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Old 01-17-2005, 11:17 AM   #1
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How many Porsche owners experience "Customer no-service" at their dealership?

I wanted to take a minute to ask a few of you about your experiences at you local Porsche dealership.

The question, "How many Porsche owners experience customer no-service at their local dealership?" This question applies to people who are new to Porsche and bought one new or used, and the same for long term Porsche owners.

As I have posted in the past, I bought my first brand new Porsche in June 2004.

To make a long story short, I traded in my beautiful 2004 Boxster after 5 1/2 months of ownership and 8440 miles. The car itself was amazing which was the best part of the ownership experience.

What killed the remainder of my ownership experience was sub-standard customer service my local dealership, Tom Williams Porsche in Birmingham, AL. I live 10 miles from the dealership, but had to take my car 180 east to Jim Ellis Porsche of Atlanta to have a flat tire replaced the first week of ownership. This was the first of a few trips to Atlanta to have little things done to the car, i.e. adjustments, oil change and ordering simple accessories.

Buying a new $50K car from a dealer that close to my home only to take it 2 1/2 hours away to Atlanta for everything it needed was rediculous and unnecessary.

I received a postcard from Tom Williams Porsche last week, inviting current and previous Porsche owners down to drive the new 987. My fiancee and I went down to check it out. We were in the showroom for 25 minutes and no one spoke to us. Annoyed and about to leave, I asked the receptionist if I could see the Dave, the General Manager. She informed me that he was no longer with the dealership and the new manager was out of the building at the time. I explained to her that I was invited by their postcard to come down and was not approached or acknowledged. Once she grabbed one of the 3 available salesman, I expressed how poorly I have been treated in the past and again that day. I also informed him that I traded my 04 Boxster after 5 months of ownership, listing the problems I had with the dealership and their customer no-service. After a 20 minute conversation, he finally let us drive the new 987 and 987S.

Upon returning after driving both models, I told the salesman the 987S is an amazing car and its what a Boxster should be. My fiancee piped up about how we loved the car, but slammed him on how we were treated that day and in the past. I told him I would not buy a new $62k Boxster from Tom Williams Porsche and be treated poorly again. This raised a few eyebrows on the potential customers standing around that day. I hope some of them would still buy a Porsche, but not from that dealership.

I am seriously considering a 997S. I am very hesitant about buying an $85K new 911 Carerra S only to take it 2 1/2 hrs way each way to Atlanta, GA or Montgomery, AL for anything it may need. That is way too much effort for a car of this caliber. I would expect taking a car like a Bentley, Ferrari, Lotus, Lamborghini or a Carrera GT to Atlanta due to the rarity of these cars, but not a Porsche Boxster or 911. On occasion, I'm in Atlanta for business or pleasure. I just hate driving to Atlanta and not have my Porsche for the the time I'm out there, because its at Jim Ellis for service. I should be able to have it serviced here locally in Birmingham and enjoy it on my business and pleasure trips to Atlanta.

This is why I'm asking the question about overall experiences at other Porsche dealerships across the country. I would love to buy another Porsche (#4), because I am a Porsche enthusiast.

For a new $42,000 to $440,000 Porsche, I should be treated as well as I have at Infiniti, Jeep, Saturn, Honda, VW, Toyota (mom's Camry LE) and yes, Hyundai (fiancee's Santa Fe). Out of all of the cars currently in my family and the may different dealers we visit to have our cars serviced, the Porsche was the only aggravation I had. That is why I traded my Boxster in for my second Infiniti G35.
The Boxster, all by itself, was not enough to override the remaining negative ownership experience.

Looking for stories good and bad, especially from new Porsche owners.

Dave,

Birmingham, AL

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Old 01-17-2005, 02:43 PM   #2
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I have had dealings with two Porsche dealers.

I purchased my Boxster from HBL of Tysonís in Northern Virginia. The two times I went to the show room prior to purchasing the car, a salesperson came up to me with in 2 minutes of walking in the door. The only time I brought the car in for service there, the level of professionalism was as high as I expected it to be. Overall, HBL left a very good impression on me. The thing that I really liked about buying the car there was that I felt like my salesperson actually wanted to sell me the car. I had gone to a BMW dealer (BMW of Fairfax) before HBL to look at some 5 series and the salesperson basically told me that he sold so many cars that it really didnít matter if I bought one or not. I promptly left, and have never been back to that dealer even though they called 3 times a week for three months after I walked out.

