The life of Brian as we put salesman to the test
Fitzpatrick's Garages, Hyundai, Honda and Mercedes, Dublin Road, Kildare, Co Kildare
It was mid-afternoon when we pulled into Fitzpatrick's motors in Kildare town. Our brief was to find an affordable, reliable second-hand car for a young professional. Our budget was somewhere between €8,000 and €12,000.
Our first impression of Fitzpatrick's was that there appeared to be no parking. Most of the forecourt space was taken up with display models and for-sale second-hand cars. If there was on-site parking, it was not obvious. No matter, after a quick U-turn, we found ample spaces in the supermarket next door.
We walked to the forecourt and showrooms and that gave us a better overview of layout and presentation. Straight away we spotted one or two vehicles potentially fitting our brief – before we even set a foot inside.
If our initial welcome wasn't as instant as it was at Joe Mallon Motors earlier, our assigned salesman, Brian Doolan, was equally as enthusiastic and attentive as his opposite number in Naas. We informed him of our automotive hopes and financial limitations and off we went.
Whether by virtue of our own eagle eyes or the well-arranged display of used cars in the front, Brian directed us straight to the second-hand Toyotas we had spied on the way in.
We quickly dismissed a Yaris as too small for our purposes so our attention was directed towards a 2008 Auris 1.4-litre Terra hatchback in metallic silver. This seemed a viable option. Considering we had no trade-in, Brian took a couple of hundred euro off the display price. Now it would cost €8,500. Not bad, but still possibly a little high.
The car itself was in excellent condition for two previous owners and with 92,000km on the clock.
When we sat in we could not but be impressed that the interior looked as near-untouched as a second-hand could hope to be.
Mindful of our intended use for the car, both for work and personal, Brian wasted little time in highlighting noteworthy features for both purposes; the large boot, adjustable reclining back seats, standard safety features. He was on the ball, if perhaps, not quite on the money.
Not only did we accord Brian with a shoestring budget to accommodate, we also made noises of being pushed for time. He wasted no time and ushered us towards the second suggested option, a 2009 Toyota Corolla saloon, 1.4-litre Terra for €10,500.
A year younger, and with 20,000 fewer kilometres on the clock, we were reliably informed that despite the visual differences, the Auris and Corolla were essentially the same car. For €2,000 more, Brian advised the extra outlay wasn't worth it for what we were looking for. We appreciated the straight-talking and honest assessment.
At this juncture we followed Brian through the Hyundai garage to the Honda showroom at the back end of the campus to his office.
He took great care in giving us helpful written summaries of all cars viewed, as well as links to Fitzpatrick's website where more detailed information could be found. He also gave us his card and a promise of a call next week, when a few more possible options were due in.
Before rushing off, we had a quick peek at the facilities. They were recently cleaned, but nothing special. The waiting area was excellent with TV, coffee and tea and plenty of literature.
But, in the end, Brian made the difference. Diligent and straightforward, he proved again that people not premises sell cars.
Customer Parking: 7
Customer facilities: 7
Customer service: 8
Models on display: 8
We liked: Extensive range of used cars, salesman’s attention to detail, fine Honda sales room.
We disliked: Not being able to drive in and park.
Overall impression: Excellent service, firstclass salesman, big display of cars.