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Honda S2000 Prices Paid and Buying Experience



  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I bought a 2002 S2000 for $32,000 in late 2001 when the Edmunds "TMV" was $36,000 ($3,200 over MSRP). Today, the Edmunds TMV in my area is $30,982, approximately $650 over invoice and $300 less than the price you were quoted. Personally, in my last three purchases (all Honda/Acuras) I have substantially beat Edmunds TMV price, so I would expect to be able to buy an S2000 toaday for invoice - $30,335.

    Far more offensive than your slightly high price quote, is the dealer's claim that they need to spray an "environmental protection layer" over the cars paint. That's pure B.S. and a reason I would immediately tell this dealership to pound salt. I'd take that complaint right to the GM, forget the sales manager or sales person.

    The S2000 is the best built car I have ever owned, bar none. Mine was "Spa Yellow" and the factory paint was perfect, and remained so after 2 1/2 years of parking on the street outside my house in DC. I waxed the car with Maguire's Professional #26 about once every 4 months and could never find the slightest imperfection. The idea that some yahoo Texas dealership goofballs would be spraying something on this car should be punishable as a capital offense. And eligible for the death penalty. This car is partly hand built in Japan next to the NSX at one of the highest quality automotive plants in the world. It needs NOTHING sprayed on it. And if anything was, I would absolutely NOT buy that car.

    On your final question, Honda has a 3% holdback, so even at invoice, they are making $1,000 profit. Dealership economics may appear baffling, but be assured that they make a bundle in a lot of ways - service, volume kickbacks in addition to the holdback, etc. In a recent Washington Post Article, the Ourisman family was estimated to have a net worth of several hundred million. And their main dealership sells Chevy's. They could probably partner up with a few other Washington automotive families and buy GM. Not that they would ever want to, since they are making far too much selling and servicing them.
  • dwynnedwynne Posts: 4,018
    That is about $5 worth of chemicals and $590 worth of dealer markup. Of course, that crap-o-la on your car can make it hard to wax your car so I would avoid a car with that on it if you can. To me it is a minus rather than the plus the dealer claims it to be.

    The invoice on the S is about $30,300 and as was mentioned hold back on Hondas is 3% of MSRP or a little over $1,000. So if you got the car for $29,300 then the dealer would make no money, for $31,260 the dealer is making close to $2,000 profit. Depending on the area, you can do better.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    A little item called **overhead**.

    If you think holdback is pure bottom line profit, you are dead wrong.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,666
    I don't think anyone is suggesting that it is bottom line profit..

    I believe the term is gross profit.. There is no way for a buyer (or most salespeople) to know what the net profit will be..

    But, if we know about holdback, stair-step incentives, etc... , we can get an understanding of what the gross profit is... and how they can sell a car under invoice.. Any extra information can only help the buyer..

    Besides... if they can't make money on the deal, they won't accept it.. I have faith in the dealer to know how low he can go... ;)


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • dwynnedwynne Posts: 4,018
    Exactly. I never meant to suggest someone COULD buy for invoice - hold back - incentives with nothing added on. You might, but the dealer would be nuts.

    You have to know the numbers in order to make a reasonable offer, then it is up to the dealer to see if they can live with it or not.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    I guess I just will never understand why people can't just make an offer based on what they feel is a good value to them rather than basing their offer on how much money the dealer may or may not be making.

    Good thing houses aren't bought and sold that way!
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Good thing houses aren't bought and sold that way!

    You need to re-check your logic. There is absolutely no difference in the fundamental way houses and cars are sold. Seller puts up a price, buyers and sellers negotiate up or down from there. It's a matter of supply and demand. If a buyer gets too piggish, he doesn't get the goods. If a seller gets too piggish, he doesn't get the sale.

    You also need to recognize that most people feel a "good value" is a price equal to or less than what most others are paying. Compared to a $62k Boxster S, a $40k Honda S2000 would still be a good value. Until one found out that the going price others are paying is $31k, and then their good feelings would turn into feeling like a complete boob.
  • breldbreld Posts: 1,252
    I have just recently become interested in an S2000 in the used car market.

    Can someone enlighten me on what significant changes have been made since the S2000 introduction that you would consider in selecting the model year? It was 2003 that they increased the displacement and gave it a facelift, right? Glass rear window was also that year?

    Were there any years in particular to avoid with regard to reliability?

    Any other factors you would consider when purchasing a used S2000 would be appreciated.

    By the way, anyone taller than 6' driving one of these? (Tells you how far I'm into this process - haven't even tried one on yet)


    2011 BMW 535xi - 2008 Audi TT - 2008 A3 - 2009 Ody

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    Nothing wrong with my logic.

    The laws of supply and demand apply to cars as well. If it's January and we are sitting on ten S-2000's and someone wants to make a very low offer, they will probably own a new car! If it's June and we have one in stock, it's a different story.

