Home  Car Chat Post

 

2020 Bentley Model Year Changes
  
Comments

Parallax1

Bentayga

2020 Bentley Bentayga

A new Bentayga SPEED gains 26 horsepower for its W12 engine over the standard version.

Continental GT

2020 Bentley Continental GT Coupe Side view

The new Continental GT finally arrived in the U.S. (late) for model year 2019. For model year 2020 a V8 version joins the W12. The active suspension with 48-volt electrical system is an option in the V8 version (standard with W12). The Continental V8 is available on both coupe and convertible versions.

Flying Spur

AR App Bentley 4

Following the complete redesign of the Continental GT, now the Flying Spur is all-new. Without appreciably changing the exterior dimension, the wheelbase is lengthened by 5.1 inches, improving interior space, ride and handling. The only engine offered initially will be the 626-horsepower twin-turbocharged W12. The 8-speed dual clutch automatic from the Continental GT is also here, as is the standard all-wheel drive system.

A retractable "Fying B" hood ornament is optional. Front and rear heated, ventilated and massaging seats are available, the rear ones controlled by a dedicated tablet.

It will still be a littel while before U.S. customers can walk in and buy a 2020 Flying Spur, so an Augmented Reality App is available for iOs and Android that allows you to put a virtual Flying Spur in your driveway... or living room.

Mulsanne

2020 Bentley Mulsanne

No changes as this is the last year for the Mulsanne. The new Flying Spur will be the flagship after production of the Mulsanne ends in the Spring.

 
 
 
 

2020 Mitsubishi Model Year Changes
  
Comments

Parallax1

Eclipse Cross

2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Previously on the ES model came in front-wheel drive, now the previously all-wheel drive only LE, SE and SEL are also offered in a simpler, more affordable two-wheel drive version. A "Special Edition" model fits between LA and SE. The SP is sprinkled with black trim, faux carbon fiber, a large rear spoiler and ground effects.

Heated seats are also standard on LE. Forward collision warning, Forward Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning and Automatic High Beams are now standard on SE and SEL.

Mirage

2020 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 from Mitsu website

Automatic climate control is now standard. The Mirage G4 (sedan) gets a new grille design. Mirage G4 gets a new LE trim, between the ES and SE, the same as Mirage Hatchback.

Outlander

2020 Outlander SP from mitsubishicars.com

A new Outlander SP model fits in between LE and SEL; it adds a black hood badge and a sprinkling of blacked out trim along with full body air-effects, including sill extensions, rear spoiler and front air dam.

Front collision monitoring with pedestrian detection, Lane Departure Warning, automatic high beams , automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers are standard on all but Outlander ES, now.

A new power adjustable lumbar support is added to the driver's seat on all models, so are heated front seats.

Adaptive cruise control is now standard on GT (still optional on SEL).

The shape of the second row seating has been enhanced for comfort.

Outlander PHEV

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Forward Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, foglights and automatic high beams are now standard. The temporary spare tire is no longer offered, replaced by a repair kit.

Outlander Sport

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

A refresh brings an entirely new front appearance: grille, lighting systems and bumpers. LED headlights replace halogen or HIDs. A new hood and front fenders work well with the unchanged doors and rear fenders. A small fake vent at the rear of the front fenders ties in well with the character line on the side. The new look is aggressive and very modern.

The interior also gets spiffied-up, with new materials.

The manual transmnission is no longer offered. #SavetheManuals

The short-lived Outlander Sport LE is gone. Arriving in the 2019 model year, a new Outlander Sport SP fits between ES and SE moldes, adds sporty trim, heated seats and a faux carbon fiber grille. The SP will only be offered for a limited time.

Daytime running lights are now standard on all models. Forward collision warning, Forward Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, Automatic High Beam, automatic headlights and rain-sensing front wipers are now standard on SE, as well as GT. Heated seats are available on all trims, standard on SP, SE and GT.

