Car Shopping – – An Update

Back in July, I wrote a blog about our recent car shopping history, and the way the pandemic had changed the way the car industry functioned. Almost five months later, it’s time for an update.

In that July blog I said that we were thinking about extending our lease on our 2018 Honda CRV. The current lease was ending very close to when I was scheduled to have my right knee replaced, and we really didn’t want the car to be an added complication. Extending the lease was very easy, as all I had to do was tap on a couple of spots on the Honda Financial website to start the process. New Jersey requires that the taxes associated with the lease be paid up front, so our first payment under the new terms included $146 to cover the tax for the 6 months. The payment stayed the same, and additional mileage was pro-rated, based on what our original lease terms were. All very easy and clean. So that’s how we entered what we expected to be the next 6 months of our car life!

The 6 month extension would take us to mid-March, and everything I’ve read or watched, had basically told us that the chip/inventory shortage was going to be with us, perhaps into 2023. My sense was that as the lease extension got to its end, we would probably be buying our 2018 CRV, and we were okay with that, for a number of reasons. The first and foremost is that we like the car a lot. It’s big enough for all our people and “stuff” transportation needs, but not so big that we feel like we’re driving a tank. The second thing in its favor is that with the exception of putting a new set of tires on her last year, we have done nothing but routine maintenance and have never had a problem. So it was dependable and we had the sense that it would not let us down. Third, we liked the color and although it wasn’t flashy, it never showed dirt! Keeping a family vehicle for 10 years was not unusual for us (Hell…the Mustang has been in our garage for going on 22 years), so keeping this 43,000 miles CRV a couple of more years would not really be a big deal. So that is the update through Monday, November 22, 2021…then things changed!

On Tuesday morning, November 23rd, we set the alarm to get up early, as we were having our new flooring delivered. Once that took place, Susie and I started working on covering things up in the Great Room area, to try and keep things as protected from dust as possible, when the old tile floor was removed the next week, as well as preparing for our upcoming Thanksgiving weekend travels (if you missed our blog about our big Thanksgiving Weekend of traveling, here’s a link We were in the middle of doing that, when I got an email from Brian Silvertrone, our salesman at Boardwalk Honda. His message was short but pointed…

“Good Day Sir,
Hope all is well…just want to say that we have a red
EXL in stock…it just came off the truck!”

Now, before we got excited, my first reaction was that the car was going to be ridiculously overpriced, as that’s what I’d been reading dealers were doing with any inventory they had in stock. I wrote back asking what the price on the vehicle would be, and his reply told me that I was right, several thousand dollars above what I figured should be the MSRP! We went back and forth on that, and then I asked him what the exact same lease we had last time would price out to a month. Again, he came back to me with a cost about $100 more than we’d been paying, and I wrote back that I’d like something closer to our existing payment.

Next Brian gave up written correspondence, and when my cell phone rang, I looked at Susie and said, “Should I answer it?” “Yes,” she said, and the first thing Brian said to me was, “How about if we go with the exact same monthly payment as your current lease and no money down?” As I’ve said a couple of times since, “Just like in the Godfather movie, they made us an offer we couldn’t refuse!”

Later that afternoon, after looking her over, we took possession of a 2022 Honda CR-V EXL in Radiant Red Metallic with just 2 miles on the odometer. On Thursday morning, we headed across the 9th Street bridge for our extensive Thanksgiving Weekend trek with about 25 miles on her, but the next time she crossed that bridge on Monday, the number was closer to 700! Welcome to our next 3 years!