Letter to my local Honda Dealer.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Letter to my local Honda Dealer.

    I know I am no great writer but this letter pretty much tell the story of my morning.

    To whom it may concern,

    I drive a 2002 Subaru WRX which is near lease end. Specifically I have 3 weeks with which to acquire a new vehicle. Recently I have started a new job in Santa Monica which requires that I commute a long distance, much of it in heavy traffic. For that reason, I am in the market for a more economical and easier to drive vehicle. Due to the fact that it is eligible to be driven in the HOV lane, the natural gas version of the Honda Civic was something I wanted to find out more about. The CVT is also a very desirable feature. If the Natural Gas Civic turned out to be impractical for other reasons (paucity of filling stations, price premium, limited availability, etc..), a hybrid Civic with CVT looked like a great alternative. All I needed was someone knowledgeable about Hondas to help me with some information.

    It was with this goal in mind, coupled with a healthy "shop local" attitude that I journeyed to Power Honda in Valencia this morning (Sunday June 12th). On the way there I pondered how I would answer the inevitable question the salesman would certainly ask during the first 5 minutes of my visit, "so, are you ready to buy a car today?" and I realized that yes in fact if I could work out a fair deal, and due to my desire to get my transportation situation resolved quickly that I might very well buy a car today, whether that be a NG (Natural Gas) Civic ordered from the factory, or a Hybrid driven right off your lot. My actual experience however, bore no relation to my expectations.

    Upon arriving at the lot I noticed one lone gentlemen standing out front. I wish I could tell you his name, but I am not good at remembering names, and because it never occurred to him to hand me his card I am afraid I can't. I walked over to him and after introducing myself and shaking his hand (Surprisingly, both exchanges had to be initiated by me) I informed him that I was interested in finding out about the NG Civic, and if they were sold there. He said he would have to talk to "the manager," turned around and headed to the showroom. Before he got out of earshot I managed to ask him if he wanted me to follow, to which he replied in the affirmative.

    Once inside he went inside a glass office that is right in the front of the showroom, wandered about aimlessly in there for a minute and walked out. As he passed me he said he was going to ask the fleet manager. I observed him poke his head around the edge of a partition in the SE corner of the showroom and I assume there he had a conversation with the fleet manager while I admired two beautiful soap box derby cars on display on the showroom.

    After 2 -3 minutes he returned and said "He says we don't have any here and we are not likely to get any because we are not a service point for Natural Gas"

    I said: "OK"

    This was followed by what I can only describe as several seconds of agonizingly awkward silence, the two of us just staring at each other, only the occasional blink to interupt the excruciating nothingness of it all. And that was that. After I could not take it any longer I said "thanks" and went home no wiser (and still driving the same car) than when I arrived. On second thought I am wiser. Regrettably I now know that if I want to find a dealer who actually wants to sell me a car I will have to dispense with that "shop local" attitude, ironically being promoted by SCV car dealers like Power Honda, and make the trek over to Van Nuys, Lancaster, or elsewhere.

    Now if you are anything like me when it comes to customer service, and because your are allegedly in the business of selling cars (although I have yet to see any evidence of that) your jaw should be firmly planted on the ground at this point. I know mine was as I walked out of your showroom this morning.

    By the way you have a beautiful new showroom and a very impressive location overall. When I pulled up I was awed by the size of the lot and how many cars you have right there on site ready to be sold. It makes one wonder how far Power Honda could go if you started actually SHOWING them to your customers. Perhaps if nothing else you can give me the name and address of a Honda dealer where the sales people actually engage in the selling of cars to their "walk on" customers. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    I can't wait until all the whack jobs on this board pound on you for what they perceive to be your faults.

    Do you always chum before you take a salt water swim?

    Now a legitimate comment. I speculate you just had bad luck in encountering this person, who was trying to fill in for some odd reason. If you had encountered another employee, I would guess your experience would have been quite different.

    Buy a car through CostCo or one of those online places. Avoids the whole dealer stench.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wasatch Walt
    I can't wait until all the whack jobs on this board pound on you for what they perceive to be your faults.

    Do you always chum before you take a salt water swim?
    Bring 'em on!

    Now a legitimate comment. I speculate you just had bad luck in encountering this person, who was trying to fill in for some odd reason. If you had encountered another employee, I would guess your experience would have been quite different.

    Buy a car through CostCo or one of those online places. Avoids the whole dealer stench.
    Unfortunately I really need to to find a Honda representative who can speak intelligently with me about the pros and cons of a Natural Gas vehicle. I have researched as much as I can on the internet and now I need a few final bits of information that I think only a Honda rep can provide.