A new infotainment system with an 8-inch display is standard in SE, SP and GT models and optional on the ES. It has standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

 
 
 
 

2020 Nissan Model Year Changes
  
Comments

Parallax1

370Z

2020 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition

The roadster, down to just an automatic transmission version for 2019 is now gone, leaving only the coupe. A 50th Anniversary version commemorates the history of the Z, going back to the 1970 240Z.

Altima

2020 Nissan Altima

Altima SR now offers an optional heated steering wheel. Auto High Beams, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Warning, Rear Automatic Braking and backup sonar are now optional on S and standard on SR. 

Armada

2020 Nissan Armada

New 22-inch wheels are available with 275/50R22 all-season tires. Heated mirrors are standard across the board.

GT-R

2020 Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary at 2019 LA Auto Show.

Like the 370Z, the first Skyline GT-R came out fifty years ago and Nissan has a special 50th Anniversary Edition of the GT-R, too. Three colors are offered for the Anniversary Edition: Bayside Blue, Pearl White and Super Silver.

The less expensive (relatively) Pure trim is gone, so GT-R Premium is now entry level and the price of entry is $115,235.

In more concrete news, new carbon ceramic brakes are available as an option. At 16.14 inches front and 15.35 inches rear they're larger than the standard brakes and much more resistant to heat under heavy use. They're standard on GT-R NISMO and optional on GT-R Track Edition.

Other than brakes, the GT-R NISMO gets further enhancements, including new turbos that spin up faster, more aerodynamic downforce, lighter bumpers, and a carbon fiber roof. Overall, weight is down by 66 pounds. The enhanced engine remains rated at 600 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque. The transmission has been re-tuned and shifts more aggressively when in "R" mode.

The GT-R Track Edition now gets to share the NISMO's 600-horsepower engine.

Kicks

2020 Nissan Kicks

High Beam Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Rear Automatic Braking, a passenger knee airbag and rear seat side impact airbags are new for 2020 and standard. Intelligent Driver Alertness monitor is new; it is standard on SV and SR. Rear Parking Sonar, Rear Cross-Path Alert and Blind Spot Warning are now standard on all models.

Rear Door Alert is new for Kicks and standard on SV and SR; it is a system that monitors the rear door opening and warns the driver at the end of a trip to check in the back seat.

Leaf

2020 Nissan Leaf

A number of upgrades are new for this year's Leaf. First off, the top-of-the line SL model is no longer offered with the smaller battery (149-mile range), it is only available as the Leaf SL PLUS with 226 miles of range on a single full charge.

A telescoping steering wheel is new to the Leaf and standard across the board; the tilt column remains standard as well. A rear door alert has also been added as standard equipment: it monitors the rear door before a trip and if it was opened, warns the driver to check the back seat. Knee airbags for the driver and front passenger and seat-mounted airbags for the rear outboard passengers are also new, bringing additional protection during a collision. Rear Automatic Braking has also been added as standard.

High-beam assist, previously optional on Leaf SV and SL, is now standard on all models. Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Lane Intervention, Blind Spot Warning, Blind Spot Intervention and Rear Cross Traffic Warning are now standard on all models.

NissanConnect, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto are all now standard on Leaf S.

Intelligent Around View Monitor and Driver Alertness Monitor are now optional on SV; they are still standard on SL.

Maxima

 2020 Nissan Maxima

Automatic high-beams, lane departure warning, rear automatic braking, blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert are now standard across the board.

Integrated Dynamics is now standard on all models. This system of electronic management of steering, traction control, engine power and brakes was previously only available on Maxima SR. It utilizes systems to help steer through corners better and even reduces the impact of bumps by stabbing the brakes momentarily to settle the suspension down.

The dual-pane sunroof, driver's memory seat, automatic dimming driver side mirror, automatic tilt-down outside mirrors and surround view monitor are now standard on Maxima SR.

Murano

2020 Nissan Murano

Heated mirrors are standard on SV. Automatic high beams are now offered, standard on SV, SL and Platinum and optional on Murano S. Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are now optional on Murano S. Lane Departure Warning and Rear Automatic Braking are now available on S and SV.

