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2020 OB Limited XT
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We purchased a factory-ordered 2020 Outback (Limited XT) from Doug Smith Subaru in American Fork, Utah. We wanted to offer others in our community an accurate and reasonably objective take on the overall customer experience, broken down by the sales process.

1) BDC/Pre-Sales. 5/5 - The VIP team answered questions on the phone quickly and accurately. They listened to concerns and routed us to an appropriate sales person who could best help. Once we arrived, we were greeted by sales staff. The BDC team member greeted us in the showroom as well. It was a high-touch experience. Pre-sales was great.

2) Sales. 5/5 - Dempsey Bowling was our assigned salesperson. His knowledge of the Subaru line-up, gained over years of experience with the brand, was impressive. He had previously driven 2020 Outbacks at a dealer event and was able to offer helpful first-hand experience. Dempsey remained thoughtfully engaged through the entire process. He went out of his way to answer several detailed questions. He did his best to ensure we were totally satisfied. Sales hit the bulls-eye.

3) Service Department & Pre-delivery. 2/5 - The service department received the ordered vehicle and performed a pre-delivery inspection (PDI). Below are some objective reasons stars were removed:
  • Failure to complete all items on the Subaru PDI checklist.
  • Failure to fill all fluids to the appropriate levels.
  • Failure to coordinate with sales team regarding specific customer requests.
  • Failure to ask buyer preference before applying chemical treatment to tires and trim surfaces.
  • Over applying chemical treatments to trim surfaces.
  • Exterior cleaning process added minor clear-coat scratches to hood leading edge.
  • Failure to clean interior debris collected during shipping and vehicle manufacturing.
  • Various other issues: No engagement at all in the sales process. No offered coupons or incentives to purchase accessories through Doug Smith. No reasonably priced convenience up-sells offered (strangely absent for a finance obsessed dealer). No inspection records given to or reviewed with customer. No option for screw-less front license plate holder (Doug Smith punched right in to the trim with metal tap screws).
The service department issues raise deeper concerns. Owners should expect the service department at a Subaru retailer to be held to higher rigor in terms of quality, accuracy, and technical skill. Failure to pay attention to details like proper fluid fill levels and checklists bring up additional questions. Service has a critical role to play in the customer experience & sales process. We hope Doug Smith will move the Service Manager's desk right next to their busiest sales person. Service should no longer be the ghosts of the dealer lot, but front and center on the showroom floor.

4) Deals Desk & Finance. 2/5 - The finance department used some typical retailer tricks & up-sell tactics. Below are some objective reasons stars were removed:
  • Unwillingness to sell car at previously agreed upon price.
  • Threatening to raise the sale price or cancel the sale if unwanted third-party warranty coverage was not purchased.
  • Hard-selling third-party warranty options while simultaneously undermining the competitiveness of the manufacturer warranty program.
  • Selling the vehicle for $802.00 more than the Kelly Blue Book recommended "Fair Purchase Price."
  • Failure to coordinate with Sales staff regarding actual cost, fees, and forced add-ons.
The job of the finance office is to make as much money as possible. To do so at a reputational loss, however, is counter-productive to the long-term health of a business. We hope in the future Doug Smith will be more upfront with customers regarding add-on fees and manufacturer warranty options.

Overall, we would shop at Doug Smith again. However, we would take additional precautions to avoid problems in the finance and service departments.

Total Score: 14/20
 
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