Salem, OR

Where I Bought My First New Blue Honda Fit

Michelle Marie Warner

I drove away from Lithia Honda of Salem with confidence and a sweet new ride

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Saying hello to my new blue 2020 Honda Fit, Luna, before I said goodbye to my old red 2007 Fit , Ruby, to the left— photo by author, May 14tAuthor photo—Michelle Warner

I bought this beautiful blue car at Lithia Honda of Salem after a long, satisfying run with my little red Honda Fit. Not only are Oregon car prices lower than my hometown of Santa Barbara, CA, but the sales reps are accessible and present.

Everything is slower in Salem, Oregon, even car sales. Not that I mind. I was a first-time buyer (at least for a new car), and I needed to ask plenty of questions and time to process my credit application. I preferred slow and steady for such an important decision. My sales rep, Philip Phan, was there to help me through it all. He didn’t rush me, and did everything he could to help me drive off with that new car.

He called me the night before when both of us were preparing our kids for bed. I asked him about trading in my old vehicle and leasing VS. buying. He was able to answer my questions before I made my purchase.

I intuitively knew I would buy my car from Philip. I’d done a few perfunctory searches elsewhere, but his energy felt right, and so did the deal. This Honda Fit was $3,000 cheaper than one being sold at a dealership here in Eugene. I appreciate that he called me the next morning like he said he would, demonstrating his integrity, professionalism, and follow-through.

There was a time when I financed a loan from a dealer who deceived me, selling me a used car for a high-interest rate and taking advantage of my naïveté and blind faith. To be fair, I didn’t read the fine print and signed my life away without much thought. It turned out badly, and I ultimately lost the car and good credit for a while. I wasn’t the same person I am today. I’m grateful that’s no longer my story.

In 2007, I would drive my little red VW Bug (gifted by my dad) from Santa Barbara down to Cal State Channel Islands to study psychology. I had very little money, good grades, and a lot of hope. I was 35 years old and four years sober. I finally had a stable, healthy life, and it showed. But I still relied on my parents quite a bit.

One day, they surprised me with a brand new, red Honda Fit. They didn’t plan to give me red cars, it just happened that way. I was immensely grateful my parents bought me a car but felt awkward for some time because I wasn’t able to choose it for myself or to buy it on my own. My parents made me a generous offer that I appreciate more than I can express. I also wanted to act like a grown-up and earn it. I vowed I would buy my next car.

I grew to love my Honda Fit, who I named Ruby. For the last 14 years, we went to college, toodled around town, went to the beach, and traveled all over the Western United States to find new adventures and search for “home.” We drove over 170,000 miles together. She and I had a good relationship. I’m glad we met and hit it off so well.

I knew I’d get another Honda Fit someday, and she would probably not be red. I needed to choose my color and style. On May 14, 2021, I financed a brand new 2020 Honda Fit LX in blue. I brought my five-year-old Noa with me. She endured an entire day of car buying — driving an hour to Salem, processing paperwork, and driving back in our new ride.

I had an excellent experience with Phil at Lithia Honda of Salem. He was honest, transparent, and informative. He helped me secure the best long-term financing deal. It took us four hours to complete everything. Phillip offered us free, delicious local lunch. I had a turkey panini, and my daughter ate chips and a granola bar. They even had kombucha. I’m not sure what I would have done without lunch. He offered food when I was starting to fade.

Philip had already sold two cars before I showed up. I was the third, and he was securing a fourth. He planned to deliver a white Honda Fit to a 90-year-old woman later that day. He told me she cried tears of gratitude when they finished the deal.

Phil has a 2014 award for excellence on his office wall. I noticed his commitment and dedication extending past an ordinary car sales representative. His ethical approach and innate desire to help people are what sets him apart from the average salesperson.

I was grateful he didn’t try any deceptive tactics or upselling without explanation. I don’t think he could even if he were encouraged to do it. That speaks to his integrity and the honesty of the company.

Matthew was equally as transparent when I went through the final sale paperwork. Everything was there for me to read and choose for myself what I wanted. I entered into the contract with confidence and ease.

I realized before driving off that we’d forgotten the owner's manual. I spoke with an employee named John, who got Philip’s attention so I could retrieve it. Then, John helped me set up my Bluetooth connection before I left. He was friendly and helpful, and seemed to be there at just the right time.

My daughter Noa was such a trooper, sitting for hours waiting for the adults to take care of our car business. She was sensitive to the loud automatic flushing toilets, so she didn’t go to the bathroom until we stopped at a gas station six hours later. Her patience and resilience impressed me.

The return drive was easier, not just because I now have automatic transmission and cruise control. I was grateful. I got to choose with confidence and clarity, trust I’ll be able to afford payments, and enjoy my Bluetooth-connected music. Gratitude and good music make for a pleasant driving experience.

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Me posing with my new car in front of our apartment — photo by author’s daughter, Noa, May 14th, 2021, Eugene, ORAuthor photo—Michelle Warner

My friend says I look attractive standing next to that car. Maybe it’s the pure satisfaction in my face, that feeling that I own my life right now and always. I get to choose my car. And I choose you, my new, sweet little blue Fit friend.

I named her Luna Azul, which means Blue Moon in Spanish. Did you know Honda Fit is manufactured in Guanajuato, México? I love the Spanish language and Mexican culture, and it’s once in a blue moon that I can manage financing a new car. I’ve been connected to and influenced by the moon lately. Her name makes sense.

Today I took Luna on a long drive over a mountain pass, and she handles the road like a dream. We’re off to a good start. The next stop is Southern California with my kids. Now that’ll be something.

If you’re interested in buying a new or pre-owned Honda in Salem, Oregon, be sure to ask for Phil Phan, my outstanding sales manager and bringer of dream cars. Once you own your dream car, Honda of Salem has a full-service repair center as well.

Philip and his team offer “…fair, up-front pricing that’s transparent and makes the buying process hassle-free.” I’m quoting the statement on his business card, which sums up my experience with Honda of Salem.

They’re open 8:30 AM-8:00 PM Monday-Saturday, and 10:00 AM-7:00 PM Sundays. Philip mentioned he sometimes orders pizza on late nights. So come prepared to share a meal when you shop for your brand new car. I promise you will drive away a satiated, satisfied customer.

Please visit their website for more details: hondaofsalem.com

To contact Philip Phan, email: pphan@lithia.com or call: 503–409–0525

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Grateful single mama with a plethora of passions. Keen observer with an eye for editing. I write about relationships, parenting, mental health, addiction and recovery, creativity/productivity, gratitude, mindfulness, and personal growth. She/her. Let’s connect.

Eugene, OR
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