NV

Nissan NV

No changes.

NV200

2020 Nissan NV200

Satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard, part of a new 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

Pathfinder

2020 Nissan Pathfinder

A heated steering wheel is now also standard on SV.

Rogue

2019 Nissan Rogue

The Rogue Hybrid is discontinued. No changes to the gasoline-only model.

Rogue Sport

2020 Nissan Rogue Sport at 2019 CAS

The 2020 Rogue Sport gets a fresh look: a new grille, bumper and tail lights. Rogue Sport SL models get a new 19-inch wheel design. Inside a new memory driver's seat and mirrors are optional on SV and SL.

Automatic on/off headlights, high beam assist, Lane Departure Warning, rear parking sonar and Rear Automatic Braking are now standard on all models. SL models offer an optional power front passenger seat. Navigation and NissanConnect Services (telematics) are no longer offered on SV, though they are still standard on SL. An Intelligent Driver Alertness system is new and standard on SL and optional on SV.

Sentra

2020 Nissan Sentra @2019 LA Autoshow

The new Sentra isn't skin deep: sitting on a new platform with an independent rear suspension (for the first time in decades), it is lower and wider. Under the hood, the engine grows to 2.0-liters and now produces 149 horsepower. The SR Turbo is gone.

All Sentras have standard Forward Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist, Automatic on/off headlights and Rear Automatic Braking. Ten airbags cover passengers from every angle.

Sentra SR Turbo

The hot-rod version of the Sentra is gone once again.

Titan

2020 Nissan Titan XD @2019 LA Autoshow

The Titan's refresh includes 10 more horsepower and 19 pound-feet of torque, but only burning premium fuel in its 5.6 V8. A more important upgrade: a nine-speed automatic replaces the 7-speed. Steering feel and response is improved by replacement of the recirculating ball steering system with a rack-and-pinion (except on XD).

The entire line-up is simplified: one engine (the diesel is no longer offered on the XD), two bodystyles on Titan: King Cab and Crew Cab, one on Titan XD: Crew Cab; the regular cab is discontinued. Titan XD only comes in four-wheel drive.

Automatic on/off headlights, automatic high beams, trailer sway control, rear parking sonar, Intelligent Driver Alertness Monitor (new), driver and front passenger knee airbags (new), Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross-traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning (new), Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, and Rear Automatic Braking are all now standard.

Intelligent Cruise Control is new for the Titan, standard on SV and above crew cab models.

In addition, a new exterior look includes redesigned headlights with better output, new LED bed lighting, new bumpers, badges, wheel designs and new grilles, each distinct for the trim level.

The interior get larger 8-inch or 9-inch touch screen command centers. A large dual-panel moonroof is now offered on Pro-4X, SL and Platinum Reserve. NissanConnect Services are now standard on all models but S, offering emergency automatic calling, stolen vehicle location and more telematic features.

Versa

2020 Nissan Versa

A refreshed Versa Sedan debuts for 2020 with the more powerful 1.6-liter 4-cylinder borrowed from the Kicks compact sport utility.

The Versa gets larger standard tires: 195/65R15 and for the first time offers 16-inch and 17-inch wheels, also, the latter with 205/50R17 tires. Tire Fill Alert, optional last year, is now standard.

Side Impact Airbags in rear seat, knee airbags for driver and front passenger, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Warning, automatic headlights, High Beam Assist, telescoping steering wheel, power locks, power windows and cruise control are now standard on all trims (completely new features to Versa in italics). Driver Alert Detection, Rear Door Alert, Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are now standard on Versa SV and SR. When turning the engine off, Rear Door Alert reminds drivers to check the back seat if the rear door opened prior to starting the car.

Intelligent Cruise Control, remote start and heated front seats are now available, optional on SR. SR also comes standard with LED headlights.

