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I wanted to post some information I have been compiling in regards to the 2019 Subaru Ascent and what I have been hearing about from customers, dealership staff, and corporate contacts. One thing in particular disturbs me as someone who has worked in the business and it seems to be becoming a common practice that benefits no one.

So today I was contacted by someone who purchased an Ascent Touring on Saturday. They went to a big city dealership and went through the entire process to purchase and while they were completing the final paperwork they were informed that the vehicle they intended to purchase was sold. I didn't get any additional details as to whether it was sold prior to paperwork or if it was sold out from under this person, regardless it is a horrible situation to find yourself in whether you're a customer or business.

So this person ends up calling another dealership nearby that has two Ascents like the one they intended to purchase. As they related to me they drove up immediately and purchased that day, having a great experience and even relating to me that they gave the salesman a $20 bill for saying an hour late with them to go over all the details. So they said that today they contacted the dealership upset because they were given quotes from other dealerships that offered a slightly lower price on the same vehicle. Here's the key point, none of dealerships who gave the quotes had the vehicle in stock nor were they going to get one through acquisition otherwise. This one dealership the person purchasing the vehicle quite literally had the only two available without ordering.

So this person was the catalyst for me wanting to write this post, apparently there are a lot of dealerships out there giving quotes on vehicles that they do not have nor are able to obtain within a time frame they would promise. Subaru apparently has given every dealership in the country a set allocation of Ascents and if someone were to order one it would cut into a future allocation that would cause a dealership to not receive a unit otherwise.

I had to explain to the person I was conversing with that anyone can give you a quote on any vehicle but if they know they cannot provide the actual vehicle it is meaningless. For the customer it creates an unrealistic expectation regarding the vehicle they desire to purchase, for the business offering the quote I believe it to be a tactic to sabotage the business that can actually provide the vehicle because it is likely an unreasonable and unrealistic price to expect the vehicle to sell for.

I helped this buyer get this Ascent over the weekend and they were ecstatic to get the vehicle and they went on and one about the experience they had at the dealership. But as soon as they review the phony quotes they received after the fact I have to talk they off a cliff because they feel like they got screwed when they received a perfectly reasonable deal IMHO.

Buyer beware, if you receive a quote on a 2019 Subaru Ascent make sure it is on an actual vehicle on the ground or confirmed as being inbound to the business you intend to purchase it from. Any quote you receive otherwise is likely total BS.
 

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you can correct your typing there.

so the quote should contain a Vin #,...detailing it is that specific vehicle and not just some mythical thing.

___

and with demand for the Ascent / Forester/ outbacks/ legacy I guess the SIA plant is running max capacity and hired more people ?
(and 2019 foresters are coming out FAST)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
you can correct your typing there.

so the quote should contain a Vin #,...detailing it is that specific vehicle and not just some mythical thing.

___

and with demand for the Ascent / Forester/ outbacks/ legacy I guess the SIA plant is running max capacity and hired more people ?
(and 2019 foresters are coming out FAST)
Good point, any reputable dealership WILL be able to provide you with a VIN or VON number that means an actual vehicle exists.
 

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Dealerships using questionable sales tactics to increase foot traffic and likely their bottom line?

Shocked! Shocked I say. I'm going to write my representatives and start an online petition. ;)

I still don't think ALL dealers are slime balls. Just a very large number of them. I hesitate to call it the majority.
 

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I hesitate to call it the majority.

well just from talking to people about buying and getting dealer service,

you will probably find a majority of customers will say "do not buy from X,...and do not have Y work on your car"

...and then you get a majority of subaru dealers....leaving a minority of places to go.

...subaru of america should sell direct on Amazon ...and just 10 car 18 wheeler them to your door in 2 days with Prime.:smile2:
 

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Dealerships using questionable sales tactics to increase foot traffic and likely their bottom line?

Shocked! Shocked I say. I'm going to write my representatives and start an online petition. ;)
Calls for an FBI investigation.........:grin2:
 

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I... i don't understand what the end-game is here if this is a real tactic.

To left-step the customer into an outback? To sell them on a used Tribeca?

If they can't get another vehicle due to how SOA is alotting them, then why would they intentionally be sandbagging? If they can't actually source an Ascent, whats the point?

Something aint right, Kev. What am I missing?
 

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I... i don't understand what the end-game is here if this is a real tactic.

To left-step the customer into an outback? To sell them on a used Tribeca?

