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  • (Lack of) Marketing of the GX

    Curtis,

    I bet this has been addressed, but I am not savvy enough to find any old posts regarding this issue.

    Can you please explain why Honda does not attempt to market or sell the GX? Where are the ads? Where are the Car & Driver reports?

    Do they lose money on each one?

    With gas prices where they are and rising fast, and the Middle East where it is, I think there would be quite an increased demand these days.

    ????

    Julian

  • #2
    Re: (Lack of) Marketing of the GX

    Honda actually gets a very small marketing budget for the GX, if I understand what I've been told. They have actually been marketing the car more heavily in the last year or so, although you would have a hard time seeing where the advertising is.

    Most of the marketing effort is left up to the dealers and Honda will chip in on marketing efforts at that level. Too bad really, since most of the dealers really don't do much with the cars. Believe me when I say that I've had this conversation with corp more than once.

    I think that a big push on the GX would do more for the companies image than marketing the hydrogen car, the Clarity. The GX is out there now and available to the public, and being the cleanest car on the road... it's right in line with their market position of being the cleanest line of cars in the US.

    If you look at the "In The News" forum, you'll see that the car actually does make it into the press more than you think. Thanks to the eagle eyed members of our group around the country, these articles get ferreted out and brought to the attention of every one here... now we just need to tell the rest of the world.

    I have no doubt that this site has done more good than most of the press in making the public aware of the availability of a car that free's you from OPEC and their $100+ a barrel oil.

    We are Honda's best friends when it comes to marketing the GX. Honda actually had to up the production by several hundred units this year because of the tremendous demand for the car.

    What amazes me is that every time gas drops $.50, everyone quits buying them... and when it shoots back up, they act surprised and trade in the truck they just bought because gas prices were down... for a minute.

    CNG is here to stay my friends. And we are the best, most immediate alternative to high gas prices that exist. Hydrogen is 10 years away, battery tech is nearly the same, Ethanol is a joke, biodeisel is more expensive than gasoline (as is Ethanol per mile driven). We have the answer now, and for the most part, the infrastructure to go with it. No one else can make that claim.

    Just remember, word of mouth is the best kind of advertising there is... now go tell somebody all about your GX.
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    • #3
      Re: (Lack of) Marketing of the GX

      Originally posted by Curtis View Post
      Just remember, word of mouth is the best kind of advertising there is... now go tell somebody all about your GX.
      Precisely! Let's keep spreading the word!
      Curt, good to see you back on the boards, hope you are recovering well.

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      • #4
        Re: (Lack of) Marketing of the GX

        The best place for Honda to do well is Utah. With prices in CA over $2.00/gge, it doesnt make sense for most people to spend the extra $6 - 7k for the Honda GX.

        As others have posted, WoM is the best type. I work for a very large company which spends $$$$$$ a year on advertising, yet most people think it is ineffective.

        Also, people do need to look at the math:

        12,000 miles a year/30mpg * $3.00/gge savings = $1200 year. If the cost is $6,000 more, that is a 5 year payback period.

        In the end, I would rather Honda save the $$ and drop the price of the GX. Dealers should stop charging a premium for the car if they want to increase the number of people buying this car. Honda should introduce some features as well, Nav, Leather Seats, etc.

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        • #5
          Re: (Lack of) Marketing of the GX

          Ken Garf already markets the car in Utah quite effectively.

          As far as the math, my average GX customer drives 2 to 3 times what you figured.
          However, the davings is not that much here inless you are home refueling, and the HRA/VRA skews the numbers again, but it's less then 5 years for most Ca drivers I would imagine.

          $7k to convert the GX is half of what an upfitter would cost, so I think the price is very reasonable. Personally I don't charge a premium on the cars, but I cann understand why some do. The car is a pain to sell, given the educational process you have to go through with each customer and there is a very small profit margine in the car (around $1000) compared to most every other car on the market, and they are extremely limited production to boot. Try and buy any other limited production car at invoice or close to it. I think it's a shame that people think we should give these cars away when it's so much work to sell and market them.

          As for the cost, with incentives it's not really much more than the regular Civic. And adding the premium items you mentioned to the car would make it more like $30k. I know there are a few that would pay it, but it would push it out of reach for most buyers.

          It never ceases to amaze me that those that could afford to pay all the money, and get the car loaded up any way they would like it, tend to be the cheapest and whine the most about the price.

          If you look at the big picture, the GX is more $ up front, but over the life of the car, which could be at least double that of a regular Civic, it will ultimately end up being the cheapest car you'll ever own! Do the math again, but this time spread the costs over 500,000 miles. That is minimal, I've gotten 400k on 3 different Honda's I've owned over the years. My GX has almost 97k, my Civic coupe has 165k, the 84 accord I inherited recently when my dad passed has 145k, my '72 600 coupe has 90k, and I dont even know how many on my 1969 and the other '72 coupe I have.

          The biggest problem I've had with Honda's over the years is that you get sick of them waaayyyy before you wear them out. In the past I've prayed the dang car would croak just so I could justify getting something new to drive. Now the GX has a motor that could theoretically do a million miles... I'd say it was a bargain.
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          • #6
            Re: (Lack of) Marketing of the GX

            Garff Honda in Salt Lake City actually does a pathetic job in marketing the GX. They placed a total of two ads in the local paper last year. Ron does a great job in selling the GX and is a very enthusiastic supporter, but the dealership he works for really has no interest in getting the word out.

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            • #7
              Re: (Lack of) Marketing of the GX

              As far as the math, my average GX customer drives 2 to 3 times what you figured.
              You are most likely correct, your buyers today. What about those of us who drive about 1000 miles a month? Those are the people I am talking about.

              $7k to convert the GX is half of what an upfitter would cost, so I think the price is very reasonable.
              I dont disagree with you.

