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Poole Audi - Good but are they a victim of their own success or are my expectations too high?

Thought I would add my review of these guys as there are no south coast dealership reviews up yet and I guess it would be useful for potential buyers to get the whole country covered with reviews in the long term.

Despite the potentially negative tone of my headline I want to start by saying that Poole Audi are a good dealership who did only one thing wrong. If you don't want to read the whole review (my posts can be rambling) I can tell you that the whole experience can be summed up in one sentence: They are a friendly, welcoming and aspirational dealership with a large range of in stock cars, but they have become so busy it seems hard for them to give every customer the attention I would expect buying from a premium brand so the best service is reserved for the great and the good.

The Good

Every member of staff you deal with are friendly, professional, polite and welcoming, making sure you have the information you need and are comfortable. They don't go out there way to help you but they do the necessary very well.

The atmosphere of the dealership itself is of a nice place to be with no hint of snootiness like you get from some places like this and it has the feel of an aspirational but welcoming kind of place that you don't mind spending your hard earned in.

They have a good reputation in the local area and are active in sponsoring charity causes and community events (as well as the obligatory high end corporate shenanigans) so they seem to have a conscience and give something back

They have a huge array of new and used cars in stock and unless you want a paticular spec, colour etc they have or are about to get a version of all the popular new car models in stock in the mainstream colours and options. So if you like me could not wait for 6 months I was able to choose the exact engine and trim of Q3 I wanted in a choice of 5 colours (but without some of the options I wanted of course) all that could be delivered within a month. Even if you want to wait for your own personalised model this is still useful because with so many cars in stock you are bound to be able to view the colour and trim you are looking for at least in the flesh. I would say that this huge stock of new cars is the best thing about this dealership.

Negotiation- they were totally open and positive to requests for discounts and allowed bartering to continue with offers and counter offers etc until both parties reached a position they were satisfied with. Having read about and experienced other dealers who make you feel cheap by asking for a discount this was another positive part of their service.

Finance Managers - these guys were brilliant. Efficient, clear with no BS they took time to explain every positive and negative of the finance options with no hard sell and once having made my decision were efficient with the paper work and explained every part of the finance T&C's before signing. Perhaps because they are a bit older and more experienced than most of the salesmen they set a good example to the sales floor regarding how to treat customers.

Handover (but see also the not so good). This took place yesterday so is still very fresh in my mind and it was very detailed with a personal service. They made you feel appreciated and valued and after a nice touch with the dramatic reveal took time to explain every function of the car. It was patient, measured and articulate. They also make a bit of a fuss with the sales managers coming out to thank you and presenting you with a bottle of wine etc and then introduce you to the manager of the service dapartment and parts etc for future reference.

Improvement Opportunities

Communication - The first salesmen I was dealing with had a very limited knowledge of all the models and specifications and after reaching a deal with him the next day when I called to go ahead I was told that he had been removed from the business so I then had to renegotiate with someone else with little knowledge of the previous agreement. On the same topic every time you phone you can never get hold of the person you need and on average they take two days to call you back. However I since discovered that emails get a faster response. Finally never turn up on spec without an appointment as you won't see anyone other than the receptionist.

Parking - a minor point but there is never a free space and because they are located on a very busy main road there is no alternative but to wait ages for a free space.

Transport - for a number of reasons some mine and some there's there was a week or so gap between my old car departing and my new car being ready. I asked for a loan car for some of that period (a few days) but it was met with a resolute impossible. I then asked if they could therefore pick me up to sign the last bit of paperwork as they could not prepare the car until that was done but that was also not possible.

The not so good

Handover - as mentioned above the content and presentation style was great but the location was not. This dealer has two dedicated handover bays and two handover spots in the showroom and when I arrived and the whole time I was there only 1 of these 4 spots was occupied. However not by me as I had my handover done in the gloom and oiliness of the workshop! They apologised for this and told me that this was due to so many handovers that day but as mentioned before three bays were free the whole time. Ironically there was an access door from the workshop to the handover bay with a sign on saying "strictly no admittance handover in process do not disturb." However my handover was happening in the garage with mechanics and service personnel coming and going etc surrounded by ramps, pits and stripped down engines. It really made me feel like a second class customer. On a practical note the light in there was just too gloomy to inspect the car properly so I had to take the car away hoping that it had no imperfections and now can't prove any I find we're like that before I drove away.

Premium service reserved for the most glamorous customers and models? I put a question mark on this point as I have not yet made my mind up fully. However every time I go in, there is always one or two young and beautiful people collecting mostly white RS4's, TT's and A3 and 5 convertibles. I witnessed these customers receiving excellent service with handovers taking place in the full glare and opulence of the showroom decor with the salesman bending over backwards to help. Now I know it's human nature that the mostly young male salesman are going to naturally go further to impress pretty girls and like minded young guys and they deserve that but so do all the other customers. I can't help feeling the me of 10 years ago (younger, sportier, less miles on the clock buying a flash car) would of also got the premium service I was looking for compared to the current model year me (more miles on the clock and wearing the vacant expression familiar to all parents of new borns, caused by long term sleep deprivation buying a practical family car) who got the economy service. Interestingly the customer in the one occupied proper handover bay was picking up guess what; a white A5 convertible!

I discussed this last point with a colleague of mine buying an a4 estate who ended up going out of his way to Salisbury Audi due to a similar impression.

In conclusion if you want a good deal, reasonable and polite service and don't need a premium experience and or you are as pretty as the model you are buying then go buy from Poole Audi. I would again as the positives outweigh the negatives and its convenient. But if you are looking for the premium service to accompany the premium brand and price tag and are not buying a sporty number and your best years are behind you it may be worth considering some of the regional competition (Salisbury, Southampton etc).

So Good but not premium.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Ps my opinions above are just that. I don't present them as fact and would love to hear your views as to wether I expected too much and would be delighted to hear the experiences of other Poole Audi buyers
 

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Stumbled on this looking for a review of Poole Audi's service record.
I totally agree with your review from what I have seen through the sales process, however I'm lucky in that I'm 27, have a beautiful Fiancé and picked up my Glacier White SQ5 from a handover bay this May ;)
My car is in to have a problem with the start/stop looked at, so I'll let you know how I fair with the service dept. The only reason it is in is they called for a 6 months in checkup and I thought I would mention a recent niggle that I hadn't got round to calling them about - so on that basis I feel looked after so far...
 

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I found out this morning that Poole Audi now charge £140 per hour for their bolt-swappers! Is this the standard price across the country now or, are there regional variations?
 

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Sounds about right, there can be regional variations as it'll cost more to run a garage/dealership in London than Truro.
 
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