Honda steps away from stair-steps
ORLANDO -- After a year in which the outgoing Accord and the Civic were subject to stair-step incentives, Honda executives told dealers they expect to avoid the controversial tactic in 2013.
But never say never.
With the redesigned Accord and a freshened Civic in dealerships, and the CR-V selling briskly, the incentives deck is mostly empty, said John Mendel, American Honda Motor Co.'s executive vice president.
"Dealers don't like stair-step, and I prefer not to use it, but it works," Mendel said. While he doesn't expect to use stair-step this year, he added: "Never say never."
Larry Kull, president of Burns-Kull Automotive, which has several stores in and near Marlton, N.J., said, "We are our own worst enemy with how we price our cars" when stair-step is in effect.
"They say half the dealers love it. Well, I've never found that half," Kull added. "Honda overused that tactic, and they know it."
After spending much of early 2012 trying to refill inventory banks after the 2011 Japan earthquake, dealers this year will have plenty of cars in stock, said Bill Underriner, 2012 National Automobile Dealers Association chairman and owner of Underriner Motors (Honda-Buick-Hyundai-Volvo) in Billings, Mont.
"We'll have the number of cars we want to sell," Underriner said.
Mendel said Honda also will increase its focus on leasing, but without subventing residual values. The 2013 target for Honda is 30 percent, up from 26 percent currently.
Mendel said Honda also is working on service loyalty programs that will be rolled out this year.
You can reach Mark Rechtin at firstname.lastname@example.org. -- Follow Mark on