Versa Note

The hatchback version has been replaced by the Nissan Kicks, which has the same chassis and powertrain as the Versa Sedan.

 
 
 
 

2020 Honda Model Year Changes
  
Comments

Parallax1

Accord

2020 Honda Accord

The smaller engine is no longer offered in the Accord Touring, only the 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder.

Civic

2020 Honda Civic Sport Touring Hatchback

The Civic Hatchback gets a refresh for 2020. The front lower corner grilles are the most apparently changed items, but new bumpers and main grilles are subtly changed. Headlight lenses are darker, on Sport Touring the light output is improved.

The Sport Touring Hatchback is now offered with a six-speed manual, revising a complaint that stick shifts were only offered on lower trims. The higher-output 1.5 turbo standard on the Sport and Sport Touring Hatchback gets a slight bump in torque: up to 180 pound-feet.

The Adaptive Cruise in the Hatchback gets an upgrade with the CVT transmission: Low Speed Follow, which will allow traffic jam occupants to let the car move with traffic, stopping when necessary.

Civic Si

A refresh to keep up with the regular Civics gives the Si a new set of front lower corner fascias with body-colored horizontal dividers above the fog-lights, now LED powered. Headlights trade projector halogen for LED, similar to Civic Touring. A new rear bumper and new matte black wheels round out the changes on the outside. Inside red accents throughout make the Si feel sportier.

A 6% faster final drive ratio gives the little racer more spunk, but as a result fuel mileage rating loses two MPG on both cycles, down to: 26 city/36 highway. So you sound faster, Active Sound Control pipes engine noises in through the radio when you drive aggressively.

Civic Si joins most other Hondas with standard Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking System (automatic emergency braking), Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Road Departure Mitigation (detects leaving the marked road and helps safely steer back) and automatic headlight high beams.

Clarity Fuel Cell

2020 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

Outside mirrors are now black. The audible warning system is improved. Cold-weather operation is improved.

CR-V

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid

The CR-V gets a significant refresh, including its first hybrid powertrain. On the non-hybrid side, the old 2.4-liter 4-cylinder is banished, making the 1.5 turbo standard on all non-hybrid CR-V models; this engine is unchanged except for the addition of standard idle-stop to improve fuel mileage in traffic.

The CR-V Touring now features 19-inch wheels with 235/55R19 tires. It also has a new wireless charging feature for compatible phones and a heated steering wheel.

Overall length is up by one-and-a-half inches, featuring new bumpers, headlight designs, foglight design, a new grille and redesigned wheels. Inside a redesigned center console gets relocated USB ports

Forward collision warning, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Departure Warning, Road Departure Mitigation, Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and auto on/off headlights, automatic high beams are now standard on all trims.

Fit

2020 Honda Fit

HondaSensing no longer offered on Fit LX or Fit Sport. The suite, which includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist System, Road Departure Mitigation and auto high-beams, is now standard on Fit EX and EX-L.

HR-V

2020 Honda HR-V

No changes.

Insight

2020 Honda Insight

No changes.

Odyssey

2020 Honda Odyssey

The Odyssey gives up its 9-speed automatic on lower models as all trims move to the 10-speed. Automatic engine start-stop is also standard on all models. Prices are up about $500-$750.

To celebrate its 25th anniversary an accessory package with chrome accents and 25th anniversary badges can be added by dealers. The package is $1500 or, for $2800 it includes 19-inch unique anniversary wheels.

Interesting tidbit: the 10-speed automatic and auto start/stop hardware weighs 42 pounds more than the 9-speed.

Passport

2020 Honda Passport

No changes. Price goes up $50, except Elite, up $150.

Pilot

2020Honda Pilot Black Edition

A new top-level model, Black Edition, is based on Pilot Elite, but with a full blackout treatment. Inside, exclusive red accent lighting and red stitching sets it apart from a run-of-the-mill Elite model.

All models increase by $200. Black Edition adds another $405 over Elite.