    And you hit it on the head. A lot of people are just scared to death that just maybe, someone else, somewhere may have paid less than they did for the same car. In my opinion, that's not a fun way to go through life.
  • dwynnedwynne Posts: 4,018
    2000 and 2001 have the plastic window. For 2002 they replaced it with a smaller glass window. They also boosted power on the OEM stereo and were supposed to upgraded the transmission - some other minor trim type stuff. The 2002 cars have separate tweeters in the door, 2000 and 2001 cars have a single (coaxial) speaker.

    For 2004 they changed to a 2.2l I4, but it no longer revs to 9k like the older cars. Larger brakes and suspension changes. Larger 17" wheels where added with a different design. Transmission ratios re-worked and synchros improved. Some minor exterior changes and the console and radio door were re-worked. Supposed to have more room, but you would be hard pressed to find it (or be really short to use it).

    Mine is a 2001, and I updated to the 2002 stereo (really cheap used) and but Polk speakers in the doors and behind the seats - sounds much better. Personally, I would not care much which year, they are all a hoot to drive. The plastic window is a little more work to keep up, but it is larger than the glass window - but I hardly ever drive the car with the top UP so it does not matter much.

    Other than no more 9k redline, the 2004 and up cars would be nicer - just more torque and the suspension and interior upgrades are nice. The tweaks make the car a little less prone to coming around with trailing throttle oversteer - which is a problem if the driver is not used to a RWD car. No stability control on any year, so it is up to the driver to keep it in line.

    I would want a car that either has or could get a HondaCare warranty. If it does not have it, then it has to be under 42 month/42k miles.

    With 6 years of production, it should be pretty easy to find a nice low mile example used for a nice price. You can also buy new for under invoice from several Honda dealers (under $30k in some cases). Some folks have abused their S2000s, so getting one used from a dealer or auction would be iffy to me. Being able to look at the original owner and talk to them would be the way to go if used. For example, I run the car as intended - but I don't abuse it and I do maintain it. You would not want one someone had putted around in, but you don't want a speed-shifted, bent shift fork car either.

    Plan on replacing the super-sticky rear tires at 10-12k miles (depending on how you drive) and the fronts at about twice that. For the pre-2004 cars these are $177 + shipping each for rears from the TireRack. I don't think the 2004 and up tires will last any longer and may cost a bit more.

    I am toying with the idea of selling mine and getting a new one. I only have 16k or so on mine, but I would like to get the full warranty, a new car, and the upgrades. Not a big deal if I "have" to keep mine - loads of fun. I can get 22-23mpg commuting to work, 26 mph out blasting around the back roads, and a little better than that with the cruise locked on during an Interstate trip. All top down, of course.

    If you fit the car, then test drive a USED one - that is broken in so you can VTEC it to 8-9k. Then you will really see what it is about. A lot of folks don't "get" the car - light, tossible, fun - but not a lot of torque. That mean you have to pay attention and DRIVE the car. A lot folks will test drive and just not get it and end up in a Mustang V-8 or Z or something. The rest of us, get it and get it :D

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Dwynne just about said it all in terms of the facts, and did a heck of a good job. But if you also want opinions, I'll give mine.

    I had a 2002 Spa Yellow that I owned for 2.5 years and 18k miles. I am partial to the 2002 and 2003 models. They give you the rear glass window (with defroster) and the more powerful stereo, to which I also added the rear Polk speakers. The 2002 also had a few aesthetic upgrades like a full leather center console and chrome trim rings around the taillights. More importantly, as Dwynne indicated, the transmission was revised to eliminate 1-2 shift grinding that was a problem with some 2000 and 2001 cars.

    The 2004 increased displacement and added torque (153 to 162 ft lbs), but at the expense of dropping the redline from 9,000 to 8,000 rpm. Horsepower remained the same at 240 and performance, by all tests I've read, was virtually unchanged.

    If you don't go with a 2002 or 2003, I'd almost skip getting a slightly used 2004 and look for a good deal on a new 2005. Proper break in is very important on the S2000 and, unless you were getting a heck of a deal on a 2004, I don't think less than $6,000 in savings (20%) is worth the risk that the car wasn't broken in properly.

    Good luck and do a test fit yourself. I'm 5'7" and 155 and the car fits me like a glove. A 6'4" 210 lb friend of mine drove it, but wouldn't want to take it on a long trip. Somewhere in between is the practical limit.

    Good luck.
  • reuel3reuel3 Posts: 114
    Let's save the discussions about sales practices and what constitutes a good or fair deal for the Smart Shopper forums. Please reserve this one for comments specific to purchasing and S2000.

    Thanks for the cooperation.
  • breldbreld Posts: 1,252
    Thanks for the advice.

    I was thinking I would want the 2004 "upgrades" but I was mistaken in thinking those happened for the 2003 model year. So, since the whole point of looking at the used market is to save over buying new, I think I would just forgo those changes and go for a 2002 or 2003, for the reasons habitat1 pointed out. Not ever having driven any S2000 at all, it doesn't sound like I'd miss the upgrades.

