Monday, August 23, 2010

Earl’s List of the Best and Worst Car Dealers: Treasure Coast to Northern Broward County

I must explain that those dealers listed as “Good Guys” are far from perfect. I urge you to shop and compare prices, stick up for your rights, and do your homework in preparing to buy. South Florida is the Sodom and Gomorrah of the retail car business. Listing the best dealers is like listing the most honest inmates in Attica or Leavenworth.

I arrived at my opinion of these dealers, the good and the bad, from my constant interaction with you, the car buyers of South Florida. You call my weekly Saturday morning talk show, Earl Stewart on Cars, my cell phone, you send me emails and you write me letters about your experiences in buying and servicing your cars. You post comments on my blog,

This list is not static and I will vary it regularly, adding more “good guys” and dropping the undeserving from the list. Hopefully, I will not have to add to the “bad buy” list but I will if I have to. These dealerships are the worst of the worst and should be totally avoided at all costs. You would be better served to drive an extra 50 miles to buy the make car you seek than buy it from one of these dealers. In fact, you would be better served to buy a different make from a good dealer.

I know I’ve angered a lot of car dealers (so what else is new?) by leaving them off the “good guy” list and especially the bad guys. I urge those of you who are sincere to call me personally and I will be glad to discuss with you what your customers told me about you that led me to omit you from the “good guy” lists. The “bad guys” won’t call me because they know exactly what they are doing and how they are premeditatedly deceiving their customers.

If the make car you are seeking does not show a dealer, it’s probably because not many people by that make. I listed only the most popular. I suggest that you choose a dealer a “good dealer” who is listed that also sells your make. For example, Schumacher also sells Mitsubishi and Infiniti and he is listed as a good dealer for Chevy and Buick.

The Bad Guys:

West Palm Beach Kia in West Palm Beach
Arrigo Chrysler Jeep Dodge in West Palm Beach
Delray Mazda-Kia in Delray
Ft. Pierce Nissan in Ft. Pierce
Palm Beach Acura in West Palm Beach
Napleton Nissan in Riviera Beach
Napleton Hyundai in North Palm Beach and West Palm Beach
Napleton Kia in Riviera Beach
Napleton Lincoln in North Palm Beach
Napleton North Lake Suzuki in North Palm Beach
North Jeep in North Palm Beach
Northlake Dodge in North Palm Beach

The Good Guys:

Coggin Acura in Ft. Pierce
Phil Smith Acura in Pompano

Coggin Motor Cars in Ft. Pierce
Vista Motor Company in Pompano Beach

Maroone in Greenacres/Lake Worth
Maroone in Delray
Schumacher in North Palm Beach

Schumacher in North Palm Beach
Schumacher in West Palm Beach

Wallace in Stuart
Maroone in West Palm Beach
Coral in Pompano

Mullinax in North Palm Beach
Maroone in Delray

Coggin Ft. Pierce
Delray Honda in Delray
Pompano Honda in Pompano

Wallace Hyundai in Stuart
Delray Hyundai in Delray

JM Lexus Coral Springs
Palm Beach Lexus West Palm Beach

Mercedes of Delray in Delray
Mercedes Benz of Ft. Pierce in Ft. Pierce

Wallace in Stuart
Maroone in Delray

Because I own and operate a Toyota dealership in North Palm Beach, I don’t feel objective if I name myself to this list and I don’t want to be perceived as unfairly biased by eliminating some of my close competition from this list. Please feel free to call me personally (cell phone 561 358-1474) for advice on the Toyota dealers nearest you.


  1. Earl, you list Schumacher Buick in North Palm Beach. I've not bought a car from Schumacher, but I've had a Buick and an Oldsmobile serviced at their West Palm dealership, and I'd rate them quite high.

  2. Good Morning Earl,

    After reading your column in the Hometown News, it seemed appropriate to offer a slightly different perspective regarding one of the auto dealers you identify as a "good guy." Granted, one experience should not shake up your list, but some consideration should be given.

    My wife and I purchased a new Solstice from Schumacher in 2006. The experience went unremarkably. This was the 12th new car I had purchased over a period of 30 years. In a previous life, I spent several years in the commercial property and casualty insurance industry (Liberty Mutual / Famex) and worked closely with a long list of NJ auto dealers (Donald and Dominick Toresco, Paul Sansone, Ray Laffin, Richard Harris, etc.).

    My background provides just enough knowledge to be wary when stepping foot on an auto dealer's property. My experience at Schumacher on Northlake Blvd. was totally neutral until the service tech told me the repair to the differential of the Solstice would cost $1,200. When their offer was rejected, they told me not to drive it off the lot, as I would risk the possibility of an accident.

