Murano (Part 3)

[Heh, I promise this is the last part.]

At any rate, she was unaware of the two distinctions as Doug had not made it clear it was a replacement, not a new vehicle.  She then said that she’d be getting a new card faxed or emailed down to the dealership and in my mind that set off a red flag.  Why did we need a new card immediately if we’re picking up the vehicle in 2 days?  Perhaps Doug had not made it clear to the sales manager that was the case, and that was the reason for all the rush to getting everything ready today.  With that in mind, I told my wife I was going to find the sales manager and set the record straight.  Getting up, I immediately spotted him in his white shirt, with several of the sales guys crowded around him, and set off to the office on my mission.

I approached the office, knocked on the door and inquired if they were prepping the vehicle to be driven home today.  He said yes, and why not?  At that point I saw Doug’s face and he knew he’d forgotten to mention this important point.  Before Doug could say anything, I explained that we’d not been looking to drive the vehicle home, we were interesting in leasing and getting everything nailed down today, and then pick it up in a couple of days on our schedule, not theirs.  The sales manager said that was fine, though I could easily tell from his tone of voice that it wasn’t completely fine, he’d been doing a lot of work in a small amount of time laboring under a misconception.  I told him that it was our fault for not making this more clear, trying to spare Doug a bit of a talking to by someone a bit higher up the food chain, though I expect he still got a little reminder that he needed to be more up front with important information like that.  Again, he’s new, he’ll learn in time about what to communicate and what not to, selling cars like anything is a learning process, so I don’t fault him for a misstep.  Omelettes and breaking eggs,

Having finished with that, we repaired back to Doug’s desk and he apologized profusely for his error and I honestly told him not to worry about it, things happen, and to me it didn’t make a difference much at all.  He’s still got our business, he’s going to make a decent commission (I didn’t mention that, but it’s the truth) and it will all work out in the end.  At that point the sales manager came over with the paperwork and admittedly it’s gotten a bit more streamlined over the last few years.  When we leased the Edge, there was this really long agreement to be signed, along with several other pieces of paper, but this time it was just about five or six pages, along with a form for getting the registration changed, the credit company waiver and so on.  Didn’t take all that long to get it all signed, and then he asked how we were going to handle the down payment.  My wife, without missing a beat, handed him her Discover card.  For the points.

He ran the card back in his office and came back with the receipt, she signed it and we were basically good to go.  The sales manager left and Doug asked me if it was acceptable to get a little doodad that he was planning to send us as a small ‘thank-you’ for our business.  Apparently he’s trying to come up with a unique trinket that he can give to his future customers, as a reminder of the business transaction etc, he explained it was going to be a keychain/bottle opener thing, with the Nissan logo and I think his name on it.  I said that was fine, we’d be happy to accept it.  Not that we were going to probably use it, since the Murano, like the Edge doesn’t have a key, just a fob that’s electronically recognized by the car’s computer, that confirms whoever has the fob has access to control the car’s functions.  And I already have my own keychain that I normally use, so I’ll just be transferring one fob for another, and go on my merry way.  But we have a place to put an extra keychain, and should my current one break or become old, its nice to have another just in case.  So why not?

We left and Doug followed us out to the Edge.  We wished him a good rest of his day, and went on to (finally!) get dinner at Red Lobster.  We’re going to be picking up the new ride on Friday, and that will be a new adventure.

 

Murano Part 2

We left off where our intrepid couple had embarked on a mission to find a suitable vehicle to replace the 2016 Ford Edge they’ve been not driving all that much over the last three years.  Hilarity and boredom ensues.  Continue at your own risk.

Having taken the Murano for a test drive, my wife and I, and our salesperson moved into the dealership building to discuss dollars and sense.  We’d still not been completely open with him about our budget, and since we had test driven the top of the line (Platinum) edition of the model, he was thinking we might need to consider going for something less pricey.  Well, we’ve been ‘settling’ for less pricey for most of the last 20 years of leasing, and my wife was in the mood for spending a little more to get more, and I wasn’t about to stop her.  One doesn’t often get the opportunity to ‘own’ something that’s way outside of your own personal price range, so why not do a little ‘mad money’ sort of thing once in your lifetime when the opportunity arises?

Finally coming clean with the salesperson (Doug), we informed him that we were interested in the Platinum model, but the color scheme didn’t really appeal.  I told him that I had looked on the dealer’s website a few days prior and saw that they had the aforementioned Gun Metallic Murano, and after checking my phone, I saw it was still listed as available inventory.  I gave him the VIN and dealer #’s and he was off to the races to see if indeed it was still on the lot.  Now if it had been me?  I would have used the terminal sitting on his desk to see where it was.  The dealer just happened to have a satellite lot about 40 miles away, and it could have been there, since the dealer’s website list didn’t specify which lot it was on.  Just that it existed, and it was available.  But being new, Doug was trying his best to do it right, so he looked in this place, then that, and I think he finally went to one of his superiors and asked if they knew about it, because soon after I saw him leave the building and go out to where they were all parked and start looking at individual vehicles.

