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Old 03-19-2001, 07:36 PM   #1
Red-Impreza
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Post I'm working on SOA & Dealer Support (long)

I just wanted to let everyone know that I've opened a dialogue with SOA regarding dealer support (among other things).

It started when SOA announced the free SCCA memberships with purchase of a WRX. I sent an E-mail to the person named in the press release asking if SOA was going to give some sort of official direction to the dealers regarding warranty claims on cars that have been autocrossed & rallycrossed or are we going to get hassled like we always do? I received a couple of replies, one of them from an SOA rep that was very helpful to me when I ordered my car. Here's an excerpt from that response:

<blockquote>We appreciate your excitement and inquiries regarding warranty support, contingency money, and dealer support. I forwarded your message to the appropriate department/s for consideration. I've been advised that the appropriate departments will be having a meeting within the next few weeks regarding these matters and they will supply me with a response. At that time, I will contact you directly.

Your direct contact with us regarding these matters is appreciated and will help us to properly inform those that need such information. I hope that I will be contacting you soon with a response. Best wishes!</blockquote>

After reminding the rep of who I was I received the following response (somewhat edited to remove identifying and irrelevent comments).

<blockquote>Thank you for your reply. When I replied to your message (to Rob Moran), I thought that your name sounded familiar! {abbreviated} I remembered you. {abbreviated}

As for your questions about Subaru clubs, dealers embracing enthusiasts, aftermarket companies, etc., I will need to follow-up with some of our other departments for more information. I am sorry to hear that you and others in Arizona are disappointed with some of your dealers. Without knowing any specifics, it is nice to hear that you wish to positively "turn the situation around." I am not knowledgeable about how to go about this, but I will forward your message to the proper departments for their consideration.

You may receive a response from someone else from Subaru about your newest inquiries, but I expect to be in contact with you regarding your original SCCA inquiries within the next few weeks.

Again, thanks for your message. We'll be in contact with you again.

{name removed}
Subaru of America, Inc.
Customer/Dealer Services Department
</blockquote>

I'm starting this thread so that we can discuss what sort of support we expect from the dealer, what sort of support we would like to get from the dealer as a club and as enthusiasts, and to come up with a few ideas and goals toward that end.

I don't want to start a bitch session and I don't want to take specific service complaints to SOA. That should be worked through the dealer first, then individually through SOA.

I'd like us to try to define the type of relationship a product-enthusiasts group should have with the maker of that product.

Here's a few ideas. Carr Subaru in Oregon offers things like Cobb cams as dealer installed options. I think that's a great idea. (When I go to Oregon, I'm going to stop by Carr and see what else they do.) I like Dan's idea of AZScooby meetings at the dealership. Maybe we could make an arrangement where one salesman acts as a club contact. They agree to give club members a good price on cars and we agree to send everyone we can to that salesman. Alternately, perhaps we get an agreement to work clubmember purchases through fleet sales and eliminate a bunch of work for the dealer.

Any other ideas? What do you guys think?

-Bud

[Edit: Did a little formatting cleanup. PS: Rob Moran is the contact given in the press release. He replied to me first The rep I've been speaking to is someone else.]

[This message has been edited by Red-Imp (edited March 19, 2001).]
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Old 03-19-2001, 08:14 PM   #2
kastle
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
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Post

Bud,

The intent on this is very well directed and thought out. You've done a great job on this, and I hope that you continue to work on this. I like your ideas, moving from Dan's suggestion, to identify a sales person at one of the dealerships and work on a relationship with them. Personally, it would be in our best interest as a group to do so.

Let's try to get that constructive idea's flowing here. I have 2 personal favorites here that I'd like to share:

1) A dealership where we trust the service department. Period.
We don't have that now. Too many of us have been burned or have had many problems dealing with the different dealerships. Soon I won't be able to bring in my car, and currently Aaron can't as well. As more of us modify our cars to a higher level, this will be an issue.

2) A dealership that supports the growth of Subaru enthusiasts.
It would be great to be able to interact and develop interest in the Subaru brand with that level of support.

Bring on the feedback.
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Old 03-19-2001, 08:25 PM   #3
Red-Impreza
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Thumbs up

Thanks Kastle.

The two things you've mentioned are two of our primary objectives. My question to you is this, what _exactly_ does it mean to have dealership where we can _trust_ the service department and what _exactly_ does "support for the enthusiast" mean.

Be as specific as you can.
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Old 03-19-2001, 08:39 PM   #4
olsonjj
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Question

Bud,
Thanks for starting this and doing a lot of the early leg work. We are appreciate what you are doing, it benefits everyone here and those arent online.

I agree with both of Kastles ideas, but I think #1 is the most important. #1 We need a dealership we can trust and that is consistant with all their customers. Personally, it doesnt bother me if a dealership wants to draw a line and say they wont warranty or work on cars with modifications X,Y, or Z.. but it seems like we have heard stories of some people not have a problem at all...and others who get hassled. I would prefer SOA to instruct their dealerships to support the aftermarket, its good for us and its good for them. Their marketing people have no idea the impact their cars have, if we have to go elsewhere for our service. If they support the aftermarket through their dealerships, they will get vital feedback about what we like and what we dont.