After I moved to St. Louis, I started going to Plaza Motors. I've taken the car in for service once and everything was as expected. My only gripe about Plaza is similar to something you mentioned. Twice now I have been in there to seriously look at cars and after standing around for 15 minutes waiting for some help I just left. I really think itís my age (26), because I went into Plaza once with my mom and we were helped right away. However, Iíve also been to the other parts of Plaza (they have BMW and MB to name a few) and salespeople were all over me.
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Old 01-17-2005, 02:43 PM   #3
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Guys-

Maybe this is a US thing. I saw a lot of complaints of various forums on Porsche dealers.
Mine is excellent and I have not heard any friend with Porsches complain.
Believe me they treat the customer like kings.
From selling to delivery to giving opportunities of test drives of new models etc. Really top notch service you'd like to see anywhere else.
Even on the phone, the mechanics have always all the answers. They and also salesmen call back etc.

Good luck with this.

BTW-> Even if it was a crappy service I'd still not sit in a Jap car. You're punishing yourself! not PORSCHE !!! :-)
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Old 01-17-2005, 02:45 PM   #4
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i agree, the service i get is really good, cup of tea as soon as you go in... yes sir, no problem sir... the way it should be 10/10

qporscheq, i am 25 i know 100% what you mean... its annoying. Now i make sure i pull up in my boxster and make sure they see me getting out. I am changing or getting another car soon like in the next few weeks and so far i havent really had any dealings with a salesman but i always take my dad along when ever i do a deal as the last time i was looking there were saleman standing around ignoring me which pissed me off, oh yer and the grin on there face was annoying which i should has knocked off his face.

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Old 01-17-2005, 03:11 PM   #5
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While I've yet to need service on my (used) '01 Boxster, I have visited the dealership where it was purchased, and have been warmly greeted by the saleman, who still remembers me. As it's winter and snowy here, I've not had much occasion to drive my car, but have had a few pleasent conversations with Derrick, their service guy, regarding some mods I'm reluctant to try at at home. I hate hearing about experiences such as yours, as it's a real shame what should be a wonderful relationship with a fine automobile has been sullied by poor service. I feel for you, but maybe you jumped the gun a bit un-loading your car. As I understand it, dealerships are awarded to potential owners after a long process, specifically to avoid poor management, which in turn diminishes the repution of the brand. I'm sure yours is not an isolated case at this particular establishment. If Porsche-America (or whatever the parent company is called) were to hear of this, the paryt or parties responsible would be made to shape up or ship out. I know of a few GM dealers who had their franchise revoked for just this sort of thing. Take this to the next level; your desire to own a wonderful car shouldn't be obliterated by the ineptitude of some clown.
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Old 01-17-2005, 05:34 PM   #6
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qporscheq and porsche 986,

I'm 35 and look a little younger than I am. You would think the salesman would be a little more receptive to their younger buyers, after all isn't that what the age group the Boxster is aimed toward?

It may have been extreme to unload the Boxster so quickly, but I was not getting any help from Porsche at that time. I traded the Boxster on Veteran's Day in November on my G35 Coupe. I took a major bath on the car, which ACV'd (actual cash value) at $34,000...this was a $49,000 Boxster that was only 5 1/2 months old.

I have been in contact with other dealers and wholesalers in the area and asked them why it was so difficult to find someone willing to buy my Boxster in trade even at this extreme depreciation. They told me there were so many new Porsches on the market locally due to the issues at Tom Williams Porsche. People are getting out of their Porsches in droves. The word is out about the horrible service at this dealer, therefore locals are unwilling to buy used ones. Most of the Porsches that are on the market here are wholesaled to Atlanta, Florida and Tennessee.

Crown Mercedes/Infiniti took a chance on selling my Boxster and are having difficulty getting rid of it. It was on e-bay last week for the second time at $34,750. No bids. My Boxster is ultra clean, no dings, no dents, no scratches no curb rash, no interior wear and I'm not a smoker. The car was serviced early and garage kept. I have been in contact with a few locals that were interested in the car, but not interested in driving 87 miles south to Montgomery, AL. It will probably end up in Atlanta soon.

Porsche has contacted me recently to get my take on the dealership. They are very interested in what I have to say about this dealership. Hopefully something will be done soon, unfortunately they have a really bad reputation to overcome.

