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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign

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  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    It was uncooperative/arrogant DEALERSHIP Policy and not the salesmen at the Honda dealerships that made it impossible for me to buy an Odyssey.
    There were nice, friendly (NOT pushy) salesmen at more than one Honda dealership but the dealership policy at all dealerships requiring a $ 500 NON-refundable deposit just to to put my name on a waiting list for an Ocean Mist Metallic Odyssey EX (cloth) that killed my purchase of an Odyssey. :shades:
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    There were nice, friendly (NOT pushy) salesmen at more than one Honda dealership but the dealership policy at all dealerships requiring a $ 500 NON-refundable deposit just to to put my name on a waiting list for an Ocean Mist Metallic Odyssey EX (cloth) that killed my purchase of an Odyssey.

    That's just bizarre! You've probably said it before, but I'm going to ask again (don't be mad! :blush: )...what part of the country are you in, and when were you purchasing the Odyssey? I can only assume that since you got a 2006 Sienna, you were also shopping 06 Odys too... which means that demand should've been pretty-well died down by then. A NON-refundable deposit, sheesh... I wouldn't have bought it either, and my family drives all Hondas!
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "...but the dealership policy at all dealerships requiring a $ 500 NON-refundable deposit just to to put my name on a waiting list..."

    Oh c'mon hans; I know you're smarter than that.

    First point: the manufacturer and/or the local distributor CAN'T dictate to individual dealerships policy regarding how dealerships handle waiting lists. The manufacturer and the distributor simply get the cars into the hands of the dealer; how the dealer doles them out is ENTIRELY up to them.

    Second point: why would a deposit on a HIGHLY DESIREABLE vehicle (it has a waiting list) be non-refundable? If a car comes in and your name is next on the list but you don't want it for WHATEVER reason (perhaps financial situation has changed, death in the family, etc.) the dealership would simply go down to the next name on the list. The dealership isn't 'out' anything by getting that vehicle.

    Third point: I was under the impression that non-refundable deposits were ILLEGAL. If the deposit is kept, what service has the dealership rendered to warrant keeping the deposit?

    Fourth point: Has it occurred to you that they wanted you to NOT shop elsewhere after any deposit was left and they throw out the 'non-refundable' line to keep you on the hook? And then, when questioned, they simply say "hey, our hands are tied. EVERY dealership must do this"?

    In other words, IMO you were lied to.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    I NEVER said that it was Honda policy to require a $ 500 NON-Refundable deposit. It was the policy of Willey Honda of Bountiful, Utah; Larry H. Miller Honda of Murrary, Utah; Ken Garff Honda of Salt Lake City, Utah; and Stockton to Malone Honda of Sandy, Utah. (I looked at all 4 dealerships but have since learned that Stockton to Malone Honda is actually a Larry H. Miller dealership).
    Ken Garff and Larry H. Miller own the majority of the dealerships of ALL makes in the Bountiful to Provo section of Utah. Ken Garff dealerships have the highest Document Fees while Larry H. Miller dealerships have the nasty habit of putting additional "Market Adjustment" add ons to the new vehicle pricing.

    It is probably true that the Sales Managers lied to the salesmen concerning "Non-Refundable" deposits.

    I specifically asked salesmen at the dealerships why the "Non-Refundable" deposit on the highly desireable Odyssey which sells very quickly. The answer from each was that if the deposit were Refundable, customers would place an order at all dealerships and take the first vehicle that came in....to which I replied "Why do you care? You have sold every Odyssey you could get?" and then walked out because I will not play their silly game. :shades:
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Thanks for the clarification. When you had stated (on more than one occasion) "all dealerships" I took that to mean that you were referring to all Honda dealerships; like you thought that was some sort of Honda policy. Can we assume the Toyota dealer was NOT owned by either Garff or Miller?

    I've no idea what Utah state law is; personally, I think that they may balk at returning any deposits but a simple letter from your family attorney (why does it have to come to this?) would lead to a 'magical' change of heart.

    "...and then walked out because I will not play their silly game."