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    I knew for sure it was going to be a complaint letter and not a thankyou letter!

    Sadly, you might actually get some results with that letter though.
    But it would be stupid of them to do so.
    Its like.... thanks for letting us know you are insane before we sell you a car.
    Our service department doesnt need another "one"
    Desperately searching for a klein 120mm O-rise MC1 mission control stem /handlebars or any 1 1/4 quill stem equivalent.
    EDIT- HELLOOOOOOOO......... Desperately means i will pay really,really good money for it.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasonwa2
    Our service department doesnt need another "one"
    Yup, those "customers" sure can be annoying!

  6. #6
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    For a while you can still pretty much expect dealers to be about as interested in selling these as LBS's are in carrying unicycles.

    Sounds like they're only available in Ca and on a very limited basis at that.At least Honda's moving in the right direction.Probably a PITA for dealers to service and sell.That said, they should have been more helpful in steering you towards some assistance.Perhaps Honda dealers could pool their resources for service support until it becomes more popular.
    "There's a fine line between clever and stupid."
    -David St. Hubbins, Spinal Tap

  7. #7
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    Gmaki, shorten it down a bit.

    Maybe more than a bit ... makes for a long read.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Belfrey
    Yup, those "customers" sure can be annoying!
    Its not the annoying ones you gotta look out for.
    Its the ones that will cost you money and destroy your business that you have to watch out for.

    If i have any disagreement with a homeowner before i do a job....i dont do the job.
    If there is anything other than smiles the whole time....I dont do the job.
    If they are acting perfect but my gut says dont do the job.....I dont do the job.
    Desperately searching for a klein 120mm O-rise MC1 mission control stem /handlebars or any 1 1/4 quill stem equivalent.
    EDIT- HELLOOOOOOOO......... Desperately means i will pay really,really good money for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by T 3
    For a while you can still pretty much expect dealers to be about as interested in selling these as LBS's are in carrying unicycles.

    Sounds like they're only available in Ca and on a very limited basis at that.At least Honda's moving in the right direction.Probably a PITA for dealers to service and sell.That said, they should have been more helpful in steering you towards some assistance.Perhaps Honda dealers could pool their resources for service support until it becomes more popular.
    I doubt it.

    The conversion technology for NG was finely tuned in the 70's.

    It is not a big deal. I think most "kits" for NG were $500 to $1000 at the time.

    It is just a hydrocarbon ... while gas may have quite a few octanes (8 carbon atoms in the chain) NG has one. Quite similar.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kept man
    Gmaki, shorten it down a bit.

    Maybe more than a bit ... makes for a long read.
    Yeah I thought about that when I wrote it, but I was having so much fun writing it I just kept going. Bottom line if I get results fine, If not no biggie, there are plenty of Honda dealers in LA.

    I've tried to buy my last three cars out here locally and have been thwarted by bad service every time. When I bought my Subaru, I gave them such a hard time that the "General Manager" called me at home in the middle of the deal to ask me not to come back.

    I am a little old school in my view of customer service I suppose. Every thing I have ever been taught has consistently instilled in me that I should never say no to a customer... never. And I never have. If a client calls me with a request or a problem, I take it on as my responsibility to find a solution even if that solution means taking it to a competitor. So if for instance a client requests something that I can't do, I find out how and where it can be done before getting back to them. I always give them a solution, never a dead end.

    And as you can see it sends me through the roof when I encounter someone who does not understand the value in that.

    In this case let's suppose this guy decided to take "ownership" of my request and he asked me for my phone #, promising to find out how and where I can get info and/or purchase a NG Civic. After I leave he calls around and finds out that say for example Palmdale Honda is the California "Natural Gas headquarters for Honda" and that a guy named "Joe Shmo" in their fleet department is the regional expert on them. And oh by the way here is his phone #, "I've passed on your name and questions to him, he says he's got answers and he's just waiting to for your call so he can help you out."

    What a difference that would make. It would leave me with a favorable impression of Power Honda, a favorable impression of Palmdale Honda, and a favorable impression of Honda service overall. Even if I never bought a car from them! I would also not hesitate to make Power Honda my FIRST phone call next time around, knowing they will go the extra mile to help me even if they don't have exactly what I am looking for. Right now I would have no reason to ever call them again.

    And one more thing to all you budding management dweebs. The chronic complaining customer is not your enemy, he is your BEST FRIEND. He is the only way that you know what is wrong with your service. Your enemy is the customer who says nothing at all when he is dissatisfied and simply quietly goes elsewhere. Think about that.

