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Few Honda Insights in Sight at Dealerships

March 01, 2000|JOHN O'DELL

Shoppers who haven't already plunked down a deposit for one of Honda's hybrid gas-electric Insights may have a hard time finding one in Southern California in the next month or so. But the task apparently is not impossible.

Officials at American Honda Motor Co. in Torrance say they don't expect the supply of two-seat Insights to outstrip advance orders for the car until the end of this month or later, when the factory in Japan starts shipping about 400 a month. Only 68 had been shipped to the U.S in the first six weeks of deliveries, and more than 200 have been reserved by customers who placed advance orders with dealers.

But several local Honda dealers said last week that a small percentage of early buyers usually cancel their orders--often because they placed deposits at several dealerships.

The cancellations, said Andy Kolbe, owner of Kolbe Honda in Reseda, mean that persistent shoppers may be able to find an Insight that hasn't already been promised.

Kolbe took delivery of four "pre-sold" Insights in February and quickly sold all of them, even as some of the original buyers of the $19,000 cars backed out. He expects delivery of six more in April and May.

A check of several other area Honda dealers found none that had an Insight in stock and available for purchase.

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