By on November 22, 2016

2017 Accord Hybrid

TJ writes:

Greetings Bark,

With a growing family, it’s about time for me to move out of my 2007 Frontier Crew Cab into something more family friendly. The crew cab has been great transporting our toddler, but we’re planning on having another one, and I don’t think the backseat will work for two little ones.

After a long search that has included newer midsize pickups without much more inside room, full sized cars (namely Impala, LaCrosse and Azera — nice car, horrible seats), I think I’ve settled on a V6 Accord. I have my grandfather’s old C10 for pick-up stuff once I get it running again, and my father is interested in buying my Frontier, so trade-in won’t be a problem.

I’ve test driven the Accord twice, and the dealer is absolutely pressure-free; which my wife and I appreciate. BUT…the dealer only has three V6s in stock — all standard, easy-sell black or silver. I prefer Honda’s Obsidian Blue, and the salesman said getting one shouldn’t be a problem. Am I setting myself up to get taken if I email him requesting the blue one?

It seems they’ll have the power knowing I want that car, and the closest blue EX-L V6s are 300 miles away from what I can find online.

Price has not been discussed and I’m looking at either credit union financing or Honda’s promo interest rates. Should I contact the other dealer in town, or even the one 40 miles away to see if they can beat any price given?

Thanks for any help,

TJ

I’m excited, because today I get to teach you, TJ, about my favorite car buying phrase. It goes a little something like this:

Today, I’m giving you the opportunity to sell me a car.”

People always forget that they have all the power in a car buying situation. All of it. Unless you’re buying something incredibly rare and desirable that the dealership has people lined up to buy (like, say, a Focus RS), the dealer always needs to sell you a car more than you need to buy one. Like, always.

But this is doubly true in November of 2017, when the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate is trending down, down, down. Honda was down 4.2 percent YOY for October, and there’s no sign that this is going to change. Most industry analysts believe that auto sales have peaked, and that we’re headed for a bit of a decline in new car sales for the next couple of years.

This, of course, is causing dealers to freak the eff out (see, friends, I’m trying to tone down the language for some of our more…tenured readers).

They’re looking for opportunities to sell cars more than they have in quite some time, because they’re not as prevalent as they once were. Dealers tell me every darn day of my life, “Just give me some at-bats. Give me leads. If we get ’em in here, we’ll close ’em.” This isn’t all that true, btw — most dealers would be thrilled to close one out of every four customers who walk in the door.

In your case, you’ve got all the power. You don’t need a car today. You don’t need a car tomorrow. In fact, you’re able to wait 12 weeks for a special order to show up. So here’s what you should do.

Yes, you should tell him you want the blue one, especially since it seems that color is very important to you. And yes, you should contact the other dealer in town. And the one who’s forty miles away. And all 435 dealers that have cars meeting your search criteria. Why wouldn’t you? And when you do, tell them all the same thing:

“I’m giving you the opportunity to sell a car today.” Somebody out there is desperate enough to make you a deal on exactly the Accord you want. Guaranteed.

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45 Comments on “Ask Bark Brief: I’ve Got The Power (Or Do I?)...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    As they’ve been saying since 1979, the wise man has the power.

  • avatar
    Kato

    Since when do you need to be “tenured” to have some manners? Gratuitous cursing for effect is adolescent behavior.

    • 0 avatar
      gaycorvette

      I think “tenured” is his euphemism for old uncool duffer.

    • 0 avatar
      gaycorvette

      A twist on this I like is, after choosing the specific car, dangling a check in front of the sales facilitator, and saying, “I’m willing to give you this check, RIGHT NOW, for this amount. The sale is yours. Do you want it or not?”. It’s like dangling a dime bag in front of a jonesing junkie.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      ” Gratuitous cursing for effect is adolescent behavior.”.
      .
      Sounds like you live in an ivory tower to me .
      .
      Some of us just learned rougher language skills growing up Blue Collar .
      .
      It’s nothing I’m ashamed of .
      .
      -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      orenwolf

      “(see, friends, I’m trying to tone down the language for some of our more…tenured readers)”

      I am starting to realise two things:

      1) Bark is so, so, so, so not Jack.
      2) A comment like that is, IMHO, akin to that loud guy in an argument who, once an agreement ar armistice has come to pass, just *has* to throw one last barb at the other party, to make sure everyone *knows* they are altering their behaviour only under duress.

