Official Honda statement on availability

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by DucRider, Sep 7, 2019.

  1. DucRider

    DucRider Active Member

    I've been in communication with Honda (Zone Managers) about our upcoming NDEW event, and wondered what they wanted us to tell people asking about the Clarity PHEV. I'll likely print some of these up to hand out (there will be test drives available in the BEV version, but some will want the PHEV):

    The state of California is the largest market for plug-in hybrid vehicles. In order to meet customer demand we are currently prioritizing supply of the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid in California, rather than allocating units for dealer inventory in other markets. Dealers in all 50 states are able to order Clarity PHEV vehicles and customers can purchase or lease a Clarity PHEV in all markets outside of California. We are always monitoring the market and can make adjustments to supply accordingly, but Honda remains disciplined in our approach of matching supply and demand and, in this case, that means focusing sales of Clarity PHEV vehicles in the market with the strongest consumer demand.

    When I asked about the actual order process (outside of CA) and ballpark delivery time, here is the response:

    Regarding a pre-order situation: That’s a tough call. As you probably know, the vehicles are built in Japan. We have PHEVs set to arrive monthly in the USA. As we previously stated a little while back when it was incorrectly reported that we’re only sending them to CA dealers, they’re available in all 50 states, but the bulk of them end up where there’s demand, and that’s California. I don’t see any reason that we couldn’t get a PHEV to a customer within 90-120 days of them ordering one – likely less than that. Of course, they may need to be flexible on colors or trim, but we generally have the opportunity to order them a couple months in advance, and then there’s transit time. I wouldn’t “guarantee” that, but every Honda dealership in Oregon knows they can pick up the phone and call their District Manager to process a sold order in a timely manner. We pride ourselves on doing whatever we can to satisfy the customer.
    So bottom line, 3-4 months (maybe less) after ordering, and don't be picky about color/trim.
    Sandroad, KentuckyKen and ClarityDoc like this.
  2. Kerbe

    Kerbe Active Member

    "Dealers in all 50 states are able to order Clarity PHEV vehicles and customers can purchase or lease a Clarity PHEV in all markets outside of California." I went to four dealers in my state, all of whom flatly REFUSED to order a Clarity for me. The same thing happened three years ago when I contacted all 34 Chevrolet dealers in my state about getting a Volt. What the Mfr's say can happen and what the dealers actually do are two entirely different things.
  3. 2002

    2002 Well-Known Member

    No it was correctly reported. In early August it was noticed that it was nearly impossible to find a 2019 Clarity PHEV with VIN number higher than 1000 on the East Coast, all the VIN numbers in those states were much lower than that. All VIN numbers higher than about 1,000 can only be found in California, which is up to over 5,000 now. When InsideEV's ran that story only then did Honda admit the next day that inventory was currently "prioritized" for California, but claimed the car was still available in all 50 states. However all of the reports that we keep hearing are consistent that 2019 models are not and have never been available except in ZEV states, certainly not on dealer lots in other states, and all attempts that we hear of to order one have been unsuccessful.

    Sure we are going on hearsay, and we are limited to what we can see online looking at car sites and dealer websites, so if anyone chooses to instead believe what Honda PR people and zone sales managers are claiming they are certainly welcome to. Personally I don't.

    How come the only reports that we get from Oregon are that dealers say they can't or won't and this has been the case for the past several months?
    Texas22Step and AlanSqB like this.
  4. Ken7

    Ken7 Active Member

    So with a 3-4 month delay and virtually no choice on color, this will essentially kill the Clarity outside of California. How many shoppers are going to wait that long and not have a choice on color & trim to boot. I wouldn’t.
    Mesa and AlanSqB like this.
  5. kcsunshine

    kcsunshine Active Member

    Alex on Autos on youtube just reported this and named it best Plug-In in America. Making it a order only is a shame because everyone I know that has it loves it. I already noticed that the price is higher on truecar in my zip code. It might make sense to buy it in CA if the prices are low enough and drive it back to the east coast.
  6. We'll see how this plays out. The idea that I'd have the dealer "order" a car with no guarantee of trim or color is laughable. In 1980 when Volkswagen was building Rabbits in Pennsylvania I ordered a Rabbit C with cloth upholstery, special instrumentation and a 5-speed in light blue thru Freeway VW in Seattle. It took 5 months, but Volkswagen got me what I wanted.

    I'd really like to buy a Clarity, but I want what I want and am not willing to fly to California to get it.

