April U.S. auto sales Honda, Acura

On Thursday, Honda unveiled a new program for pre-owned car shoppers they hope will provide a competitive advantage in sales. The program is called HondaTrue Used and offers coverage for vehicles up to 10 years old. For non-luxury carmakers, it’s the only program to date that offers CPO benefits for vehicles of that age.

In the new program, vehicles up to 10 years old regardless of mileage qualify for coverage. They receive 100 days – or up to 5,000 miles – of coverage on non-powertrain and powertrain components alike, as well as Honda Care Motor Club benefits, which is their comprehensive roadside assistance and concierge package. The first oil change is also included, provided it’s within 12 months or 12,000 miles of purchase.

Car shoppers can also shop more confidently with a three-day, 300-mile exchange policy.

American Honda’s manager of auto remarketing, Dan Rodriguez, said, “HondaTrue Used is a critical new gateway to the Honda brand, especially for young and first-time buyers. Customers can now shop for a high-quality certified used Honda on our website, and buy with confidence from the most knowledgeable and experienced source – a Honda dealer.”

Eligible HondaTrue Used vehicles will undergo a 112-point inspection to qualify for coverage. 

Honda brand chooses to make reliability a focus

Honda consistently gets recommendations based on perceived reliability and excellent scores or rankings from publications like Autotrader and Consumer Reports. Having made a name as one of the most dependable carmakers in the world, the CPO program for cars up to 10 years old appears to be another initiative to reinforce the point with consumers. With every car company offering CPO programs in some capacity, it pays to reinforce a trait that already differentiates Honda from much of the rest. 

Recently, Honda’s dependability ranking has slipped. In the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study that looks at initial build quality, Honda ranked well below the industry average (192 problems per 100 vehicles) with a score of 230 PP100. By putting new emphasis on coverage for older vehicles, it helps to regain some ground in this area.

Timely program with demand for used cars

In the news release, Honda points to “young, first-time buyers” as the target market for HondaTrue Used vehicles. It might be a segment known for purchasing low-cost vehicles, but the program’s benefits are certainly timed well for a much broader demographic. 

Bustling used car sales and well above average prices have forced many car shoppers to explore older cars without any remaining warranty coverage. Given a choice between a dealer-certified used car with coverage and another used car without any, there’s an opportunity for Honda to capture a greater portion of this market.

At the same time, dealers will be able to justify somewhat higher prices because of the additional coverage. And for consumers, the confidence in an older used car that has a warranty – even for just 100 days – can ensure they aren’t being dealt a clunker.

It also opens a window for an untapped market for dealers. Many of the used cars between six and 10 years old are wholesale, but a program like HondaTrue Used compliments other CPO programs for newer cars and makes older cars marketable, turning them into profits rather than liabilities.

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