Purchase experience: I'm a compulsive researcher and shopper. I spent months tracking price changes on local dealer websites. I'd initially thought that I would pick up a leftover 2018. The best price I saw locally was $44,000 for a 2018 Limited, in September of 2018. That dealership had two in stock, and when they dropped to that price they sold them quickly.
The local market for PacHys is pretty bare. There were quite a few 2018s for sale last year, but there were never more than a handful of 2019s available in stock over this winter and early spring. Maybe six to seven in the Minneapolis area, which has a population of about 3 million. Personally, I think this was a reaction to how difficult dealerships locally found it to move the 2018s that they'd had. There are more 2018s available now locally than 2019s. Dealerships here still aren't discounting the 2018s very much.
I tried to buy a 2018 from the Gilroy, CA Chrysler dealership. They've got the lowest prices I've found nationally on them, at a bit under $40k. CA has prohibitive tax policies for people purchasing in person from out of state, so I attempted to buy from the Gilroy dealership and have the van shipped to me. Shipping costs would have been $1,250 or so. I found the Gilroy dealership to be impossible to work with--I couldn't actually get them to take my money at their price. I've read a number of negative things about them, and gave up after a week.
I saw a post here by Carl Wilhelm, who's a salesman for Criswell Chrysler in MD. He was offering 7% below dealer invoice. I asked him for a quote, thinking that I'd be able to use it to negotiate with local dealerships on a custom order. Carl was super-responsive and detailed, a complete difference from the CA dealership.
In the end, none of the local dealers I contacted could come close to Criswell's price. The closest I got was the same offer on a 2018 that I'd test driven. The local dealer really wanted to move the 2018, and was upfront with me about how difficult it had been for them to sell PacHys. They couldn't--wouldn't--beat Carl's price. Said they were already losing close to $2k on the deal. I actually believe them. The salesman had spent some time with me working to try to find a Copper PacHy with the Advanced Safety Tech package. Turns out there was a Copper PacHy Limited for sale in AZ, but without AST. I bought my last van from the sales manager at a different local dealership ten years ago, and I'd found him to be straightforward about things then. I guess my local market for PacHys is just different.
I ended up doing a deal with Carl and Criswell. I was quite nervous about it. I've never purchased a vehicle from out of state, though my grandfather used to purchase all of his cars that way. Carl was very knowledgeable about the process--he's done this more than a few times. I put a deposit down on the van over the phone on a Tuesday, bought my plane ticket, and got a FedEx packet from Criswell on that Thursday. The plan was to bring the paperwork out to MD with me, signed by both my wife and I.
There was a small hitch. A destination charge had appeared on the paperwork, that we hadn't discussed. Carl got that taken care of quickly on that Thursday. He said it was a glitch in their software, in dealing with a Minnesota registration. I chose to believe Carl on that, and in the context of the rest of my experience with him and his dealership that was the right choice on my part. Carl is an honest, caring salesman. I actually can't say enough good things about him, as you'll read below.
I flew out on Friday morning, getting up very early to catch my flight. Got to the dealership about 12:30 PM via a cab from the airport. Criswell had offered to pay my cab fare. Carl told me on Tuesday that they'd do that, and it was both unexpected and very kind of them.
Things went a bit sideways. After completing the purchase paperwork, Carl was set to do the delivery with me. Turns out the van wouldn't charge off of either of their Level 2 chargers or the van's Level 1. It kept tossing out an error about the charger (not the van) having a malfunction. Three chargers all malfunctioning? Yeah, it was the van.
Criswell's techs started having a look at it. I had planned on driving to Dayton, Ohio that Friday. I began to see my plans changing... Kevin Glassic is the sales manager, and he stepped in to try to get things resolved as quickly as possible. When it became apparent that it might not be a quick fix, Kevin offered me the option of buying another van that they had in stock. He knew my timeline and how far away I'd come from. I'd initially purchased a 2019 Limited that was black. They had a red one in stock, but with a sunroof. I'd gone back and forth on the idea of a sunroof over the past few months. The red one had the brown interior, which was my ideal color combination from what was available on the '19s.
In the end, I decided to take Kevin up on his offer and purchased the red/brown van with the sunroof. They offered to pick up my airfare for the trouble and disruption to my travel timeline, which I thought was extremely fair. Carl and Kevin were incredibly kind to me that day, making sure all of my needs were met and offering up some great conversation. They made me feel like I was their only customer. Even when the deal was done, they treated me so well. Bought me lunch, too. Their finance guy was great, too. He knew I was a little fried from the whole experience. While we were doing the paperwork on the second van he excused himself for a moment, came back and said that he'd asked if he could toss in a 2-year maintenance plan through Chrysler for free. Kevin approved it. They didn't have to do that, and it was very kind and generous of them.
I ended up getting out of the dealership about 6:30 PM, roughly four hours later than I planned. Their entire staff was great--they made efforts to keep my spirits up, offered great conversation, and really took an interest in me. This was from top to bottom--Carl, Kevin, Thong (finance), some of the other salesman, techs, and lot workers. I've never had a better dealership experience, and very few customer service experiences that rival it.
I saved about $3k doing this over buying locally.
2019 Pacifica Hybrid Limited