Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Why Honda Has Lost My Business

2012 Honda Odyssey. Image courtesy of Honda.
My first car was a Honda, way back when I was in high school and a new driver. It wasn't a glamorous thing, but despite having been totaled twice and being three different colors, it ran like a champion. Sure, the dash lights no longer came on, I had to insert the turn signal stalk into the steering column just so for the signals to even work and it shook like a leaf when going over 50 mph. Despite all those problems, the car was actually fairly fun to drive and never left me stranded.

Since then I've owned several more Hondas. While a lot of car guys throughout the years have felt extreme hatred towards the brand, I wasn't one of them. Even though having a high-powered muscle car is a lot of fun, when I was in college I appreciated that my vehicle sipped fuel and took little maintenance. Later in life, I've moved on to a minivan that also runs well and is light on the gas, and is even more entertaining to drive than other minivans out there (which, believe me, isn't saying too much).

After all that, I can genuinely say I have zero interest in purchasing another Honda.

Many people who have decided to buy a low-mileage, slightly used Honda learn pretty quickly that it's a completely stupid plan. Thanks to a very strategic plan that involves essentially no fleet sales, Honda has been successful at its vehicles' values high, which means that buying a two to three year-old Honda will cost almost as much as getting one that's brand new.

When I was contemplating swapping my current Honda for a new one, I knew to just go to the dealer and begin the negotiations. The only thing was, I went to several in my area, and each one engaged in the usual car salesman games. I've been to a lot of dealerships in my day, have worked with many, and know the difference between a dealer driving a hard deal and one that's trying to work you over. For example, I had one that was trying to jack my interest rate by three percent, then bald-faced lied to me about it when I caught them. At another Honda dealer, the sales guy only wanted to talk to me about the hardcore performance characteristics of the vehicle in question, which was a three-row family model.

After putting up with the greasy sales tactics at pretty much every Honda dealer even somewhat close to me, I gave up. I even tried going to an Acura dealer, where they acted completely snooty (I've been treated far better at Mercedes and BMW dealers, which are far nicer brands).

I've concluded that Honda's dealers must think people want the cars so badly they'll put up with just about anything. I know people like that, who literally believe that there's something magical that makes Hondas automatically better than all other brands on the face of the earth. Knowing too much about cars, I simply don't believe that.

The next time I actually buy a car, it won't be a Honda. No brand is good enough to put up with the offensive and abusive games of car dealers. Times are changing and more consumers feel the same way.

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