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Honda targets used car buyers with certified pre-ownership program

The used HondaTrue and the used Acura Precision are looking to lure other first-time and used car buyers into their dealerships and stay away from online sellers.

Honda targets used car buyers with certified pre-ownership program
Honda targets used car buyers with certified pre-ownership program

In an expensive, controversial used car market, Honda is looking to attract new buyers by expanding its own pre-ownership (CPO) services.
The new precision used HondaTrue and Acura programs will include vehicles up to 10 years old (as well as newer models, like the 2018 Civic Si coupe shown above).
The goal is to take first-time buyers and other second-hand car buyers to Honda dealerships, where they can get Honda’s limited warranty, rather than buying from one of the existing online sellers.

Honda is laying a reputation for its reliability while at the same time looking to profit from the used car market, which is hot right now. The Japanese automaker has just launched the used HondaTrue, a nationwide pre-certified ownership (CPO) program for Honda vehicles up to 10 years old and with no limit on the number of kilometers they have traveled.

An almost identical CPO offer is being offered by Honda’s luxury division, Acura, titled Acura Precision Used.

Both programs are aimed at car shoppers hampered by the rising costs of used older cars in the post-pandemic era. The companies hope to attract a group of customers who are already forced into older models but still want more peace of mind that makes CPO vehicles attractive, if a little more expensive than regular old cars and trucks.

In the case of the Used HondaTrue, the program includes a 112-point inspection by a certified Honda technician, along with perks such as a 100-day/5,000-mile warranty, a one-year roadside assistance, three-month SiriusXM satellite station (if any), and a three-day car change program. The used Acura Precision has similar benefits, although with a slightly longer warranty of six months/7500 miles, whichever comes first.

Dan Rodriguez, Director of CPO and Used Cars of Honda USA, explained to Car and Driver that the goal of the used HondaTrue is not just to move more vehicles out of dealerships. “We think the best place for customers to experience our brand is at one of our agents. In a perfect world, we see this as a journey to lead our customers on our journey through our brand.”

In Honda’s view, this means that today’s second-hand car buyers could eventually switch to either the automaker’s two higher-end CPO vehicles or an all-new car at some point. “To be honest, we think the timing [of the used HondaTrue] is great,” Rodriguez added, referring to the current turmoil of the new and used car market.

Car sales have been significantly affected by the shutdown pandemic, microchip shortages and, more recently, even parts supply problems due to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. In return, many automakers have cut production and focused on building their most lucrative models. The scarcity of new cars has led to an increase in demand for second-hand cars and trucks. As a result, prices have risen dramatically over the past year.

As we’ve previously reported, the transaction price for used cars in January 2022 was 40.5% higher than in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index Summary.

Dan Rodriguez said a used HondaTrue buyer would be less distinctive in terms of perfection, that the almost new quality level typical of many CPO services, including Hondas. Honda True Certified, Honda’s standard CPO program, currently applies to vehicles from 2017 to 2022 and has an 80,000-mile limit. “With [used HondaTrue], we hope cosmetic issues are not part of the car procurement process,” Rodriguez explained.

In this way, he means that the small door contours, paint scratches or furniture characteristic of a car that is decades old will not be the deal-breaking factors they might have on a car that is only a few years old.

HondaTrue’s multi-point checklist focuses more on mechanical and safety issues, such as brake pads or suspension components. The complete inspection process of the car is digitized and honda’s potential buyers are visible, so they know exactly which areas to pay attention to.

Honda is not alone in encroaching on the lucrative used car market. Last year, Ford rolled out the Ford Blue Advantage CPO program on vehicles 10 and under and with a maximum distance of 120,000 kilometers displayed on the road meter. Then there are those who buy and resell large-scale used cars, such as Carfax and Carvana. Each type is even more open about the age and mileage in their second-hand car stock and, of course, their offerings run a full range of products and styles.

With this in mind, Rodriguez has one thing to keep in mind for anyone who is considering the used, or used HondaTrue exactly of acura. When asked if the programs would apply to every Type of Honda, Rodriguez’s quick answer was: “Not the NSX.” For all the bargain-hunting hybrid supercar shoppers out there, you’ll have to look for a deal elsewhere.

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