Voyage into Toyotaland
After checking out the Fit at the local Honda dealer on Tuesday, we headed out to the the local Toyota dealer to check out the Prius and other cars. This time, we were greeted by Andy. Like the Honda dealership, the Toyota dealership seemed to be making their sales guys hang out in a tent outside, but Andy seemed far less pleased to see us than Kevin had been.
I told him we were interested in the Prius V, and after listing the ones they did have (which didn't include the V), he rather abruptly disappeared. That seemed really odd to me; I would have expected that a salesman would have wanted to engage a bit more (e.g., talk up the car I wanted; hear about what other cars I was considering, so that he could cast his cars in a positive light compared to the competition; or sell me on a different car that he had on the lot). But Andy just wasn't very interested.
While Andy disappeared inside, we did get check out the interior of the Prius. C's instinctive reaction was not good. The 2010 Prius has a high center console that separates the driver from the passenger and to C it felt like a wall between us. It also seemed like hard plastic was in abundance, although I think part of it is also that dark-colored interiors don't make as good a first impression as light-colored ones.
When Andy returned, he told us they might have a Prius V next week and he'd let us know and we could come back. I asked about driving the Prius IV, which they had on the lot, and he said that I really had to test the V because it had a totally different feel (I think the V is like the Touring version of the 2009 model), and even if I wanted to test both the IV and the V, I should test them both at the same time. Maybe that was reasonable, but I still felt like I was getting the brush off. We were being sent on our way without even being asked what other Toyotas we might be considering, and without a brochure. He did give us his card.
I think part of Andy's issue was that he saw us getting out of a 1993 Geo Prizm in jeans and T-shirts and assumed that we must be deadbeats. C yearns for the attitude that she saw in San Francisco where multimillionaires bum around in jeans, causing people in service industries not to make too many stupid assumptions, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. I think that when I gave him my business card, Andy may have realized that his snap judgements were wrong, but who knows what goes on in the mind of a car salesman?
Anyway, we left with C having a pretty negative take on the Prius, hating the interior and being convinced that it was "huge", and with me knowing too little to form a coherent opinion. Rightly or wrongly, Kevin at the Honda dealership had given us a baseline that was going to prove to be hard to measure up to. Andy had fallen far, far short.