Which would you buy? Which should you buy?
In Alberta, asking a pickup truck owner to switch brands is tantamount to asking an Edmonton Oilers fan to buy Calgary Flames seasons tickets, you just don’t do it.
“Big Three” brand loyalty in our market is huge. If you don’t believe me, ask your uncle.
You know the one I’m talking about.
He’s been driving Ford F150’s since 1982.
He wears the Ford baseball cap he got from his sales guy the last time he took delivery of his new truck, something he does every two years.
He washes his truck each Saturday morning, changes the oil every 5,000 km, has rubber floor mats on top of the carpet floor mats, and has another rubber mat (a really big one) in the truck box to prevent scratches. Only his closest friends ever get to see “under the mat.” (Oh, and the sales manager at the Ford store every two years.)
The last guy to light up a smoke in his truck is still recovering from the surgery required to remove the Zippo™ from his rectum, and he hasn’t spoken to his brother since he bought that Toyota last spring.
I think it would be safe to say we love our trucks in northern Alberta.
Are there hardcore Dodge and Chevy owners like your uncle? You bet.
Have I ever tried to convince a loyal Ford or Chevy owner to try a Dodge? Nope.
Do I ever trade Ford and Chevy owners into a Dodge? Sure, but only after they express an interest in doing so. If they call, email, or come into the store with the intent to trade, we are happy to help out. (This is after all where most of our used trucks come from, trades on new Dodge pickups.)
The bottom line? There’s not a lot of differences between a Ford, Dodge, or Chevy pickup truck. The quality is equal. The warranties are very similar. The finance and factory incentives are closely matched. (They have to be, don’t they?)
Why do people trade from one brand to another if the product is pretty much the same?
In many cases, the guy or gal trading is doing so because of a bad service experience. They are not unhappy with the product so much as they are with the dealership.
How is Sherwood Park Dodge different?
First of all, we recognize there is a major disconnect between the service department and the sales department at many stores. From the time someone buys a new truck, until the time they return for another, many people are not certain where to turn for help when they have an issue.
Often it seems, the red carpet so carefully rolled out for you when you were considering your purchase can be ripped out from under your feet the first time you encounter a problem in the service department and go looking for assistance from the sales guys.
When I was designing my dealership, I decided to put the cafeteria (Cars Bistro) in the service and sales waiting area. I wanted to make sure our service customers and sales customers were treated equally, both before, and after the sale. We do not have one area for customers who are about to buy and another for service customers. We do not attempt to “keep them apart” for fear the prospective customers may talk to a service customer. In fact, I built one common area with the expectation it would be good for business when new customers asked service customers how they liked dealing with Sherwood Park Dodge.
Is it working? Yes. Frankly, if one of my customers is having a less than positive experience, we know about it immediately. It is our policy never to see anyone leave the store with an unresolved service problem. Our service AND sales staff are responsible for customer satisfaction after the sale, not just the service department.
Back to your uncle the Ford guy. Do we ever see hard core Ford lovers at our store? Yes. Some buy a Dodge or Ram truck because they have a buddy who has one and loves it, some trade because they just want a change, and some trade their Ford for another nearly new one on our used truck lot. Although we are not able to perform Ford or GM warranty repairs, we do have a growing number of off make owners using our service department for all their regular maintenance.
Just because there is a Dodge sign hanging on the side of the building doesn’t mean we are going to make you drink the “Ram flavored Kool Aid” when you visit.
It’s OK to be a Ford or Chevy guy at Sherwood Park Dodge. We like em too !