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The Un-Official Silicon Valley Auto Group Thread

4140 Views 54 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  suv_bait
Hi fellow SVAG deposit holders. I'm creating this thread after having just posted a gigantic SVAG-specific response in the Rumours & News Forum. My thought is that there's no reason to air SVAG-related dirty laundry in such a general forum, and that it might be helpful and productive, as delivery dates approach, for SVAG deposit holders to converse in a dedicated area. Thus this thread.

So: If anyone wants to share horror stories, happy stories, questions, answers, etc that relates to Silicon Valley Auto Group, please congregate here. I don't care if this thread reaches 10 pages: I want to know what others are experiencing, because SVAG is so vexingly vague. Plus, anecdotal evidence on this board suggests that different deposit holders are receicing different stories from different salesman.

So, please start sharing. If nothing else, we might simply learn who's who, and start just an informal network for greater information-sharing in the future.

I'll start. My list position is "in the 40s" and my essential experience is described in the very next posting.
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I put my deposit down in early Oct 2003 with a saleman who will remain anonymous.

When I put my deposit down, I asked for my list position, and was told essentially, "You're somewhere in the 40s... we haven't coalatted the list positions yet, because we have different saleman taking orders, so it's rather difficult, and I can't tell you your exact number unless I coalate now, which I can't do... But we will be taking orders in the exact sequence of deposit dates, so sit tight, we won't skip you. The first orders will go to the people who put deposits in before the buzz began. After their orders are taken, we'll get the list straightened out, and this will all happen way before anyone in the 40s ever needs to order."

So that was enough to placate me. I have since called two more times (the second time this morning, actually), and talked to my salesman, and he pretty much told me the same story. Today he even said he'd check my position, and then came back, and repeated, "Yeah, you're in the 40s."

Am I happy about the vagueness? No. But I don't have enough money to buy the car for $5000 over MSRP, so I'm caught between a rock and hard place. And, for what it's worth, my saleman's story has been consistent each time, and people on this board have already placed orders with SVAG for MSRP. And it seems that their very early list positions have indeed been honored.

But what does bug me is the hint of chicanery going on at SVAG. Consider: I put in the deposit the first week of Oct and was told I'm in the 40s; no specific list position though. A guy screen-named Drifter, meanwhile, also deposited in Oct, and was told a specific, *lower* position of #34... Odd, unless deposits were streaming in a few each day, and Drifter beat me by a few days. I ordered on Oct 8.

If Drifter placed his deposit any day past Oct 8 of Oct 2003, then I'll be P.O.ed. I mean, I don't mind waiting for my turn, I just don't like the idea that poor book-keeping might rob me of a proper delivery. Nor am I heartened by the fact that some salesman will give specific list positions, and others don't. (But, of course, if positions ultimately turn out to be meaningless, it doesn't really matter.)

Meanwhile, there's this SVAG story from another thread on this board: "I am trying to figure out when I will be able to order mine. I thought I was in 40ish but somehow 2 days ago when I called they told me I am on #76."

The "40ish to #76" guy later posted: "I put deposit on 11/08 so in a month period they got 30+ orders."

Sounds reasonable enough -- 30 deposits during the month after the R&T artcile hit -- but why in the world was he led to believe he was in the 40s? I put down my deposit a full month earlier and was told *I'm* in the 40s. The sheer amount of discrepancy between various stories and experiences is disheartening.

Some other SVAG thoughts:

- Today, my salesman said they are getting very few dropouts, and that when people do dropout, everyone moves forward; they don't buy the car for themselves to sell at a markup. Well, here's hoping that he's telling the truth. Drifter's salesman (apparently) said he would sell "drop-out cars" for a big mark-up.

- My salesman has repeatedly cautioned me that they have no idea when the first cars are arriving; that he personally thinks it won't be until June, and that all he can promise me is MSRP, and that deposit-holders will be called for orders according to the dates of their deposits. So, he is either being a very upfront guy in his general "gloomy pragmatism," or he is setting me up mentally for a later delivery date so that the dealership can finagle list positions at will, i.e., "promise low and no matter what happens, you'll either appear to be a perfectly honest guy who delivered late or a hero who delivered earlier than expected."

