Traditionally, the certified used cars you find at a dealership—the ones that must pass more rigorous inspection and come with a factory warranty and roadside assistance—are no more than three or four years old. .
Not anymore: Honda says it’s expanding its CPO program to cars as old as 10. (No, that’s not an April Fool’s Day joke — and yes, we checked.)
Older cars will not be labeled as Certified Pre-Owned Hondas or Acuras; they will be called HondaTrue Used and Used Acura Precision. The goal of both programs is to attract young, first-time buyers who might not otherwise be able to afford a new vehicle or CPO from either brand, but who want to own a car known for its quality and durability.
The automaker, which says 53% of Certified Pre-Owned customers are new to the brand and 42% return later to purchase a new Honda vehicle, hopes this will keep them part of the Honda family for years to come.
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“We’re trying to build a relationship that lasts a lifetime,” Dan Rodriguez, who leads automotive remarketing for American Honda, told USA TODAY by phone. “We see it as a way to bring in (younger buyers) through Honda TrueUsed, transition them to the CPO, which is a bit newer car, and then eventually bring them to a new car.”
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With the new program, which is already in place at select dealerships and which the rest of the network will follow by June, Honda is taking on not only other automakers but also third-party services like CarMax and Carvana.
Rodriguez says Honda had already reviewed warranties and inspections for cars purchased through third-party services like CarMax and Carvana — and found room to improve. “We put in a warranty that was competitive with what they offer” – if not more.
And with new car prices on the rise, used cars at record highs and no end in sight to supply chain issues, the time was right.
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Here’s what buyers get
One thing buyers need to understand up front: Neither older Hondas nor Acuras offer the same bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties that you’ll find on newer CPO vehicles. But they still come with more insurance than you would get by buying a regular used car.
Honda TrueUsed vehicles, which are between six and 10 years old and do not have to meet a mileage requirement as long as they pass inspection, are the third level of the automaker’s CPO program, under its HondaTrue Certified+ (2021-2022 model years) and HondaTrue Certified (2017-2022) offerings. Vehicle ads on HondaCertified.com are now designated by level and will soon appear on dealer and 3rd party sites like Autotrader.
Here’s what buyers get with HondaTrue used vehicles:
- 100-day, 5,000-mile limited warranty on powertrain parts and non-powertrain parts
- Three-day or 300-mile exchange policy (for another Honda CPO car)
- Free oil change for the first year or 12,000 miles
- Emergency roadside assistance for the duration of the non-powertrain warranty, including towing to a local Honda dealership, flat tire changes, emergency fuel delivery, lockout, and battery jump services
- Trip Interruption Reimbursement
- Free 90 day SiriusXM trial
Rodriguez says plans are also underway to extend Honda Care prepaid service contracts – which cover crucial systems such as engine, transmission, suspension, heating and cooling and fuel systems – to vehicles from used HondaTrue. They would be offered as a subscription-based model rather than including the entire contract in the purchase price.
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The Acura Precision Used classification also applies to cars between 6 and 10 years old with no mileage limit. The warranty is a bit more generous than Honda’s: cars come with a 6-month/7,500-mile warranty on powertrain and other parts, free oil change, roadside assistance similar to the package and a 7-day/300-mile redemption period.
Why not extend warranties? For one, the cars have already gone through a 112-point inspection process (which potential buyers can download before the test drive). By comparison, CPO vehicles must meet 182 criteria. The difference? With CPOs, cars should look like new, whereas with HondaTrue Used, the focus is on mechanical and safety issues.
“We think the most important thing for the customer is to know that they are getting a car that is safe, reliable, and that they have support – not just insurance-type warranty support, but support from the (manufacturer ).”