    Absa-stinkin'-lutely. Slapping you in the face with some BS about not refunding a deposit is simply indicative of how those dealerships operate. Good dealerships should be rewarded with business. Bad dealerships should be rewarded with the showrooms devoid of customers.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    Personally, when I was shopping for an Oddy.....ALL 5 Detroit area dealers I went to were arrogant and rude!!! All wanted way abover sticker (this was Dec 05) and had a common "take it or leave it" attitude. Ohh they were nice and gave a me a brochure and left me drive one....but after that it was terrible. I didn't even have a trade in!
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    You are correct. Neither Ken Garff nor Larry Miller own the Toyota dealerships in Bountiful or Salt Lake City. I did NOT like the Toyota dealership in Ogden, Utah but my friend does and has bought many Toyotas from them. I also did not like the Honda dealership in Laramie, Wyoming or Ft. Collins, Colorado.
    Ken Garff owns the Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge dealership in a suburb of Salt Lake City and that dealership provided me excellent service on my 2002 Chrysler T&C LX even though I did not buy it from them.
    Interestingly, one friend likes Larry Miller Toyota in Murray but our mutual friend did not and the conversations about the 2 dealerships gets quite "warm". It is nice to have many dealerships for any brand within 50 miles of my home.
    There is apparently a wide variety of policies within the various dealerships owned by Ken Garff and Larry Miller although the Document Fees are the same at all Ken Garff and are different than those at all Larry Miller dealerships. :confuse:
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Personally, when I was shopping for an Oddy.....ALL 5 Detroit area dealers I went to were arrogant and rude!!! All wanted way abover sticker (this was Dec 05) and had a common "take it or leave it" attitude. Ohh they were nice and gave a me a brochure and left me drive one....but after that it was terrible. I didn't even have a trade in!

    I wonder if the market had THAT much of a difference in the midwest versus the southeast? My great aunt who bought her Odyssey in December of 2004 (2005 model, bought day-after-christmas) paid $1,200 under sticker ($27,250, MSRP was $28,495 - EX Cloth). She had a trade-in, in which she was given the Kelley Blue Book "Good" value (it was well worn, but not in BAD shape). I don't know of the interest rate, but I don't believe it was astronomical. Just goes to show how different markets and different individual dealerships treat customers entirely different. The dealer we buy from (it's almost a family tradition) has a great reputation for excellent service, and has won several President's Awards for service excellence (out of many regional dealerships, Neil Bonnett Honda won 2000, 2001, and 2003, I believe). Impressive for this dealership, sad for those in your area, and I don't blame you for walking out!

    It's sad, really.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168

    I wonder if the market had THAT much of a difference in the midwest versus the southeast?


    I would think there are more Honda dealers, and more competition amongst them in the SW? Michigan is the exact opposite of the rest of the US.....here the domestics rule, along with Unions etc... In other parts of the country, the consumer rule and dealers are open late (some 24/7) and even weekends!! Try buying a car on a Sat in Michigan!!! Don't even think of buying one on Sunday!!! Up until 10 years ago, if you owned an import dealership and tried opening it on a Sat, you had your windows shot out (I'm NOT kidding)!!!!
  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    "I wonder if the market had THAT much of a difference in the midwest versus the southeast?"

    It varies by region, time, dealership and even salesperson. Six years ago, Chicago dealers were all charging MSRP or more and some required non-refundable deposits on the Odyssey. I had to go 60 miles just to find a dealer that wasn't going to play games with their waiting list and sell to the highest bidder for thousands over MSRP or gouge on required protection packages.

    Meanwhile, the closest dealers still called me (and probably everyone else on their list) every week because "someone opted out" or they got an "additional shipment". Of course, they were just seeing if someone lower on the list would pay more than those above them.

    One year ago, it was quite different. Most dealers were bending over backwards and some were selling Odysseys at or under invoice. I could have held a grudge and ruled out the Odyssey or driven 60 miles again to avoid the nearby dealers. Instead I emailed a number of Honda dealers. This time, one of the closest dealers who played the waiting list games and was somewhat sleazy and rude last time was very reasonable. $300 under invoice and no games at all. The price reports are $1000 or more under invoice, today.