Ridgeline

2020 Honda Ridgeline

A significant re-engineering moves the Ridgeline to a nine-speed automatic (previously six-speed), eliminates the base "RT" and the "RTL-T" trim and makes Honda Sensing® standard. Idle-Stop, Honda's system to turn off the engine whenever the vehicle comes to a stop, is now in place on the Ridgeline. Fuel mileage remains about the same.

Exterior design and dimensions are the same, but curb weight, miraculously, is down by about 40 pounds.

Collision Mitigation Braking, Forward Collision Warning, Road Departure Mitigation System, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Assist, all part of Honda Sensing® and previously only available on Ridgeline RTL-E and Black Edition, are all now standard on all models.

With the elimination of the Ridgeline RT, rear air-conditioning with separate temperature, fan and vent controls, exterior temperature indicator, HomeLink® remote garage door openers, foglights and Smart Entry are now standard on Ridgeline. HondaLink®, Apple CarPLay®, and Android Auto™ are also now standard.

 
 
 
 

Inside the Midwest's Supercar Dealer
  
Comments

Parallax1

     

Ultra-performance. Exotic. Supercars. All different nomenclatures that add up to one thing:

Dream cars

Their posters covered our walls when we were kids. They filled our imaginations and were the subject of endless daydreams.  

But, how do you actually buy one of these cars?  

 

STL Motorcars Main Entrance

I went behind the scenes with Mark Wetzel, the Bentley brand manager at St. Louis Motorcars, the finest luxury car dealer in St. Louis.  

With over 10 years experience in supercar sales, Mark has worked with such brands as Rolls Royce, Bugatti, Lotus, Aston Martin; he has served as the Lamborghini brand manager; and he currently leads the Bentley team.  Not only is Mark an important name is the business, he has firsthand experience having worked with factories around the world and served numerous clients and collectors.  

Mark Wetzel has a fascinating view into a rarified world. To set the stage for his interview we sat down together in the Bugatti configuration area. Premium fabric swatches and materials surrounded us along with an engine display and a kiosk for previewing colors and customization. A new Bentley rested quietly in the showroom across from us. It was Saturday morning, a few hours before the store opened, and I had parked my 2004 F250 across the street so that my rusted fenders wouldn't sully the pristine lot. Mark was on his way to his grandson's soccer game and wore jeans, not a three-piece suit. He's a down-to-earth guy who values trustworthiness and doing a great job more than appearances. 

Bugatti configuration area, STL Motorcars

 

Bugatti Motor Model

I was mesmerized by the millions of dollars worth of cars sitting around us. The dealership is perched right off a Interstate 64 west of St. Louis and is always a subject of discussion when driving in the area, particularly when a Lamborghini passes you in the fast lane while you're driving to lunch on a weekday. 

I wanted to know about the process behind the scenes:

What is it like to sell these cars?     Can anyone come to dealership to see the cars?     Who gets a test-drive?  

 So, I asked Mark for the answers we all want to know:

1. What's it like to work around these cars?

2020 Bentley Continental GT V8 Convertible

"There's a reason someone will pay a quarter million to buy a car," Mark said. He noted his time in Qatar and Italy driving Lamborghini's on F1 tracks as part of the brand's driving experience.  He says, "I'm not a good driver. The cars make you a very good driver… the guy talking to you, who's an amazing driver, [he's] telling you when to give it full throttle through a turn even if it scares you to death. Driving the cars," he says, "I'm reminded why a person would pay $300K to buy a car, even when it is more expensive than my house…. The people buying these cars, this money is extra, they are not scrimping."  

Working in the dealership seems like walking between two worlds: One where people with normal car experience are amazed at how these cars are engineered to be incredible performers, and another where the money to buy them is easily available.  

Clients buying supercars aren't financing them, they are paying cash.  

Mark doesn't come across with silly giddiness about the cars. He knows and respects these vehicles because he can see the engineering and talent that goes into making them. He uses the word, "breathtaking" several times while talking about the beauty of the design and the power, the performance.  

