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I won't say which dealer I spoke with (it's not one of the new dealers) but apparently some rules are starting to form in regards to test driving their "yet-to-arrive" demo car from Lotus.

The "rule" as I've heard is that only people who have placed a deposit, have a car spec'd and ordered and is upon imminent delivery will be allowed a test drive. All those who have left a deposit but have not ordered may or may not be allowed a drive but may sit in the car to "see it, touch it, feel it." Only when you've gone from deposit holder to an actual order with a car that's imminent for delivery will you be allowed to drive the car.

First, I have to say that I can understand their restraint and concern in regards to blankly handing-out test drives. I am sure they want their demonstrator to last and don't want non-serious buyers jumping into the car and potentially destroying it. But wouldn't you think that having a sizeable deposit qualifies you as being "serious?" :rolleyes: :confused:

To be fair, they did say that exceptions might be made on a case-by-case basis (at the general manager's discretion.) But I guess it just rubbed me the wrong way to hear that.

Bob
 

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I assumed they'd provide test drives to ALL deposit holders. Don't know how limiting to imminent delivery could work, lot of people may decide it's not for them after a test drive, that'd save them lots of months not being sure.
Chris
 

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rtking said:

The "rule" as I've heard is that only people who have placed a deposit, have a car spec'd and ordered and is upon imminent delivery will be allowed a test drive. All those who have left a deposit but have not ordered may or may not be allowed a drive but may sit in the car to "see it, touch it, feel it." Only when you've gone from deposit holder to an actual order with a car that's imminent for delivery will you be allowed to drive the car.
Bob
Personally this seems stupid... If you have already ordered the car then great for you, if you don't get to drive the demo, you will soon enough get to drive your very own. What's the point of only letting people who have ordered drive the demo? If they like it it makes no difference because they already ordered it. If they don't like it who cares they already ordered one!!! The point of a demo is to allow "POTENTIAL" buyers to test and potentially give deposits and make orders. People who have deposits but not ordered, who may choose LSS versus non-LSS should be allowed to drive in order to help decide and people thinking of putting down deposits should also be able to drive...people who have already put down deposits and ordered their car should sit back and relax and wait for their actual cars to arrive.
 

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Actually it might be a good idea to bring that point to their attention. Most dealers hate it when a customer bails out when the car is emminent.. In the case of the Elise however they are probably hoping that depositers will bail at the last possible moment so that they can see what the market will bear.
 

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The dealers are allowed to sell the demos after 90 days, so perhaps that has something to do with it. How do you folks that have yet to order feel?
 

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I wonder if there is a sifference between a "test drive" and a test ride. I would think that a dealer would be more inclined to drive a potential customer around than to let him flog a new car that is exceedingly rare. For those customers who have not placed their order yet, I think that the dealer would benifit from allowing customers to see all of the new cars in person as they arrive and looking at the paint themselves to make a better informed decision.
 

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Mean TT said:
I wonder if there is a sifference between a "test drive" and a test ride. I would think that a dealer would be more inclined to drive a potential customer around than to let him flog a new car that is exceedingly rare. For those customers who have not placed their order yet, I think that the dealer would benifit from allowing customers to see all of the new cars in person as they arrive and looking at the paint themselves to make a better informed decision.
There certainly IS a difference between a test drive and a test ride. One is acceptable to me, the other is not. My dealership has held my deposit for a long time now. All I ask in return is the opportunity to take a drive in the car so that I am sure of how I want to order it. I understand not letting the free world take joy rides. I also understand having a salesperson accompany me. I, however, am trying to be a customer of theirs and if they do not allow me to drive the car I will take my deposit back.

All that said, I've been really happy with my dealership and don't doubt that they will call me to schedule a drive when their demo arrives and is ready.

~Paul
 

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Vantage said:
The dealers are allowed to sell the demos after 90 days, so perhaps that has something to do with it. How do you folks that have yet to order feel?
This is what bothers me...I have not yet put down any deposit or anything, but was going to pending a test drive. I'm definately not the type of person to put down any money on anything that i have not personally driven, regardless of how good the reviews are...Hopefully the place where I'm gonna go on monday does not have these rules in place. I'm pretty sure they don't because I already emailed the guy and told him my situation and he told me to come in...we'll see...
 

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geeezus that sucks, I mean if I had a deposit down on a new Porsche Carrera GT not only would they let me drive it, but they'd invite me over to Germany to drive it there early around their track and treat me to a good meal or two.

If I had a deposit down already at that dealer I'd walk in and say:

"I'd like to schedule a test drive with the demo car please"

If the response was what you indicated above I'd say

"Thank you very much, now please hand me back my deposit, I am going to purchase elsewhere".

I bet they'd never even reach for the drawer, unless it were to hand me the keys to the demo...
 

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I would say this is completely backwards... if you have a firm order, what is the point of a test drive?? You can't change your mind at that point anyway. (or not w/o loosing your deposit) On the other hand, if you have a deposit, but are looking at a 6+ month wait, having a test drive will tell you if you should stick it out or go elsewhere.
 

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It's their demo, so the dealers can do as they wish.

When I was looking into buying a Porsche Spyder replica, I was allowed to go for a test ride - Chuck Beck drove the car, but wouldn't allow me to do so. Being a passenger was enough for me to get a feel for the car. Same thing when I was looking at a Cobra replica - the guy at House of Cobras took me out, but wouldn't let me drive.

