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Discussion Starter #1
Yesterday was supposed to be our most pleasant day after nearly 5-month quest of Ody. EXL-RES in SS was scheduled to be delivered to us. But it was ended in an odd way that we did not even imagine yesterday morning. Anyway, the good thing is that our quest is over. Hope only good things will come. I've planed to upgrade an Odyclub status to a member from a junior with our happy report, but ... Let me anyway report my uncomfortable experience since this may benefit other new Ody buyers.

We started thinking about our new van purchase around the end of August since the lease of our Chrysler van expires at the end of January and I heard from the grapevine that there is a long waiting list for Ody, which we vaguely thought to be as our top candidate. We went to a local Honda dealer (let me call Dealer A), got the info, and learned the existence of RES option. At the beginning of September, we put a deposit there for EXL-RES in RP. The dealer said that it should be in 3 months. At this time, we did not know how things work: dealer allocation, car assignment by Honda, and so on. We did not know the existence of this forum, so we did not have any useful information. We just believed that they order a car especially for us, and all we have to do is to just wait for the ordered vehicle to come in. Now we know that this is wrong. There is no special ordered vehicle. But anyway, since we still had 5 more months before lease expiration, we did not worry much. We rather worried on the case if the car comes a lot earlier -- turns out to be stupid worry.

Since then, we did not hear a single word from the dealer until mid-November. Then he called us to inform that EXL-RES in MB was available due to cancellation. We passed it and asked him on my position in the waiting list. We were told that we were #1 in EXL-RES/RP and there was no problem in getting one in December.

When the calendar turned to the last month of 2001, we were getting a bit worried. I also somehow found this forum and learned some bad stories and tricks many dealers were playing. So we started calling the dealer more often. He now told that we were #2 in EXL-RES/RP! Their December allocation had gone to the customer on the top of the list. Well, I don't know why this happened, but he said that January allocation should definitely go to us so we can get one before the lease ends although RP may be difficult. So we made ourselves a bit open to color; SS would be our second choice, and this would be acceptable.

No news received until the end of December, while we were discovering bad experiences more from the forum. So following the suggestions in the forum, I started calling a few other dealers to see what kind of other options we have if Dealer A (my local dealer) couldn't locate one. I tried a few in my area (living kind of suburb area), but all of them have at least two months waiting list (usually longer for EXL-RES). I also tried one near the city (Dealer B). They had one in SS EXL-RES in their January allocation (build date around 10~14th), which could be assigned to us. We did not put a deposit since I still hoped that Dealer A could find one in RP for me.

Finally Dealer A received the car list for January allocation after Christmas. Guess what ... no EXL-RES was included there. Even in other color. We got panicked. I immediately called back to Dealer B, but their car was already assigned to someone else.

Now we started calling to virtually all dealers in the state. I explained my situation. What I found was that all dealers in the suburb do not have any, but some of the dealers near city claim that they could assign one to me soon from their January allocation. They claim to have a larger allocation per month (35~50) compared to my local dealer (15 / month -- I guess they are all exaggerations, though). One dealer (Dealer C) said that they could allocate one red EXL-RES from their January allocation. Although they didn't have a build date / VIN number of the vehicle, they promised to give me the info by 1/02/2002. Well, another trick I got here. The dealer must know the estimated build date well before they know the VIN number. If they promise that they can give us a VIN number in a few days, they must know the build date. If they cannot give you a build estimate, they are lying. There was another dealer who claimed that they would get some. This Dealer D, however, returned a call later saying that they didn't have any. Strange. Anyway, incorrectly believing that Dealer C would bring us good news pretty soon, we welcomed year 2002.

Well this becomes long, much longer than I originally thought. Let me stop here and continue later, but can you imagine whom I finally buy one from and in which color?
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by arare:


Well this becomes long, much longer than I originally thought. Let me stop here and continue later, but can you imagine whom I finally buy one from and in which color?
</font>
My guess is Dealer E (Granite Grime) in the study with a candlestick.
 

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Drove to Alabama, swiped a RP from the factory lot, drove home on the rev-limiter at 118mph with it pulling slightly to the right, modified it to make it unrecognizable with crossbars, fog lights and a trailer package, and woke up the next morning to find an oil leak under it in the driveway?
 

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...or all of the above.

But seriously, sorry to hear about your runaround. I had a deposit with a dealer that gave me the "allocation smokescreen" too. I didn't have a car coming off lease, so I had no pressure. I found a new dealer that guaranteed me an allocation (three months later) and delivered as promised.

Hope "all's well that end's well".

Bryan
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well it’s been a busy week. I finally had a chance to write the latter part of the story, including the worst part. However, the van made us gradually forget all the troubles on purchasing, as Bryan suggested (thanks!). The van is such great although it is slightly different from what we originally wanted. Anyway, let me continue.