    Bad dealerships and owner groups exist for almost every make. If you want to exclude a brand or model because of a dealership experience, you're only limiting your options. Unless, of course, that's the only nearby dealer and they have poor service as well. If you despise dealership interaction, you can always try to minimize it with carsdirect.com or use a buying club like Costco, Sams, or autobytel.com . You may not get a better price, but hopefully you can work around the dealership hassle to some extent.
  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Posts: 265
    "Second point: why would a deposit on a HIGHLY DESIREABLE vehicle (it has a waiting list) be non-refundable? If a car comes in and your name is next on the list but you don't want it for WHATEVER reason (perhaps financial situation has changed, death in the family, etc.) the dealership would simply go down to the next name on the list. The dealership isn't 'out' anything by getting that vehicle"

    This one is easy. If you end up buying elsewhere, they'll sell the vehicle to the next person on the list allright, but they want to keep your deposit money, too.

    For every way the dealership makes it more difficult to get your deposit back, someone will just give up and let them keep it. Like you said, it also tends to limit people from shopping elsewhere. At one point in my purchase last year, I had deposits at two Toyota dealers and one Honda dealer. I had no problems getting two of them back. One was simply done by phone, the other made me come in to talk to a sales manager. Granted, I made sure it was clear on the purchase forms that the deposits were refundable for all three.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    And I do NOT own an Odyssey. :shades:
    The DC minivans have the most attractive exterior styling and offer more nice features for less money (Actual price paid...NOT the MSRP)than the Odyssey but the Odyssey has the most comfortable seats for all 7 or 8 passengers and the best folding mechanism for the 3rd row 60/40 split folding seat.
    The Quest is the only minivan with uglier exterior styling than the Sienna and the GM offerings are a poorly executed attempt to fool people into thinking they are "Crossover" vehicles instead of simply their old, poorly designed minivan with an ugly front end. :sick: Ford also tries to fool people with their Freestyle and Mercury clone. :sick:
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    While I have never had the opportunity to fold an Odyssey third row seat, I cannot imagine it being much easier than it is in the Stow and Go Grand Caravan/Town and Country.
    We just bought a new Grand Caravan with Stow and Go about 6 weeks ago, to replace our 1996 short wheel base Caravan, so I definitely have experience with Stow and Go.

    Just a pull on three numbered straps and down each section goes. Easy to bring back up as well. Also, the seat can be configured for tailgating. Not sure if Odyssey has that option at all.

    Of course, no struggling to remove the second row seats, either, with the Stow and Go feature.

    Also got it for an excellent price, over $7100 off MSRP. Actual cost was over $2000 less than we paid for a short wheel base 1996 Caravan new ten years ago.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    "Freestyle and Mercury clone"

    You mean the Freestar, not Freestyle, which doesn't have a Mercury clone. The Freestyle isn't a minivan, but the Freestar is.
  • I have recently rented a Toyota Sienna, and have sat in a Honda Odyssey. I have also ridden in the Chrysler minivans. I strongly disagree. The Odyssey does not have comfortable seats. They are very poorly designed since they have excessive "flexion" positioning. The Honda dealer acknowledged that this is a major problem with all Hondas, actually. When you sit in a Honda Odyssey, the bottom cushion is excessively tipped so that considerable pressure is put on the L4 and L5 vertabrae discs. This is also the case for the Toyota Sienna. It is like "sitting in a well" as someone else described it. In addition, the rear seats on these vehicles are severely compromised by the "Stow-N-Go" or "Magic Seat" concepts. These vans sit so low to the ground that they routinely scrape bottom as well. The steering on the Toyota Sienna had such a fast turning ratio that it constantly required attention trying to keep it straight on the highway. Honda Odysseys have had a lot of transmission problems as do the Chryslers, and the Toyota recalls are mounting. The new media is not stating the true situation.

