Having been disappointed by my experience at Lloyds, I decided that I’d try Stratstone MINI at Silverlink in North Tyneside. I managed to arrange a bit more time off and with Craig again in tow, went to see what they could offer.
There’s a Volkswagen dealership nearby, so we popped in to have a look at the T-Roc but it seemed much bigger and less refined inside. As usual, there was no interest shown towards us by sales staff and we managed a sit in the car and a walk out without the merest acknowledgement of our presence.
To Stratstone MINI then and initial impressions seemed much better. Having found a friendly looking salesperson, I explained my situation and my requirements and we got down to business. we had to go through the tiresome, but now-expected, “I need to talk to my manager” finance nonsense. The first estimate was very high but I moved a little with my deposit and got to a monthly payment I could afford. This was apparently a deal they had to talk to the manager’s manager about (although I worked out later that evening that this was just their advertised dealer contribution and that the initial high figure had had no contribution at all .. which was highly irritating).
After another test drive, we went away and made a few changes to the car configuration in the evening over some wine. The aesthetics ended up changing somewhat (green paint instead of blue and a different internal colour scheme) but I was happy with it. It would be a custom build.
That Saturday, I went back to initiate the process of getting the car built and paid a small deposit. Despite being the second time I had bought a new MINI, unless they improve their dealer behaviour, it may be the last time.