Dealer wants a $5000 non refundable deposit to get a Clarity

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by interestedinEV, Jul 29, 2020.

  1. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    I was looking around and my local dealer was claiming that they could a Clarity (I live in the Phoenix area of Arizona). When I contacted them, they claimed they had to special order (no discount of MSRP) and that there would be a $5000 non refundable deposit. Time to get it would vary based on the specs and there might a additional transport charge.

    They do not have a demo vehicle.

    Does that smell right?
  2. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    My dealer went one step further, claiming on their website that Honda had canceled the Clarity PHEV. Good thing you live so close to California.
  3. petteyg359

    petteyg359 Well-Known Member

    If they're not an e.g. Penske chain dealer, they have to purchase it from another dealer. If you back out, then they have to find another buyer, and Honda has effectively told them there won't be any buyers outside of CA (regardless of how stupid that idea may be; that's on Honda). A large non-refundable deposit to make sure you're really going to buy it seems perfectly reasonable.

    If they *are* a chain that also owns California dealerships, then they're bullshitting you and you should find another dealer.

    Replace "California" with any other state Honda is actually selling to this year if there are others.
  4. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    Just buy one in LA and drive it home.
  5. DucRider

    DucRider Well-Known Member

    Look into how much of the CA sales tax you will get credit for in AZ first. If you drive it off the lot instead of taking possession outside of CA the dealer is required to charge you sales tax.
  6. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    It is a Penske dealership, but then I guess there is a cost to move it back to CA if I do not like it.
  7. This is correct. We tried to buy one in CA and even offered to transport it ourselves with a car trailer. No deal. Don’t waste time at Sierra Honda in Monrovia.

    The sales tax in CA will be more than AZ. If you get a full credit from AZ the difference may be less than transportation cost. I believe you’d also have to eat the CA registration and title fees.

    On a positive note, there is probably a better deal than MSRP to be had from a CA dealer.
    insightman likes this.
  8. Allantheprinter

    Allantheprinter New Member

    CA dealers are currently selling at $4500 to $5000 below MSRP. This could cover a bunch of costs.
    With regards to CA sales tax, the website "" ( says:
    "However, if you purchase your out-of-state car in California, and plan to drive the car from the dealership, you must pay California's sales tax. You don't pay California's sales tax if you ship the vehicle from the dealership to your out-of-state destination."
    So - if you have it shipped rather than take possession in CA, you should be able to avoid the sales tax. Question is, is the cost of shipping and your visit to a CA dealer less than the discount available?
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
  9. Danks

    Danks Active Member

    I would not put down a non-refundable $5,000. I would consider a whole lot more options. If I could not come up with something better than the non-refundable $5,000 I would pass.
  10. Given your situation, working with a CA dealer seems to be an appealing option. There’s a possible $5K discount, immediate availability and probably a choice of model and color.

    I’d recommend against taking possession in CA as you will be charged ~9% sales tax when only ~6% would be due in AZ. I am unfamiliar with how any AZ sales tax credit would be applied, but if you overpay ~3% to CA that’s roughly $1K. You will also pay all applicable registration, title and license fees to CA, which are more than likely, non-refundable. Those would probably be near $500. There’s potentially ~$6500 on the table.

    Even if you took a trip to view the car, had a few meals on the road and stayed in a hotel, you’d be out maybe $500. If both dealers were to charge a delivery fee, that’s a wash. You’ll easily be ahead $5-6K and probably get the model and color that you want in a few days, rather than weeks or months. I’d also advise having the CA dealer make the arrangements for transportation.

    There will be some phone calls and emails required, but it shouldn’t be too bad.
    insightman likes this.
  11. craze1cars

    craze1cars Well-Known Member

    Not sure I would want to own a Clarity in Phoenix anyway with the knowledge that heat kills batteries. Any other Clarity owners in Phoenix? Tesla has an interesting feature if I understand it correctly...if parked and the temp inside the car gets reaches 105 degrees, it is programmed so that the A/C turns itself on, just to keep the batteries from getting any warmer to prevent damage. Quite certain Clarity doesn't do anything like this. I realize the Clarity has liquid cooled battery system that activates as needed during charging, but what if the car is just parked and not plugged in? Would the cooling system activate? And even if it does...for example the ambient temp is 115 degrees, and a car is parked on a hot black parking lot baking in full sun and not charging, I fail to see how any "cooling system" for the battery will run, or if it did, could it maintain a safe battery temp in such high ambient temps? Recent study showed dashboard temps in Phoenix regularly reaching 150+ degrees...pavement reaches 150 often...

    I'm not sure how that all plays out and maybe it's OK, but I highly doubt such temps would do any favors for the battery. I'm out of my realm of understanding here admittedly, but I'd be researching deeper into this if I were planning to drive/park/own a Clarity during a Phoenix summer...
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
  12. I’m not sure why anyone would choose to live in Phoenix. I did spot a Clarity there last December while visiting family.