Jeannot,

My G35 is not a Porsche by any stretch, nor am I comparing its performance, safety and engineering to a Porsche. Simply put, they treat me well, the car retains its value better than my Boxster did, I have more standard options on my first G35 Sedan and current G35 Coupe and they stand behind their cars. Shouldn't Porsche? I felt I was punished for owning a $50,000 Porsche (a true semi-exotic sportscar) and it was a slap in the face to a loyal long-term (21 years) Porsche owner.

Upgrading to my first new "Porsche" I gained an amazing sportscar and a convertible, but lost how well I was treated by Infiniti and any other dealer. I also lost the standard options I had in my first G35; (horsepower, xenons, VDC, Traction Control, Bose, Homelink, heated seats, delay wipers, alarm system, tilt and telescopic steering, 6 disc in-dash CD changer, XM Satellite Radio to name a few) none of which were on my Boxster that cost $12,000 more. Granted, if I bought a loaded S, I would have gained most of it back, but spent another $16,000.

I would love to have another Porsche, a real sports car, but its proving to be difficult to own here in Birmingham, AL.


Dave

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Old 01-17-2005, 05:35 PM   #7
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My experience is not typical in that I deal Porsches. Hence, I am at the local service shop 2-4 times a week.

It took some time, but I have a great working relationship with the service and parts guys. They will go way over the extra mile and I appreciate that. I "work" them extra hard and they reciprocate in kind.

Having said that, I agree that when one purchases a car with a price tag like Porsche affixes, one should be treated with the upmost respect!
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Old 01-17-2005, 06:02 PM   #8
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I am in southern california and I also have had horrible service. I was in the market for a cayenne or a used 996, however the sales associates showed no interest in my presence in the showroom. I went to 2 dealers and the same results for both. extreme snobbiness of the salemen just really gets me mad. I wish I could say "You work at a porsche dealer, however can you afford one?" Now with my 2004 boxster, I have had many problems with it. I saw that someone on this board had said that german engineering is superior to the japanese automobiles.If they are so superior, how is it that the japanses vehicles never have problems?(ex rms, electrical radio glitches, weather sealing,)I understand that japanese cars can be bland and boring, but the outrageous price of an oil change, the frequent trips to the service department and the constant fighting with dealership is almost nonexistent.
I love my $50000 boxster and it has been the most fun car I have ever owned, however my $27000 toyota tundra has had 0 trips to the dealership and they treat me like i am royalty. The bad taste in my mouth from the dealerships for that matter, will play a big part in my decision to buy a P car. That doesn't mean I'm doubting that the porsche is not great car, but I believe when the imperfection of this automobile peaks its head again, I would wish it was a honda or toyota

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Old 01-17-2005, 08:27 PM   #9
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The dealership here in Fort Wayne is pretty good compared to you guys
Its always "Hello Mr. Tran", "What can we help you with Mr. Tran", etc... they always use titles. The service techs even come out to talk to you. The parts dept cuts me deals on prices if I'm paying for something $$$$ or something stupid like an umbrella
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Old 01-18-2005, 06:30 AM   #10
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To be fair, I have had some less than stellar dealings with Lexus dealers. Yes, they sell a great car (I have had maybe 6 Lexus over the years). However, they DO BREAK and the service dept can get a bit sticky on the warranty coverage, esp their CPO coverage, which is not as "new car" as they advertise it to be.

Having said that, Porsche can, and should, build a more bullet proof car. There is no excuse for not, given that the basic design has been around for a very long time.

No excuse for rear main seal leaks. What is with that?
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Old 01-18-2005, 07:24 AM   #11
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Bruce, I have a LS400 and the service, under extended warranty, was so supurb I would always tell people they made me feel like the king of the world when my car was in for service... often replacing or upgrading computer chips or parts totalling 1500.00 or more when it went in for a complimentary oil change, all paid for under warranty!

Rear Main Seal: Hans, my new best friend and Porsche certified mechanic, told me that the RMS problems in earlier Boxsters like mine were due to out of balance crank shafts which eventually created leaks in the rear main seal.

I guess Porsche didn't want to lose that much money replacing thousands of engines and worse, the news hitting CNN, etc., that their cars had a major recall for an engine replacement.
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Old 01-18-2005, 08:53 AM   #12
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bought my 2000 S with 10,000 miles ($30K) from the used lot of a large Acura dealer. Actually I bought it on Ebay but the seller was local dealer so I went down to take a look. Here in NJ we get a 90 day warranty as part of the state's LemonLaw.com, this was very important to me, even though there were slightly lower priced S models on Ebay. But the low mileage and the NJ warranty was key.