    I don't have an immediate need for the car. I'll probably wait till March and see what I can arrange with a local dealer. If they can do no better than this then it's not happening.
  7. ClarityDoc

    ClarityDoc Active Member

    Any chance this is just clearing out inventory in anticipation of an updated 2020 Clarity PHEV that will be more widely distributed? Serious question - I have no clue about how this business works.
  8. 2002

    2002 Well-Known Member

    Clearing out inventory is common practice but that is for cars already in inventory on dealer lots. This is a completely different situation, this is about Honda refusing to ship 2019 cars for inventory in the first place.

    2018 cars were shipped for inventory in all 50 states. However for 2019 they only shipped Clarity to the ten ZEV states, and even then they only shipped approx 1,000 units at the very beginning of the year, since approximately February all inventory has been shipping only to California. I base that estimate on the fact that VIN numbers on the east coast end right at just over 1,000, whereas California is up to VIN numbers in the 5,000's now. We know production for 2019 started in December as we have a forum member here @JCA who purchased one of the first 2019's and the manufacture date is 12/18. The next lowest dated VIN that I have is VIN 1598 with manufacturer date of 3/19, and since east coast cars ended at maybe around 1,100 this is why I estimate that after around February all cars for inventory started shipping only to California.

    I can't say for sure that no cars have ever shipped to other states in 2019 but if they have it must be extremely rare as we have never heard of anyone reporting that they successfully purchased a 2019 from a dealer in other states at any time during the year, either on the lot or through ordering.
  9. VIN 3295 arrived in Ann Arbor, MI last month.
  10. 2002

    2002 Well-Known Member

    That's the one you called Germain about in early August when they had it listed on their website but didn't have it on their lot. Are you saying it did eventually arrive at the dealer?

    If so I wonder where they got it from. That VIN number would have been manufactured in May as I have mfg dates for VINs 3044 and 3454 both manufactured 5/19. My theory when you reported that car a month ago was they were getting it from a California dealer, but maybe Germain actually ordered it from Honda and three months later it arrived, assuming ordered in May and delivered in August.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
  11. 2002

    2002 Well-Known Member

    If delivery is taken in California you have to pay California sales tax and California won't refund it if you later pay sales tax in your home state. At best your local state might waive the sales tax if you already paid tax to California, but you still could potentially wind up paying more in sales tax than if you have the car delivered to you.

    Delivery is actually a very feasible and increasingly common method. Back when Prius Prime had a 3-5 K factory incentive in east coast states several people bought their Prius Prime via email/telephone and had it shipped to them. Shipping is not as much as you would think, you go online to websites and get quotes. It's usually well under a thousand dollars for pretty much anywhere in the U.S., in some cases not much over $500. If you are getting a several thousand dollar discount on the car it would be well worth it. We had someone on here recently purchase a 2018 from Florida at a massive discount and had the car shipped to them.

    I hope to start hearing of people doing this with Clarity, although I expect the numbers to be relatively small as many people feel squeamish about buying a car from an out of state dealer sight unseen, but the people who purchased Prius Primes this way had no problem, at least not that I ever read about, they said it was surprisingly easy. Not all dealers are willing to sell out of state, but what should help is if you tell them you will arrange the shipping yourself. That may sound daunting but car shipping is very routine now, in fact the only shipping problem I heard of with Prius Prime is when someone let the dealer handle shipping, the dealer got it all botched up and created a couple weeks delay.
    Domenick likes this.
  12. DucRider

    DucRider Active Member

    Nobody can force a dealer to take your money and order a car. But it looks like AHM will take the order and eventually deliver a vehicle. Dealers telling you they "can't" order one for you is consistent with many dealers policy of "sell what is on the lot". There are many things that you hear from car dealers that have only a passing acquaintance with what most of would consider to be true.

    Checking dealer inventories and finding nothing new (by VIN#) is actually consistent with the statement that they are not sending inventory units to dealers outside of California.

    Unlike many on this site, I interact with many people involved in the sales and distribution of automobiles. Dealer managers and principals, manufacturers, trade associations, etc. While I never take what they say at face value, an official PR statement like that above is very unlikely to be incorrect when stating a clear and verifiable fact (i.e. can be ordered by a dealer in all 50 States). The statement does obfuscate the underlying reason for the change - "to meet customer demand we are prioritizing supply" is basically meaningless words similar to what is spouted by many politicians. Sound like they are saying something of substance, but it is vague enough that it really can't be confirmed or denied.

    Bottom line is they've decided they need to sell in CA more than in any other market. No indication if due to lack of supply, profitability of the PHEV, dealer push-back in certain markets, etc. It could very well be a combination of factors, but low demand everywhere outside of CA doesn't fit with what we know.