If they can't get another vehicle due to how SOA is alotting them, then why would they intentionally be sandbagging? If they can't actually source an Ascent, whats the point?

Something aint right, Kev. What am I missing?
I can't speak for Kevin but my take:

By getting someone in the door they've already won a huge advantage.

By getting someone in the door that is actively looking and intending to purchase a vehicle that day they've won a huge advantage.

That person can still walk but if the goal is to get them to sign on the line that is dotted (always be closing) then it's just a matter of finding a product that the dealer has in stock and the consumer will be happy with purchasing.

Really, all marketing and sales tactics work under the same premise. 0% interest? Lease now for 199 a month? Buy one suit get three free? 20 percent off today only? Buy one get one? Etc.

It's that way because it works.

It's not inherently evil or righteous or good or bad. It just is.
 

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well just from talking to people about buying and getting dealer service,

you will probably find a majority of customers will say "do not buy from X,...and do not have Y work on your car"

...and then you get a majority of subaru dealers....leaving a minority of places to go.

...subaru of america should sell direct on Amazon ...and just 10 car 18 wheeler them to your door in 2 days with Prime.:smile2:
its called carvana for used cars. the only cool thing about it is you can go pick up your car from a vending machine if you live close enough. otherwise they deliver it to your door. depends on the market area, but there is a vending machine i believe in gaithersburg or bethesda md.
 

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But the Ascent has many non-comparable features across Subaru's offerings.

its not like you came in for a Forester but got walked over to a Crosstrek. Thats how I can understand what your point is.

But selling ghost Ascents that you have basically no chance in filling the order for weeks if ever? What good is that? Unless its some combo dealership that offers a 3rd row alternative, I don't see how a dedicated Subie place comes out on top if you want and Ascent and leave without an Ascent. Especially if more than 30 minutes was put into customer face time.
 

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@Kevin Could the motive to this be to ask the prospective customer if they would "order a Ascent" to ensure that

A) the dealer gets the sale

and

B) the customer gets the exact vehicle they want

?

would ordered vehicles count against the allotment from SOA ?

edit: weird when I type @Kevin

it selected Kevin C
 

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I... i don't understand what the end-game is here if this is a real tactic.
Real simple - money. Same reason many/most/all on this forum make financial decisions.

A particular salesmen getting a call for an Ascent is getting a potential client. It's almost comical (sadly) in sales world to not take any call/face time you can get.

Most of us don't need to look any further than the mirror to see that people justify financial decisions, I've never been a salesmen and don't know the industry and I'm still able to come up with a litany of possible justifications for the salesmen to have in his head:

"There is a 0.0004% chance of acquiring an Ascent for this person sometime in the next year"

"I don't know this persons life story, time line, seriousness, etc" A.K.A. 'ignorance is bliss'.

"Maybe they'll be okay with another vehicle."

"I had no idea they had a deal - they didn't say it explicitly or clearly or the person that fielded the call/email didn't tell me - we cant' parse every word we receive."

"Maybe they're twisting the truth - maybe they're lying, maybe they read it on the internet, maybe their cousin bought one for that price, or someone told them to use this story to get a deal - and they're testing me on this...it's not like that doesn't happen"

"If they are willing to wait, risk loosing, and look elsewhere for a new model/hard to find car, sure I'm just playing their game - they're choosing the risk when they call, not me. Business and economics doesn't work like that "I'll hold this for you, risk a sale while you go price shop at your leisure"...sure maybe they don't know it's a risk - but they wouldn't hold their mortgage for a waffling, maybe, price shopping buyer if someone else came in waving 6 figures of cash in their hands"

"If they have no loyalty to that dealership they won't have any loyalty here - then they are okay with no loyalty - I dont' feel bad about my perceived level of loyalty when they're choosing to contact me and placing the opportunity costs on the other dealer...and then probably me as well. they're decisions are an opportunity costs to one dealer, or both"

I get that dealers and businesses could maybe do better on some of these fronts and get shady in some cases, we all know that. but I think it's shortsighted to act like consumers play absolutely no role in driving the market forward and are partially complicit in the market response. To that end - I don't care either way, I wish it was a little more fair/transparent/hand shakes matter kind of deal - but it isn't and so i just pay attention to these realities, take notes, and realize how the systems work so that I can better navigate things as they play out.
 

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old joke;

Lady goes into the butcher shop and asks: "How much are those pork chops?"