    Some lithium battery manufacturers state that their batteries can be charged and discharged up to temperatures of 135F. Battle Born for one. These batteries are typically used for RV or solar applications and have absolutely no cooling system as sold.

    I’m unaware of any system Honda may have built in to deal with excessive battery temperatures in a parked car. The batteries are under warranty for at least 8 years, so we have that going for us, which is nice.
  13. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    It's strange to be praying for your battery to fail, but I've been in that situation 3 times as my Honda Insights drew close to the end of their 8-year battery warranties. My 2006 Honda Insight's battery lasted 8 years, 2 months. Had I lived in Phoenix instead of Ann Arbor, I'm sure my battery would have been replaced under warranty. Premature battery failure due to the Phoenix heat could be a good thing--if it happens within 8 years. I'm sure there were Claritys running around in Death Valley before the design was finalized.
  14. Kerbe

    Kerbe Active Member

    Tesla battery conditioning will only happen when the vehicle is powered off IF it is plugged in. The traction battery isn't inside the vehicle so interior temperature is irrelevant. Tesla advises owners to not expose the car to ambient temperatures in excess of 140F for extended periods. Your "knowledge that heat kills batteries" isn't actually knowledge, per se - it's more "hearsay". When in USE, lithium ion traction batteries work best within a given range of operating temperatures because they release power or recharge through chemical processes. The reason early Leaf batteries failed in the heat was because they used ambient air for cooling - so they were never really cool enough to charge properly on hot days and, as all lithium ion batteries generate heat as they are discharged, they were unable to cool sufficiently to release their stored power efficiently. This level of stress caused the chemical processes to malfunction. A battery just sitting there under a car, doing nothing, won't be that affected by heat or cold...
    turtleturtle and petteyg359 like this.
  15. I believe the Clarity battery is actively cooled. If it's like the Chevy Volt, it can even do that while parked, with the car off. It uses the (electrically driven) air conditioning compressor to chill.

    Regarding the deposit, I only had to put down $500 when I ordered.
    That was at the end of January and I haven't seen my car yet, but that's another issue.
  16. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    What a bummer! Would your Clarity be here if it weren't for the pandemic? Has your dealer kept you informed or do they just keep saying, "Not this week, Honda tells us nothing?" Do you know if Claritys have been streaming into California while you wait for just one of them to find its way east? Does waiting for a new car slow the passage of time for you? It does that to me--I see it as the only benefit associated with delayed delivery.
  17. A couple of weeks after placing the order the dealership was notified that the order had been accepted. Once the pandemic took hold, our office closed and we all changed to working from home. With the household's car use reduced to two grocery runs per week, my need for the new car lost all urgency.
    The car that the Clarity will replace is an eight year old Prius. We drive it roughly once a month and I apply a battery tender to it from time to time to keep the 12V happy. Our 3 year old LEAF is our errand runner.
    After order confirmation I opted to lay low and give things a chance to progress on their own.
    About six weeks ago I decided to contact my salesperson to get an update. She doesn't work there anymore, nor does the guy who placed the order, but my new point of contact determined that the order was still active.
    3 1/2 weeks ago he reported that a VIN had been assigned, the car had been built and was being shipped.

    I'm tidying up the Prius and weighing my options for it (private sale/Carvana/trade in).

    So, not a tragedy, but a surprisingly slow sequence of events.

    FWIW, the passage of time has never been stranger. Our office is still closed, so I "commute" to the breakfast nook every morning. My one attempt at normalcy is that I take a half hour walk every lunchtime with my friends on a three-way phone call instead of in person.
    interestedinEV and insightman like this.
  18. Tek_Freek

    Tek_Freek Active Member

    Someone on the Facebook forum who lives in Phoenix had AutoNation find the car they wanted in CA and had it shipped to them.

    Suzanne Johnsen I went to the local honda dealers Tempe honda was working with a California dealer but the manager was very rude to me so I walked away and went to Autonation Honda they asked want I wanted and the color, found one at an Autonation in California we worked a deal and they shipped it over to me. It was easy, and they were very nice.
    insightman likes this.
  19. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    Intersting, Tempe Honda was the one I had gone to, so my experience does not look out of the ordinary. Tempe Honda is a Penske readership and they Honda dealerships in the LA and San Diego area. Have to make my mind up very soon
  20. billnye97

    billnye97 New Member

    I would make a trip to San Diego or LA. They are plentiful there. Arizona and California are reciprocal tax states so they should charge you the state tax rate of Arizona. You would be required to pay the local sales tax when you plate the car. I purchased a used Clarity out of state (live in Ohio and bought in Indiana) and they were reciprocal states so it worked out well. I lived in the Phoenix area for a few years so any chance to get out to San Diego would be a win in my book. Good luck to you.

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