      As for the article itself, I take issue with the idea that the car dealer has all the power, to some extent. A few years ago, we had reports of dealers in various metro areas (or even most of a state) colluding to charge above sticker for certain vehicles. They could do this because they knew everyone *else* was doing this.

      Dealers (and indeed, sellers in general) get this sort of power when they work together as a defacto Oligarchy, in an environment where there’s no other source for the product (i.e., you can’t go to the manufacturer because franchise laws, and you are unwilling to travel beyond X miles / outside your state / whatever for your vehicle.

      This is probably perfectly legal, to a point, in certain jurisdictions, but not all of them. We had a case here recently where gas stations were investigated for colluding on prices across the city, for example.

      • 0 avatar
        Truckducken

        With regard to the dealer having all the power: you may wish to re-read the article.

        • 0 avatar
          orenwolf

          I’m not disputing who has the power in the situation described above.

          My dispute is with the statement: “People always forget that they have all the power in a car buying situation. All of it. ”

          I’m pointing out that there are, indeed, cases where that is not so, through the use of restricted (or difficult supply), and collusion between suppliers to raise prices (or restrict access).

      • 0 avatar

        1) Of course I’m not.
        2) I’m so not done throwing barbs
        3) What you’ve described is collusion, and is wildly illegal in Trumperica.

        • 0 avatar
          orenwolf

          Bark, I’m glad to hear it’s illegal down there as well. Of course, *enforcement* can only occur when such collusion is detected and reported, and I’m glad TTAC has been a part of that process in the past, and hope it will continue to be in the future.

          • 0 avatar
            docoski

            Re: avatar. Fair point. This is an automotive website, after all, not necessarily a pop culture and media site, and recently redirected away from automotive political culture. I accept that I’ve made choices in my life that don’t allow me to recognize all forms of media. Kudos on your cultural competence.

            Obviously, the sky is blue, and aren’t I smart for pointing that out.

            May I suggest a different response, which could serve you well both at home and at work: “Actually, my avatar has nothing to do with what you suggest, but I see how you could interpret it that way, yeah, he seems pretty pissed. Actually it’s from…”

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Bark – Sounds like a tenured response ;)

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    So the reason the Focus RS commands a premium is that there aren’t enough to satisfy demand. So if you want the Blue Accord you might end up paying a little more for it than for a gray one. I should rephrase. You won’t pay more for the blue one but you would pay less for the gray one. The dealer is going to want to sell you a car they have in stock over one on another dealer’s stock. It is cheaper for them to sell you one they have than someones else. The hold-back goes to the dealer that stocked it and the dealer exchange will cost them money as well. But at the end of the day they want to sell you a car so they will but it will never be as cheap as one they had in stock unless you order one. You might want to contact the dealer directly that has the one you want and negotiate with them. For them (assuming it isn’t a hard to get color) it is just another in stock unit. But if you negotiate with them about the car they won’t release it to another dealer as they will state they are working a deal on it. So you can shoot yourself in the foot. If it is the only one in a wide area and all of sudden many dealers are calling them to ask about its availability they will know someone wants and wait for your call/email. They will also charge you slightly more for it as they will know it is the one that you want that no one else has.

    My wife wanted a Golf Wagon Limited, red with tan interior. At the end of the day we ended up paying $700 more for it than another color combination because there was only two on the East Cost. It was end of May, no more could be ordered.

    If you are looking at 2017 Accords then order the one you want, but if you are looking at 2016 Accords than yes you will pay more for it. Probably not a lot more but I imagine it is worth it to get the one you want.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I agree that it is worth trying to find the one you want and try to negotiate directly, but certainly don’t let them know it is your perfect vehicle and give them the upper hand in doing so.

      However you may not get as good of a deal with them as you do your local dealer it just depends.

      When we bought our family truckster I found that perfect combination of options and color at a dealer 150 miles away. Negotiation with that dealer did not go well at all. He took for ever to get back to me and then wanted to try and sell me another unit, and one that had a lower sticker price. I went to a closer dealer that did the Costco program and they went and got that same vehicle for me the next day and at thousands less than the initial price quoted by the dealer that had it. I literally talked to the internet manager at the dealer that had it while I was on the way to the dealer I ended up purchasing it from. So the deal ended up being done within about an hour of my last contact with the stocking dealer.

