Honda dealing, for what it's worth...

I am not affiliated with Honda or any of their dealerships. I used to be, though, so I have a little bit of insight into the retail side of things. I just thought I'd post some general information that might be
useful for anyone considering the purchase of a new Honda, as a way of introducing myself to this newsgroup.
First off, as many of you may know, the current model of the Honda Civic is in its last year. The model was introduced in late '00 for the 2001 model year, and the styling was refreshed a bit for the 2004 model year. For this year, there are two Special Edition models: an LX SE and an EX SE. The LX SE adds alloy wheels and a 6-disc in dash changer, but lacks a sunroof, ABS brakes and the VTEC motor. The EX SE has all of the above.
Any 2005 Civic should be attainable at or below invoice cost. This is going to be especially true for EX models and Si's, because dealers have a harder time selling economy cars when they're top-of-the-line. The vast majority of customers want to spend as little as possible. So they will be interested in either the VP (which has A/C and a CD player but no power windows or locks) or the LX SE. If you want to upgrade, then you're going to have the upper hand.
The Accord is a newer model, having been introduced in 2003. The same still applies, though. In particular, cars with navigation systems are very hard to sell. As of June 1st, Capitol Honda in San Jose still has a half-dozen 2004 Accord coupes with navigation systems. Some are four-cylinders, some sixes, but they're all EX-LNAVs. That should tell you what a hard time dealers are having selling them. So if you're shopping for an EX V-6 coupe with a 6-speed manual and a navigation system, you should be trying to get down to about $1000 below invoice. For those 2004's, maybe even less than that. Also, if you're planning on buying an Accord Hybrid, you can do the same thing - pick one with a navigation system and use it as leverage for a discount.
The same idea also applies to the Odyssey. The expensive Touring model, with its long list of extras and premium price, is going to be pretty damn hard for a lot of dealers to sell. If you're looking for the best minivan bang for your buck, talk to fleet salesmen about the Touring model.
Time will tell if the Ridgeline takes off. Initial response has been fairly strong, though, and although its pricing may seem a tad high, it is certainly in line with the competition when it is comparatively equipped. It also offers much better road manners than pickups from Toyota or the domestic makers. Car and Driver seemed to like it a lot, giving it a first-place nod by a wide margin over the new Nissan Frontier and an even wider margin over pickups from Chevrolet, Dodge, and Toyota.
For the other SUVs - the CR-V, the Element, the Pilot - hunt around for the best deal. There's no reason why anyone ought to pay MSRP for any of these vehicles, much less a markup. The Element in particular has been a sluggish seller and should be available at significant discounts.
Finally, Honda has two special models that are in their last model year, the Insight and the S2000. I can't recommend the Insight; it is too expensive and too inadequate for American freeways. Dealers will carry very few of them. If you must have one, buy one only at the lowest possible price. The S2000, however, is one of the finest sports cars on the road for any price. There are now cars in its price range which can outperform it, such as the Mustang GT convertible, but that doesn't matter. It's the best pure sports-car value on the planet. Just avoid the expensive rattletrap hardtop.
I am more than open to any questions anyone may have.
-Sonarrat.
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As a person in the same position except I'm still affiliated I can only add to what Sonarrat said by telling you that what he sees or saw in his market is not what you will find in all the different areas of the country. The market here in the Southeast is different and changes all the time based on supply and demand. Right now Civic Sedans are hard to find and command a decent price with very few going out under cost. The top line Odysseys are holding steady and are not highly discounted and the only Accords at a tremendous bargain is an LX sedan. Pilots are moderate but you can get a good deal on one now due to high inventories. CRV sales and demand is always strong but due to volume sales and availability you can get a good deal on one. Deals are out there though. There's never been a better time to buy than now. The interest rate is low, the summer brings high volume sales and dealers can let a "deal" go out along with all their other sales. Know what you want and what it's worth before you shop. Good luck!

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As a person in the same position except I'm still affiliated I can only add to what Sonarrat said by telling you that what he sees or saw in his market is not what you will find in all the different areas of the country. The market here in the Southeast is different and changes all the time based on supply and demand. Right now Civic Sedans are hard to find and command a decent price with very few going out under cost. The top line Odysseys are holding steady and are not highly discounted and the only Accords at a tremendous bargain is an LX sedan. Pilots are moderate but you can get a good deal on one now due to high inventories. CRV sales and demand is always strong but due to volume sales and availability you can get a good deal on one. Deals are out there though. There's never been a better time to buy than now. The interest rate is low, the summer brings high volume sales and dealers can let a "deal" go out along with all their other sales. Know what you want and what it's worth before you shop. Good luck!

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Howard wrote:

Do you think these are very different from the suggested prices on www.carsdirect.com ?
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Brian Stell wrote:

Because a dealer will be so eager to promote an online wholesale store. ;)
CarsDirect is a fine indicator of what you should be paying in your area, but on the other hand, they're not above retaining profit on hot models. For instance, they're not discounting the Honda Insight at all. (This is most likely because it's being produced in extremely low volumes this year, more than enough to sate the small demand.) As with any dealer, if the price seems fair, then it is fair. If it doesn't, then it isn't.
-Sonarrat.
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