    As far as "getting" the S2000, as dwynne had put it, I think I'm already there, as my current daily driver is a TSX, which I thoroughly enjoy. So, I think I "get" the high-reving, low torque, slick 6-speed, tossable experience.

    Again, thanks for the quick responses. Now I just need to do the obvious, and try the S2000 on for size.

    2011 BMW 535xi - 2008 Audi TT - 2008 A3 - 2009 Ody

  • breldbreld Posts: 1,252
    Couldn't resist. Stopped by a local Honda dealer and tried the S2000 on for size. It's not like I had room to spare, but once I got my long legs in (I'm 6' 3" with a 35" inseam), the room was OK and I really enjoyed the test drive. I was particularly impressed with the headroom, though we dropped the top right away.

    The test drive was in what would be my first choice if I was buying new - '05 Suzuka Blue. The dealership is a very friendly, family-owned business with no-haggle price. For some reason, the blue one was a few hundred cheaper than the others on the lot. Presumably, it had been sitting longer than the others. Their no-haggle price on this one was $30,800, which I thought was pretty good. They also had a red 2004 (new) that they were trying to sell for around $29k.

    Anyway, loved the drive - wheels in my head are spinning trying to figure out how to get one in the garage.

    2011 BMW 535xi - 2008 Audi TT - 2008 A3 - 2009 Ody

  • dwynnedwynne Posts: 4,018

    I figured when you said you had a TSX you would love the S2000 :D

    Is this going to replace your daily driver or be in addition to it? In my case, mine is a nice day car so I don't much mind the plastic window. With the top down I can't see it - no matter what it is made of. You can get an older car for a good bit less, but sounds like the dealer you spoke with is motivated to move the cars if those prices are their opening shots.

    Love the Suzuka blue paint! Never could decide if the interior blue was for me or not. Mine is New Formula Red w/black leather.

  • breldbreld Posts: 1,252
    This would be in addition to the TSX, which is my daily driver. So, since I probably would never take it out if I couldn't have the top down, the plastic rear window on the '00 and '01 probably isn't a big deal. Certainly would save some money. But, have to admit, the $30,800 for a new '05 is appealing. Not that it isn't a lot of money, but seems like a good deal for what you get.

    A nearby Mitsibushi dealer has a silver '01 and a black '04 (asking about $21k and $27k, respectively, I believe). I may go check those out. At the end of the day, I'll probably have to wait until the end of this year, when the TSX is paid off.

    By the way, it was funny getting back into my TSX after the test drive - all of a sudden what I thought were very short throws on my 6 speed seemed very long.

    2011 BMW 535xi - 2008 Audi TT - 2008 A3 - 2009 Ody

  • dwynnedwynne Posts: 4,018
    Yep, you could have my 01 with 70k HondaCare and 16k on the clock for $21-22k I would think :D You could get an '00 car for under $20k I would think and maybe even some 01s for that low. For sure if you buy in the winter from "up North".

    I know what you mean about the shifter. I had a Miata with a short shift kit and Voodoo knob on it - very short. I sold it and got a 'vette - very long throws. I drove it to the Honda dealer to test drive an S for the first time (a CPO used example) and the first time I tried to hit second I though "the tranny is busted". Nope, that is second "right there". I have gotten used to it, but switching back and forth from my daily driver BMW (longer throws and strange clutch engagement point and tons of torque) to the S (very short throws, normal clutch, but no torque) sometimes takes a minute. My wife made fun of me the other day for nearly stalling the S since I had not driven it in a while.

    Good luck with your search. Another thing to consider, the S has always been a good leasing car with way above normal residuals. This has dropped a LITTLE in the last couple of years but it is still strong - nearly as strong as a G35 coupe. Getting the car below invoice with a strong residual means a sweet lease payment.

  • nusigepnusigep Posts: 2
    i worked a honda dealer in the atlanta area for two years. acid rain is huge down here, and the dealer spend thousands fixing paint for their sold customers. we started putting a protection package on all the cars and the problem stopped. so, yes, it is needed in some parts of the country, and yes they really do put it on.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Sorry, that old dog doesn't hunt here. The "acid rain" pitch is just plain B.S. as well, and an excuse for a sleezy dealer rip off. The S2000 has a top of the line clear coat paint that is fully resistent to acid rain anywhere in the U.S. - and just about anything else normal nature throws our way. This from the Acura factory rep that I called today about a question regarding our MDX.

    Check out reputable BMW, Porsche and other "premium" dealerships in the Atlanta area and ask them if they have a $600 "paint protection" package they try to slap on their $50,000+ vehicles. The answer isn't that those vehicles have more acid rain resistent paint than an S2000. It's that those (reputable) dealerships treat their (presumably intelligent) customers with respect and integrity.

    P.S. Show me any objective factual information showing that Atlanta's "acid rain" is worse than Washington D.C.s. or Pittsburgh PA's.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,824
    Folks, the acid rain discussion needs to be taken elsewhere, like to our News & Views board or to our regular Honda S2000 discussion. Let's keep the conversation focused specifically on pricing/purchasing experiences with the S2000. Thanks!

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