  • avatar
    StudeDude

    Well stated. Not needing a car when you go shopping for a new one is the greatest power of all.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I like that line a lot. I’m going to use it next time I’m out car shopping. WE HAVE THE POWER! (of Grayskull)

  • avatar
    dal20402

    It will only be a problem if you allow it to be a problem. Get quotes from other dealers with blue cars (even if you like your dealer better). Say exactly what you mean: “I like your approach and I want to buy a blue car from you, but the price has to be right.” And “right” probably means a bit more than the cars in stock, but only a bit.

    FWIW, I’d also hold out for that blue if I were buying an Accord. It’s definitely the best of the narrow choices available.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Here in Texas the idea that a car you want is 300 miles away is a pretty lame excuse. An easy weekend road trip!

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    Better to leverage the power of the internet and find a dealer that has exactly what you want. They’ll be perfectly happy to move it off their lot and create space for something newer (see? I remember my lessons). I would still get some sort of price commitment out of them before making the trip of course.

    Just be sure your information about the location of said car is accurate. Back before this internet power existed I was trying to pick up a specific Mazda model. Little did I know there was only one left in the province. By reaching out to a bunch of dealers, who then called the one dealer that had a match, I ended up creating my own increased demand.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    FWIW, I ran my Frontier crew cab up until my oldest turned 14 and hit like 6’2″. His brother was 11 at that point and we had never had an issue. I got tired of knees in my back at that point and went with a full-sized crew cab.

    With car seats I think the Frontier would be better than a car. I had a car off and on while they were in car seats and never failed to knock my head on the roof or impale myself on the corner of the door.

  • avatar
    thunderjet

    I just (three weeks ago) bought the exact car you’re looking at, an obsidian blue 2017 Honda Accord EX-L V6 sedan. I wasn’t picky on color but when push came to shove I really wanted a blue one. I live in a major metro area (Chicago) so there were several blue EX-L V6 Accords to choose from. I emailed 8 local dealers, some of which didn’t even have a blue accord in stock, to get their best price. The one who ended up being the cheapest had the exact color car I wanted in stock so it was a win-win.

    Oh and Honda really, really wants to sell you a 2017 Accord right now. The car I just bought had a sticker of $31,915. The lowest selling price I was quoted (and what I paid) was $26,949. With T,T,&L the out the door price was less than $30,000. I also took the 0.9% promotional financing Honda was offering because no bank can even come close to matching that rate. Of course this assumes you have decent credit and won’t get jerked around by the finance department.

    • 0 avatar

      Congrats on the new ride! I flip back and forth between the V6 and the Sport myself.

      • 0 avatar
        thunderjet

        We drove both an EX-L 4 cylinder and the EX-L V6. Hands down the V6 was the much more fun to drive of the two. The V6 Accord won out over the Fusion Titanium and Fusion Sport we also test drove. We really liked the Fusion Sport but the complexity over the long haul (twin turbos and AWD) plus the dismal gas mileage made the Accord V6 the winner for daily driver duty, especially since we plan to keep the car till the wheels fall off/it’s uneconomical to repair.

  • avatar

    I have this colour for my ’16 CRV, I really love it. Hold out to get what you want, don’t settle on something major like the paint colour.

  • avatar
    jhefner

    … unless you were the foreign student one of my professors told me about that decided to “spice up” his essay and let a thesaurus on his computer recommend some different words; not knowing some of them were slang words.

    Seriously, some us were raised not to cuss; it has nothing to do with status or money. I believe it takes more writing skills to write without resorting to cussing than it does to insert a cuss word and move on.

    EDIT: this was supposed to be in response to tjh8402.

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      Agreed. I didn’t cuss all the way through high school because I was raised not to and I thought it was sinful. Once in college came to different conclusions about what the bible said about profanity, I didn’t hesitate to let loose. Still though, I recognized the difference between casual conversation and a formal paper I was turning in or presentation I was making. When it came to any academic, I would immediately revert back to my old high school debater diction and vocabulary. Despite my high end academic upbringing and college degree, I ended up in blue collar jobs, and most of the time now, one of the only people I know who curses more than me is my boyfriend, who has over 12 years in the Navy as a submariner and counting. I’ve never heard such creative and poetic uses of profanity; it’s truly an art form for him. That being said, I still recognize that it’s not technically professional language, and a filter comes up whenever I’m around the public or doing something official at work. The rest of the time, hide your kids and hide your wife.

  • avatar

    “Today, I’m giving you the opportunity to sell me a car.”

