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Taking a front SEAT in the drive for new customers

They say this premises has been open for a year-and-a-half. Although we travel a lot through the Ballymount area of Dublin, off the M50, it wasn't until recently we saw the SEAT signage.

Seemingly new signage and banners were erected -- they are working because they caught our eye.

Although AutoDynamic is near the central hub of commerce we feel its positioning keeps it from many an eye that would, at least, like to window shop.

We saw no disabled parking spaces and found a small sign with the letter 'P' denoting space for customer parking.

The used vehicles on display carried prices and a row of 10 cars to the left were well presented.

Intending to enter the showroom via the main entrance, we instead ended up entering through a side door with Stephen Killeen, a young salesman.

Inside it can be said that SEAT lived up to its colourful and young projection.

Six new cars, two Ibizas, one ST, one Leon, one Altea and an Alhambra, were well positioned. All carried prices and full details. While the various specifications were on one of the vehicles' side windows, we suggest the font be made bigger as it was difficult to read.

We told Stephen we had an 05-reg 1.4-litre petrol SEAT Leon with 82,000 miles on the clock and wished to check what it would cost to move up to a new diesel Leon. He showed us a grey special edition model on display which was priced at €19,995.

Talking us through the car he pointed out and explained the car's features in detail.

He then asked to see and test drive our car.

While he was away we studied the showroom in more detail. Checking the rest rooms we found them extremely well maintained.

We loved the coffee dock. Not seeing any water dispenser we asked a colleague of Stephen's if we could have a drink of water. He opened one of the presses, gave us a glass and pointed to the tap on the corner sink. The Dublin tap water did the trick. We would class the customer waiting area as excellent, with a PlayStation and a large flat-screen TV.

The TV was one of nine we saw once inside the main entrance, eight of which were mounted high over the showroom windows, with SEAT footage being shown.

There was also reading material and it being a Wednesday it included an open copy of the Motoring section of the Irish Independent -- sensible read.

Accessories, brochures, a poster of the new Ibiza and open-plan work stations adorned the showroom.

The used price list, which did not show mileage, had 27 cars on it.

Now back in our midst, Stephen told us he had to make a call and would have a price in a moment.

Inviting us to his desk he said he would allow us €2,500 against the €19,995 -- leaving us to come up with €17,495.

We find that Dublin dealers regularly refer to the 'trade' with any vehicle that's a few years old and has relatively high mileage.

They trade off such cars because they don't want the expense of preparing and having to stand by older vehicles, it is said.

While this is somewhat understandable, the mention of the word 'trade' to our ears is a bit like showing a red rag to a bull, because we have come to realise it can mean us getting less money.

While many Dublin dealers instantly go down the trade route, we find on the other hand, most dealers outside the capital would gladly prepare such a well cared-for used product and retail it on their forecourts.

More times than not they end up making more money and the customer comes away a lot happier.

Stephen also explained that the Leon had a special price as it would usually cost €22,592. We asked if the model was about to be changed?

"Not for another year at least," came the reply.

After he had taken our details we asked for time to think and left with Stephen's and the Leon's details.

Indo Motoring