Tuesday, February 24, 2004

A Fine (And Legitimate) Whine Takes Time?

Here's the latest. I finally shot a note to the incredible friendly and likeable Honda dealer who dropped the Honda Civic Hybrid Keys in my pocket (remember the guy in the video.). The message: "This car's not workin' as advertised. Say it ain't so?" Something like that. The good news is someone from the dealership responded today and asked if he could escalate my note to some regional Honda folks. You bet, I responded. In fairness, I'd be remiss not to put a few points on the board for Honda on the responsiveness front. (My cynical side assumed it would take over a week.) Whether they can solve the riddle (inside a big enigma) of low mileage, I just don't know. What I know for sure is that I need to get this resolved. My wife's all over me on this one, especially given that her heart was set on the 2004 Accord, not the Hybrid, but she respectfully deferred to my "change the world" zeal. Worse still, it's tearing me up that I'm driving a car with a license plate that's misrepresenting the facts. Help!

Must admit, I feel quite ambivalent about exercising a full-fledged "feedback m

Friday, February 06, 2004

Mo' Miles or No Miles?

Before you read this post, check out the following image. Now check out another more granular close-up of the same license place. This is the license plate for my Honda Civic Hybrid. So psyched was I upon purchase of this breakthrough, gas-saving, change-the-word car that I ordered my own special plates to tell the world. Just about everyone who sees my car also sees the vanity-meets-enviro-conscious plate....MO MILES. But that wasn't enough. To make my righteous point, I ordered a special plate frame that read "Learn & Lead" and listed the address of this blog at the bottom. (My goal being to spread the good word about the new Hybrid religion.)

The problem, as this odometer clearly suggests, is that I just ain't gettin' Mo Miles. Certainly not the amount promised when I bought the car. Sure, it's okay to miss the mark by plus or minus five miles - maybe ten to account for the fact that I have to drive up a small hill at the end of the day. But nearly 18-20 miles off the advertised MPG? That's a problem -- a big problem! I put my reputation on the limp -- singing the praise of this $21,000 purchase (I was only $1000-2000 away from a wonderfully more spacious 2004 Honda Accord); giving rides to interested parties; delivering tutorials on gas-electric hybrid technology; and so much more. And now, it just ain't delivering against thpromise? And now, the media is starting to pick up on the story. (See USA Today Last Week: Hybrid Owners Wonder: Where's the Mileage?)

Do I give up? My wife wants me to read Honda the riot act and demand my money back. Whether that's even possible or not I just don't know. What I do know is that I'm tortured over this issue. I wanted so badly to be the world's most outspoken "maven" for the Hybrid car, and no Honda is letting me down with a HUGE gap between brand promise and reality.

COMING UP NEXT: Pete sends a letter of frustration to Honda. Stay tuned.