Cross-Country Purchase?

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by NU2EV, Dec 3, 2019.

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  1. NU2EV

    NU2EV New Member

    Ok, maybe I'm nuts. I've been considering a full-EV and had looked at the Leaf + and Kona. After test driving, pricing negotiations, etc, I've found that I'd be paying at least $40+k for the EV. I know it's all relative, but that's a lot of money to spend when I'm not absolutely certain I'd be happy with a full-EV. I had also considered the PHEV's (Ioniq, Prius Prime and the Clarity)- only ones that have the Federal Tax Credit benefit (a criteria). I am most "drawn" to the Honda Clarity Touring model, but I haven't even seen one in person. I like the higher EV range, the looks of the Clarity, and having had a very positive history with past Hondas, my comfort level is there. Thed Clarity seems (to me) to be a nice balance between EV and hybrid. I haven't read anything horrible in the reviews. My issue: I'm in Massachusetts and the Claritys are in California! Is it a crazy idea to consider a cross-country purchase(fly and buy or ship)? I did a quick search on the subject and didn't see any major pitfalls. I've read on this forum of people getting very good deals on the Clarity Touring model (<$34k). Fact: I've never seen, sat in nor driven a clarity. Something to consider or am I ready for psychiatric admission?
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  3. cokeb5

    cokeb5 Member

    I purchased mine from Florida and had it shipped to Idaho, which is almost literally as far as you can go while staying in the same country. I had never driven one or even seen one in person before purchasing - so you're no more insane than me, if that counts for anything. :)

    The deals can be very good and with the tax credits can make cross country purchases like this worth it. Just make sure you do your research and realize that Honda isn't really planning to sell Clarity's in other states besides California as of recently, and this could impact your long-term future with the car (repair costs, resale value, etc.)
  4. NU2EV

    NU2EV New Member

    Thank you for the response. Very good pood points. How much was the shipping if you don't mind me asking? Have you had any service-related issues in FL?
  5. cokeb5

    cokeb5 Member

    Shipping fully insured and everything was ~$1300 which was on the higher end of the quotes I was receiving, but it was stressful to figure out and I was afraid of going with companies less reviewed so I just paid the higher price. My experience was excellent though, no problems with shipping. The base price of the Clarity (2018) was $24k for me which made paying for shipping costs less painful, but some dealerships may be willing to arrange the shipping for you. I have not done any service to the car yet, but I'm not expecting any issues.
  6. NU2EV

    NU2EV New Member

    That's about what I would expect for shipping costs. Sound like you got a great deal!
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  8. NU2EV

    NU2EV New Member

    Thank you! Inquiries sent. I wonder if the 2018 would qualify for the Federal Tax Credit. Not sure how you found these, but I do appreciate it!
  9. I'd suggest you at least find a local Clarity to test drive before shelling out. Where in Mass are you? Maybe someone on the forum can give you a ride/drive
  10. Robert_Alabama

    Robert_Alabama Well-Known Member

    Yes, the 2018 will get the same tax credit. Just has to be new and never titled. I edited my original post to show some autotrader hits as well. To find these, just go to and select the car you want and set distance to any distance and set car as "New" and trim package as "touring". You can do the same thing with With both, you can sort on distance from your zip code or on price.
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  12. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member

    I’ve done it both ways; purchase out of state and fly to drive it home and purchase out of state then shipped home. Both were fine experiences. In my case I went with the shipping company recommended by the dealer. For a CA to MA deal, for sure get it shipped, IMHO.

    To see a Clarity prior to purchase, don’t forget used ones might be available within a reasonable distance.

    A new, not previously titled Clarity will be eligible for the full tax credit, regardless of the model year.
    Robert_Alabama likes this.
  13. MPower

    MPower Well-Known Member

    My understanding is that the determining factor would be the date the vehicle is acquired NEW. Here is a quote from the instructions to 2018 form 8936 (most recent verions) which is used to claim the credit:

    The following requirements must be met to qualify for the credit.
    • You are the owner of the vehicle. If the vehicle is leased, only the lessor and not the lessee, is entitled to the credit.
    • You placed the vehicle in service during your tax year.
    • The vehicle is manufactured primarily for use on public streets, roads, and highways.
    • The original use of the vehicle began with you.
    • You acquired the vehicle for use or to lease to others, and not for resale.
    • You use the vehicle primarily in the United States.
    Robert_Alabama likes this.
  14. If you buy in CA be sure you understand exactly what taxes, etc. you will be paying. Sales tax is ~9.25% in CA. As Oregon residents, we attempted to work with a Southern CA dealer on selling us a car without sales tax. (Oregon has no sales tax other than a “new car privilege tax” of 1/2%, or $162.) They were unwilling to do so, even if I hired a company to deliver the car to Oregon. They also said the sales tax would be refunded when I registered the car in Oregon but could not provide a document to verify that claim.