I got 4.5% financing through HSBC who do the auto loans for Ebay. I was actually given a real check for as much as $75K within 24 hours. They also offered 6 months zero finance. (This was my first auto loan by the way)
The salesman was brand new young guy and very eager as he was in charge of getting cars sold on the internet. As part of my deal asked if they could hold onto my Boxster in the used showroom for a couple of weeks. They agreed so I put the Miata on Ebay and within 7 days I had a seller from Florida fly up and give me nearly $7K cash for a 1994 with 110,000 miles. This was the second solid experiecne I had selling a used car on eBay. Shoud have bought the stock back in 1998 when I joined.

For servicing an parts I plan on taking it to Ray Catena Porsche in Edison New Jersey. They are a very large dealership sellling Primarily Mercedez. They also sell Aston Martin, Maserati, Lexus.

Ray Caten could run a clininc on how to run a first class dealership. Not unlike a five star hotel. As soon as you drive into their parts lot there are several attendants (I counted 5) directing you to the right area depending on your car. At Porsche counter I counted not less than 10 employees servicing Porsche and Mercedez. Everything was immaculate and this is the parts builiding!

I went in for touch up paint and to find out if I needed a new clicker but it was just a dead battery. No charge. I have to tell you compared to the local Mazda parts counter these experiences were like going to the a holiday inn and then Checking into the Four Seasons.
In the showroom I went in to check out the 550 edition. As soon as I walked in they had two concierge ladies who made sure you were addressed right away and directed to a sales person. Other dealerships should take note, this is the right way to do it. I've worked in very elegant hotels in this area, and obviously someone was hired with this type of 5 star background to run certain customer service aspects.
My friend who bought an E class merc from them says she is blown away on how far they go. No charge car wash while you wait for service, food (nice buffet) and great loaner cars. But this is a dealership in an "affluent" area of the country (Metro NYC) where wealthy & demmanding people take ZERO bull ****************. They have no qualms about reaming out a salesman in front of a room full of people. And they dont' like to be kept waiting for no reason. The management are not stupid and know how to make a sale and keep it happy.

oh and I saw a guy drive off in a sliver Maserati, the engine note on that car is schweeet! That'll be my next car
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Old 01-18-2005, 09:18 AM   #13
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I didn't realize how many of you guys experience inconveniences as well as annoyances due to some incompetent and arrogant Porsche dealers. I have nothing but praises for my dealer. It's Ira Porsche/Audi here in Danvers. Mass. I live only 3 miles from them, and this was a major reason to go to them in the first place. I bought all of my new Boxster, Audi A4, Lexus from them which I currently own and drive. Their service is prompt, impeccable, and courteous. I had brought in my Boxster for a couple of minor problems ( one cosmetic issue, and the other, CD player skipping ) both times they listened to me carefully and loaned me with another Boxster and the Audi A6 for the other occation. And I think that they really take pride in doing what they do at the Ira Motor Group. The only complaint is that their Porsche service manager seem to be replaced every time I go back, and the showroom is a little too small and noisy. I believe in building a personal relationship with salespeople as well as service people so that they grow acustomed with you as well. Anyway, I just wanted to share my experience with you.
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Old 01-18-2005, 11:44 AM   #14
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Sorry to hear about the service some of you have. I would like to share two good stories about my experience with dealerships:

I bought my car at Jim Ellis in Atlanta. Every stereotype I hold for dealerships, they did not meet. I am 22 years old, so based on my experience in buying and servicing BMW's, I expected a fair amount of age discrimination when buying my first Porsche. Not the case at all. My dealer treated me the same way you'd expect to be treated if you were buying a $440k CGT. Secondly, I expected a snobby high-pressure environment. My dealer let me take the car out alone a few times before I bought it. He was also down-to-earth and knowledgable of his product. He has owned Porsches for the last 20 years, and understood the culture as a result.

I have my car serviced at Euroclassics Porsche in the Richmond, VA area. My service advisor treats me like gold, and has gone out of his way to help me get something covered by warranty, even when it was questionable as to whether the warranty covered it. I had a problem with a repair they had done (minor issue, though), and he immediately made an appointment for the next morning to have it taken care of.