I think a question to ask ourselves is that if SOA came out and said to all dealerships that they will support and service all cars regardless of aftermarket parts ( I didnt say warranty - thats another discussion), would we all get our cars serviced at the dealership on a regular basis?

As for warranties, SOA needs to set guidelines as to what they will and wont warranty based upon an approved list of aftermarkets add-ons (suspension, cold air intakes, JDM items, turbo's)..

I hope I didnt ramble on without making any sense.. I have been writing, leaving, coming back, adding ,etc....

-John

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Old 03-19-2001, 09:37 PM   #5
slidewaysmike
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Post

Here, Here!! I like whats happening. It sounds like we are heading in the right direction.

Bud, thanks for getting the ball rolling.

As far as approaching a dealership, maybe we should hear from everyone that had a POSITIVE experience at a dealership.
No complaining, lets just focus on good things for right now. Perhaps that would help us to identify potential dealers in our area whom might not be so "aftermarket unfriendly".

Anyone?

Mike
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Old 03-19-2001, 09:46 PM   #6
kastle
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Steel Blue Mica

Post

There are only 3 dealers in town (duh), so we will be limited.

I don't have any positive remarks for any. So I'll be quiet.

Bud, I'll send you a PM on what I mean later.
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Old 03-20-2001, 06:54 AM   #7
Red-Impreza
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Post

Thanks for the support.

It's a good point that we will have to figure out which dealer to approach. I'd like to worry about that a little later though. I'd like to brainstorm here first, then worry about how to implement that in reality later.

So in a perfect world, short of giving us free cars, what would we like to get from a Subaru dealer?

-Bud

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Old 03-20-2001, 09:05 AM   #8
olsonjj
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2000 Impreza RS 2.5
Silverthorn

Exclamation

Quote:
So in a perfect world, short of giving us free cars, what would we like to get from a Subaru dealer?
1. All AZScooby and iClub members deal directly with fleet sales.
2. $100 finders fee to AZScooby club for every customer referred to the dealership by AZScooby members.
3. Discounts on service and parts for all club members showing their club membership card(10%)
4. Subaru club meetings co-hosted by the dealership and AZScooby
5. Quarterly meetings between AZScooby and the dealership where we talk about how service can be improved and in general other improvements.
6. Contacts to tire manufacturers that could donate merchandise for raffles, etc.
7. SCCA / ASRA / NASA presence and support - Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday

Now what can we give the dealership?
1. Dealership co-sponsorship on the AZScooby website
2. Dealership recognition at all SCCA/ASRA/NASA events via a tent with their name, whatever..
3. Dealership recognition on all printed materials..
4. "Ride-a-longs" for salespeople at SCCA / ASRA / NASA events.. Get them excited about their product.. Most salespeople have ridden to the edge of adhesion.
5. Handshake agreement to take member cars to get serviced at the dealership. ( of course, this is after service is improved and we sort out aftermarket part issue)

At my work , our IS person has been the Treasurer for the AZ BMW club (co-sponsored by Chapman) for about 10 years and they have a good arrangement with Chapman.

Chapman has become certified to install many of the aftermarket parts and warranties them, if they install them. We might look at a similar setup if we can get SOA support because ultimately they choose what to warranty or not.

-John O.


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Old 03-20-2001, 09:28 AM   #9
Danny5
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Post

I still have my contacts to the AZ region's district representatives. I am going to contact them today, and see where we can take these ideas. They are all very good, and this could be a great boon to our little group of enthusiasts.

Big question I have here is, we all know that Pitre Bell Rd sucks A$$, and we know that Scottsdale Pitre has recently done a 180 and begun the hard nosed approach, but what stories are there about Camelback Subaru? I have heard nothing about this place, and would love stories good or bad so that I can properly evaluate their potential to serving our needs.

Its a perfect launching pad, middle of town, upstairs conference rooms, factory reps close at hand...

But I have not had any contact with their service department...

Worst case scenario, I *know* Flagstaff Subaru would take care of us, but that could be quite a long drive...

-Dan
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Old 03-20-2001, 09:52 AM   #10
#522
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01 RS
swirly blue

Post

Funny you ask, Dan. I was typing a comment on camelback earlier and accidentally deleted it. So here we go again.

I live right by them and take my car to them for everything. I have nothing but good things to say about their service. I deal with a service rep named Chris. He is really cool and recognizes me now when I come in for stuff. He has been intersted in getting a Suby for a while, and was curious about my car and the new WRX's. I had them fix 2 o2 sensors under warranty and my drivers window so far. They are smaller in size and just sold their Saab franchise, making them exclusively VW/Subaru now. So far the atmosphere has been nice and friendly and I think a smaller businesses lend themselves to what we're trying to do better. I also have seen a 00/01 sedan just like mine with Nevada plates around there and waved to him on the road the other day. I think he works there. By the way, they have 2 02 RSís, and one silver WRX thatís been sold already.

When I asked about putting different air filters and a Ganzflow on my car, they said there should be no problem with them working on it and it doesnít effect warranty issues, unless it causes it directly. It seems they play right from the warranty book we get with the car and donít try to pull crap.

