06 September 2008

About that car...

Yes, a week ago yesterday we bought a new car for moi. After Tim and Megan's Cobalt went to that great big junkyard in the sky where all good cars who have protected their occupants from certain death go, they asked if we'd be interested in selling them my 2005 Honda Pilot.

Why, yes indeed. Most happy to do so.

Which meant I needed to find myself a new vehicle posthaste. So I started my search online while up in Keller a couple weeks ago. I knew what I wanted. But no one seemed to HAVE it! I wanted the new souped up 2009 Honda Pilot Touring 4WD with RES (which I thought had something to do with brakes or the engine - turns out RES is Hondaspeak for "rear entertainment system" - couldn't they have just said "with DVD"?). Simple enough I thought. Well, for awhile it seemed that NO ONE IN THE ENTIRE STATE OF TEXAS ORDERS 4WD VEHICLES! And not a few dealership "salesmen" let me know in no uncertain terms that

1) No one NEEDS 4WD in the Houston area

2) No one NEEDS 4WD in the state of Texas

3) I was an imbecile for wanting a 4WD

4) I was stupid to think I'd FIND a 4WD anywhere except possibly El Paso

5) I didn't know what I wanted and they were there to set me on the straight path of car selection righteousness.

They didn't know who they were dealing (or NOT dealing) with.

Let's just say those "salesmen" failed miserably in their quest to get me to purchase anything from them...ever....

Did they honestly think that to open a "conversation" about a car choice with a volley of insults towards my intelligence was really going to get me to reconsider? One guy said, honestly, "WHY do you want a 4WD? You don't NEED it in Houston! It's not necessary!" Not that it's any of HIS business, but did he ever consider that, oh, perhaps I don't drive in Houston ALL THE TIME?? That if I want a 4WD that's MY business? Not to mention that a) I currently drive a 4WD and b) a 4WD has better resale than a 2WD?

Whatever, that potential "deal" was dead in the water.

One dealership gave me a quote with the correct model number and, after getting all excited about the price with the options I wanted being a good number, I called only to find that no, indeed, it was for the 2WD model, that the quote had a VIN and stock number that was for a 2WD and that the fact that the 4WD model was ON the quote that in no way implied it was, GASP! actually a 4WD vehicle! Let's just say that a certain Honda dealership in Katy who might or might NOT be called Honda Cars of Katy will NEVER get my business in purchasing a vehicle.

I believe in the great State of Texas, that is called "Bait and Switch". And there are laws against it. And Honda Corporate will hear about it.

But anyway, back to my "birth story", I received an email from a dealership I had vowed to hate for all eternity back in 1997 when we were trying to find and buy Jennifer her (back then) revolutionary new model called a CR-V. A small SUV was a novel idea then. And we were living overseas so the search had to be done rather quickly. We made the usual rounds to dealerships in the Houston area with the "this is what we want, what do you have and how low can you go?" schmeel. We get to this dealership and the guy, when pressed for a price, tells us - I kid you not, "I'm not going to play that game. I'm sure you've been to dealerships all over Houston and want me to give you a number and then you'll say, 'well, so and so has it for x amount'. I'm not going to do that. If you want this car, tell me you want to buy it and then I'll give you a price."

Mike and I both stared at this man incredulously. I could see steam starting to come out of Mike's ears. We both got up and walked out without a word. I think it took 15 minutes for Mike to calm down from that "lovely" experience.

So I was loathe to even talk to this dealership. Finally, after exhausting our supply of dealers who conveniently did NOT have any 4WDs and were rather insulting in letting me know that, I broke down and called them. I fessed up that they were the LAST people I wanted to talk to given my less than stellar previous experience with their sales team several years ago and told them I'd give them one more chance. I made an appointment and went the next day.

Second chances can be good. They obviously had cleaned up their act in 11 years (guess I should have figured that out or else they'd have been out of business long ago...) and my "internet salesman" was the nicest man - sort of a young Morgan Freeman with a better complexion - even sounded like him! Anyway, we take a test drive and I relate my insulting experiences with other dealer. He looks a bit alarmed and said, "This is a 2WD. Let me check my inventory when we get back." And I'm thinking, here we go again.

But when we get back, he comes back and apologizes saying he didn't read the email specs correctly and that I did request a 4WD. And that he should have known that and would I wait while he found out if they had any inventory? They did have one, but only one. By then, Mike has shown up. I had driven the 2WD and so asked Mike to test run the 4WD. Let's just say, we walked out and, other than getting used to the color (black with black interior which I erroneously thought I didn't want), it was love at first sight!

I was leary of a black car with black interior in Texas - does the term "heat absorbtion" mean anything to you? Black just soaks it up. But this car is so well insulated, and the windows are tinted with UV blockers as well, that it really doesn't get any hotter than my previous grey interior. And it just plain looked GOOD. Really good.

It was beautiful.

Mike went back to work and I started the negotiating. Took me about 3 hours but I think we came to an equitable price. They seemed happy. I was certainly happy. I had extra accessories added so didn't take it with me that day. They installed wood grain panels in the interior, running boards with lights (yes, Kennedy and Ben, you can climb in and out of my car now without fear of you falling to the pavement!), door edge guards, fenderwell guards, splash guards (I'm well "guarded") and a few other bits and pieces. We drove back the next evening to collect the car and it is GORGEOUS!

So thanks to Lewis Bryd at John Eagle Honda for making me a believer again. And thanks to Honda who makes such a good car that I just keep sticking with them. Wash, rinse, repeat...

It's just a really cool car!! And yes, doesn't EVERYONE store their car in a garage with a 30's highchair painted rust red and a plethora of seasonal wreaths? Makes it more "homey" don't cha think?? I'll try to get a photo of it outside "in all it's glory" once I get all the squished bugs off the windshield and front grill following our trip to Austin on Labor Day...

Happy Trails to you, until we blog again...everybody sing!!!

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