Upon his return, he said that indeed it was on the lot, we had just missed it when we were looking at the cars initially.  Although as I recall, I had looked at one that said something about “Graphite” and the color seemed to be about right on the outside.  At the time I had dismissed it thinking the reference to graphite meant the color of the car, not the color of the interior, which is what it turned out to be.  So I actually had looked at it, just not realized it was the one all along.  Regardless, we were delighted to find it was there, so we directed Doug’s energies towards securing it for us, if possible.

Soon after the sales manager came over with numbers and a couple of questions about credit. My wife, being the careful sort, had set up a ‘freeze’ on hers so that no one could open a new account in her name without her knowing about it.  The only problem was, when she had set it up initially several years ago, the company had requested a username, and sometime since, they had gone to an email address/password combination and she was unaware of that.  Consequently,  she was trying to use a username to access her account and getting frozen out (no pun) from being able to access her account to unfreeze the account, so the dealership could check it.   It took about 45 minutes before we left for her to get someone to fix it, and even now at the dealership they were having a little trouble accessing it. One reporting company they could access, but the other (Experian) was still showing the freeze.  So they were only able to get some of the information they needed.  The company she was doing business with had given her a PIN # over the phone, but neither she nor the sales manager had any idea where to input it.  So again there was a small impasse.

Even so, when he ran the credit on the available reporting company, the results came back so stellar they were immediately aware that we weren’t going to be a credit risk at all.  Consequently, things could move forward.  Now came the big question.  How much to put down?  The sales manager had run numbers in the down payment/monthly payment ratio based on the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) of the vehicle and our initial suggestion of amount created a monthly payment that was pretty steep.  Of course that can be changed if one puts more down initially.  Since we’re not buying the car, just leasing (borrowing, essentially) the sticker in the window that gets you in the door is based on purchase, not lease.  So what you may have seen as being a possible $21,000 car is actually a $28,000 one, since the sticker on the windshield is for purchasing purposes.  That was something I’d forgotten, I was working under the assumption of what the windshield said, not the sticker on the side window.  Oops.

But fortunately, my wife has no debts at the present time with the exception of our mortgage, and the Edge’s lease was paid off earlier in the month.  Too, she makes more than I do, even in retirement, so she’s a bit more flexible in what she can spend at any given time.  In that vein, she was able to toss a number to him that worked out well on both sides and kept the monthly payment from being too astronomical.  Armed with that information, the sales manager left, and we Doug took that opportunity to call our insurance agent to make them aware we were getting a new vehicle and our insurance needed to be adjusted to reflect that.

However, once he had talked to the secretary at the agency for a few minutes, then handed the phone to me and walked off, the conversation with the secretary took an interesting turn.  She asked me if we were adding the vehicle to the policy in addition to the Edge, and I said no.  She then asked if we were getting new plates for the new vehicle.  Again, I said no, because we were just going to be transferring the plates, since it’s not a commercial vehicle like a pickup, which has its own requirements for plates.  In New York, if your pickup has no cover on the bed, it’s considered to be a commercial vehicle and requires that sort of license plate.  With a cover, its folded under the umbrella of a passenger vehicle or SUV.  Even a Tonneau cover will do, anything that semi-permanently covers the bed of the truck allows this distinction.

(continued in Part 3)

Murano

The search for a new vehicle is over.  We decided what we’re going to be driving for the next three years.

Wednesday, [my day off] was designated as vehicle exploration and selection day.  Our lease is up on the 2016 Ford Edge this coming Monday, and since we’ve been cooling our heels for the last month and a half waiting for Ford to get off their collective ass and get the Edge ‘pre-inspected’ before turning it in, our forays into vehicle shopping have been limited.  Add in the fact for the third time in a row, it was ‘my choice’ as my wife has for all intents and purposes not really cared what car we end up driving, so long as it has the right number of ‘bells and whistles’ features to make the experience of driving/riding more pleasurable and less of a hassle.  Things like a sun/moonroof, heated seats, driver and passenger protection in the event of a crash and so on.  If it’s a ‘beater’, we’re not interested.

We’d been to several different dealerships over the last month and a half, we looked seriously at a Subaru Forester (we’ve leased two already), but the salesperson we spoke to mentioned that they’re a hot commodity this year and finding one that was available was going to be very hit and miss.  They’re almost to the point of being like the Prius was when it first came out, everyone wants one, and there’s a limited supply.  So as he was looking at his computerized inventory, he was seeing he had more coming in (he was actually looking at July and August’s expected deliveries) but for the most part they were all spoken for.  I tried sitting in an Outback, but the same thing happened that did in 2010 when we leased that Forester, it was too cramped. Just felt like I was boxed in, in the driver’s seat and no one wants to feel like that when they’re driving.  At least I don’t.

There are a couple of local satellite dealers under the same name here where we live, and we leased the Edge from one of them in 2016.  We’re known to them, so we’ve been browsing on Sundays when there are no salespeople available.  Sure we can’t get into the vehicles, but we can nose around, look at stickers, take pictures and then do some more investigating and perusing at home on the computer, which has helped.  It’s allowed us to eliminate a lot of possibles and narrow down what sort of vehicle we’d end up getting.