    My understanding is that the state where you register the car will recognize the sales tax paid in the state where it was purchased. That may be the case in MA, but you will have overpaid by about $1000 on a CA purchase.

    My opinion is that a PHEV, particularly the Clarity, is a far more versatile vehicle than any BEV. And with the full Federal tax credit it is also less expensive.
    Johnhaydev and Electra like this.
  15. DrZu

    DrZu New Member

    Looks like we have a few "nuts" here. I've been doing the same. I was looking at lightly used Civics and decided the Clarity could reduce my tax burden at the same time . . . and then discovered the availability issues. Anyone know if we still have any negotiation leverage now that the supply-demand equation has shifted in the dealers favor?

    Also, anyone know anything anything about buying in Canada and importing to US? Is the tax rebate still valid for a Canada purchase? Seems like there are a few more available North of the border . . . which is a lot closer to MI than other options.
  16. cokeb5

    cokeb5 Member

    Interesting - my experience was different, it seems very state dependent though. Even though Florida has a 6% sales tax, I didn't pay any sales tax there because I wasn't registering the car there, and I only paid my state's sales tax. I think it's very YMMV depending upon the state you're buying from, the state you're in, and the dealership you're working with.
    Mesa likes this.
  17. Bruce J Deeter

    Bruce J Deeter New Member

    If you do end up making a trip out to California you might consider Barber Honda in Bakersfield where I bought mine in August, sales tax here is 8.25%. I really like the car. Up until a Thanksgiving road trip I drove almost exclusively in EV mode and never filled up for over 1600 miles. We are a many time repeat customer, I can say nothing but good things about Barber. This is our 4th hybrid and my 1st Plug-in from Barber. Over the years, we've also purchased from Barber a conventional ICE in the Civic and Accord and a use d Hyundai.

    Currently in the Clarity they have 3 x 2018 models and 3 x 2019. I know those 2019s are new to their inventory from when I purchased. I bought a Crimson Pearl and they also had a White in August. At the time I got a $5,000 rebate off the top from Honda. Not sure what they are offering now. As a Calif. resident I've received 3 agency rebates, PG&E, Cal. Air Resources Board and the San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District.
  18. You might want to visit the Facebook Clarity forum. There posts there regarding which dealers in CA are willing to deal, etc.

    One poster is in Phoenix and ordered from CA. Top thread in this search. I hope it works right. Somehow it seems to give errors when others try it. [shrug]

    Here's a search that might give some insight regarding what dealers to contact. It will take some reading, but it's in there.
  19. We did the same. Bought in Salt Lake City but paid taxes, etc in Nevada.
  20. Yes, the rules vary from state to state. The OP is considering purchasing a vehicle from a California dealer as a non-CA resident.

    As an Oregon resident I’ve purchased 2 vehicles through CA dealers and 1 through a dealer in Washington. Completely different experiences between between the 2 states.

    In one CA case, the dealer issued a one day trip permit as part of a dealer to dealer sale. The car was technically sold to my neighbor, who had an Oregon dealer license. I drove the car up on his behalf and he sold it to me the following day. The other was the Clarity which was delivered by the dealer to Oregon.

    My experience with buying a vehicle from a dealer in CA is that, with the exception of a trip permit, if it rolls off the lot, you pay sales tax.
  21. 4sallypat

    4sallypat Active Member

    There are lots of people who buy and the fly in and pick up their car, but in CA, it is the sales tax and registration that gets you.
    Both tax and reg are not refundable even if you claim you don't live in CA.

    If you buy from a CA dealer willing to ship, you can have the car shipped from the selling CA dealer to you (or your local Honda dealer) to avoid paying sales tax.
    Just the cost of saving a 10% tax, will pay for the shipping and then some!

    BTW: Anytime a car is taken possession in CA resident or not, you automatically pay sales tax unless you have a resale permit and car sale license.
  22. DucRider

    DucRider Well-Known Member

    If you take possession in CA, you will pay sales tax. If you have it shipped by a transport company (or an employee makes the delivery out of state), you will not (unless you are a CA resident). If you are a CA resident taking delivery out of State, the burden is on the dealer to prove that the vehicles is not for use in CA in order for them not to owe sales tax.
    There is a form to certify that the delivery took place out of CA, and it must be notarized with the signatures of the delivery agent and purchaser:
    Basically the dealer is on the hook for the sales tax without proof that specific conditions were met. Explains why some dealers don't want to mess with it.

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