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2001 Red Insight 100,000km. 2001 Citrus Insight 130,000km
384 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Dear All - Thank you very much for an informative and entertaining site, which I have been watching and learning from at a distance (Australia) for some months. At the same time I have been looking for an Insight to buy, my determination to do so gradually increasing as I have learnt more about these special cars.

Finding an Insight to buy in Australia is not easy. They were launched here in 2001 to a spectacularly indifferent public. The only purchasers seem to have been a few government bodies and the occasional enthusiast. I have been told by Honda Australia that only 45 Insights were sold between 2001 and 2004, when they were withdrawn from the new car market. I understand that at the time of launch an Insight was supplied to just about every Honda dealer in Australia. This was probably the first shipment into Australia and my guess is that it was probably the last given that the only used Insights you see are 2001 models.

Why did it sell so badly? The A$50,000 price tag for one thing. Only two seats was probably another. But neither of these limitations is a problem if a car has the right image. Power and conspicuous consumption are sexy when it comes to cars. Frugality is a turn off. If you want frugality you can spend less than A$20,000. The motoring press liked the Insight but hated its price – and so did the buying public. After a year or so the Honda dealers were offering massive discounts to shift the cars – selling them as “demonstrators” sometimes for less than A$30,000. Some of those cars are now coming onto the market. I have seen 5 for sale over the past 9 months. Many didn’t get sold until about 2003 so the distance travelled (measured in kilometres here) is usually not great. All except one of those I have seen advertised have travelled between 10,000 and 30,000 km. Prices range from about A$17,000 to about A$25,000 (although one seller was asking A$31,000 for his “immaculate” 18,000km car and said to me that he had no intention of lowering the price when I pointed out that he was at least A$6,000 over the market.) Even at those prices used Insights sell very slowly - two are still for sale despite many months on the market. One 11,000km car (silver), which I looked at (it really was immaculate) sold for (I think) about A$25,000 after a few months. The A$31,000 car disappeared from the website after a few weeks. My guess is that it was withdrawn from sale. (Who would be crazy enough to buy it when there were two other cars of apparently equal quality on the market at the same time for about A$25,000?).

After much looking (and indecision because I really wanted a red car), earlier this year I agreed to buy a 2001 citrus Insight for about A$18,000 (28,000km) (an ex-government car and a bit tatty but seemingly mechanically ok) which was about A$6,000 less than the original asking price. But the dealer who sold it did the dirty on me. Two days after we did the deal he called and claimed that a mistake had been made and that the car had been sold to another person the night before I agreed to buy it (after months on the lot)! I think that someone else had been sniffing around the car and the dealer called them after doing the deal with me to see if this other person was interested at a higher price. I guess they were. Anyway, I should thank them because it turns out that they did me a BIG favour.

A few days ago I opened up the used car section of the morning newspaper to put on the floor just in case the dogs needed to do their business in the night (off topic – sorry). I casually looked at the Honda section and outside of the usual alphabetical listing I noticed a 2001 red Insight with “low kilometres” advertised in a block listing by a Honda dealership located no more than 10 minutes from my home! I don’t know how I had missed this before or how I happened to notice it then. The next day I drove by to have a look. Acting casual (I hoped), I enquired after the Insight. It had travelled only 6,300 km (about 3,900 miles) and it really was immaculate. It had never been sold. Turns out it had come from another dealership (in the country) which had shut down. The principal of that dealership was now at the dealership I was visiting and had brought the car with him (having been unable to sell it). He said that he had used the car himself for a bit and had been the only driver. The 3 year warranty had expired (for about a year) but he thought that Honda might agree to allow an “extended” 2 year warranty (for a price) because the car had never been sold to the public. Normally the extension must be purchased before the original warranty expires. The car had been on the market at this dealership for months and they were keen to sell.

The result was that I bought the car for A$22,000 tax paid with the 2 year warranty extension covered by the price!!! That’s about US$17,500 at the current exchange rate – not cheap for you in the US I know, but car prices a much higher here. (As a rough guide, if you double your price for a new car in US$ it will often give you about the A$ new price here.) For me it was a great price especially as I have 2 more years of warranty and am the first registered owner! I can hardly believe that an Insight sat on the lot (other than being driven occasionally) for about 4 years without being sold. I doubt that there are any others like this in Australia (or maybe anywhere else) – I have been lucky.

So now I hope to become a participant in InsightCentral – not just an observer. Sorry for the long rave. I hope that at least some of you have found it interesting. I became a proud Insight owner on the day that the Kyoto protocol came into force in those countries that have adopted it – which unfortunately does not include either Australia or the USA! By the way, I also have a 2004 Prius (great car and an excellent package all round – fuel consumption about 5 litres/100km on average but I want to do better with the Insight) and a 1993 Lexus LS400 (still a great car - unbelievable build quality and reliability – but much thirstier than I am now prepared to accept for everyday use).
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