Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Honda Speaks: But No Results Yet

The saga continues....with no satisfaction yet. Not even close. After shooting a reminder note to Honda late last week, I finallly heard back from the dealership. The GM of the dealership suggested I bring the car in for a "diagnostic" to see if there might be anything irregular with the car. And so today (the same day I was quoted in the Wall Street Journal commenting on corporate reputation and later delivered a 'webinar' on word-of-mouth), I brought the car in for a diagnostic, which found, remarkably, that nothing -- technically speaking -- is wrong with my Honda Civic Hybrid. (Except that it only gets 32-33 miles per gallon while it's advertised as 48-50 MPG.) I'll grant the general manager points for being considerate (he even made a call to another Honda manager to better understand issue while I sat in the office) but a nagging thought just kept running through my head throughout: this dealership isn't going to fix this problem...they've checked off all their boxes of obligation to the dissatisfied consumer. And speaking of the dealership, I must admit that there were a few awkward moments when the original sales folks (and the "finance guy") realized I was back in the office because of a mileage problem. Who would have guessed when we all laughed (with joy) about my purchasing "Mo Miles" license plates that it would come to this. The irony of it all...

What's next? Well, we still have a dysfunctional low-mileage car, and my wife is still giving me endless grief for driving around with a license plate that reads "Mo Miles. And so I'm dialing this up a notch. My next appeal is to the VP or North America Sales, Richard Culiver. I also intend to share my concern with the ad agency as well (which I think really needs to be sensitized to how the mileage is being positioned in advertising and communication.) Stand by....

(Oh, one more thing. My time consuming visit to the dealership wasn't a complete loss. The general manager was at least able to provide some guidance on how to hook up my trusty iPod to my Civic.)


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