Buying a new car these days

Recently after purchasing a Lexus RX350, my mother in law went through what sounded like an orientation session to learn about the car. Same when they bought a Ford truck last year. Is it de rigueur these days to have to spend a couple of hours with the dealer where they teach you how to go through the car’s menus, how to play music, phone connections, etc.?

It should be, though it isn’t. Lexus is known for customer service. It’s probably easier to give buyers an orientation than to have them coming back complaining that the clock is wrong and can’t be set.

I agree with @MarkM. Old folks typically have more trouble with these systems. I can usually figure out an intuitive system quickly, but I had a heck of a time with a Lincoln MKX. Ford’s system is lousy, but it is representative of what is out there. By taking the time to reach new buyers, they keep them from regretting their purchase decision when they can’t figure out how to select radio channels. It makes repeat buyers out of current buyers.

I guess I’ll never get that “free” lesson . . . because I’ve never bought a new car, and probably never will

Yea, good points. Our GTI came with a DVD, which was pretty hilarious in it’s self-deprecating approach to German engineers. Maybe my in-laws got some special attention that dealers give to their older buyers who might not be as savvy with all of the new tech.

That’s been my experience. Maybe not a couple hours but a good half hour anyway, then they want you to come back in a week or two after looking at the manual and trying the car out. Not a bad idea actually. After 3 years I discovered the car had a lumbar support and that’s why my back hurt. I promptly deflated it.

A few years back when BMW started with their “I-drive” system, the thing was so complicated that even the car magazine test drivers were having a terrible time learning to use it. Some cars are getting so sophisticated that nobody ever understands them. Owners simply figure out only what they need and ignore the rest.

And, yeah, it is harder on many of us old folks. I didn’t grow up with technology, and didn’t invest the time to keep up with it over the years, so a lot of this stuff is really useless to me. The kids are talking about interfacing their “personal devices” with their radios and I’m listening to the Mills Brothers on 1370 AM. I miss the old days. Although I have to admit that “party lines” on the telephones weren’t all that great…

I just picked up a brand new Lexus GS today. My salesperson spent about an hour going over the features. I would have been fine on my own, especially because I read most of the manual the other day, but I didn’t mind listening anyway.

Some people go and most probably don’t. It is now offered in many dealers. The manual for the sound system is almost as big as the one for the rest of the car. I didn’t go to mine.

When I was buying a new Ford Focus the salesperson did a cursory set up of the sync system to pair it with my phone. The rest was pretty intuitive and actually in one day I figured some more features that the sales guy told me the system could not do. I think it was b/c he had an apple phone and mine was an android and the sync does more with androids.

the same mountainbike The party lines did cause people to be more careful what they said on the phone. Todays cell phone addicts don’t seem to realize their conversations are totally unsecure. I never worry because I have nothing to hide. A NSA agent monitoring my phones or email would probably die of boredom.

Now that the owners manuals (usually several) are about the size of “War and Peace” many folks benefit from a car class.

Well…the OP mentioned a Lexus, a luxury brand.

Nowadays, you can get pretty much ANY car with leather, options galore, and enough electrical gizmos to make Bill Gates swoon. Therefore, luxury brands have to do “something” to distinguish themselvs from the “macro” makes that offer the same stuff at lower prices. A way to do that is doting on the new customer.

My mon recently treated herself to a nice BMW X5 diesel. She chose to pick it up at the factory; included in that was both on- and off-road advanced driving instruction, a factory tour, and a one-hour vehicle familiarization, including transferring over presets/phone nos/MP3 files, etc. They even flew her in and put her up at a local hotel!

I was her “plus one,” and it was all pretty awesome, especially the driving sessions! Certainly distinguishes the product from less-luxurious makes that don’t offer this sort of attention…

Heck, when we bought two new cars this year, all the time was spent syncing the phone and running the entertainment system including satellite. No one mentioned how to “drive the car” . Besides, what is really important to the consumer ? Driving a car correctly or gossiping on the phone for an hour with a friend while you drive. Car driving has changed little while digital management systems on that display in the center seems to change yearly.

I believe they can’t monitor your phone traffic with out due cause and a court order. Now, saving digitally stored renditions of your phone and hand held device conversations and communications by the phone and service provider company is a different matter. Big brother needs to show just cause to gain access to your computer and phone records while companies can just sell it for general product information use at their will. The monitoring is in essence done pretty regularly by “big business” and not “big brother”. Yes, your privacy is constantly being invaded because you are a consumer and not a boring person to them.

Wife got a new Kia, and the salesmen spent at least 1/2 hour setting up her smartphone bluetooth, and going through all the buttons bells and whistles.

When my wife picked up her new Mazda3 Sport, a young lady was assigned to walk her through the operation and various features of the car. She took as long as she needed, since this car was very different from my wife’s Nissan.

The dealer achieved a lot by this hour of introduction. Fewer frantic phone calls to service on how things worked, a happier owner, and increased loyalty to have service done there. If I owned a dealership, I would do exactly the same. Our son and a colleague have bought cars from this dealership and have been loyal service customers, at least until the warranty was up.

Yeah the manuals are 500 pages but then a 50 page quick start guide provides most of it.

I don’t mind the lessons. A car or two ago, I dropped my wife off to pick it up and drive it 40 miles home. She somehow got in the manual shift mode and went quite a few miles on the interstate in 2nd gear before she realized she had to shift. I think if she ever got to red line the computer would have taken over and shifted for her. No harm no foul though.

We didn’t get any orientation with our Hyundai a couple of years ago, even though it did come with their Blue Link system (similar to OnStar) that has different subscription levels with very different services. The manual is thick. Otherwise, the car wasn’t hard to figure out as it lacks a nav system. The dealership probably figured out we were both geeks and could figure it out.

Yeah the manuals are 500 pages but then a 50 page quick start guide provides most of it.

How long before the quick start guides give way to the 2 page TL:DR(too long: didn’t read) pamphlets?