This store's presence has made exotic cars much more common in the St. Louis area, mostly due to the vision of its co-founders, Graham Hill and the late Jim Mills. Mark says, "Graham and Jim had a vision of building the store in this part of the country to be able to provide the service and attention locally for this end of the market." It has helped to elevate west St. Louis and put a little known area on the map. 

Bentley Hood Ornament (2019 Mulsanne)

The dealership's mission is to focus on cars that Mark describes as, "rare, exotic and inspire passion." 

These cars do just that. Despite his many years as the Lamborghini brand manager, Mark's recent shift to the Bentley lead was not only for cross training within the store, but also to help lead the 2020 Continental GT release. The new Continental model has been much anticipated but delayed in US release due to additional testing required for the W12 engine. The grand tourer on the show room floor is capable of a 3.9 second 0-60, powered by a twin-turbo V8 that pushes out 550 horsepower for a top speed of 198 mph. It is, as Mark likes to say, "breathtaking." The V8 only lags 85 horses behind its W12 big brother, and many consumers are glad that the more affordable version finally hit the market.

2. Is the process of buying a supercar the same as buying a regular car? 

Bentley Showroom at STL Motorcars

Mark responds, "most people that come here have an idea that they want an exotic car, and it is really just a matter of somebody telling them the process. The usual client has already owned expensive cars, like a Porsche, but not these exotic brands. Understand that people coming to buy these cars are likely not going to finance them…. that's because the finance rates are not like other brands," he says. Large brands with big stocks of cars use finance incentives to move inventory. These brands don't do that. "0% for 72 months!" doesn't live here.

Mark's clients are

"prepared and able to buy a car"

by the time they come in the store.  

 In fact, Mark says that "most repeat and experienced customers in this end of the business are really aware and attuned to buying cars unseen. So, 60-70% of my personal business," he says, "have never been to the store. If they are buying a used car, they are completely taking my word for it and I value that."  

Buying a supercar is similar to purchasing any car, but the numbers are higher and the experience is personal to the taste of the client. The difference is that many clients are running businesses and can't invest a lot of time to work with the factory to make a vehicle and, because of that, Mark explains, "it's a very consultative process that we do, [which] is very different than most car businesses."

3. Does anybody ever buy one of these cars from the showroom, or are they always ordered custom?  

Mark says that sometimes people buy a car from the showroom because they simply don’t want to wait for delivery. Factory ordering is often a four or five months process, much longer potentially if the car is in high demand or a new release. So people do drive a supercar off the showroom floor. This often depends on which brand the buyer wants. When St. Louis Motorcars opened in 2002, it was exclusively a Bentley dealer. Since opening they have sold 600 Bentleys and added multiple other brands. Some brands, like Bugatti, almost never have a showroom model because every car is made specifically for a buyer. Plus, the cars are generally about $3M, so stocking inventory would be financially unfeasible.    

2020 Bentley Continental GT convertible driver seat4. Is there any driver training for buyers?  

OK, so my real question is, "has anybody ever crashed an exotic car while driving off the lot?"  Mark says he's never had a buyer get in an accident on a test-drive or at the dealership. BUT, the answer for the store in general, unfortunately, is, "yes, someone crashed." The dealership used to carry Maserati, and a prospective buyer once crashed just outside the dealerhsip with another salesman. Can you imagine damaging an $80,000 Quattroporte the first time off the lot? The road conditions were icy. So now, as a personal policy, Mark never takes anybody on a test-drive after dark or in inclement weather.

The real answer here is that there is no driver training from the dealership. In fact, Mark tells me that many buyers don't even conduct a test drive. Some buyers have a proxy buy the car for them.  Others might even purchase a car over the phone. For those who desire education, all the brands offer driving experiences that cost a few thousand dollars and provide not only professional training but incredible opportunities to safely push the cars to their limits.

