t interested in image, I never have been with cars. Over here anybody who drives a BMW is automatically labelled as an asshole. I must admit that I often held this view too, but they’re so common now that loads of people drive them, not just executives constantly trying to impress everybody. But I realised that buying one would make people think I’m a git. As most people who know me think that anyway then there was no way I could lose!
So with all this in mind I started looking around for one a couple of months ago. I quickly realised that I wanted one sold after September 2001 as at that point the put a larger engine in (2.0) with more power and included cruise control. This restricted my options somewhat as there didn’t seem to be many about. Then I checked out the BMW website’s approved used cars section. Knowing that to buy from an approved dealer would mean paying more, I had a look anyway to see what there was.
You put in your location and it works out the nearest dealers to you and shows you what they’ve got. I could only find one within my price bracket, close by and that wasn’t yellow. It was situated at the Harrogate dealer. Harrogate, for those of you not familiar with North Yorkshire, has a reputation for being a bit of a posh place. House prices are astronomical and there are loads of rich people who live there. So going to have a look at an expensive car in a place like that made me expect the “Pretty Woman” treatment (you know the bit when she goes into the clothes shop and gets thoroughly put down) – except I had no Richard Gere to rescue me.
However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The people there were great. I went out on a long test drive and was treated extremely well throughout. I was waiting on my mortgage coming through so I couldn’t buy the car there and then and they were quite happy with that telling me to come back when I had that sorted out and they could easily source me the exact car I wanted if the one I’d initially seen was sold by then. When I could wait no longer I returned and thrashed out a great deal on the car I was interested in. It was quite hard work but salesmen aren’t paid to give cars away!
The service was excellent and I even got a free BMW-Williams F1 golf umbrella (very handy in Yorkshire). I’ve mentioned before that I’ve come across some bad service, but these guys were brilliant. Very slick and professional.
As for the car. It’s awesome. I drove 750 miles over the weekend up and down motorways and on twisty roads and it took everything in its stride. Very comfortable, very fast and very refined. I’m glad of the cruise control otherwise I’d have lost my license from speeding. But enough about that, it’s only a car. My point was that there is great service out there and all it takes is a bit of friendliness and professionalism. And it works, because I’ll definitely get my car serviced there and buy my next one from them and recommend them to anybody who’ll listen (like now). Unfriendly sales assistants take note…