Test drives would be a dealerships major selling point for this car. Wouldn't see why they wouldn't bring in a dealer only car for people to test drive. Have it displayed at car shows / major events / etc in a city to build popularity
I've driven both the new Insight as well as the new Prius (I change cars often so my local dealers like me).
In a nutshell, the Prius is much better than the Insight. Unfortunately for Honda, Toyota dropped the entry price for the Prius when Honda announced Insight pricing. Prior to the Prius price drop, Honda had a slam-dunk - undercutting Toyota by a few thousand. Even so, the Honda isn't awful; if you simply hate Toyotas or the way they look/feel, the Insight is a decent alternative.
I've heard that Honda isn't having any trouble selling every Insight they make, though.
I agree that the CRZ will steal from the Prius/Insight market. While four-door hybrids are certainly practical, there is a distinct need for a small/sporty hybrid in the marketplace. If the CRZ hits the showroom at the mid-twenties (including the gadgets that people like), they'll have no trouble selling every one they make. If MSRP is too close to $30K, the CRZ will never get beyond "cult status" (think first gen Insight).
I've been longing for the old CRX since Honda discontinued it. Hopefully the CRZ won't be some huge porker compared to the little CRX.
~2,800 lbs is okay, but if the CRZ is bigger than 170" long, they'll lose customers.
I forgot to mention some generalities about test drives (BlackCivic & Nemesis).
It's anybody's guess as to when the CRZ will hit the dealers' lots. We'll know over the coming (many) months.
Getting a test drive is all about how you "qualify" in the dealer's eyes. When a dealer/salesperson qualifies you (ie sizes you up), he/she assesses how serious you are about buying as well as your ability to pay. If you look like a time-waster, you're not gonna get a drive. If you look like you have no chance of getting financed, you're not gonna get a drive. When a car is very new and in-demand (like the CRZ will probably be in the first months), test-drives become that much harder to get. If a salesperson is eager to get a sale, they'll be more willing to let anyone take a drive. Sadly, an in-demand car like the CRZ in the first months of availability won't have any problems finding interested buyers. If you're really young and don't look "like a live one", be firm in asking for a drive - if you're serious.
If a dealer doesn't want to let you drive something, go to another dealer. There are plenty of dealers out there.
And given the economic times, I'm sure salesman are eager to sell. Just make sure you come in as a serious buyer, and not someone who just wants to test drive a car for fun because they have nothing better to do.
I'm not concerned about being 'sized up' so to speak. It's just when I'm absolutely serious for the car and qualify for financing....but I still can't drive one because they won't have any in stock. I'd hate to try a car before I buy no matter how good the reviews are.
Nemesis, I would be EXTREMELY surprised if a dealership never let you test drove it before buying it. You may need to put down a small payment first, sort of like a deal saying you will buy/very interested in the car, to try the car out. Just don't think they would make your first time driving the car be off the lot.
Here in Okinawa, Japan most of the new car dealers have models that are available to test drive, they have a sign on the door that says Test Drive just need to talk to the salesman and they will let you drive it. In fact I'm heading out the door to my neighborhood Honda dealer who has the CR-Z available for a test drive.
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