Dear Drive… Where we answer reader, viewer and listener questions. Something on your mind? Call in to the radio show or email us at email@example.com.
Since launching the new agency sales model, a number of readers have asked:
How does buying a Honda work now they have changed their process?
In a sense, it hasn’t.
You still research your car, speak to the sales team about choices in the range, configure and order your car, then arrange payment and drive away. The only difference is the price is presented clearly from the get-go, and that the price is the price.
There are no mate’s deals, no benefits to having your neighbour’s, sister’s, friend work at a dealer, no skilled negotiation tactics that work best on a certain date… the transparent and set prices for all cars in the Honda range are the same for everyone, every day of the week, at every Honda Center around the country.
For example, our CR-V here costs the same, out the door, no matter where you live.
The set pricing takes options and accessories into account, There’s no extra charge for metallic or pearlescent paint, and while a car without a tow bar may be priced differently to one with a tow bar, a car with equivalent accessories will be the same price for everyone.
So how does the process look? Here’s a step-by-step guide…
Head on over to the Honda website for cars, and choose ‘Build & Price‘ from the ‘Buy’ menu to see the current range.
Here, you can choose from the models in the Honda lineup. In this example, we’re going to ‘buy’ a CR-V
When prompted, enter your postcode to ascertain where your nearest Honda Center is located. There are 90 around the country.
Deciding on a variant is now up to you. This is a standard configurator, allowing you to see very quickly what differentiates each CR-V, and what the drive-away price is for each model.
For our example, we’ll ‘buy’ a VTi X for $41,500 drive-away.
You can now change the colour – we’ll take a Brilliant Sporty Blue one – and add any accessories packs. The Essentials Pack with boot floor protector, carpet mats, bonnet protector and weather shields is our jam. The price will update on the fly.
Additional accessories can be added here too – these are locally fitted items like roof racks and weather shields so do require a car to be custom-built. We’ll add headlamp protectors, rear window shades, and a tint. Plus the tent, because why not!
Once done, hit ‘View Summary‘ to see all the specs of your car, and any extras added, with a drive-away price associated with your location. The only difference is that now, this is the price. You won’t negotiate less, but you won’t pay more.
If you are happy with everything, click ‘Sand And Share‘. This will generate a code for your configuration and you’ll be sent a confirmation email. You can either save your details or just note down the code for the next step – visiting your nearest Honda Centre.
To this point, there has been no transaction.
When you arrive at the Honda Centre showroom, the rest of the process is just like every other car purchase, but without the pressure of price negotiation.
The sales representative can either retrieve your saved information or load your configuration with your code. They’ll note if any cars match your requirement by searching all vehicles located in the state. If the car you want isn’t in your state but is available in another, you can request it to be shipped to you for a fee (which is dependent on the transport locations).
The cars are held by Honda rather than any specific dealer, so there is no need to shop around between different Honda showrooms, every Centre sees the same inventory.
If a car is found that matches your specification, it can be delivered, prepared and ready to hand over in about 10-12 days.
If a particular colour or variant is out of stock, the delivery time may be weeks or months, but you are naturally able to alter your specification to suit a car that is available, should you need the vehicle much sooner.
The transaction process is again up to you. Regardless of whether you want to use finance or simply pay cash, the price will not change.
In fact, the only negotiation that will take place is if you are trading in your current car, everything else is detailed upfront before the transaction begins.
This process, referred to as an Agency Model, has been used by Tesla since they launched in Australia, and is now how Mercedes-Benz cars are sold. It makes buying a new car less about the pressure of the transaction and more about making sure you get the best new car for you, while ideally enjoying the whole process.
Have a question about your next set of wheels or just need some car advice? No query is too big, small or obscure! Call in to the radio show (Trent on 2GB Sydney 1:30pm Monday and 9pm Wednesday, 5AA South Australia 1:30pm Tuesday, and James on 3AW Melbourne 9pm each Thursday), or contact us by email here: firstname.lastname@example.org.