Faulkner Honda (Harrisburg Car Shopping)

After being thoroughly disgusted with the conduct of Ciocca Honda this past Saturday, I ventured back to Faulkner Honda on Paxton Street.  I’ve had outstanding experience with Faulkner Honda in the four years since purchasing my Element there.  Despite being undercut by Ciocca, Faulkner Honda’s conduct earned my business.  The only question now was which car to get.

In the beginning, I said this series wouldn’t be about the cars themselves, so I’ll make this quick.  Both the Civic and the Fit get outstanding gas mileage, around 35 on the highway by the revised EPA standards (which is around 38 – 40mpg on the old standards).  The Fit’s strong point is cargo space, while the Civic’s strong point is style.  Of course, the Civic has a huge trunk, and the Fit isn’t exactly ugly.  In the end, the same unorthodox taste that chose the Element that fateful day back in February 2004 wound up choosing the Fit Sport.  And after spending most of today driving all over the region, I’m certain I made the right choice.

In the end, the basic concept of “let’s not be obnoxious jerks to our customers” won out over price.  Don’t get me wrong; lower cost is always a good thing.  But it’s not the only thing (otherwise, we’d all be driving Hyundai Accents).  Ciocca Honda lost my business because of the way their business manager conducted himself.  Faulkner Honda won my business because of the way their entire staff treated me.  The other dealerships fell somewhere in-between because they simply didn’t care.

This adventure of mine has actually been rather enjoyable.  In another day or two I’ll conclude this series by sharing some of the basic techniques I used to keep the numbers in my favor.  Hopefully my exploits will help at least a few of you make it through your next car purchase with a little less pain.

3 thoughts on “Faulkner Honda (Harrisburg Car Shopping)”

  1. There are some facts that appear to be purposely omitted from this story. What has been omitted is that minutes after the customer left ciocca honda, he was approved at the same rate he later received at faulkner honda. Had the customer not been so hurried, and shown a bit more patience, he would’ve learned that honda finance had apporved him for the requested rate. Honda finance cannot approve a single individual with two different rates and two different Honda franchised dealerships. They must provide the same “call” to all Honda franchised dealerships. A little patience goes a long way.

  2. Hi Andy,

    Thanks for your reply. For the general public who may not know, Andrew is the General Manager at Ciocca Honda in Harrisburg. He, along with my sales rep, were the two helpful, professional individuals that I dealt with over there.

    Andy, regarding your concern of “purposely omitting facts”, be advised that as the “facts” you mention allegedly happened after I left the dealership, it’s both inappropriate and ill-advised to accuse me of “purposely omitting” them.

    You say that “Honda finance can not approve a single individual with two different rates (at) two different Honda dealerships”. However, your business manager quoted me a rate of 7.99%, while your competitor quoted me a rate of 3.9%.

    But the real kicker is your claim that I wasn’t “patient” enough.

    Andy, at the end of the day, I spent a full hour at your dealership waiting for your business manager to get financing approved — to say nothing of the several hours I spent there on Tuesday, 02/26/08). I will certainly agree that my patience began to wear thin when I had to ask your business manager three times for my payment information. In fact, even after I objected that the 7.99% rate was ridiculous, instead of trying to resolve the matter by going back to Honda Finance, he continued trying to sell me an extended warranty. It took my threatening to walk out to get your business manager to get up and walk to another office to “check with Honda Finance”. After waiting over ten minutes in his office for him to return, I got up and started to walk out. You and my sales rep approached me and asked me to stay just a bit longer, as “he’s on the phone with Honda Finance right now”. I agreed. I told you that I would not be purchasing at that rate, and would take my business elsewhere. In reply, you stated that other Honda dealerships use the same finance company and would yield the same results. After a minute or two, your business manager returned and stated that the rate was set at 7.99%, and couldn’t go any lower.

    Let me say that again: Your business manager said that he had checked with Honda Finance, and that Honda Finance assured him that the rate couldn’t possibly go any lower than 7.99%.

    If your business manager was standing in front of his general manager while assuring me that the rate couldn’t possibly go any lower, why on earth would I continue waiting around? When he was saying “no”; did he really mean “yes”? Did his assurances that the rate couldn’t go any lower really mean “I want to play a game where you keep asking me another dozen times, even though I’ll say ‘no’ for the first eleven”?

    Put simply: Are you kidding?

    Andy, someone on your end screwed up. Did your business manager read my application correctly? Did he read Honda Finance’s results correctly? Is there a chance that your business manager simply didn’t scroll down far enough to see that I was placed in the “Preferred” credit tier? Did Honda Finance drop the ball — twice? At the end of the day, your competitor quoted me a different — and lower — rate than you. Additionally, your competitor offered me a valid explanation of the process, and how your business manager could’ve been mistaken.

    I’ve already resolved the matter on my end — I purchased my vehicle from Faulkner. If you want further resolution on your end, talk with your business manager. How many other non-closes have you had due to unsatisfactory credit offers? How many of them went to another Honda dealership and got better results? How many other times has Honda Finance supposedly adjusted the rates after assuring the dealer that the rates were set in stone? There’s a severe problem on your end, and it’s either between your business manager and the customer, or between Honda Finance and your business manager.

  3. I was interested to see this entry on the web. I spoke to Andrew Guelcher 3/20/2008 at 7:50 p.m.
    He told me that he is the General Sales Manager and Corporate Officer of Ciocca Honda.
    I called to complain about a “bait and switch” that happened to me today at their dealership. I was quoted a price by a salesman. I came to the showroom under the impression that I would be making that purchase. I informed them that I would put $2000 down.
    Somehow, the price changed. It was about $2000 more than the amount I was quoted. The salesman actually tried to tell me that I was getting the vehicle for even less than the quote because of the $2000 down. WHAT? I hadn’t even mentioned a downpayment until after I had arrived, after he had quoted me.
    It was really insulting to sit there and have someone think that my husband and I are so stupid that we would actually fall for this.

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