WAIKOLOA, Hawaii — Young families love bringing home a new car.
They don't love sitting in the dealership for several hours on delivery day while mom and dad get tutored on the ins and outs of the infotainment system.
With that in mind, Honda isn't planning on having sales consultants run through a full training session with buyers of the 2018 Odyssey, even though some trims of the redesigned minivan are heavy on tech features designed to bring the family together.
They include a camera that peeks in on the middle row, a microphone for the driver to call out to rear passengers and a mobile app that passengers can use to control many of the climate and entertainment functions.
"Through the purchase process, people's patience wears a little thin," said Jay Joseph, who became American Honda's assistant vice president for product planning in April after two years leading American Honda's dealer communications and sales training.
Dealer training will be extensive, Joseph told Automotive News at the Odyssey's media introduction here. "We're trying to engage nearly 100 percent of the sales consultants on this vehicle," he said.
"We've got almost 30 tours going on simultaneously, with expert facilitators, and each one of them goes into a real deep dive, especially on the in-car technology."
At delivery time, sales consultants will be asked to pair the new owners' phones and show them where to get the Odyssey's mobile app, called CabinControl. Beyond that, their objective will be mainly to inform buyers about the various technologies and their uses before they leave the showroom.
"If you raise awareness early on, then when they try to do something, there's a better chance that they'll remember that we've already thought about it," Joseph said. "But there's so much. It's hard to cover all that."
Joseph said the approach reflects a broader understanding that, while engineers are obligated to make controls intuitive, familiarizing many drivers with a vehicle's advanced or unexpected features may involve a process of continuing education, often through online videos and dealer interaction.
"Several dealers are being really innovative in 're-delivery' and having customer clinics," which Honda also monitors as a gauge of customer satisfaction and customer perception of the vehicle, he said.
"As we see things that are effective," he said, "we try to make those best practices shared throughout the whole dealer body."