When looking at Porsches, I have been allowed to sit in them, but getting a test drive seemed to hinge on serious intent to buy, which I wasn't projecting at the time.

Personally, I don't care to test drive the demo. I want to test drive my car.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I (by my nature) try to be understanding. But since I'm a frenzied Elise groupie, I'm a bit put-off by it. I feel priveleged to have driven the S2 Elise and gotten a feel for that (Fabulous!) but having heard the suspension will be different and "better for American roads" makes me want to drive the US Spec Elise. I guess I'd compare it by saying, "Oh, you've eaten American sliced cheese? Then you know what Brie is like."

Personally I'm put-off. I agree that test drives should be limited to those who are serious. And perhaps the GM of the dealership is the best judge of that. But if a person has left a sizeable deposit for some time (not collecting any interest at all), doesn't that qualify them as being "serious?" I guess that's the gray area: "Who's serious, but not really going to buy" vs. "Who's serious and will buy no matter what."

But as Genieman17 said, if those buyers who have ordered and will have imminent arrival of their cars, what's the point of driving a demo when you can test drive your own car?

Aw... this all just chaps my hide.

Bob
 

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Later Apex said:


If I had a deposit down already at that dealer I'd walk in and say:

"I'd like to schedule a test drive with the demo car please"

If the response was what you indicated above I'd say

"Thank you very much, now please hand me back my deposit, I am going to purchase elsewhere".

I bet they'd never even reach for the drawer, unless it were to hand me the keys to the demo...
I think that you are 100% wrong. They would simply call your bluff, because they know that you can't just go somewhere else and buy the car now, without waiting a really long time.

Remember the Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.
 

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Later Apex said:
geeezus that sucks, I mean if I had a deposit down on a new Porsche Carrera GT not only would they let me drive it, but they'd invite me over to Germany to drive it there early around their track and treat me to a good meal or two.
Actually, they wouldn't let you drive it. :D

Seriously.
 

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Evl said:
I would say this is completely backwards... if you have a firm order, what is the point of a test drive?? You can't change your mind at that point anyway. (or not w/o loosing your deposit) On the other hand, if you have a deposit, but are looking at a 6+ month wait, having a test drive will tell you if you should stick it out or go elsewhere.
Agreed. I understand Symbolic is getting a demo car this week. But I have no interest in driving it. If my order is in, I am not backing out and if I drove it, it would be just for fun and not really to see if I still want it.

Though I can see some that maybe want to be sure testing it, even though they ordered. The majority of test drives should be to those on the waiting list who are wondering if the size, egress, ride, etc is a problem to them. Anyone that put a deposit down should be considered as serious.
 

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jml1952 said:
I think that you are 100% wrong. They would simply call your bluff, because they know that you can't just go somewhere else and buy the car now, without waiting a really long time.

Remember the Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.
Were it me it wouldn't be a bluff. As much as I have trouble admitting it I dont' *need* this car. If the dealership tries to tack on a markup, or dealer installed options that I did not ask for, or there are any other shenanigans, I would take my deposit back. Then I'd either place a deposit somewhere else and wait a loooong time or wait for the right example to come up on the used market.

Again, this is all academic because I have been quite happy with my dealership and their conduct to this point.

~Paul
 

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Perhaps this is getting a bit silly. For all our enthusiasm this is just a $40k car. It not expensive or particularly exotic, except here in the US.

These are experienced dealers and for the most part will serve their customers. When we go to Porsche or Benz dealer, you drive a car if that is what you want.
Ferrari dealers are always willing to have their customers drive the range of cars. While special cars, customers orders, stradales and 550’s and such are usually not offered to the casual tire kicker, even these get driven by prospective buyers every day.

Just don’t expect to show up with your buddies and show off a hard drive. No one wants to encourage or indulge that when this is a hot product. Dealers cannot show a car in the body shop. Think of all the grief that you all gave Lotus about that red beat up Elise in NY.
 

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rtking said:

But as Genieman17 said, if those buyers who have ordered and will have imminent arrival of their cars, what's the point of driving a demo when you can test drive your own car?
Bob
I don't mean to say that people that are about to get their car shouldn't be allowed to drive a demo...i mean it's ok if they are also allowed to drive it...but it doesn't seem ok to not let people who have not yet put down a deposit to drive it. And to have someone drive me in it...that's just not the same thing...and i would totally understand if they let me drive and said keep it under 6000rpm because it's still getting broken in...or whatever...i can understand that...i can even understand someone coming with me...i guess it's also about how you look. When i was about to buy a 350z and went to the dealership with a buddy of mine in his 1995 toyota tercel (and i was dressed like a bum) they ignored me for 20 mins and then told me they don't allow test drives. When i went back to the same place a few weeks later in my work clothes and my X5, the guy offered me a test drive of an automatic, because there was no manual on the lot, then told me that he can get a manual with the exact options I want and then agreed to $300 over invoice...a lot of it could be appearance...
 

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what about revving the crap out of the car? Do we have to follow break in procedures too?
 

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jml1952 said:
I think that you are 100% wrong. They would simply call your bluff, because they know that you can't just go somewhere else and buy the car now, without waiting a really long time.

Remember the Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.

I'm sorry I'm never wrong. If they don't let me test drive I buy an Elise from Ebay or someone with a low spot in line, or I buy a new C6vette or I buy a Porsche GT3, etc. I don't take crap from car dealers.
 
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