- I was told that SVAG knows nothing of sports exhaust options, headlight options, stone guard options, nothing. That was a bit disconcerting... I mean, I know about the plans for these options, and I'm just a random schmuck. Or does SVAG know something that we don't know?
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Ordered in septemeber, and I was 31st when i placed my order, no clue if that's changed or not.

edit: talked with graham, he said that I'm actually 29th on the list. Woo!
more svag feedback

My experiences almost exactly mirror Jon's with the exception I ordered towards the end of October and was told I was in the 50's. I did try to get a specific number and told I there were probably 50 or 51 people with deposits ahead of me, but they did not want to give out specific numbers as this was difficult to calculate at the moment of deposit and presumably was always moving forward (albeit slowly), post deposit as people dropped out for various reasons.
I was assured that they would be contacting the folks on the list in the order of their deposits such that individuals could choose their specific configuration. I never got specifics as to whether this meant your car was built to order or shipped when Lotus decided to build a batch matching your desired specs.
I was referred to SVAG by an individual at Symbolic of La Jolla, for what that's worth.
I was also told their would be a demo car (or cars) arriving at the lot at some point early in 2004 (presumably before orders were taken), such that people could confirm this was the vehicle they wanted and get more info on options available.
I have subsequently called twice. And the folks their have consistently repeated the message that they are honoring their deposits in the order they were received. They did seem fairly stressed though and I had the impression they were probably under much fire from people seeking more info, trying to get earlier deliveries, etc.
They have still not had any additional info on when a demo car will be there, though this is not suprising given where production stands and the desire for the LA auto show cars to circulate across the US.
I am really sorry that Drifter had such an unfortunate experience. And I would really encourage him to find another dealer which will treat him more appropriately/fairly, as this sounds like it is strictly an issue with the sales folks at SVAG and not with anyone working specifically for Lotus.
I am like Jon in that I believe SVAG is my best option for the quickest delivery of an Elise at this point. I have also not been treated unfairly or heard anything myself that differs from what Jon said, or from most of what Drifter said.
Since for me a month forward or backward is not as consequential at a probable 6 months backwards, I am going to sit tight and assume that this was an isolated incident and in general their behavior will be consistent with the basic message (delivery date based on deposit order date) they keep repeating.
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In Drifter case- the big problem is a salesman said he'd move him from 30's to 20's. Then denied it as well as giving false info on alloment size. When push came to shove, they wouldn't move him up. In that sense they are honoring the list. Not defending them, I've dealt with his salesperson and am not surprised by what he did or that the GM backed him up. Bottom line they didn't honor what they committed to.
I ordered on 11/25, was given an approximate position of "in the 70s" and an approx. delivery date of 12/04 to 1/05. The salesperson mentioned that he thought (at that time) that he would be getting on the order of 100-120 cars per year. Now I realize that they had probably told him 10/month, but that the first cars would take a couple months.

If they really are getting or ordering 10/month, then the 70's should order in July, and get their cars some time later, hopefully by the end of the year.

I haven't spoken to anyone there since placing my initial deposit. I plan on calling back once the demo cars arrive and the 2nd or 3rd batch of orders has been placed to re-confirm their allocation and where I stand in position.

I too would really like to have a definitate position in the list, but frankly, I suspect many dealers (including SVAG) are giving priority to high-profile clientele. In other words, if Larry Ellison (or any other person who's bought one or more Ferrari, Lambo, Bentley, etc from SVAG) wants one, then he's gonna get one before us. I'm comfortable about that, and I'm grateful that SVAG is treating us all very well, considering that all their other cars cost 5-10 times what the Elise does. I'm sure this problem is much much worse down in southern california, and peoples experiences with Symbolic BH seem to mirror that.

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slacy said:
I too would really like to have a definitate position in the list, but frankly, I suspect many dealers (including SVAG) are giving priority to high-profile clientele. In other words, if Larry Ellison (or any other person who's bought one or more Ferrari, Lambo, Bentley, etc from SVAG) wants one, then he's gonna get one before us. I'm comfortable about that,
That is what I was told by Symbolic up front, and I have no problem with that either.
Elise: Put deposit 11/08/03 and #76.
Exige: Put deposit 02/05/04 and #1.

Apart from the vague order positions I haven't had any problems with SVAG. Overall I've been pleased with the way I've been treated. T-shirts and jeans feel out of place when you are surrounded by Ferraris.

I put my deposit down late Jan/early Feb 2003 (its so long ago I can't quite remember when, but I could look up the credit card receipt if anybody really wants to know). The deposit was $2000 and I was quoted a price of around $39,000. I asked how long the list was and was told "you'll be near the top". All this was over the phone.

When the silver Euro demo car arrived they phoned me up and I went over to give it a spin. The guy who came with me wasn't my salesman. When we got back to the dealership I asked what my position was on the list. He went into a back room, came out again a few minutes and said "you are in the top 15".

