Wednesday, December 15, 2010

But It's Not a Honda

I have mentioned before the allure of a '57 Chevy. My father always wanted one. There was something about that car. But, he always aspired for a Buick. He grew up in a small town in North Carolina, raised by his widowed mother and older sister during the depression. He often talked about a Mr. Gibson in town who had done well and drove a Buick. He said that he always could recognize the car by its distinct horn and he made up his mind early on that he was going to be successful enough when he grew up to own his own Buick.

Well, he did. In fact, over the years, my parents owned several Buicks. I think the fact that the Buick dealer was one their good friends may have played a part, but he achieved his dream anyway. Although, he relived his youth with the restored Pontiac convertible he had the last ten or fifteen years of his life, he always owned a Buick. And, Mama continued to buy from that dealership after the divorce. And it was a good thing given her penchant for going up and down the road, she needed a reliable dealership.

The Buick dealership expanded and bought a Honda franchise and when my mother went to trade one day they convinced her test drive a Honda SUV and she was in love. Since then she has gone through three and they all have been wonderful vehicles, however, I am still amused to see this four foot eight inch, seventy seven year old lady hop out of this Honda SUV, but she does. 

For the first time ever she had some major car trouble last week and took the car into the dealership. Now, another thing, these vehicles of hers go in for their scheduled maintenance  within 5 miles of the suggested mileage, all the maintenance including all oil changes are done at the dealership, and she always trades around 100 thousand miles - talk about a dealership's dream customer.  She'll tell you, "They are so nice to me down there." Well no kidding. Although the son now owns the dealership, my mother is certain he takes care of her based on the "family connection" but I'm sure he knows a good customer when he sees one - his father raised him well. 

This repair, however, took two weeks. They sent her home in a brand new rented Chrysler to drive in the mean time. Her neighbor came out thinking she had bought the car and congratulated her on her new purchase. She was totally offended and called it a piece of junk. She wanted her Honda back. For the first time she was not happy with the car or the dealership. I think she felt that her independence had been threatened. And, no one could tell her what the problem was.

When it was all said and done they assured her that her car was "as good as new" - something to do with the fuel pumps (yes, there are two). And they would not let her pay for the repairs or the rental car. They just said that she had no idea how many cars she sold for them, the least they could do was fix this one. After all, this was the first major repair they had had to do on one of her cars over all the years she had done business with them. 

Talk about public relations, they saved this customer. She became a true believer again. It was like the time I decided I didn't believe in Santa any more and my Daddy took care of that. Once again, she is happy in her Honda and although she swears this is her last one, it already has seventy five thousand miles on it. It will not take long to reach that magic point when she'll trade again. She made a comment to me to just yesterday that the new models had more room in the back seat, and that would be nice for all the people she hauls around. 

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