Butcher: "Those are $2.49 a pound"

Lady: "WHAT!, the butcher shop down the street has a sign in the window for Pork Chops at $1.99 a pound!"

Butcher: "why didn't you buy some from him?"

Lady: "They were sold out."

Butcher: "OH, WELL, see, when we're sold out, Pork chops are only $0.99 a pound!"
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I... i don't understand what the end-game is here if this is a real tactic.

To left-step the customer into an outback? To sell them on a used Tribeca?

If they can't get another vehicle due to how SOA is alotting them, then why would they intentionally be sandbagging? If they can't actually source an Ascent, whats the point?

Something aint right, Kev. What am I missing?
I see it as a deliberate effort to over-promise and potentially set a customer up for a bait and switch. As others have eluded to a dealership that does this is trying to ensure that a potential car buyer buys a car from them with the business knowing (and perhaps not disclosing) that they will not be able to deliver what they have promised.

A dealership that does this knows that they can give out any quote they want and that creates an unrealistic expectation in the mind of a customer. If that customer goes to another dealership that can get them the car they want, the dealership has no obligation to price match so they not get that business.

I surmise that in the minds of many who might find themselves in such a situation they would refuse to get the car they want from the dealership that can deliver because they have been lead to believe that that dealership is selling at a price too high yet the reality is that the dealership that gave them the unreasonably low quote can't get them the car.

Its underhanded because the dealership that can't deliver knows that the customer will either buy elsewhere and may be unhappy because they believe they paid too much or wait on the promising dealership to get them a car. When the promising dealership does get the car they may backpedal or recoup the money lost in the quote, upsetting the customer more.

There are so many ways I could see this playing out but ultimately the losers are the customers and the dealerships who are doing business right.
 

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I see.... but I just don't see how this benefits a dealership that participates in this, either. Or even an individual salesman.

A dealership that does this with any regularity, basically slinging mud on the other dealership by making a false lowball to sour the customer on the other dealership, is writing ethics checks that will eventually get cashed at one point and find out they had NSF. Its not like it was before 2005, just one instance of that behavior gets so much more traction that it used to and people have much longer memories thanks to cyberspace hubs, all it takes is one sufficiently upset person believing they were handled with bad faith to cause serious problems. Say they get away with it once, or even 10 times. Its playing russian roulette as near as I can tell, and reputational damage has much further reaching consequences than it did before.

I guess my comprehension problem is: Its leveraging a huge risk reputational for a very limited number of potential sales, and doing so at the cost of ALL other potential sales that follow.

If it were a trade, it would be like a plumber undercutting every offer with their onscene estimate, but never having an opening on his calendar. It may work in the short term, souring people's expectation of competition's pricing so that they aren't incentivised by the other benefits of their competition. But that time window that it is effective is super narrow before people start talking.
 

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I see.... but I just don't see how this benefits a dealership that participates in this, either. Or even an individual salesman.

A dealership that does this with any regularity, basically slinging mud on the other dealership by making a false lowball to sour the customer on the other dealership, is writing ethics checks that will eventually get cashed at one point
This dealer is in business, making money, operating for (XY number of years) in spite of any perception of what could and should happen. The salesperson probably wont' be there at that point - new car salespersons have enormous turnover rates.

They might be insulated by Subaru's enormous sales boom. Hopefully that changes and what you described starts to have play. But given the less than spectacular general notions of new car salesmen/practices and consumers attitudes - it'll be awhile.

It's as simple as money and the salesmen as I stated.

There's no shortage of dealers/salesmen with questionable practices and anecdotal reports, short memories, focus on money makes it hard for consumers to make decisions that impact dealers. I hear comments like, "well they suck but it's just a car, I'll buy it from them and then never talk to them again/get it serviced somewhere else".

Businesses don't need to please every customer - they need to gain more consumers than they're loosing. given Subaru's sales that's a nonissue. Ideally they do both - please customers and gain more than they're loosing...but the market is such that those are not the norm.

Some of my "made up" comments have merit. Facts we know for certain:
A. customer left a reasonable deal on the table
B. customer went philandering for a few more bucks somewhere else.
C. customer was willing to try and undercut the first dealer even though the deal was reasonable (they ended up buying it).

I get it and agree - lame-O on this practice and thanks OP for describing how this is playing out in the market - but if it's a high demand, hard to get item - I'd also laugh and call myself a hesitating, time wasting, cheap skate too.
 
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