    After carefully researching the numerous vans out there, we purchased a 2006 Chevy Uplander with the 3900 engine. It is not poorly executed at all. In fact, we have had NO problems with it (the average is 2 complaints per vehicle, so we are well ahead of the game). The fit and finish is excellent, and the 3900 engine with variable valve timing is quiet, smooth, has plenty of low end torque, and does not give an annoying moan every time you accelerate like the Toyota Sienna. The dash display is excellent and easy to read, unlike the Honda Odyssey which is frequently blocked by the steering wheel, and the distracting bright blue illumination in the Toyota Sienna. All of the controls are well placed, unlike the Honda Odyssey which has severe ergonomic problems with the dash controls. The A/C can freeze the rear passengers out on the hottest 105 degree day in Tucson AZ. The seats in the back are very comfortable for adults, not just kids. The SUV concept is great, giving an SUV-like ride with plenty of height for good viewing. It can carry a full spare tire if desired, unlike the others. The interior detailing is impressive, with fine stitching on the leather that covers the doors. The seats can be positioned to be back-friendly, so our vertebrae are happy. The front end looks nice, in our opinion, and many others have commented on this as well. These vehicles are being produced at a rate of 1 a minute over two shifts (over 100,000 a year), so you will see more of them. And this is a good thing, because they are excellent vehicles. :)
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Glad you like the Uplander as GM has not had much success selling their "Crossover" vehicles that are just slightly warmed over versions of the former minivan offerings from GM. Our neighbor had a Pontiac Montana and says it was a piece of junk and did not carry much more cargo than the PT Cruiser that replaced the Montana.
    According to Edmunds pricing, the 3900 engine was NOT offered in the 2006 Uplander but became available in the 2007 model. Does Edmunds pricing need an update for 2006 Uplander?
    Did GM make a change in seating for the 2007 models? The rear seats were NOT comfortable for adults and were very hard to access compared to the rear seats of the Odyssey, Sienna, and DC minivans when I sat in the Uplander at the Annual Auto Show this year.
    I have NEVER had any difficulty keeping my 2006 Sienna LE on the road...even with heavy crosswinds on I-15 in southern Utah, southern Nevada, and the Mojave desert of southern California nor did I have any difficulty with my 2002 T&C LX on the same highway.
  • aus_nicaus_nic Posts: 6
    Hi. I am new so I appologise if I make any errors. Desperately would like advice and recomm. as we are about to buy a minivan for the first time and I am torn between the choices - Ody., Sienna,DTC,DGC and Uplander?
    I have read through as many reviews and threads as I could lately but have a "high needs" 6mth old,4 & 8yr old and husband works 2 jobs so time is limited.
    With 3 kids and large dog space and convience are required with dvd and comfort paramount as long drives to family are frequent. Reliability is also a must!!. Need to be able to tow small loads occasionally and have bike rack on back for bikes also. Would like as many features for value as poss.
    Plan on having for a long time but dont want to get burnt on resale value just in case (as have with current cars :cry: )
    Any advise would be greatly appreciated as going to start test drives over next couple of days. Have a few offers for prices at or around invoice on Ody and Sienna but yet to see if can get down lower or best trade as too not have too much neg. value on current car :confuse: .
    Thankyou in advance :) .
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    BUY what you and your husband like the best. All vehicles are now reliable but you could get a lemon :lemon: of any brand. Read in Problems Forums here in the Town Hall and you can find dissatisfied owners of EVERY brand. :shades:
    I think the Odyssey is the best minivan but costs too much and many Odyssey dealers are smug and arrogant.
    I felt the Uplander had THE LEAST comfortable 3rd row seating and also has the least cargo capacity.
    The Sienna is tied with the Odyssey for the best "perceived" reliability but I do NOT like my 2006 Sienna LE after driving a lower priced 2002 Chrysler T&C LX. The Sienna is noisier on the highway but does get slightly better gas mileage than did the T&C.
    I had to have the driver's side power window replaced in my T&C but all it cost was the $ 100 deductible on the Extended Warranty the first owner bought. My daughter is driving a 1999 GC that has 90,000 miles and it has no problems. My sister just got a nice used 2005 Grand Caravan because her 1986 Caravan went 170,000 miles with no problems.
    I plan to trade my 2006 Sienna on a 2006 GC or T&C if a DaimlerChrysler dealer will give me the Trade-In quoted in Edmund's or KBB since I just do NOT like the Sienna as well as my former T&C. :shades:
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    The Ody and Sienna matchup well in most of the criteria you described. Since you say comfort is "paramount", and the Sienna has a quieter and more comfortable ride...I would go with the Sienna if I were you. A new Sienna currently comes with a $1,000 rebate.

    Maybe Hans can give you a good deal on his slightly used LE?
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "Since you say comfort is "paramount", and the Sienna has a quieter and more comfortable ride...I would go with the Sienna."

    Another thing to consider (if you intend some occasional light towing) is that a 'tow package' (consisting of transmission cooler, PS cooler, wiring, etc.) is standard equipment on the Sienna but optional on the Odyssey.
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