              It never ceases to amaze me that those that could afford to pay all the money, and get the car loaded up any way they would like it, tend to be the cheapest and whine the most about the price.
              Yes, I can afford a nicer car. Yes, I would like all the extras. I dont try to be the cheapest person around, I just want to be treated fairly. Buying a car is not fun. If you go in to make it easy, you will most likely be taken advantage of. The reason some of us get down on price is because we dont like to be taken advantage of.

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              • #8
                Re: (Lack of) Marketing of the GX

                No one likes to be taken advantage of, even me. I think everyone should be treated the same as I would like to be, with respect and integrity. However, there are many in my industry that have a typical (old school car salesman) mentality unfortunately. The way to spot them is the typical "if I could would you" line. If you hear it out on the lot... you know what's coming.

                In all fairness though... the price is on the car. I make less on a GX (at full sticker) than on any car I sell (except the Fit). On the other hand, virtually every dealership has numerous "profit centers" built into the car. The $995 "Paint Protection" that's on the car already, the "Service Contract" and so on all hold a degree of profit for the dealer. My dealership puts the "Honda Protection Package" on every car that comes in, splash guards, door edge protectors and wheel locks. I've seen the same thing on cars that we get in trade from other dealers for $899. We get $299, a $50 dollar profit... Hardly taking advantage. It changes your payment a couple of dollars a month. We also etch the cars vin into the glass, a security service that carries a $5000 guarantee against theft... $389. Why is it there? Because if you don't buy a warranty, paint protection, lojack or anything else that the finance manager gets paid on, it's the only thing the finance guy gets paid on. So the guy that spends all that time getting your paperwork ready, packaging it for the bank and getting it bought made about $100 for his time and effort. A rip off... hardly. I suspect you get paid well for your time when you show up to work.

                From the dealers perspective, we're dealing with the smartest, best educated generation of buyers that have ever lived, thanks to the internet. Believe me when I say that it is very rare when the buyer is taken advantage of these days.

                As far as the 12k miles a year drivers... I'm sure there are many of you around. It's that I live in a Los Angeles "bedroom community" that has a huge number of commuters. Here the average driver puts on 25,000 mi per year Even though I am one of those driving less than 10k a year, I tend to forget that a lot of people don't drive 30-50 miles to work every day. I'm not a commuter and I still drive a GX, but the car is a commuters dream, as long as fuel is convenient and we don't lose the incentives.
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                • #9
                  Re: (Lack of) Marketing of the GX

                  Getting back to the original topic of this thread...

                  It seems to me that the GX is more or less an experiment for Honda, given the small number of units produced each year. Look at what they did with the EV+ (first all electric) - tried it, learned it wasn't feasible, stopped it. Same goes for the Insight (first hybrid) - tried it, learned from it, improved on it with the Civic hybrid. With the success of the GX (look at all these happy owners on this forum!), I would hope that Honda will expand the GX program to include more units, more dealers, more options on the vehicle, etc. Look at the Toyota Prius - Toyota was selling hybrids in Japan long before the first US Prius, and now the current model offers multiple trim levels and options (including nav, leather, HID headlights, bluetooth). We still have a ways to go to get NGV as widespread as hybrids, but one can hope

                  Or maybe Honda will continue to keep the GX program small and manageable, and use what they learn for the FCX. I read recently about trials in Japan with home fuel cell units that provide electricity to the home. They get the hydrogen for the fuel cell from another unit which converts natural gas into hydrogen and hot water (which is stored for the home's use also). So the home fueling we are doing today with Phill could be a precursor to a home hydrogen fueling system for FCX?

                  Joe

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                  • #10
                    Re: (Lack of) Marketing of the GX

                    Originally posted by jsutherl View Post
                    Getting back to the original topic of this thread...

                    "With the success of the GX (look at all these happy owners on this forum!), I would hope that Honda will expand the GX program to include more units, more dealers, more options on the vehicle, etc."

                    On this point, I couldn't agree with you more.


                    "Or maybe Honda will continue to keep the GX program small and manageable, and use what they learn for the FCX."

                    Already way ahead of you. Think of the GX as the precursor to hydrogen cars from Honda.

                    I read recently about trials in Japan with home fuel cell units that provide electricity to the home. They get the hydrogen for the fuel cell from another unit which converts natural gas into hydrogen and hot water (which is stored for the home's use also). So the home fueling we are doing today with Phill could be a precursor to a home hydrogen fueling system for FCX?

                    Joe
                    The 3rd generation of the hydrogen home refueling unit is in testing at Corporate Headquarters in Torrence, Ca. I was a bit surprised to hear that it wouldn't debut with the Clarity (the newest FCX) but I'm sure there are good reasons for it.

                    I can't wait to see this technology become everyday common. Actually, I hope that we can get to the point that we don't hook up the unit to the gas line, but rather the garden hose, and super efficient solar film (made by Honda and already exists) would be applied to the windows to cool the house and power the unit.

                    Ahhh yesss, the perfect future.
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                    • #11
                      Re: (Lack of) Marketing of the GX

                      Curtis,
                      In my humble opinion....What you describe as "profit centers" including the $995 paint protector, the unwanted $300 mudflaps and other items such as these are in fact an accepted way car dealers use to rip off consumers like me. I will always vote with my dollar and purchase elsewhere when these tactics are employed! I do the same when it comes to overpaying for CNG sold by CE...I fill up elsewhere. Anyway, I'm sure I will never convince you, but there is no entitlement for a car dealer to charge for items no one wanted or asked for just because they have to make a buck.
                      Adrian
                      Adrian

                      Navy 2008 Civic GX (wife's)
                      Silver 2012 Toyota Prius
                      Grey 2012 Civic Natural Gas (mine)

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