5. Are you concerned about people damaging the cars?  

Speaking of one client, Mark says, "he could buy the store if he wanted and was a former race car driver in Europe; but, he's [always] respectful driving the cars." Mark tells me that is very rare that anyone will push the cars hard in a test-drive or leaving the lot. His experience is that everyone understands that they need to follow the law and are part of the flow of traffic.

I had it in my mind that maybe the dealership had worked a deal with a nearby, small airport to allow the use of a runway to open up the cars. But, that is not the case. Drives are usually a normal circle around the area. Nothing too fancy. In fact, even if the drivers did want to open up the cars, there is little reason to fear damage to the cars. Mark said, "these are so well engineered today, they are not the Rolls Royces or Lamborghinis of 20 years ago." He says that Lamborghini, for instance, "hot tests" all their engines on a stand, running them at 80%, under strain, to ensure that engines are "broken-in" and fully capable before installation and delivery.  

6. Why buy from you at  St. Louis Motorcars?

Bentley W12s badge

Mark said that "the common denominator with [clients] and me is that they don't want to do this through ten different people."  Mark's motivation appears to be providing a relational, respectful, and truthful service where he strives to earn trust from his customers. Mark mentioned trustworthiness multiple ways. Mark tells me that the shop values the heritage and loyal following of the brands that they sell and you can see this in every detail of store.  

I ask him how someone could get a job like his. He says, "I couldn't have done this in my 30's, I don't think."  He cites the demanding time requirements of the job and the absolute need for steadiness and consistency.  He says that people are "really buying service... young salesmen don't always understand that."

Mark says, "People buy from people."  

Clients need to like you and know with confidence that you will deliver on your word.   

Bentley Continental Flying Spur

That's important in any business, but in a store where someone can make a half million dollar purchase over the phone; the stakes are high.  He looks at me seriously and says,

"I don't take advantage [of people's trust]"  

He continues, "there is a whole lot of the opposite: terrible service, inexperienced people, outright liars… [attempts to] cheat people….  It's not ever my role to talk somebody into a purchase." By the time buyers are talking to Mark they have already decided to purchase something, and he sees it as his job to help them get what they want and work through the administrative process. The cars may be glamorous, but behind the scenes is a lot of phone calls and organization.

7. OK, so how does somebody get a test-drive?  

Mark makes it clear. If you aren't able or prepared to buy the car, you're not getting a test drive. He says, "people may think it is uppity or whatever, but it is really a business decision. These cars are very mileage sensitive and our insurance just doesn't allow it." Sorry.  

2018 Bentley Flying Spur V8 S Black Edition

8. What do you want people to know?

Mark thinks hard about this and laughs a bit. Finally he says, "I can't buy these cars, I just happen to work in the industry." He realizes that he's like the proverbial kid in a candy store, but that the candy is out of reach. Mark is a family man and takes his job seriously. He says, "I am an average guy who loves my family, and my God, and now my grandkids, which is unbelievable." Mark obviously has his priorities straight. 

For we enthusiasts out there, Mark wants us all to know that the public is always welcome to see - but not touch - the cars. The public is welcome in the showroom. There is a hotel right next door to the dealership and every Monday morning the shop has to clean the windows from all the hand and forehead prints of people trying to peer through the glass at the cars.  

 He assured me, "You're welcome to visit."

If you're in St. Louis and you want to see some jaw dropping cars, go to St. Louis Motorcars. You don't have to squint through the windows to see the cars. If you are blessed to actually buy your dream car, ask for Mark, he's going to earn your trust.

I run around the dealership taking a few more pictures while Mark waited for me by the door. I shake his hand and thank him for the opportunity. Mark jumps in his vehicle to make it to his grandson's soccer game. Rolling down the window he laughs and yells, "The Lamborghini salesman drives a Honda Element!"

 Mark Wetzel, St Louis Autocars, Dec 16, 2019

 Pleasant touring,

-Ben Auto

(Interview was conducted on October 19, 2019 at St. Louis Motorcars in Chesterfield, MO., Article updated December 16, 2019)

 
 
 
 

Contact Us