Same state for 50+ years. Same barber for 40+ years. Same toothpaste, same paper towels, same underwear (manufacturer, not pair). And same car dealer for 20+ years.
That ended this morning.
This morning, I signed a contract for a new car and for the first time in 20 years it will not be a Toyota.
If you asked me even last month if I thought I would leave Toyota, I would have looked at you like you had a dead squirrel on your head. But sometimes all it takes is a few subtle things to make a worldview change.
I’ve generally discussed my reasons for searching out a new car in a previous post, so I’ll just talk about how I ended up in a Subaru.
The first part is easy, I saw and drove the Legacy, had a pleasant sales experience, talked attractive pricing and left feeling very tempted.
Having previously worked within the Toyota umbrella, I had taken advantage of the special pricing available as both an encouragement and benefit of the job. It made the vehicle an unbeatable deal and had the bonus of not having to actually go through the sales process.
The service side set me up this time, as I have faithfully serviced my cars at the dealership all these years. The salesperson wanted to check on my chance at the special pricing, but I knew the program and suggested he not bother.
He wanted to check anyway (no harm) and I wasn’t in a hurry. He called back a few days later and informed me what I surmised was correct. I described the Camry I was looking for and he mentioned the approximate sticker price of the vehicle. There were none of my design in stock, so he was to check his pipeline and get back with me.
That was the week before I went to look at other cars. I received a call back after I left him a message I was looking at other cars.
As I said, subtle things. Starting with the sticker price for someone who worked in the company and therefore knew all about invoice pricing was something I found odd. Not hearing back until I mentioned I was looking at another car was something else I found odd.
After 20 years of loyal service, I hoped for a little more attention, if not love. I would guess I have spent tens of thousands of dollars at the service area over the last couple of decades.
I understand I’m not the front end’s (Sales) best customer. One sale every ten years isn’t going to win anyone a salesman of the year bonus. Still, I’ll bet the fixed ops (Service) would have been eager to get me in a new Toyota.
This could all be backwards rationalizing, too. I was favorably impressed by the Subaru and the people there (I visited the Service area to talk with the staff I would potentially be spending a long time with). I might have just felt it was time to change.
But loyalty is a powerful emotion with me. It probably was a combination of both, one company beckoning and another turning aside, that was able to break the ties that bind.