    Some insight may be gained in their "2018 North American Environmental Report:
    one page of interest:
    Domenick and 2002 like this.
  13. 2002

    2002 Well-Known Member

    I doubt the color/trim situation is that dire. I'm sure it's not like you have to order the car and then have to wait and be surprised what color you wind up getting. The zone sales manager comment (not the official Honda statement) was:

    "Of course, they may need to be flexible on colors or trim"

    I think all the zone manager was saying was if you want to place an order today and get a car as soon as possible you might need to be flexible on color. If you aren't flexible on color then you might have to wait longer for them to find a VIN for that color that is available.

    The bigger problem is finding a dealer who is willing to order a car in the first place, which is where the problem is as they seem to be practically non-existent, and the odds of getting any type of discount seems slim to none. I am starting to lean more towards the idea @4sallypat and others have suggested of just forget trying to order one through a local dealer and just plan on purchasing from California. All we need is one dealer in California who wants to get into that business. Prius Prime has had a similar problem of availability outside of ZEV states, and there was (and I assume still is) a particular dealer salesperson at a dealership in California who became well known in the Prius community for selling Prius Primes out of state at a good price.

    There are three ways to do this:

    1. Handle it all by email and phone (some paperwork handled via FedEx 2nd day delivery) and have the car shipped to you. This is much safer than some people may think as the car has to arrive exactly as advertised or you can refuse delivery, same thing if there is any damage.

    2. For those who just can't bring themselves to purchase a car sight unseen or without a test drive, you can purchase a round trip ticket to California, inspect and purchase the car in person, then have it shipped to you. Ideally you would be able to make it a vacation trip, if not it would just be an added expense on top of shipping, but again if the discount is in the several thousands it would be worth it.

    3. Similar to above except one-way airfare and drive the car home. Only practical if you are no farther away than say Texas, which will already be a three day tedious drive, unless you make a vacation out of it and stop at Grand Canyon, Las Vegas or wherever.

    Of course this means no trade in, so you drop your old car off at Carmax, or sell it via Carvana, or wherever, and get probably the same price as you would for trade in (real trade in price, not those inflated great trade in offers that are a way of hiding a poor sale price)

    Do I expect very many people to do this? No. But at least someone anywhere in the U.S. who really wants a Clarity can in theory still get one at a discount with a little creativity and effort. Unfortunately the dealer incentives only apply to cars registered in California, so the discount probably won't be as much as some people are able to get who live in California.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
  14. Of course, as you pointed out before, #3 would require you to pay CA sales tax.
    2002 likes this.
  15. Mowcowbell

    Mowcowbell Active Member

    Outside of CA, the best option to get a PHEV is to give up on Honda and buy a Chrysler Pacifica PHEV. Those are readily available in all 48 states.
  16. Casey Martin

    Casey Martin Member

  17. Danks

    Danks Active Member

    This is interesting. I have a scenario that makes sense and helps validate Honda's comments.

    Back in March I ordered a 2019 Crimson Pearl Base Trim from - Germain Honda. They said they could get it, put in the order, and told me 8-10 weeks. After the 10 weeks I called and was told that Honda did not fill the order. Now I wonder if there wasn't a communication breakdown and Honda was still in the process of filling the order. I went ahead and got a Clarity from New York. If Germain learned that Honda was still filling the order they may have listed it before it arrived. If that is what happened, then a dealer can actually order one, it just takes a lot longer than 8-10 weeks. It would explain an oddball 2019 Crimson Pearl Base Trim going against the CA grain and going to Germain.
    Domenick and 2002 like this.
  18. 2002

    2002 Well-Known Member

    It's still listed on the Germain website for whatever that's worth. Only generic photos so no way to know if the car is at the dealer. When css28 called a month ago they set up an appointment then called him back to tell him that the car wasn't actually there.

    Germain 2019.JPG
  19. eneka

    eneka Member

    I wonder if it has to also do with dealers not willing to sell EV/PHEVs contributing to this. Even here in Socal, there's dealers here that don't have EVSEs to charge up their inventory and use the charger that comes with the car!
  20. 4sallypat

    4sallypat Active Member

    #1 and #2 is definitely practical and has been done many times with other brands like BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Porsche, Volvo does the European delivery where the dealer will make the sale to have the car meet the customer at the factory. And then the car will make it's way to the US where the second delivery is made at the customer's nearest dealer for the paperwork, tax, title, registration.
    In this case, the CA Honda dealer will ship the car to another Honda dealer and have that local dealer take care of the tax, title, registration, etc...

    #3 is not doable as CA charges tax if the customer takes possession of the car and will not be refunded.

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