Now, since I put the deposit, Dealer C never called me back. I tried to reach him almost everyday ending up with unsatisfactory answer. He finally gave me a VIN number of a ‘car’ with our second choice color (SS EXL-RES). However, as I reported in this forum, the number was apparently an old one (2HL….H539xxx), which must have been built some time late November or early December. Now I realized that they would never find a van for me this month.

Now I expanded my search including the dealers surrounding states. I also left my number everywhere as recommended here. We had received a number of calls since then, but they mostly talked about EX, or EX with aftermarket leather and DVD. Looks like search for EXL is really tough. By this time, we became much less selective in color although RP and SS were still our favorite. We even started considering other options; we went to a Toyota dealer to see Siena.

Then, I found one dealer near city, Dealer E, who has two EXL-RES available with VIN number (MB & GG) and one EXL-RES in RP without VIN number but in January allocation. But they insisted at least $1K over MSRP (all other offers were MSRP). I talked about the offer with Dealer C. The dealer then laughed and said, “You would never get a van, especially high demand EXL-RES. MSRP offer is just a trick to get a deposit. The deal ends when a dealer received the deposit.” He asked me if I received any call back from the dealer where I put a deposit. Well, I couldn’t answer it. What he said was true (except for Dealer A). But I walked away since I didn’t like his approach.

I further expanded my search, sending e-mail to a remote state, especially to OH where I heard below-MSRP deals in this board. This includes Jay Honda. Dennis (the salesperson often referred in the forum) replied to my query, saying that they got EXL-RES in SS available soon due to cancellation. The offer was $300 below MSRP + shipping = ~ 250 over MSRP. I jumped to it and put a deposit. Now we finally became relieved. Finally found the deal with a reasonable dealer. Dennis sounds a lot different and better than the other dealers I had talked.

Well, but next day: Dealer D (remember it?) called me. They had SS EXL-RES available in a week or two, built on 1/7/02 with VIN number. Well, since this is the same state deal, I don’t have to do any registration work. They are one hour away, so it’s possible to bring a van if something serious happened after the purchase. I requested the VIN #, and this time it was a reasonable number (…H546xxx). So I put a deposit here.

Now, I called back to Dennis, explaining the situation, and cancelled my order. This SS EXL-RES, by the way, was sold to another customer just in a day after my cancellation. Wow! And yes, Dennis returned my deposit back as he promised.

Since I cancelled this order, I found someone in this forum complaining that Dealer D sold the van under his name to someone else. This made us worry a bit, but we thought that this was unusual case. We had a VIN. After a week, as we expected and hoped, I received a call from Dealer D, saying that the car was in. So we decided to pick it up the next morning, and the unbelievable day finally came.

One-hour drive to Dealer D was a pleasant one with high expectation. However, we had to wait at the dealer for an hour since the car was not ready yet, at least that’s what the salesman explained to us first. Then, the sales manager approached us informing that the car had been sold to someone else the day before, so they could NOT deliver the car to us! What? …. What? I couldn’t believe what happened to us after the whole hour drive to the dealer. They must then have informed us the first thing in the morning!

The sales manager then promised to locate the same exact vehicle in two days via swapping. They did not have any more EXL-RES available. But how could they find one in two days? We called all the dealers and found nothing, especially EXL-RES, only a fraction of Ody is in this model and it’s one of the hardest to find. What would happen if they couldn’t locate one? – And this should most likely happen! His answer was just to return a deposit. Huh? We canceled the other offer and waited for this vehicle! We were really upset. Then the sales manager yelled back to us, saying that this was not his fault and his boss was the guy who made the decision of selling the van to someone else. His rude attitude really made us sick – he even yelled at other salesperson watching our conversation.

Our salesperson (he was not rude, by the way) promised to call us by the evening on the progress of swap search, although we did not expect almost anything from them. They just wanted us to give up – at least that was our real impression. Now another one-hour drive back home was filled with full of sighs. The van must have been sold to someone who had offered better deal (maybe more than MSRP). We really regret canceling a car from Jay Honda, and we seriously started thinking our other options: Siena, Chevrolet Venture with entertainment system (considered just for a second or two and gone), calling to all Honda on this planet, EX with aftermarket DVD, and so on.

When we came back to home, we found two messages in our answering machine. The first one was from Dealer A (local dealer) – no EXL yet, but they had one SS EX available. We became serious about this offer until we heard the second message. This was from that Dealer D. They found GG EXL-RES and they could deliver it by the end of the day if we wanted. The message was recorded at just 15 minutes after we left the dealer! Did they locate one in 15 minutes? Anyway, we decided to take this one; else we were afraid that we could not find any EXL-RES by the end of the month. Now I took another one+ hour trip back to the dealer. What a day!

