I thought it would be interesting to do a bit of mystery shopping and compare it with the buying experience of a regular car.
The first thing to do was selecting the models, i've chosen plug-ins that were commonly sold here in Portugal (Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, Renault Zoe, Smart Fortwo ED), along with the Opel Ampera, just because it's one of those cars i would actually see myself buying it.
Scheduling a Test Drive
Speaking of Ampera, after checking the manufacturer websites to schedule a test drive, i had the first surprise of this enterprise in the opel.pt website: There was just ONE dealer selling the Ampera in Portugal, it was in Oporto, 275 kms away.
So, unless you live nearby, you have to REALLY want a 0 kms Ampera to buy it in Portugal. No wonder this year only two were registered...So the Ampera is out of the case study.
The other four test drive scheduling also had their peculiarities:
- The nearest Nissan dealership didn't had a Leaf available for test drive, so it had to be scheduled on one in downtown Lisbon;
- BMW asked a whole bunch of information regarding the customer (In this case, me), including job profiling;
- Renault back-office assistant advised me to visit the dealership and test-drive other models besides the Zoe, like the Captur or Clio;
- The Smart assistant informed me that at that moment they hadn't any Fortwo ED available for test drive and asked me to wait a few more weeks in order to perform the test drive. (I waited three weeks).
So, after this first step, Opel is out, Smart is losing points, Renault is losing focus, BMW a bit intimidating and Nissan is ok.