I purchased a 2018 Honda Accord EX-L 2.0T with navigation from Piedmont Honda, in Anderson, South Carolina, on 16 November of this year. I always hold off at least a month to post my comments to see if any issues develop and, if they do, how they were handled.
The high score I’ve awarded tells you how satisfied I am with Piedmont Honda and my salesman, Mr. Chris Earl.
When I decided I was in the market for a new car, I spent months narrowing down my options to a Honda Accord. Then I spent weeks deciding on the trim and accessories I wanted. After having done all of that, and determined that I wanted the EX-L 2.0T with navigation in the kona coffee metallic colour, I located cars of that exact specification at five Honda dealerships within a range I was willing to drive. The fact that I chose to deal with the dealership farthest away from me---128 miles---goes to the superb comments posted by other Piedmont Honda customers on various dealer-comment sites.
I contacted all five dealerships by e-mail, and Piedmont Honda offered me the best price, both before and after I visited another dealership first. (That was because there had been a personnel change at Piedmont, and I acted during the turn-over.) The first dealership I visited offered me a price for the car within my price range but at the outer fringes of it. By this time, Mr. Earl had taken over Piedmont’s negotiations with me, and offered me an out-the-door price that was exceptionally within my price range.
Mr. Earl is a low-key individual, not your typical glad-handing salesman, and two things instantly impressed me. One, he was considerate of the fact that I would be driving over two hours to get to his dealership and he ensured that I would not be surprised by anything that might cause me to turn down the car (thus, making the trip pointless). And, two, to that end, he was completely transparent about the deal he offered me. Before I headed for Anderson, he made sure that I understood two things:
First, that this particular car had been a demo and it had some miles on it. That had already been communicated to me by the first Piedmont rep with whom I had dealt, but Mr. Earl didn’t know that. Opinions on buying a demo are split: some recommend it for various reasons; others do not recommend it; but in and of itself, being a demo was not a deal-breaker for me, especially in light of the price Piedmont offered to me for it.
Second, that as a North Carolina resident, I would not be paying South Carolina sales tax in the car, but would have to see to paying N.C. sales tax on the purchase on my own. I am associated with a branch of the N.C. DMV and learnt what that would entail. I’ll return to that a little further down. More important, I wanted to ensure that I could transfer my current N.C. licence plate to the Honda, if I bought it. I was told by my friends at N.C. DMV that I could.
The actual mechanics of the transaction were easy and exceptionally rapid, given how long I’ve spent at other dealerships to negotiate a car sale. I arrived at Piedmont Honda almost as soon as it opened its doors and met Mr. Earl. The car was ready to test-drive. I had a pretty good idea of what to expect, having driven the same trim of Accord at the first dealership I visited, but I detected no issues specific to the car offered by Piedmont Honda. In fact, I was a little more comfortable in it.
I felt the price offered for the car by Piedmont was emminently reasonable, and so I signed off on the deal. Shortly after that, I got a surprise---a favourable one. As a retired U.S. Navy officer, I qualified for a $500 bonus from Honda. I hadn’t thought of that; I hadn’t even mentioned it. They brought it to me. The sales manager asked me if I could produce my retired military I.D. card, and when I did, he informed me that an additional $500 would be deducted from the sales price.
I want to point out two things here. First, Piedmont Honda didn’t have to do that. I wouldn’t have thought of it. And two, no, it wasn’t a part of some accounting wizardry, in which they made up the $500 reduction in price by adding it in somewhere else. Like any savvy car buyer, I bring a healthy skepticism to the table, and I checked the paperwork closely. There was no accounting sleight-of-hand; Piedmont had given me a $500 bonus, free and clear.
And it was a nice little treat, with regards to the N.C. taxes I would have to pay on the car. Those turned out to be a little over $600. So essentially, Piedmont Honda paid most of that with its generosity.
I also admit to being concerned that I wouldn’t be able to keep my current N.C. licence plate---it’s a low-numbered Navy veteran plate that I wanted to hold onto---but when I paid my N.C. car sales tax, that tag was neatly transferred to my new Honda. So that concern was put to rest.
To be sure, I did my homework, on both the 2018 Honda Accord, and on the respective dealerships---every car buyer should do that. But in terms of dealing with Piedmont Honda, one couldn’t ask for a better experience. Both from the actual evidence of it and from the little feeling one gets in back of one’s mind, I was treated straightforwardly, with no tricks, no bamboozles.
Mr. Earl maintained steady contact with me before and after the sale, particularly with regard to a couple of issues that arose, afterward. And both of those were settled to my benefit.
I strongly recommend dealing with both Mr. Earl and Piedmont Honda.
Oh, and how do I like the car? It’s impressive, both in performance and in appearance (I’ve had strangers come up to me, commenting on the sharpness of the style and colour). The driving is quick and responsive, and the engine has plenty of pep, at least as much as the old six-cylinder had. I think this Accord and I are going to get along well together for next five or six years.