Then, during the LA show when the dealers got the brochures, I dropped over again to have a look at it. I was told the firm MSRP price (+the delivery fee, options, tax and title). I asked again where I was on the list. My salesman asked me when I put down my deposit and then told me I should be in the second batch, maybe even the first.

A few days later I got "the phone call". My salesman said the GM (I think) had told him that my name had come up so it was time to place the order (in the first batch). I dropped another $2000 on the credit card and now I can't sleep at night with the anticipation. He said they might start getting first deliveries in March, but I didn't really believe him :)
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OK, Tintin, I now feel better about getting dropped off the first batch. Put the deposit down mid-to-late Feb. Waited a few weeks to make sure it was what I wanted. I'm #11 so you were definitely ahead of me.
SVAG Experience

I placed a $2,000. deposit with SVAG at the end of May '03 and my purchase order is dated 06-02-03. It specifies MSRP at the time of delivery and the delivery date box says "Summer '04". From the start I couldn't get an exact position but was told "mid 20's, about number 24 or 25". Fortunately, my deal was written by Graham Pike who is one of the more senior guys at SVAG and he seems a straight shooter.

They called me when they had the demo car in but, because I'm in Seattle, I couldn't get down to drive it.

I have spoken to Graham a couple of times since ordering - on one occasion because of the skullduggery at SVAG that's been noted on this board. On both contacts he has continued to say mid-20's and that they will have me in a car by mid to late summer.

This thread is an excellent idea. Let's keep it active!
I can't say that I have had any exception problems with SVAG. I placed my order with them and they have been consitantly telling me that I am #4X in the list (I don't remember what X exactly is - but 1-3 seems about right).

They have been vague about delivery, testers, etc, but given the general situtation with it being a new car and all, it seems understandable.

If they actually get the 140 cars that have been mentioned in other posts, I'll be happy to take delivery much earlier than I originally thought.
Remote Control

Is anyone on the SVAG list further away geographically than I am in Seattle?
I put down my deposit on June 19th with Graham, and he told me that I was mid-to-high twenties on the list. I would really like a test drive before I put down a nonrefundable deposit to order a car.

So who has already ordered, and what number were you on the list? I'm wondering if I need to worry about being asked to place my order soon.
John- In CA and Graham has said deposits are always fully refundable. Hadn't thought you taken the plunge. I'm aware of 3-4 people on the list who have already placed orders (top 9 + 1 demo car). Talked to Graham yesterday . No word on when the next batch of orders or the size for that matter go in. My guess you'll be in the third group - early April to place a order, not too likely to have the demo in before hand.
I don't have much to add, except I placed a deposit mid 10/2003 with a salesman. The only subsequent conversation that I had with him was a phone call in which he called and said how I liked the Masareti that I tested driven when I ordered the Elise. Unfortunately, I never drove any Masareti and my order was placed over the phone.

I also do not know my number on the list because I have not asked for it yet.
JonM3Coupe said:
- I was told that SVAG knows nothing of sports exhaust options, headlight options, stone guard options, nothing. That was a bit disconcerting... I mean, I know about the plans for these options, and I'm just a random schmuck. Or does SVAG know something that we don't know?
WE know nothing about these things either! All we hear are rumors of what's in the works. I'd rather have SVAG plead ignorance than lead us on.

My info: deposit placed 1/16/03, order finalized 1/3/04. I get good vibes whenever I visit SVAG, or maybe that's just goosebumps from seeing all the Italian cars there? ;) Salesmen are, well, salesmen. You'll find good ones and bad ones. I'm very sorry to hear you found one of the bad ones!

SVAG has never been too forthcoming with 'list' info. Larry saw it once, and I think that's the only real confirmation that such a list even exists. I think they're being fair about it so far. I expect there may be some shuffling of the list, but get the feeling it won't be too significant - you may get bumped a few spots, but not much. In exchange for this, we get the guarantee to buy the car at MSRP. I'm ok with that.

Has anyone confirmed delivery & prep charges with SVAG?
Put my deposit on 12/20/03 with Mr. Graham Pike, I was told in the 60s, and will get my car late Jan., 2005.
But few weeks later, when I emailed to ask for exact position, I was told I am in the 90s, no explaination !! no reply ! :(


That sucks that they told you the wrong number when you were there -- but nonetheless, being #90 and having placed your order late in December is consistent with what people here are reporting.

I'm of the strong belief that SVAG will get *many* more elises than most dealers, so I'd just sit tight and wait for them to start rolling in. Time will go by fast, for both of us. (I'm in the 70s)

Hi Steve,
90s is OK with me, I hope with some drop-outs we might move up few months ;)
Roland Chen
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