If I could ask for anything, I would say I wish the dealerships had more loaner cars sitting around. I don't care what it is -- a fleet of 10 Kia's would be fine with me. I just don't like having to bring work to the dealership or have someone drive me too and from. When my parents drop off their $25k cars for service (Toyota Camry and F150), they certainly get a loaner every time. Why, then, can't I?
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Old 01-18-2005, 12:37 PM   #15
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the funny thing is the saleman who sell porsches couldnt afford one anyways, they have nothing to be snobby about. They must think because they work for porsche they need to be snobby. I feel sorry for the there wives or girlfriends.
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Old 01-18-2005, 05:28 PM   #16
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How do you know a Porsche salesman can't afford a Porsche?
My friend who doesn't even work for GM got a very steep discount from
a friend who does work for GM on a brand new Saab. It was about 25%
and also Porsche's are very expensive cars and I'm sure the comission schedule
is not bad at all. Not to mention the fact that the dealership can set up discounted financing through the dealership's financing company.

The new boxster $43K is now cheaper than a 2004. So I figure a salesman can probably can get a crack at a new 987 for $32-$35. Financed over 5 years with a $5000 down payment, the salesman is looking at as low as a $450 monthly payment. I'm just guessing but I don't think that's a problem for a successful salesman. Porsche also has certified preowned Porsche's where any even better deal can be had because most of those pre-owned car's are trade-ins where the owner trading in the car is taking a ridiculus hit, often only getting 30% of Blue book. 70% is Lots of room for the salesman to get a good deal since the dealership made out so well.

I'll take a 2002 996 S for $40K at 1% financing please : )
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Old 01-19-2005, 03:02 AM   #17
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Anyone can get finance, my point is paying for it up front like most people.

Anyone with a wage packet can get higher purchase or finance.
When finance is involved its not really theres untill its paid for.
When you buy it outright its yours right away!
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Old 01-19-2005, 01:25 PM   #18
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Most people?
Can't speak for Europe, but here in the US I would be really surprised if most people buy car's outright with interest rates at historic lows and dealerships giving cars to anyone with a $6 an hour job.
As it is today many people driving around with ultra expensive cars aren't bothering with ownership at all prefering to go the two year lease route.
I can't see how anyone who understands markets and investment would choose to tie up $60,000 into a car that will loose 40% of its value after four years. After four years most cars here in the USA are out of warranty and banks are unwilling to lend so readily for that used car which essentially drops the value even though the condition is still excellent.
My 2000 S had only 10,000 miles but lost $25,000 worth of value. THat's four year's worth of $500 a month payments, evaporated. : (
Meanwhile you could have had the other $30,000 invested into real estate or Ebay stock! (Up 220% post internet boom).
I can't fathom why anoyone with good credit would pay up front unless they had no intention of ever selling the car.
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Old 01-19-2005, 01:41 PM   #19
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I completely agree. Buying a car outright is a very stupid thing to do. As long as you can make more in the market than you're paying for interest (which isn't hard these days, even in a fairly conservative fund), you are losing money to buy a car outright.
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Old 01-19-2005, 02:01 PM   #20
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when you buy a car you buy it because you dont think about selling it. Everyone will lose money on a car.
I always buy my cars upfront with cash, the car is YOURS as soon as you leave the showroom. With finance it belongs to the finance company and is never yours untill its settled. Like i say cant speak for the US, but I always pay outright.. no loan, payments ect.... rates are stupid and why waste money.

But if you plan on keeping a car for a few years and throwing it back and getting something else and keep on doing that then yer i see your point.
I just like to have thing to my name, not only is it a statment but my job pays very well so i dont really want to get involved in loans ect...
I get £110 per hour thats $220 per hour so its not really a problem. If i be stupid and jump into a ferrari my TAX will shoot up to 45% which is a no no!
I 100% see what you mean though and is a good thing if you dont plan in keeping the car or prepared to pay over so many years.
It just feels so much better driving a car thats paid for...
Its annoying when people jump into a lease car and scream i own a porsche ect..
pay for it then claim it.
However if you have finance with payments then thats ok, although its not yours yet your still making an affort to say i will settle the balance through settlement or payments. When your in a lease you borrow it for a few years...

I just hate the idea of debt, any kind of it. I need to know i can close my company tomorrow if i want and walk away. If i had higher purchase ect... then any company debt will eat that up.
do you know what i mean...

yellowjacket if everyone thought like you nobody would buy a new car and you wouldnt get the chance to buy...
I dont mean buy a NEW car i just mean even if its second hand paying for it up front in my life is much better!

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