We are well-seasoned automobile buyers, in our early seventies, and our expectations are simple (albeit a bit old-fashioned these days) ... treat us with respect, not as a potential paycheck; be forthright and honest, and please don't play the "car game" ... we've heard it all, and will immediately get up and leave if we sense any of it ... and if we can't come to terms, don't act as if we're taking money out of your pocket; some deals get done, others don't (it's the nature of the business). Conversely, we will treat you with the same respect, make a genuine effort to arrive at a price that's fair to both parties, and will shake your hand, whether or not we drive off in a new vehicle.
We found it a bit unusual to be car shopping on a Sunday, but we spotted a vehicle online that we were really anxious to see ... interior and exterior colors, trim level and equipment were exactly what we wanted. Fred Haas has two Toyota stores in the Spring area, one closed on Saturday and open on Sunday. We were surprised to see the number of folks in the showroom ... but despite the crowd, we were greeted promptly, and introduced to Beth Elliott of the Internet sales department (yes, there really is one), who explained that she had a customer coming in shortly, but will try to get us started, rather than having us wait for an available salesperson. She was courteous, knowledgeable, and eager to answer our questions. As it turned out, the RAV4 we had in mind was at the closed location (to Beth's credit, we didn't get the line, "Oh, that car's been sold."), and she assured us that we'd be welcome to come back the next day.
Right at that time, her customer with an appointment arrived, and we were turned over to Manny Gomez, who immediately earned our confidence. He's a young, intelligent, personable guy, with thorough knowledge of the products. For comparison purposes, we test drove an XLE, the model just below the one we came to see, and concluded that we wanted the Limited after all. The inventory didn't show anything that attracted us ... but Manny took the time to peruse the entire lot with us by golf cart, stating that what's in the computer isn't necessarily up to date (his words, "they're always behind"), and it's possible that something might have come in within the past few days ... nothing ventured, nothing gained. We were amazed at how he was able to tell one model from the next (including interior colors) without even leaving the cart.
As luck would have it, he did find a vehicle that would work well for us ... way in the back, waiting to be prepped, and not showing on inventory. After gathering the paperwork, he quoted us a price that, while a bit below sticker, was not yet in our comfort zone. This is the part of buying process that we don't particularly care for, although we do understand the reason for it. We're veteran negotiators (both in purchasing automobiles and as Realtors), and after going back and forth a few times, came to terms. Throughout the process, Manny was low-key, very professional, did not pressure us, didn't pull that, "This price is only good for today!" crap, and treated us as valued customers.
After a brief wait, we met with Alex Saaverdra of the finance department. Since we were paying cash, the process was simple, and we were out in less than ten minutes. He didn't pressure us about all those extra warranties, but did explain them, as he's required to do (not to mention that he makes a few bucks off them). We declined them all ... not a problem.
What particularly impressed us was the fact that there's a staff of individuals assigned to "introduce" buyers to their new vehicles. With all the technology on today's automobiles, it's most welcome. We left the dealership confident that we could at least get the hang of all that stuff, and knowing that we have a resource in the event that something stumps us.
On the way home, we remarked almost simultaneously that this experience was probably the best (certainly in the top two) we've encountered in our fifteen car purchases over the years. From the beginning, everyone met or exceeded our expectations ... almost unheard of in the industry. The price we paid was more than fair (and we did research the hell out of it). Our home is in the Bellaire area, and Toyota dealers abound within a few minutes' drive. We've dealt with them all (including one that we really like, but we couldn't make the numbers work there). The drive to Spring was well worth it. We wholeheartedly recommend both the dealership and the personnel we dealt with.