With that in mind, our focus was on the Nissan brand, either in a Rogue, Pathfinder, or the mid-size/crossover version, called the Murano.  Pathfinder has been out a long time, but it’s a hefty large’ish size vehicle, and seats seven.  Rogue and Murano were the more likely candidates, but seeing as I’ve not sat in either one, or driven them, it makes more of a difference when you get behind the wheel.

In the morning, I finally got the roto-tiller fixed and I was feeling pretty pumped about that.  Around noon, my wife came out into the backyard where I was tinkering with one of the outdoor hoses and noted that I needed to get inside to get my shower so we could head to the dealership.  I gathered my tools and hot-footed it inside, zoomed upstairs and got my shower out-of-the-way, coming down in time to get out the door around 12:35.  As usual, she wasn’t expecting me to be so quick about it, so we both puttered a bit and finally got going at about 1 pm.

The drive down to the dealership is about 40 minutes, and we chatted a bit on the way there about what we were going to say to the sales people and more importantly what we were not going to say, at least in the beginning.  Many people have suggested that the interaction between you and a salesperson is a war of sorts, they have a set pattern they follow to get information from you in order to sell you what they want to, and you have to be savvy enough to know they’re not necessarily there for your best interest.  They’re there to sell (or lease) vehicles, you’re a means to the end of getting money into their pocket.  So you have to approach the situation in that manner, rather than in a friendly one, because in spite of their friendly demeanor, they’re not your friend.  At best, they’re an associate in a transaction, and best to remember that when you’re getting involved.

Driving onto the lot, we noticed someone looking over a Nissan truck, I didn’t get the model but our quarry was on another part of the lot anyway.  Driving down the rank closest to the road, we saw that they were Rogues.  Lots and lots of them, probably 50 or so of them all in a row, from one end of the dealer property to the other, extending all the way to the service department.  After driving through the rank from one end to the other, we didn’t see anything that piqued our fancies, so we went down another row, and saw that they were sedans.  Going back to the Rogue line, we concentrated on the other side, and discovered that indeed they were Muranos, so we discussed where to stop and park.  There was a distinct lack of salespeople on the lot, (as we discovered later they were in the dealer building where it was air-conditioned) so we parked and started looking at one of the Muranos closest to where we stopped.

A salesperson pulled up in a Rogue and parked it, then asked us if we had been assisted.  When we said no, he engaged us, asked us what we were looking for.  He did make a point to mention he didn’t have a lot of time, as he was looking after another customer, so at that point, I figured he was going to walk away and do that.  But he stayed with us, peppering me with questions about what we were interested in doing, whether we wanted to buy, lease or what, and what vehicles were in our price range.  After about the third round of Q&A, he reiterated that he needed to attend to his customer, to which I said we were fine on our own, and he departed, calling out over his shoulder that he was going to send out one of his co-workers to assist us.

Which he did, another fellow came out to where we were at, introduced himself as Doug and I introduced myself and my wife.  By that time we had started to look at several of the Muranos that were present, and were mostly looking at the stickers on the windows, and specifically seeking out the particular features the wife would want as definite requisites for the vehicle we’re going to be driving for the next three years.  I had been looking online a day or so ago and found one that was a gun-metal type color (Gun Metallic was the actual color option) and it just happened to be the premium version of the model.  It had all the features she had been desiring, so I had written down the VIN #, and other information and of course left the piece of paper home.  In the interim, we were looking at a black model in the same price range and Doug suggested if we wished to test drive that model, we could grab the key fob, hop in and drive it over to the dealer building where he’d get license info and we could zip out to see if we’d be at all interested in leasing it.

We took it out to onto the nearby Interstate to wind it out a little, and it performed very nicely.  My wife tried out the air-conditioned passenger seat (it had both cooling and heated options) and opened the moonroof.   Before leaving the dealership, I didn’t adjust the mirrors and immediately regretted it, since I needed both on the Interstate.  It didn’t take me long to find the controls for the side mirror, and thankfully it was pretty much the same as the Edge, so I had it adjusted in short order.  I didn’t mess around with the sound system, since I was busy trying to maintain my distance and keep going with the flow of traffic.  Even for a Wednesday afternoon it was pretty busy on the road, so I got off at an exit about 5 miles down the road, and turned about, heading back.  Once we got back to the dealership we got down into the nuts and bolts of the whole thing.

Seeing as I had no driven the Murano, I wanted to be able to compare it to the Rogue.  The salesman and I went a little round and round about that, since I just wanted to sit behind the wheel to get a ‘feel’ of the vehicle and he was more concerned with color, style, version and so on.  I finally had to stop him and just say I wanted to sit behind the wheel and it didn’t matter what color it was if it didn’t appeal to me.  He agreed and opened one up for me to sit in.

As I feared, it was a similar experience to the Subaru Outback I had sat in back in 2010 and a few weeks ago.  Pretty cramped space in the seat and the cabin of the vehicle felt pretty small as well.  So from several options we seemed to be coming around to one.  And then we went inside the dealership to figure out which ‘one’ was going to be the best option….

I’m off to bed, I’ll continue this in the next post.