July 15, 2002
I just had another lovely 'service' experience at the local Audi dealer. It's one of these multiple marquee places handling Toyota, Audi, and Volkswagen. The underlying service model is distinctly American. That is to say a no service model.
Recently I had new tires put on my Audi. During that process the technician managed to gouge one of the aluminum alloy rims. The Sam's Club people were very nice and their insurance carrier had a check cut and to me within 15 days of the incident. I called Audi and ordered the new rim and when they called back the following week to tell me the part was in, I set up an appointment to have it installed by them. My appointment was for 1:00 this afternoon.
I arrived 15 minutes early for my visit. At 2:20 my car was finished. One hour and thirty-five minutes to move a tire from one rim to another. The tire shop at Sam's only took 50 minutes to do this 4 times, and that included the time spent taking pictures of the damaged rim. The Audi dealer service shop took 95 minutes to install one tire. Unbelievable.
Granted I am spoiled, as the other car in my current stable is a Lexus. Once you've been pampered by Lexus service you'll never want to go back to the crappy American model. Recently my Lexus needed its 30,000-mile checkup. The nearest dealer is 75 miles away. They drove down in a loaner (same make and model as my ES300) left it for the day and drive my car back to their shop. After servicing the car, washing it inside and out, they returned it to me. No additional cost to me.
I'm as patriotic as the next American, but I am sick and tired of support American standards when that means poor service and no attention to detail. I deserve better. I demand better. Therefore my money will only go to those companies whose commitment to service is deeper than a fancy service emblem or slogan.