As you may have noticed, the Terios post has been taken down and it will be picked up Monday when the title is transferred to the new owner.
I haven’t spent anytime looking at new cars since 2004, when I bought the Terios. I had a car picked out, prior to the Terios sale, but that deal fell through.
Thursday, Natalie and I went to almost all of the dealers in David to get an idea about what was available. I am going to give you some of my observations from that exercise.
First, I made three trips to Grupo Siliba, over the last week, because I thought the Kia Soul was the car I wanted to buy. The first two visits were ordinary, just looking and I did pick up a Kia Soul brochure.
The last visit was memorable. When I went in, there was just one lady sitting at a sales desk texting. She saw I was needing information, but continued texting. After standing in front of her desk, for at least 5 minutes, she finally decided to ask if I needed anything.
I told her I wanted the price for a 2014 Kia Soul with automatic transmission. She got on her PC and gave me a price. She went over to get a brochure, and gave it to me. I told her I had the brochure, but it was a 2013 and I wanted 2014. She said, “No, it is 2014”. I told her there was a huge change between 2014 and 2013 and that was the 2013 model brochure.
She said that was the model they were selling. She said it was 2014, and rotated her PC screen around to show me that it said 2014.
I consider that very deceptive. The screen she showed me did not reflect the model year, but the inventory year. She finally admitted that she had no idea when the 2014 model year would arrive in Panama.
Since then, I have decided that I really don’t want the Kia Soul, but more importantly this experience also convinced me that I want nothing to do with any make sold by this dealer. That includes Mazda, Chevrolet, and Kia. Had I ordered a 2014 Kia Soul from Panama City and then found out at delivery time that it was a 2013, I would have been more than a little upset.
Our second dealer visit was the Suzuki dealer. I was treated well, and saw a couple car models I would consider. I still like the Great Wall SUV, but it is too large for what I want.
The next dealer was the Mitsubishi dealer Excel. When the salesman came out, I told him was looking for a sedan. He started leading me over to one of the SUVs. I said I wasn’t interested in a SUV and would like to know more about a sedan that was on the floor. He said there no more of those models available. I asked about Panama City. He said “no”. It was apparent, if I didn’t want to look at the SUVs that were there, he wasn’t interested in spending any more time with me.
Next we went to the Nissan dealer. I hadn’t realized it, but Excel had purchased the Nissan dealer a couple years ago. However, my treatment at the Nissan location was first class. I was allowed to look, all questions were answered and it was a positive experience. There are a couple models there that I will consider.
At the Tesa dealer, I saw a couple cars that were interesting. Both were Skoda’s. I have no experience with Skoda’s. However in recent years, after they moved under VW leadership, Skoda have had good reviews in Europe. I am not sure how they are reviewed in Panama. I liked the Yeti, but it was a standard transmission. I also liked the Fabia model. Sales treatment was professional.
Next we went to the VW dealer. I really liked the Jetta. Who wouldn’t? The sales lady there was very knowledgable and very good. I wish VW’s small Crossfox had an automatic transmission and I would buy it.
We next went to the Hyundai dealer. The sales rep was attentive, knowledgable and helpful. There were a couple models there I would consider.
Next was Ricardo Perez Toyota. I was disappointed to not be able to see any cars in the showroom as dealership remodeling was going on. The sales lady, that talked to us, was very nice and I liked her. She wanted me to talk Oscar Hernandez next week, because she said he spoke English. I know Oscar and he does speak perfect English, but was at a car fair in Gualaca. There are probably a couple Toyotas I may consider.
Next we went to the Honda dealer. We spoke with Gabriela Abadia, who I know, and she is an exceptional sales representative. I loved the Honda Civic. I did learn something later by researching the Civic on the Internet. In the US the Civic models come standard with a rear view camera. They do not in Panama.
Because of that it is worth noting that cars sold in Panama are not the same as those selling in the US and a reason that bringing in a US model has the potential of being a problem.
It was a fun day. I still have more research to do and then will come some test driving. I can’t do that without Lilliam, who is my purchasing conscience.
So how would I rate the dealers, based on this shopping experience.
I guess I would put it into two groups.
The first would include the dealers for Suzuki, VW, Nissan, Tesa, Hyundai, Toyota and Honda. All treated me like a customer would expect to be treated.
The second group would include the Kia dealer and the Mitsubishi dealer. Both left me with a bad taste in my mouth and may have prevented me from ever considering any of their products.
I didn’t go by the Ford dealer, and probably still will. I also would like to look at the Fiat 500 as soon as I find out where the dealer is. The BMWs are well beyond my means. I also didn’t go to the Chrysler/Jeep dealer.
I have a couple feelers out for clean used recent model cars, but I am not holding my breath for anything coming from that search.
Again, these are just my observations and others may have different experiences.