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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

After over two months of research and self-deprivation...I finally have my SOP 4WD EX in my garage! I saw my first one at the Chicago Autoshow, and was determined to have an SOP from that moment on. When i went to the show I thought getting a Pontiac Vibe was a foregone conclusion, but seeing as the "product reps" at the Pontiac booth were completely clueless (getting three different answers from 3 different ppl on whether XM was an available option or not), and that I had serious concerns whether it could tote all that I wanted toted, I decided to fixate on the Element.

I test drove my first E at Schaumburg Honda in mid-March with my wife. They had an SOP EX 4WD in stock at that time, but I decided it wasn't like me to "rush" into big financial decisions -- I told them I would wait til after tax time. Besides...they were the pushiest dealers we had ever experienced! Telling them I wasn't even remotely considering driving out of there in anything other than my "antique" 97 Hyundai Tiburon wasn't "NO" enough for the dealer's ears. He tried to talk us into putting down a $500 deposit on the next one they were scheduled to get. Which wouldn't have been the worst thing in the world -- but saying "we don't let these go for less than MSRP" and bragging about how much $$ he'd already made that day was not selling me on the deal.. so my wife and I left.

After hearing good things (i.e. deals) about Grand Honda in Elmhurst, I stopped by one lunch hour in early April to just see their stock, and maybe get a quick quote for future reference (STILL not ready to plop down $20K). They had TWO of the SOP's I so desired, which seemed odd after hearing about all those who've had to order them on this board. Was it a sign from Above that I should take the plunge? Maybe... I just felt it meant getting what I wanted wasn't going to be as hard as I thought (Oranges DO grow an trees, afterall!)

Tax time and related financial obligations came and went. Now it WAS time! First stop -- back to Grand Honda. Sure enough, not a SOP in sight, and none expected until early June :cry:

Next stop to check on availability in the area. Cool, one at Carrs Honda in Chicago, and one at Valley Honda in Aurora. Online quotes from both came in, both under MSRP ($20,235 at Carrs, $20,533 at Valley...excl. tax/title/license). After trying to make appointments with each to come in last night -- both dealers were too busy. Which was okay, as I needed to prep my trade-in anyway. So my wife and I decided to trek (38 miles i think) to Valley instead of Carrs, even though Carrs is only about 3 miles away and $300 cheaper quote. "Doesn't everyone get screwed in the city?" we rationed. Besides, Valley's was fresh off the truck and had only 3 miles on it.
On the long drive out there we discussed our strategy -- both on price negotiations and which accessories to "give in" on and get installed right away.
The point was rather moot, as when we arrived we discovered that they had pulled the time-tested trick of installing gratuitous accessories as soon as it had rolled off the truck. :evil: It was up on the rack when we pulled up having been fitted with door visors, running boards, and exhaust tip already. We expressed our displeasure, but were told "their hands were tied" and more subtly, "we'll have no trouble selling an SOP loaded with accessories". By the time he came back, it now had a roof rack added, with fog lights and rear deflector scheduled next. We stopped them from putting on these last two items. The running boards I kind of wanted anyway. The exhaust tip and roof rack were okay, but I intended on buying online and installing myself. The door visors, however, I was not so keen on at all! After seeing them up close, I told the dealer I didn't believe in paying $218 for two pieces of $10 plastic, especially when I didn't like them for ANY price (he said they were epoxy'd on and unremoveable without damaging the paint - which I find incredibly hard to believe -- haven't had a chance to check out their story). Nonetheless, he took them off the invoice to appease me. I also wanted a 8-disc CD, and they agreed to knock off $150 from that.

To make a long story short (the real-time version runs over 4 hours), we have it now. In this day and age, I think everyone (except the hopelessly determined) gets taken advantage to some degree at the dealer or at least feels they could/should have gotten a better deal-- and backing out of deals at the first sign of sneeky price-inflating practices seems a waste of time (I know, resigning oneself to these thoughts is what Dealer's feed off of), as searching the globe for a 100% honest dealer is a major time-suck. Sometimes giving in a little is okay -- especially when you take a little, too! I like to think I took alot from that dealer... namely, the car of my dreams!

Honk if you see me!
SheeKawgO (Robert)

ps -- #4 got robbed! :wink: okay...I'm a little biased.
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