Good Bay Area Car Dealers?
December 23, 2009 3:34 PM   Subscribe

Looking for Bay Area car dealers who are not straight-up horrible.

Just moved to Oakland. Want to trade in my old car for a certified pre-owned. Leaning towards a 2006-2008 Jetta, but would consider other sedans and hatchbacks in same price range.

Sadly, all the Yelp reviews for dealers in the area are uniformly the most negative reviews I have read about anything. Don't love the idea of buying off Craigslist (as was suggested in a similar thread) -- anyone know of any remotely decent dealers in SF/East Bay/Marin?
posted by blapst to Shopping (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
As far as I know, buying a certified pre-owned Jetta means buying one from a Volkswagen dealer. Just an FYI ... VW dealers in the US have a well-deserved reputation for being atrocious to deal with, in particular when it comes to service. The VW Jetta of that era has a bit of a reputation for quickly falling apart, which is not so good if you are depending on the aforementioned crappy dealer network.
posted by dacoit at 4:40 PM on December 23, 2009

I had a great experience with Albany Subaru, on San Pablo near Solano, but that was some 6 years ago. Also their repair shop is open until midnight (!)
posted by aubilenon at 6:13 PM on December 23, 2009

Best answer: Virtually all bay area dealers are awful (and I can tell you first hand that San Francisco Honda might be the worst dealer I've ever walked into (and out of), and that Carlsen Subaru in Redwood City is so-so -- I got a fair deal there on a used Impreza a few years back -- nothing special, just fair). I know quite a few people who purchased their (new) cars from Los Angeles, and broke them in on the drive back. The dealers here are that bad.

So, what's the sensible alternative? Bay Area Handpicked Cars. She's a broker, but she's a darn good one.

If you're a member of Redwood Credit Union, they have a buyer's service that's fantastic, and you don't have to finance through them. If you're not a member, you might look into it. It's the same idea though, you let them know what you're looking for, and they'll find one for you.
posted by toxic at 7:01 PM on December 23, 2009

Although I doubt they sell Jettas, I've been treated right nicely by the Steven's Creek Mazda in San Jose/Santa Clara. Avoid the Capitol Auto Mall Mazda in San Jose though-- repeat: AVOID!
posted by samthemander at 7:03 PM on December 23, 2009

I used last time. (I'm also in the Bay Area.) It was totally painless, WAY CHEAPER, and easy as can be.
posted by Edubya at 10:57 PM on December 23, 2009

I'm not sure if they deal with CPO but cartelligent are awesome (got a better deal than even carsdirect could muster)
posted by zeoslap at 6:23 AM on December 24, 2009

ALso FYI the VW dealer on Broadway was the absolute - hands down worst place I dealt with when I was shopping for cars so much so that I vowed never to step foot in the place ever again. Full on smarmy room full of slime balls - awful.
posted by zeoslap at 6:25 AM on December 24, 2009

Just to be clear, zeoslap -- which city? Many Broadways around the Bay Area.
posted by Rash at 7:20 AM on December 24, 2009

Broadway in Oakland - urgh
posted by zeoslap at 7:55 AM on December 24, 2009

On my way out, but I used to determine the best non-jerkoff Mazda dealerships in SoCal. Experience generally matched the consensus.
posted by liquoredonlife at 8:28 AM on December 24, 2009

You could try my friend Evelyn Holtz at Royal Motors in San Francisco. She is a friend and sold me my 1997 Jetta. You could use my name.

Just don't use the service arm of Royal Motors -- if you need a VW repair place in San Francisco use Advanced Audi.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 11:48 AM on December 24, 2009

Response by poster: Lots of good info here, folks. Many thanks. I will press on and post any results.
posted by blapst at 12:43 PM on December 24, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all the input, folks. Tried to use Bay Area Handpicked -- she was great, but sadly on vacation when I was buying.

Ended up going Craigslist. Found a great Jetta TDI from a private owner, and currently getting it serviced at AVS specialists in Berkeley, who are pretty great.
posted by blapst at 11:51 AM on May 6, 2010

Response by poster: Also did some shopping at the Buggy Bank in Berkeley. A great, no pressure way to check out cars.
posted by blapst at 11:52 AM on May 6, 2010

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