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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've read so many stories about so many great Studios. I feel compelled to share my buying experience. It's not a happy story.

I purchased our 500c Pop in late October. I was able to forgo the maintenance and got a $500 "rebate" as well as $500 off sticker. I felt good about getting basically $1,000 off. This was a far cry from the $$$ over invoice dealers were asking months prior.

The studio I purchased from was OK. They didn't seem to have everything together when I called and asked about the models they had on hand. The websites are really not very intuitive and I found two prices for each car online based on how I found the website. I live far away from this Studio so I wanted to confirm as much as possible before I traveled that far to do the deal. I was "pre-qualified" and quoted a good interest rate and felt good about the terms of the purchase given I put a good sum of cash down.

When I got the to dealership everything was going OK, albeit really slow. I had all my facts ready, insurance, etc. and nailed the paperwork within minutes. I wanted to get on the road given it was Halloween. But man they really started to put the breaks on me and I was out of my mind by the time their finance guy was ready to have me sign the papers.

The first thing he does is quote me a totally insane interest rate and payment. I showed him my notes from the sales guy that supposedly "pre-qualified" me. This finance guy basically said the first guy didn't know what he was talking about and really disrespected a fellow employee. A huge no-no for me. So, I basically said thank you and got out of my chair. He reels me back in. Saying he'll try very hard, but I might not get what I was originally quoted, so I should be willing to meet half way, etc. He kept trying to do the 4 square with me, which is a tacit used to confuse the buyer. Either get me to commit to a price or an interest rate, etc. and they can move the numbers to fit their needs, not mine. So up out of the chair again. He finally realizes I'm not having any of this. So he finally plugs in the numbers I was originally quoted and asks if this is acceptable and I'm like, duh? He than goes on to try to sell a ton of crap I don't need nor accept. Up out of the chair again. Finally, this guy gives in and we get to signing the papers.

Hours later than when I thought I'd be on the road, I own the car. The sales team now is excited to show me all the features of the car. I basically said show me how to hook my phone up so I can listen to music and get [email protected]#% out of my way. I was so not happy at that point. I just barely made it home in time to go trick or treating with my family.

So to me, when I read how great these studios are, I'm thinking how did I get such a dud of a studio? And I'm not a mean person. I'm in sales so my default mode is to make people laugh and be at ease at all times. These guys were just not cool and put a huge blemish on what should of been an awesome event.

Stating the obvious, I'll never be going to that Studio again. I've decided I'll be changing my own oil or having my local independent shop do it. But for warranty work I will need to take it somewhere. I've just read there is a Studio opening in Berkeley, CA. There was a listing for San Francisco, but that's never changed status on the fiat site. Not sure if any Studios will open in Marin County where I live.

If there are any other Northern California owners, I'd like your feedback on who you bought from and your experience with service, etc. I'd like to have a good relationship with a Studio. But I just haven't found one that deserves my business.
 

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My brother bought a Sport from the San Jose Studio and said it was a piece of cake. He arrived with a quote from the USAA Auto Circle and the rep. pointed out the rows of Sports and just told him to pick the one he wanted and the deal was his. And it was.

I got my Abarth from the Sacramento Studio (same USAA deal) and it could have gone smoother but since it was Christmas Eve I don't think they believed I was a real buyer for a while, mainly because of all the questions I had. When the sales rep. realized I was going to buy, he had to call the finance guy who had already gone home to come back and close the deal. Still, although I've lived in the Sacramento area for over 40 years I've rarely had great "new car" success.

I only bought it here because it's fairly local (30 miles) but if I did it over again I'd probably go to San Jose.
 

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The Burlingame dealership was great for sales...(Henrik the sales guy is a rockstar!)

Was in and out in under and hour...and got my car for a few grand under invoice after incentives and grinding.

The service department on the other hand is clueless......

Took me 2 weeks to book a service appointment because only 1 mechanic knows how to service the Fiats, and then I get there 10 mins prior to my appt. and am ignored while I stand there and watch the service manager and 3 mechs stare at some blondes *** while they swarm her...(She was not that hot...)

After 20 mins I decided I can just take my business elsewhere, and I leave...

15 mins later I get a call from a girl in service berating me for missing my appointment...

I told her I JUST left after sitting around for 20 mins and being ignored...

Her reply, "Oh really? So, does that mean you don't want to reschedule???"

"Ummm.....ya THINK?"

Fremont is a train wreck as well....but the guys in SJ bend over backwards for me...

So, 58 miles o/w later....I have a new service department. (Gives me an excuse to go to Vietnamese coffee...)
 

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Went to Roseville Studio, awesome service! Couldn't agree on price though. Went to McKevitt in Berkley the next day (3 hour drive for me). Got a Sport with all the options i wanted for less than the price of a Pop. I dont know if it was my good credit or large amount of cash down. Anyways they were willing to work with me so they got my business! Love my new Fiat and had a great experience at both Studios.
 

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I think some manager at Burlingame must have read this thread - when I took my new 500L in for a "Check Engine" light, unscheduled, they did a quick read to determine it wasn't critical and got me an appointment that was convenient for me the next week. Took it in, got a free loaner car, they stared work on it quickly and kept me in the loop during the process. After they fixed it they wanted to keep the car overnight to make sure the problem didn't recur - next day I came back and everything was fine.

Their service intake room is not well planned out - there are several desks on opposite sides of the door and no customer really knows where the line is. It is not like an Apple Store where "associates" swarm all over you, but it is about the same as many other car dealer service centers I have been in.
 

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The service manager and I had a "discussion" last visit...took them 3 weeks to get me a tire and it was a complete **** up....was promised things they did not deliver, (was over charged) and after 3 visits and 2 calls got everything done, but in the end left such a bad taste in my mouth that....I walked next door to Scion to discuss trading my Abarth in for a BRZ/FRS. (Burlingame is not the only Fiat "Studio" I have had bad experience with..)

In the end it is ALL about customer service. And I don't see Fiat's Service or Corporate Customer Service being ANYTHING less than substandard...(I interned at BMW Corporate and KNOW what Customer Service SHOULD be) as well as having clients/friends at Fiat Corporate in Italy who were appalled by my experiences, and those that they read...from this very board..

It's really disappointing, as I like the Abarth as a product...but when speaking to Chrysler corporate customer service I get "So.....what do you want US to do about ......" I wonder if they really support the brands success, or support the product halfheartedly as they consider it an unnecessary evil as they are a foreign corporate element...

Either way, I take my vehicle to a non dealer now for repairs...until I sell or trade it in...

Pity, but....far less drama, lies or excuses that way.
 

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I agree...SJ has a great service dept. But, 75+ miles one way is a bit difficult for me...
 

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cgpiper;104155 I got my Abarth from the Sacramento Studio[/QUOTE said:
Update: Fiat of Sacramento sold its franchise to Niello Group, which owns a bunch of different franchises (started with VW back in the 60s) because they already own the Maserati dealership and are in negotiations to gain Alfa Romeo. Although the service at the original studio was okay, it'll probably be better when it's housed with other Italian (and other foreign) makes instead of being the lonely stepchild to Dodge, Ram, Jeep, and Chrysler products. I haven't been to Niello yet but will report anything I find out.
 

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Fiat in SJ was awsome. They GAVE me nearly 3k off a base Abarth without even haggling. They gave me a great trade on my Rabbit. When the wifey needs a new car, a 500L will be in our future.
 
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