Importance of a Great Dealership

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I can’t over emphasize the importance of having a great dealer when owning a supercar.  I have been fortunate enough to have long term relationships with two dealers that I would rate as simply outstanding.  In both cases, it has made the difference between a good and a great ownership experience. Both dealers are happy to go the extra yard.  Each has gladly extended a hand when I have needed help, no matter how unusual the request or situation.

Despite not having lived in the UK for five years now and not having kept a Ferrari there for two, I still consider Carrs Ferrari in Exeter to be my preferred Ferrari dealer.  When I did live in the UK, they were always terrific.  Servicing could not have been easier. The Ferraris were picked up and then dropped back off again right in our garage.  The few times there were issues, Carrs immediately took action to make it right. I always felt that I was treated fairly. The mechanics at Carrs were outstanding and knew both our F40 & F50 inside and out. Given their mechanical skills, when we acquired the Koenigsegg CCR and the Jaguar XJR-15, I sent them down to Carrs to be sorted.  

An example of the value of a importance of a great relationship happened two years ago when we were on a road trip in France in the F40.   Our group had pulled into the gas station to fill-up. After filling the tanks, word went out on the walkie talkies that we were ready to go, and I went to start the F40.  It was completely dead.  After a few choice words, the other guys parked their cars and came over to help push the F40 from the gas pumps over into a parking spot on the side.  We opened the engine cover & the front clam shell. This rare site only served to attract a not exactly helpful crowd.  I immediately called Carr’s Ferrari and explained the situation.  While on the phone, Carrs walked me through possible causes.  First, we checked for a dead battery, negative, then a dead starter motor, also negative, dead alternator, nope.  From there it was onto the electrical system.  We went through the fuses and relays until the issue was isolated to a problem with the wiring in the starter button, immobilizer, or the ignition. Carrs pulled the wiring diagram and came up with a work around that allowed us to continue on the trip. So, there we were in a gas station in France, basically hot wiring a Ferrari F40.  Had Carrs not come to the rescue, we would have ended up flat bedding the F40 back to the UK.

A more recent example happened just a few weeks ago.  Earlier this year I had the Ferrari F40 serviced for the 1sttime in the US (F40 1st Service in the US). On the drive home from the service, the F40 just didn’t feel right.  It felt very down on power and quite sluggish. Both any sense of torque and the usual rabid acceleration were completely missing.  It was as if the turbos had left on vacation and taken four of the eight cylinders with them.  As the F40 had just been serviced, my initial thoughts were it must be bad petrol. After a few more drives and with some fresh petrol in the tanks, the F40 still didn’t feel right and on one very hot day, it suddenly stalled at a stop sign after a 30 minute run.  While I was able to nurse the F40 home, the sudden refusing to idle properly was a major concern.  I’m a firm believer that the people who get you into trouble normally aren’t the people that are going to get you back out.  Hence, I reached out to Carrs vs. taking the F40 back to Boardwalk, whom I had little trust in (Dealing With Ferrari). Post a phone call with Carrs, the head mechanic, Harvey, immediately sent back a detailed list of components to check.  I methodically went through the list, checking relays, fuses, and all the ECU connections.  Once finished, I started the F40 up and it immediately sounded better.  A short drive confirmed that the issue with idling had been resolved and power was back to normal.  Again, Carrs came to my rescue and I am not even a current customer. 

The other dealership that has routinely gone above and beyond is our current McLaren and Maserati dealer, Park Place in Dallas.  Over the last five years, Park Place has done an outstanding job managing our complex relationship with McLaren.  The sales team has done a terrific job helping us get both the allocations and the build slots we prefer.  In addition, they have always offered to lend me the latest McLaren, Maserati, and even a few Bentley models to try for a few days (McLaren 720S Coupe vs. Spider and Bentley Conti GT Speed).  When I have needed to ship cars across the country, Park Place has helped out.  On the service side, we have never had an issue.  The team of mechanics is excellent, and each annual service has been done with perfection.  When I have had a question, I get a response in a matter of hours.  While we haven’t had any major issues with any of the cars, on the few minor ones, Park Place has always gone to bat for us on warrantee claims and made sure things were completely covered.  This includes three faulty batteries on the Maserati Granturismo Cabriolet and a new infotainment system on the McLaren P1.  Both Mrs. SSO and I know that if something does go wrong, help is only a phone call away.  You can’t put a value on that type of peace of mind.  

The sales team at Park Place does a great job of supporting the local supercar community.  They are always present at local events.  Park Place now organizes the most prestigious local concurs, the Luxury and Supercar Showcase, which is now in its third year running.  In addition, Park Place hosts a number of invitation only events in the showroom and the occasional track day.

All in all, we have been very fortunate with our two main dealer relationships in both the UK and the US.  Both Carrs of Exeter and Park Place in Dallas excel at customer service and know how to build a great long-term relationship.  When owning cars of these values and complexity, having the right support is critical.

Carrs Ferrari of Exeter

Manaton Close, Exeter, EX2 8PF

44 1392 822086  www.carrsferrari.co.uk

Park Place Premier Collection

5300 Lemmon Avenue, Dallas, TX 75209

1 214 849 5355 https://www.parkplace.com/Dealership-McLaren-Dallas

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July 2019

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