The sales manager tried to be nice this time. But when I mentioned that he could find one this quick (in 15 minutes – he originally told us that they could start the search when the swap manager came in two hours!), he started defending himself again. He also mentioned that his boss (the boss of sales manager = owner?) did really want to sell the van to me. I did not understand what he was trying to say, but since I didn’t want to deal with this person any more, I just shrug my shoulders.

So now in my garage, we see Odyssey EXL-RES with the color we’ve never thought of, GG! Well, but we should still consider us lucky to find EXL-RES even after all the troubles. For a few days after the purchase, the GG color has been also grown on us, so I may convert my color poll in the future. Fern leather is really nice. This is lighter than what we originally thought. Actually it is more like what we expected with Quartz leather. So Quartz must be really light gray. RES is fabulous; we especially liked the integrated control for front/rear audience, which we could not get EX w/ aftermarket DVD. So finally I am happy that I could report something really good. However, there is one more thing I should mention on our experience.

How could they locate the van this quick? I did not notice this for a while. But when I glanced at the window sticker at home, I found that it includes the name of the dealer who ordered the vehicle to Honda America. Now guess what. The name of Dealer D is on the window sticker. So they did NOT locate any van from any other dealer. Then, did the person who was assigned to this vehicle happen to cancel this car? Well, more possible situation would be … Dealer D had just passed this car to me, as they did on SS EXL-RES under my name before. I now remembered the word of the sales manager. His boss wanted to sell one to me. Well, there was no change in the deal. It was MSRP. But I didn’t have any trade-in, and no financing through them. I brought all remaining in cashier’s check, so they could get all in cash immediately. I guess that this must be what he meant by his word. Or am I too skeptical?

Lessons from my bad experience, especially to a new buyer looking for high-demand type (EXL/RES/NAVI) and having some pressure on time (lease term like me).

+ Put a deposit to more than one dealer from the beginning so as not to panic later as I did. Make sure that all deposits are refundable and let them clearly state it in their order form.
+ Try a dealer with more monthly allocation, which is usually in the metro area, although they tend to play some trick on the deal.
+ Having a VIN does not guarantee car delivery. Don’t cancel other offer until you get one car actually delivered to you.

Well, our case must be unusual case – but the above would prevent you from trapping into such worst-case scenario.
 

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Quite a story... and to imagine I bought my RRP EXL-RES off a dealer lot where it sat for 2-3 weeks...

Enjoy your new GG EXL-RES. And yes that is a very nice color...

------------------
2002 EXL-RES Redrock Pearl

2001 Chevy 2500HD crewcab 4x4
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Follow-up on my deposits. I finally received all deposits back, in two weeks -- not too bad.

Jay Honda: The same day.
Dealer A: One week. I called them again in a week. The salesman admitted that he forgot processing. Then, they returned on the day.
Dealer C: Two weeks. I also called them again, with typical salesman response. Just found it's back on my account -- I am about to call them again.

What's your experience?
 

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A dealer in Columbus, Ohio for getting an EX from a different dealer chewed me out. My allocation was about 2 months out and they never provided a VIN. I also wanted to sell my 4x4 SUV before winter is over. I didn't think she would understand that point while she was venting on me. GEEEEEEZZZZZ, she'll probably get another sale at MSRP anyway. I doubt they will face a financial loss.

Then, she said that she hoped that we would remember her and the dealership when we drove past them taking the Odyssey to the far away other dealer for servicing. This is odd, instead of putting out the olive branch and looking for service dollars and break-fix dollars for "the dealer", she choose to word it in a format that seemed slightly threatening.

Before I got that call from her, my wife and I felt bad for doing this, but the more wintertime to sell a 6-year-old SUV the better. I was going to get her a gift certificate of $50 to a CMitchell restaurant, but not now, not after basically being told they didn't want to see us there for service.

I'll need to replace my 11 year-old Nissan one of these years. I don't think I'll consider them for that business now, even though the Civic or Accord would be contenders.

I told this story to our other sales rep, she said that the other lady took a deal from her just a few weeks ago. She said not to worry.

I'm bummed by their attitude, and their desire that we not stop by for service. They are less than a mile away from our home.

You know, I'll tell who it was; it was hugh white in downtown.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by BobN:
...My allocation was about 2 months out and they never provided a VIN...</font>
I'm puzzled. The VIN isn't available to either the dealer or to the customer until after the van is assembled, never before. Were you expecting the VIN 2 months prior to delivery? Maybe I misunderstood your point.

Regards,

Maugham
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Maugham:
I'm puzzled. The VIN isn't available to either the dealer or to the customer until after the van is assembled, never before. Were you expecting the VIN 2 months prior to delivery? Maybe I misunderstood your point.

Regards,

Maugham
</font>
Maybe I misunderstood others. I had an impression that people were getting their VINs months before delivery. Either way, I think I would find it easier to sell the old SUV in the winter, than the spring or late winter.
 
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