As far as what I want from SOA, I just want to know:
What is their definition of Racing and how does it relate to the warranty, since they are giving out SCCA memberships now,
And to see if the dealers have an interest in tuning. Out of anyone, you would think the techs would know how to safely tune these cars and which mods are safe or not.

As far as you guys with turbos, and extensive mods, what about an independant shop? I use a place called Independent Import for my Hondas and they rule. They use Honda parts, are very honest, really know what they are doing and are affordable. There could be a Subaru place somewhere.

ron
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Old 03-20-2001, 09:58 AM   #11
Turbo4me
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97 Miata, 96 Landcruiser

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522, You should see if Lee at Independent would be willing to branch out into Subaru's. I mentioned it to him one time, but there were a lot of things going on then (I think his partner had passed away) so I never followed up. If you could show that there is a good customer base, he might go for it. Those guys are the best, and no one but them EVER worked on my Honda's. Do you go to the shop in Tempe or the one near 32nd st.? If Tempe, say hi to Tim and Lee for me.

Curt
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Old 03-20-2001, 10:21 AM   #12
kastle
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Time for the cat to come out of the bag.

Well, as far as independant shops go, I know for a fact that Robert Ansick of Forced Air Tech (new name for Mile High Automotive) and the creator ofthe SVX and RS turbo kits will be moving shop down to Phoenix sometime in the next few months. I don't know where in town, but that most certainly will be in our favor.

I say we need to do a meet @ Camelback subaru really soon.
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Old 03-20-2001, 11:09 AM   #13
olsonjj
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With Forced Air Tech moving down here.. that takes care of some of our aftermarket needs..but still doesnt address warranty work...

unless he does warranty work?

Kastle - roughly, what has your turbo cost you?

-John O.

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Old 03-20-2001, 01:23 PM   #14
kastle
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I like your thinking bud.
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Old 03-20-2001, 05:34 PM   #15
Eric SS
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swap and N20. gone. : (

Post

I'm Here Just been browsing these last couple weeks

I like all the ideas and really don't have much to add. I know the GM of Camelback Subaru is a prick but other than that, I don't know anything about them

Eric
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Old 03-21-2001, 12:14 AM   #16
kastle
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Steel Blue Mica

Post

John,

The turbo costs are going to be broken out. I went stage II. The turbo installation included T3 Garrett, up / down pipes, hoses, brakets, fittings, etc... That was $2500.

I spent for the following:
Fuel pump 150
Intercooler 650
Exhaust 350
Guages 400
Spark Plugs 15
RRFPR 300
Voltage Clamp 80
--------------------
total 1945
turbo 2500
--------------------
Grand total 4500ish

I lucked out due to KevinL buying my SVX turbo, so I had $2000 towards the kit. I should be running 7psi safely with it.

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Old 03-21-2001, 12:28 AM   #17
olsonjj
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Silverthorn

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Thanks for the numbers Kastle.

sorry for getting off topic.

-John O.

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Old 03-21-2001, 12:28 AM   #18
#522
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Curt-I go to the one on thomas near 32 st. I kind of know Larry (real name Brian) Next time I go there, I'll mention Subarus and see what he thinks.

As far as warranty work goes, I assume they have to be an authorized Subaru dealer/service, otherwise Subaru probably won't honor warranty claims.

I was thinking of cars either beyond warranties, or people who just don't care when I mentioned tuning shops, such as the one Kastle mentioned.

Anyone got anything negative to say about Camelback that we should be aware of?

I can't wait to hear what Red Finds out.
ron


Where's Eric?
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Old 03-21-2001, 12:48 AM   #19
Red-Impreza
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Thumbs up

This is all great stuff guys. This is exactly what I had in mind.

Dan,

You and me should coordinate our efforts. Work on SOA from a couple of fronts.

Ron,

Good input. I sort of had Camelback in mind, but that was based mostly on a total lack of info about them (since we've had only bad info from both Pitre dealerships) and a total mistrust of any Pitre-owned dealership.

As far as SCCA & warranty issues, that was my first letter to SOA. They still owe me an answer to that one. The rep (above) said it would be a few weeks. I'll share it with the group when I get it. (In fact I'll post it to the motorsports forum and post a pointer here.)

Kastle,

That's great news about Robert. Maybe if we can get a good relationship with a dealer, the dealer will direct people who want radical aftermarket add-ons to him, improving his business.

-Bud
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Old 03-21-2001, 07:00 AM   #20
H1
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Green

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I like this idea a lot, my only contribution is on the fleet sales front.

I bought my car at Pitre on McDowell, in the fleet sales dept. The guy was great - Rodger Howard - made it really easy, and he offered me the $100 finders fee you mentioned earlier.

Dave
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Old 03-21-2001, 02:57 PM   #21
olsonjj
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Silverthorn

Post

Fleet sales is the way to go.. in fact, the only way i have gone for my car purchases. I picked up my MY00 from Thomas Motors , Jim White I think.. really nice guy.. of course, why shouldnt they be nice when they are taking your $20K?

-John


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