    Close to what I told the sales manger at the Honda dealer in Oklahoma where I bought my replacement Fit EX 6MT (after AAA decided the original was totaled). They had a new ’15 advertised at a ridiculously low price not even counting the $1,000+ worth of mudguards, windown tint and other dealer add-ons that they weren’t charging for. They wanted it gone.

    I asked for the sales manager and said, “I’m going to do you a favor. I’m going to help you get rid of some lot poison with a stick shift that could have been a dozen CR-Vs sold from the same space. Is that your real price on that ’15 Fit EX?”

    Even with airfare and 1,100 miles worth of gas I still got away for less than my deductible and ended up with a car with 7,000 fewer miles and a few doodads my original Fit didn’t have.

  • avatar
    DudeMcLovin

    Bark,

    Please don’t tone down your language. Most of us are adults on this site so the occasional f-bomb (fuck) sprinkled in your thoroughly entertaining articles once in awhile should be completely acceptable.

    Oh and it’s protected by the first amendment.

  • avatar
    hgrunt

    I recently bought a new Fiesta ST and it felt very empowering to go back and forth between two dealerships, getting one to lower or match the price of the other. Saved quite a bit on top of the Ford factory rebates as well. A friend of mine who used to work sales said Internet departments are often very willing to make a quick deal, even if it’s less profitable, which may have explained my particular situation.

    In my case, the dealership that eventually sold me my car, contacted me with the words “Come in, we have great news!” Since this dealership was only 5 minutes from me, it wasn’t a big deal for me, and they had assumed I was shopping at a dealership an hour away so they were even more willing to deal.

    You have a lot going for you, in a very good way. Hit up dealers who have the car you want in stock, see what they’ll offer and shop the lowest price around, including with the salesperson you’re currently working with. You might be surprised at what they’ll do to gain your business.

    Good luck and happy hunting!

  • avatar
    JimZ

    It’s gettin’
    It’s gettin’
    It’s gettin’ kinda hectic

  • avatar
    NoID

    The buyer is not willing to strike up a conversation with a dealer who has what he wants because the dealer is 300 miles away?

    For goodness sake, 300 miles one way is 600 miles round trip, which is easily driveable in a single day. He’d be a fool not to go pick it up if his local dealer won’t play ball.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      Agreed – 300 miles is nothing. I just bought a new Challenger back in September and drove it home 1300 miles from Florida to Michigan. I would have bought one closer, but I couldn’t find one with the combination of options/color I wanted and WITHOUT the front license plate bracket already installed (meaning holes in the plastic bumper cover…no thanks!).

      Michigan is in the minority of states that don’t require a front plate and if I’m buying a new car, I don’t want the bracket preinstalled unless it can be removed without a trace.

  • avatar
    S1L1SC

    Personal experience – it does not (although you might be waiting a while)

    I basically walked into my local dealer with the Costco car buying program offer and asked if they would match it ($1,000 below invoice + all incentives).

    It has taken 8 weeks so far, and the car is still waiting on a spot on the next boat, but from a price perspective I am getting the deal I was looking for.

    For those interested: 2017 Ford Transit connect wagon in deep impact blue with the barn door rear doors, leather and 7 seat configuration. Next to impossible to find in the US in that configuration, as the color already is rare and most of the ones in stock have the six seat captains chairs and the rear hatch.

    • 0 avatar
      thunderjet

      I still think, if the car you are looking for is common, the best bet is to email the internet sales department. I beat Costco/True car/Edmunds by over $1000 when I purchased our 2017 Accord. Custom orders on the other hand are a whole different ball of wax.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Does anyone know what the “Costco price” actually (generally) is? I keep seeing “$1000 under invoice” in threads of this kind but that seems highly dubious to me; “$1000 under MSRP” would be more credible, or the other figure I see a lot, “$600 over invoice.”

    I ask because inevitably I go in to buy the hot new thing and it’s not on the Costco Auto Program website yet, so I kinda have to trust whatever the dealer tells me is the Costco price…

    Today some guy claimed he got the Costco price on a Chevy Bolt EV Premiere, a car that isn’t even in stock at dealers yet, and can’t even be looked up on the Costco website yet. But supposedly the dealer told him the Costco price was $1900 under MSRP and honored it. Meanwhile other buyers for this much-anticipated model are just thrilled that their dealer has agreed to sell it for MSRP without any ADM. (Maybe I should ask for his dealer’s name.)


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