Finally, on February 3rd my wife and I joined the ranks of Insight owners. Waiting day after day month after month was getting old. At one point I thought of getting a ECHO or a GEO but I keep my cool. I made my interest in the Insight known to every Honda dealer in the Washington DC area hoping to get the first Insight to arrive. Around December I started bugging each of the dealers with a weekly call, I made so many visits to dealers they thought I was part of the family. Some of the sales people knew me by my first name.
I did have some nagging doubt about buying a Honda. In the past I have tried to purchase Honda's, but was never able to negotiate a price I thought was reasonable. The Honda dealers in my area have a reputation of charging prices over the MSRP on high demand cars. Dealers in the DC area are getting $8000 to $10,000 over MSRP for the S2000. Would they try to gouge me on an Insight as well? At the beginning of my quest to purchase an Insight I made up my mind that I would be willing to pay MSRP, no more. I wanted to reward Honda Inc. for making such a innovative car, but I was not willing to enrich a dealer, above and beyond a reasonable profit. If price is based purely on demand, than what would service cost at a Honda dealer?
Last Saturday while out on errands with my wife she suggested we stop by the local Honda dealer to see if the Insights had arrived. At this point I figured she was just humoring me. I assured her that the dealer would call if the Insights had arrived. Anyway my best intelligence put delivery mid to late February. But since we were near the local dealer we stopped by anyway.
From the parking lot I thought I saw a familiar silhouette in the showroom; my heart stopped. At first I wasn't positive, could it be a Civic? As I got closer I couldn't believe my eyes. Why didn't they called me? Low and behold, right In the middle of the showroom stood a brand new silver Insight. Once I got over the shock I rushed to the front door of the dealership. My wife was running behind me. As I approached one of the salesman standing outside the door gave me the traditional greeting. "can I help you" "Yes I would like to buy the Insight." I hate to be lungy, but I wasn't in the mood for the traditional cat and mouse games car buyers and sellers play so I laid my cards on the table. I just wanted to buy the Insight as quick and possible and be on my way. After all I was willing to pay list price a sacrifice I have never made for any other auto purchase.
My worst nightmare came true they wanted $2,500 over the $20,500 MSRP for the Insight. My physic would not allow me to buy the Insight at that price. I tried to reason with the salesman and the sales manager with no results, neither would budge, my hopes were dashed.
Why was I putting myself through this, I don't even need a new car. I just wanted to put my money were my convictions are. I wanted to prove to the auto manufactures that green machines will sell if offered to the public. Than I started to rationalize; maybe I have met my goal without having to buy the car. If Honda dealers can sell the Insight over MSRP that means they are in high demand and Honda Inc.'s decision to develop and manufacture the Insight is vindicated.
It didn't work I still wanted to buy the Insight, I left the dealer angry but I had not given up. Maybe I could buy the Insight from another dealer when they get them in or the Toyota Prius when it goes on sale in June. At any rate, I would have to continue my wait which would be made harder knowing an Insight was sitting in a DC showroom.
On Monday, It was snowing so I worked at home to avoid the traffic congestion. Late in the afternoon the Honda sales manager called and said he would sell the Insight at MSRP Good news for me, but now I am worried that the Insight is not in high demand. I want my cake and eat it to.
Of course, I immediately went down to the dealer and purchased the Insight. I paid that annoying little processing fee, but we all have to compromise.
I'll let you know what I think of the car in a week or two if I live that long. Can't keep my eyes off the gages. I'm worse than the cell phone attics and make up queens.
The Gage Gazer
Barry G. Enright