Monday, August 21, 2006

Civic Hybrid with Navi!

Well! After watching the progress of hybrid cars - and waiting for a model that actually comes in my size - I finally took the plunge and ordered a Honda Civic Hybrid. 45mpg city/highway or some such.

This was 7 months ago.

Ordinarily, and even in California, the waiting list for things like this isn't nearly this long, but as long as I was going to get something "special" I thought I would go for the cool navigation unit. Which apparently is a rare commodity. More on this soon.

But first, the wait. My first salesman, who is no longer with the dealer ("perhaps your car will arrive in my son's lifetime"), thought it would show up in 5 weeks rather than the normal 2-3 weeks for the regular model. Longer if I cared to specify the color.

So I thought it was fine. I wasn't sure I could afford a new car just then, and I wasn't sure I wanted to give up my current ride (and I'm still not). But after 3 months passed without a word from the dealer, I started getting concerned. They had $500 of my money and I wondered if they were giving priority to new customers who offered extra money.

So every month or so I'd pay a visit to the dealer. No word, and they don't find out what's coming until the day before it shows. Don't you think Honda would understand about supply chain management? I sure do.

Time continues to pass and I start thinking about checking other dealers in other states. When I finally did check, the next day I got The Call, my car had arrived, and couldn't I run over and finish buying it.

Say, what? You make me wait for 7 months and you expect me to re-arrange my life with a phone call?

It got worse. I visited the dealer after work and was immediately asked to sign a bunch of papers.

"Can't I see the car first?"

"Um, oh, sure..."

So I see what it looks like in my non-favorite color. Hmm. Well, okay. Let me think about it. "No, no, please sign the paperwork!" Any by the way put down all of your bank accounts etc in the credit application. Nothing like being treated like you're fresh out of high school.

By this time it's 8pm, I hadn't gotten a decent night's sleep in 4 days, and I just wanted to go home. The salesman wouldn't let me.

"No, no, people have come by and offered more money!"

"Why are you so worried about me not getting this car? The worst that can happen is I don't buy it and you can make $3K more selling it to someone else."

Finally the finance manager either took pity on me, noticed my gray hair and realized maybe they should treat me better, or just decided to stop the salesman at .95 Jerk, and they let me walk out uncommitted.

And I came in the next day and bought the car. As I said, it came in my size (although we'll have to do something about thigh support), the navigation system is ultra-cool (and the voice activation covers the radio and A/C too!), and it drives really well (although I've already decided it needs a stiffer rear anti-roll bar).

I just wish the purchasing experience was more pleasant. 7 months of uncertainty and non-communication followed by 2 days of high pressure just isn't a good customer experience, and I had expected more of Honda.


Blogger textilefashion said...

Hi !
I am looking out the window at a sea of silver...with navi. Yes, the HCH is an awesome car and the navi they have added to the civic's is extremely user friendly and it's loaded with all kinds of good stuff.

TextileFashion Team

3:47 PM  

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