    Interestingly, the service tech who acted as the go-between in the negotiations with an invisible yet steadfast service manager emphatically urged me to take the Solstice to another GM dealer. The tone of his voice drove me to follow his advice. Carl's Buick - Pontiac - GMC in Stuart completed the repair which was covered under warranty. There has been no further problem.

    Fast forward to 2009. After lengthy consideration, I had decided that my next new car would be a full-sized sedan with a manual transmission. The Cadillac CTS seemed to be the logical choice until a chance visit to Carl's provided the opportunity to learn about the G8 GXP. Within days, I was in negotiations with dealers in Humble, TX, Las Vegas, NV, South Jersey, and Florida. When the negotiations neared the purchase, the choice was between two identical cars at Schumacher and Carl's. The salesman at Schumacher was lackadaisacal and inept. He wanted me to drive down to West Palm Beach to look at the car, since he was unable (after 3 days and with an appointment) to bring the car to the NPB showroom.

    Remembering my experiences with the 2 different service departments, the purchase was consummated at Carl's. 18 months and 37,000 miles later, my appreciation for this dealership has grown significantly. Every aspect of the relationship has been positive and rewarding. There is simply no comparison between the two dealerships. Carl's wins hands down.

  3. Dear Casual Observer,

    Thanks very much for your very interesting and informative comments about Schumacher's service and sales practices.

    The service incident in which Schumacher refused to repair the differential of your 2006 Pontiac Solstace under warranty is puzzling. The differential is part of the powertrain which should be covered in a 2006 GM car unless you had an extraordinary amount of miles. But, apparently you didn't because Carl Pontiac fixed it under warranty.

    The bottom line is that dealers make mistakes and I do too. But a good dealer provides a good channel for learning about them so that he can make them right and fix the process that allowed them to occur.

    The sales incident is also a great example of incompetence unrealized by upper management.

    Did you try to contact Chuck Schumacher about either problem?

    Thanks very much for your postive comments about Carl's in Stuart and I will investigate adding them to my preferred dealer list.

  4. Yes sir, I did. While negotiating the purchase of the G8, I shared the story with the floor salesman and the internet sales person. I tried to let them know that the dealership would have to find a way to overcome my bad experience if they hoped to earn my business. There should have been no doubt that I was willing to give them a chance to prove themselves. To the best of my knowledge, the message fell on deaf ears.

  5. I was in the market to lease a jeep a few years ago and went down to Arrigo after first stopping into Napleton in PBG. The whole staff at Napleton where complete buffoons and after I tired of dealing with these Morons... I told the two managers and the Salesman if they could guess who the 50th president of the United States was I would pay the extra 50 bucks a month they where trying to gaff me for! I kid you not... All three took a guess!!! I left went to Arrigo told them what I would pay for the lease the salesman talked to a slew of managers they congratulated me and said you got yourself a new jeep! I went to my paperwork with the finance guy and the contract he gives me has the lease price being $70 more! The finance guy says this is what I was told is the price! I walk to go find out what is going on and I catch the salesman trying to hide behind a showroom car and the manager who approved my deal dart into an office! I truly believe the where hoping I would not notice the higher price!!! I considered the Napleton crew Morons, however the Arrigo guys where downright criminals attempting to commit fraud!!! Anyway I went up to Stuart the next day and got my jeep and price hassle free! BTW... I purchased my 2000 landcruiser from you Earl and never got to talk to you because I never had a problem!

  6. Dear Anonymous, Thanks for sharing your two bad experiences. You were shrewd and aggressive enough to handle these types of unethical and illegal sales tactics but, unfortunately, many aren't and are victimized.

  7. I just bought a Fiat from Arrigo Dodge Chrysler Jeep in West Palm Beach and these people are so rude and they do not car about customer service and on top of everything they lie my car is brand new and I only drove it for 2 days and for the past 6 days they have had the car and you talk to one person they say something totally different from the other person they contradict eachother.

  8. I just recently ran into a situation with a local Florida dealer I have a question about pricing can a car legally go up from advertised priced because you request financing? I'm not talking a few hundred dollars the car doubled in price. By time the car was paid off it went from $6000 as advertised on and even at their dealership, once I mentioned financing all said and done I would have paid $12,000 for the vehicle. I would email you the dealers name and the entire situation if your interested into investigating it. Thank you for your time.

    1. OMG. I just had this happen to me. A small dealer in Stuart. It was selling $3500 and they marked it $6500 on my paperwork. In 5 years when I pay it off for almost $13,000. And have had nothing but trouble with car.


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