  11. #11
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    LOL, here is the reply I just got. Obviously it's just automated.

    Gmaki,

    Hi this is Igor Fominykh with Power Honda Valencia. I am looking forward to working with you.

    I understand that you are interested in a new . I'll be calling to answer any questions you may have. If there is a good time to reach you please let me know.

    You can reach me at 661-255-5551 x202.

    Sincerely,

    Igor Fominykh
    Internet/Fleet
    [email protected]
    www.valenciahonda.com

    Cust# 19825733
    Form# 123236



    "I understand you are interested in a new." .... WHAT! a new what???????

    Hehe.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasonwa2
    Its not the annoying ones you gotta look out for.
    Its the ones that will cost you money and destroy your business that you have to watch out for.

    If i have any disagreement with a homeowner before i do a job....i dont do the job.
    If there is anything other than smiles the whole time....I dont do the job.
    If they are acting perfect but my gut says dont do the job.....I dont do the job.
    Yeah, but you're a roofer in Florida, right?

    LOL, sort of a seller's market!

    Once upon a time I worked as a mechanic (eventually the service manager) at a bike shop, and I was also often on the sales floor. That sort of performance would have gotten us a very stern talking-to from the owner, whose livelihood depended on us actually giving a crap about educating the customer, selling stuff, and building a good customer base. If you impress the difficult customer, he/she sends his/her nice friends. But then, we actually received sales training, unlike the guy who "helped" gmaki. Pathetic.
    Last edited by Belfrey; 06-12-2005 at 04:36 PM.

  13. #13
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    You have no friends when you are buying a car

    Quote Originally Posted by gmaki
    I know I am no great writer but this letter pretty much tell the story of my morning.

    To whom it may concern,

    I drive a 2002 Subaru WRX which is near lease end. Specifically I have 3 weeks with which to acquire a new vehicle. Recently I have started a new job in Santa Monica which requires that I commute a long distance, much of it in heavy traffic. For that reason, I am in the market for a more economical and easier to drive vehicle. Due to the fact that it is eligible to be driven in the HOV lane, the natural gas version of the Honda Civic was something I wanted to find out more about. The CVT is also a very desirable feature. If the Natural Gas Civic turned out to be impractical for other reasons (paucity of filling stations, price premium, limited availability, etc..), a hybrid Civic with CVT looked like a great alternative. All I needed was someone knowledgeable about Hondas to help me with some information.

    It was with this goal in mind, coupled with a healthy "shop local" attitude that I journeyed to Power Honda in Valencia this morning (Sunday June 12th). On the way there I pondered how I would answer the inevitable question the salesman would certainly ask during the first 5 minutes of my visit, "so, are you ready to buy a car today?" and I realized that yes in fact if I could work out a fair deal, and due to my desire to get my transportation situation resolved quickly that I might very well buy a car today, whether that be a NG (Natural Gas) Civic ordered from the factory, or a Hybrid driven right off your lot. My actual experience however, bore no relation to my expectations.

    Upon arriving at the lot I noticed one lone gentlemen standing out front. I wish I could tell you his name, but I am not good at remembering names, and because it never occurred to him to hand me his card I am afraid I can't. I walked over to him and after introducing myself and shaking his hand (Surprisingly, both exchanges had to be initiated by me) I informed him that I was interested in finding out about the NG Civic, and if they were sold there. He said he would have to talk to "the manager," turned around and headed to the showroom. Before he got out of earshot I managed to ask him if he wanted me to follow, to which he replied in the affirmative.

    Once inside he went inside a glass office that is right in the front of the showroom, wandered about aimlessly in there for a minute and walked out. As he passed me he said he was going to ask the fleet manager. I observed him poke his head around the edge of a partition in the SE corner of the showroom and I assume there he had a conversation with the fleet manager while I admired two beautiful soap box derby cars on display on the showroom.

    After 2 -3 minutes he returned and said "He says we don't have any here and we are not likely to get any because we are not a service point for Natural Gas"

    I said: "OK"

    This was followed by what I can only describe as several seconds of agonizingly awkward silence, the two of us just staring at each other, only the occasional blink to interupt the excruciating nothingness of it all. And that was that. After I could not take it any longer I said "thanks" and went home no wiser (and still driving the same car) than when I arrived. On second thought I am wiser. Regrettably I now know that if I want to find a dealer who actually wants to sell me a car I will have to dispense with that "shop local" attitude, ironically being promoted by SCV car dealers like Power Honda, and make the trek over to Van Nuys, Lancaster, or elsewhere.

