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
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,
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.