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July 23, 2006

Buy a car you love - and it may not be what you "thought" you wanted.

My_car I love my car.  I am obsessed with my car.  I may not keep it super clean, but I love it all the same.  I pay an insane amount because I am in a 25,000 mile/year lease (my choice and yes, the dealer tried to talk me out of it), but  I wouldn't trade it for the world! In fact, even though my company offers demo vehicles, (I work for a dealer group) I don't know if I will switch when my lease is up because it pains me to think of someone else driving MY car.

My vehicle purchase is a perfect example of why I have no problem with a car salesman who sells cars from his heart and from the right spirit of intent.   When I first learned of my car, I was working as an Automotive Software trainer and was in and out of dealerships every single day. Not a dealership would go by where someone would not make a joke about "What kind of car are you driving? Do you want one of our 'insert every manufacturer'."  I would chuckle and we would move on.  I knew that when my lease at the time was up, I was getting a Prius.  No one could talk me out of it.  I even had one on order and thought my mind was all made up. 

My_full_car

In passing conversation, I was telling a salesman at one of my dealerships about how I would be transitioning into sales for my company at the time and was moving to California and would be picking up my Prius (at one of his sister stores) in just a few months.  He stopped and gave me a funny look and said, "A Prius? Erica, come on, you can't be chauffeuring General Managers of dealerships around in a Prius.   Really,  how do you know you want that car?"  I stopped in my tracks and thought - how do I?  Um, because it gets good gas mileage?  Eco-friendly?  Hmmm, did that make me looooove the car?  He continued, "No, Erica.  You want something that is sporty, yet professional.  Luxurious, but affordable.  I have talked with you long enough to know your personality and really, I just don't think you are a Prius girl."

Again, I stopped.  He was right.    He then transitioned into talking about this great new sedan they were getting and he showed me the Acura TSX, which had literally just come on the market the month before (April 2004).   Leather.  Sun-Roof.  Navigation.  6-disc in-dash CD player.  Sassy styling. It was love at first site.  Nothing against the Prius, but we just didn't have any chemistry.  The Prius looked good on paper, but the TSX, well, that is a whole 'nother story!

I told him there was no way I could afford a car that nice, but turns out, I could.  And in fact, at baseline, before I bumped up to include Navigation and flipped to the 25,000 mile/year lease, it was not much more expensive than my Prius.  We picked out my colors and options  - Navigation was a must and ordered my special car right from the manufacturer.  In fact, I like the ordering process so much that I would encourage everyone to do it.  It really makes you feel as if this is YOUR car - just for YOU! 

Two months went by before my car arrived at the dealership and the day I went to pick it up was one of the best days of my life.  It has been a fabulous love affair ever since and every time I stop and look at my sassy, sporty, but stylish and smart little car, I thank my Car Salesman for helping me make the best purchase of my life!

Erica Sietsma

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Comments

When I was in Scotland in 2005 for the British Open, I saw my little girl all around town sporting the Honda Accord label and then it did not bother me. It was fun to see my sassy little friend making others happy, even with a different label.

HOWEVER, can I say I would have looked at her if she was an Accord here in the US? Hmmmmmm...good question. How much of a snob am I - is that what you are wondering? Well, what I love about her is her styling, navigation (See "Navigation - a Girl's Best Friend"), leather, 6 disc in dash cd changer and my salesperson who pointed out how all of those features are what I like. So, I think I would have bought it. Honda is a great name....but, the little Acura symbol is a bit cooler looking!!

Oops, meant to say Accord. But not our Accord (that would be the TL), but the smaller Accord sold in the rest of the world.

Would it have made a difference to you, had you known it's a Honda Civic under the skin?

Dear Jody,

While the built-in navigation systems are great, there are many very good, if not better, systems available to add to your vehicle.

Check out the following link for a list of "Editor's Picks" from CNet.com, a very helpful consumer electronics website: http://reviews.cnet.com/4323-10863_7-6509078.html

The list includes mobile and built-in devices ranging from the high $200s up to $1000. I think you would be happy with any of these devices and some of them even have live traffic routing, which I wish I had!

Hope this helps!

Erica Sietsma

Erica,

I wish now I had opted for the navigation on the Dodge Magnum I purchased last fall. I'm thinking of buying an aftermarket Navagation system , any suggestions?

Jody

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