We all love the Honda Motocompacto electric scooter, but the launch of this little piece of micromobility is shaping up to be a mess. Case in point? Our very own Mercedes Streeter, who’s on vacation right now, is having to figure out a backup plan. In her words, “The Honda dealer canceled my order without explanation. Apparently, the rumor is that dealers who don’t want to deal with them are canceling orders.” Uh-oh.
According to Mercedes, the dealer just refunded her money without an explanation. When pressed further, the dealership claimed it wasn’t yet set up to sell the Motocompacto, which is strange because display materials should’ve shipped already. This thing had an on-sale date this month, and it’s not uncommon for new model paraphernalia to arrive at dealerships before vehicles themselves.
Unsurprisingly, Mercedes isn’t the only one experiencing order frustration. It didn’t take long to find additional reports of canceled orders in Motocompacto Facebook groups, with prospective buyers scrambling to find dealerships willing to take their money.
So how is it that customers could place orders at non-participating dealers? It should be impossible for dealers to pull out of Honda’s program at the last minute, right? Well, reader TheBarber, who works at a Honda dealership, has one potential answer. First, Mercedes found some pre-order shenanigans:
Apparently, “Some dealers were doing their own pre-orders, even though Honda never said you could preorder them.” Another potential answer is that the Motocompacto is sold through Honda’s parts counters, and dealer management software may not yet be configured for Motocompacto sales. Look, I’m not saying that the dealership model in America often doesn’t work for consumers, but well, direct sales probably wouldn’t have issues like this. Either way, we’ve reached out to Honda and will update you as soon as we have answers.
However, dealers opting out of the Motocompacto program isn’t the only headwind. Due to supply lagging demand, TheBarber explained that it could take months to get a Motocompacto if you weren’t quick enough to grab a successful preorder.
“A message came on our internal system: “Preorder Fulfillment: units will be shipped on a rolling basis starting this month and will begin arriving in the coming days. To meet the high demand and ensure a smooth launch for all participants, we will be prioritizing allocations based on the following.
– Preorders placed during the early phase (before October 8th) first 5 units out of the total order quantity to be fulfilled starting October 30th.
– Remaining preorders are scheduled to be fulfilled by mid-December -Any additional normal orders through the system will be fulfilled upon preorder deployment completion. – Due to extremely high demand, we anticipate potential delays in fulfilling orders. AHM is actively working to increase production and inventory levels in early 2024 to address this demand.””
So, if you suddenly have a hankering for a Motocompacto, expect delivery sometime in 2024. Oh, and even if you did find a dealership participating in the Motocompacto program, don’t expect to rely on shipping. Thanks to sheer weight and the hazards of transporting a large lithium-ion battery pack, some participating dealers may not want to play ball on sending these out via courier. As per TheBarber:
I am also curious to see how it’ll play out once these scoots become available and dealers refuse to ship them. I’m hearing some wild low shipping prices being calculated out there for something that is 40+ lbs and has restricted shipping due to the lithium battery. My dealer has already contacted everyone on our list that requested shipping to let them know they have to pick it up in person. My parts department is certified for hazmat shipping but they don’t want to deal with the paperwork on these. Failures of communication abound in this whole ordeal.
It’s a shame that the launch of the Motocompacto is shaping up to be rocky (and to be fair, it seems every automaker is blowing every launch, with delays, price hikes, etc. becoming the norm), because it really is a cool bit of kit. It’ll go 12 miles at 15 MPH, costs $1,000 (assuming dealerships aren’t throwing markup on them), folds up for easy carrying and storage, and can plug right in beneath your desk. I’d totally be interested in one if they were sold in Canada, as the appeal of a tiny sit-down electric scooter for last-mile transport is massive. However, with a market debut this messy, suddenly I’m feeling less jealous due to Canada missing out. Let’s hope Honda can sort out Motocompacto deliveries, and fast.
(Photo credits: Honda, Facebook)
[Ed Note: The original headline said “Honda is Blowing the Launch,” which may be true, but is perhaps a little harsh, so I’ve toned it down. A little. -DT].
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