    Now if you are anything like me when it comes to customer service, and because your are allegedly in the business of selling cars (although I have yet to see any evidence of that) your jaw should be firmly planted on the ground at this point. I know mine was as I walked out of your showroom this morning.

    By the way you have a beautiful new showroom and a very impressive location overall. When I pulled up I was awed by the size of the lot and how many cars you have right there on site ready to be sold. It makes one wonder how far Power Honda could go if you started actually SHOWING them to your customers. Perhaps if nothing else you can give me the name and address of a Honda dealer where the sales people actually engage in the selling of cars to their "walk on" customers. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
    He should of at least giving you a referral to one of the dealers that has the car your looking for

    But If I where you, I'd just buy a high mpg regular gas Japanese econo box.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmaki
    I know I am no great writer but this letter pretty much tell the story of my morning.

    .[/I]
    It was Sunday morning - probably not the star sales staff. I usually have the opposite problem and have to wear a body armor when I go car shopping.

    I ened up with a Civic and get about 39 mpg. Has about 10 HP more than our 1994 Civic which gets about 44 mpg.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wasatch Walt
    I doubt it.

    The conversion technology for NG was finely tuned in the 70's.

    It is not a big deal. I think most "kits" for NG were $500 to $1000 at the time.

    It is just a hydrocarbon ... while gas may have quite a few octanes (8 carbon atoms in the chain) NG has one. Quite similar.

    Thanks Walt,but I was referring to the info Honda released regarding that specific model Honda Civic.
    "There's a fine line between clever and stupid."
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    I got a very similiar reaction from the local VW dealer when asking about the TDI in fact they all but denied VW ever built a diesel engine. Do you have a Carmax availible? Last year I did some rather extensive car shopping for me my wife AND my mother. (all are cars were totaled by other drivers long story) I came away with an extremely low opinion of humanity and not much else until we tried Carmax.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmaki
    And one more thing to all you budding management dweebs. The chronic complaining customer is not your enemy, he is your BEST FRIEND. He is the only way that you know what is wrong with your service. Your enemy is the customer who says nothing at all when he is dissatisfied and simply quietly goes elsewhere. Think about that.
    Old news! Read "Love is the Killer Application" by Tim Sanders - one of the flakiest guys I know BUT his ideas rock.
    old fart cyclist

  18. #18
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    Hybrid

    Quote Originally Posted by gmaki

    "I understand you are interested in a new." .... WHAT! a new what???????

    Hehe.
    HYBRID! check out the infobahn at wired.com for more than you want to know about hybrids.

    http://www.wired.com/news/autotech/
    old fart cyclist

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmaki
    When I bought my Subaru, I gave them such a hard time that the "General Manager" called me at home in the middle of the deal to ask me not to come back.

    I am a little old school in my view of customer service I suppose. Every thing I have ever been taught has consistently instilled in me that I should never say no to a customer... never.
    Honestly (and try to take this as constructive criticism Gmaki), these two statements lead me to suspect that you may be one of those customers who is just too much of a PITA to be worth dealing with. I'm not talking about mere complainers - I agree that they are more valuable to a company than the happy campers. I'm talking about those folks who seem to take "the customer is always right" to mean "I have carte blanche to be rude and/or needlessly demanding, demand inappropriate "breaks", second-guess the company, treat the staff like doormats and generally act like an all-around Prima Donna".

    FWIW, though, it seems to me this dealership totally dropped the ball in how you were treated.

  20. #20
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    Your commute is going to be hell. I wouldn't even wish that on a liberal. There is nothing like the 405. I would buy an econo box and an inflatable doll for the passenger and now you're an HOV. The extra cost on a hybrid won't pencil out (I don't think they are HOV lane legal but I could be wrong) and inflatable dolls won't complain about your choice in music. Get satallite radio. I have Siruis but XM is just as good. LA radio is the worst.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wasatch Walt
    If you had encountered another employee, I would guess your experience would have been quite different.
    Selling cars? Probably not.
    .
    Raspberries, nature's poison ivy bait. (Formerly, 'Stops to eat the raspberries.')

  22. #22
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    F' Honda - buy Toyota !!!

  23. #23
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    Gmaki, why the hell are you looking for attention from car salesmen, local or not?

    This is such a friggin stupid way to buy a car.

  24. #24
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    So you want attention from SCV car salesmen....

    Head around the corner to Frontier Toyota. The schooling sharks there ( er, I mean salesmen) standing around the S/W corner of the showroom are calling dibs on your pink hide ( er, I mean business) as your car turns the corner onto Creekside Road. Don't believe me, stop in sometime and watch them in action.

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