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Can Honda get its mojo back?

tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,701
edited December 2013 in Honda
There's been a long running thread on Toyota being on the mend. I didn't see any similar topic for Honda.

As a long time Honda fan, I think they've lost their way and become complacent. IMHO their best current vehicles are the Fit, Civic, and CRV. Most of their other vehicles have become too big, too bloated, too bizarre in styling, as well as softer. And the interior quality is suffering as well. Competitors like Ford and Hyundai are going to eat Honda's lunch in the next few years unless Honda can step it up.

Acura is also a mess. In the mid 2000's they had one of the best looking cars on the road in the TL, and one of the best value luxury compacts in the TSX. Now those two cars are ugly and bloated. They got worse than the cars they replaced.

Honda is the company that had the first hybrid, had the first compact SUV, had the CVCC engines, had class-leading fuel economy. What have they done lately that is at all leading?
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Comments

  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,958
    Funny, I was just reading a Wall St. Journal article about Consumer Reports' 2011 car ranking. Honda is number 1.

    "The score card takes into account a variety of factors as measured by Consumer Reports, including on-road performance, reliability and fuel-economy."

    Honda Tops Magazine's 2011 Car Rankings
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,701
    Funny, I was just reading a Wall St. Journal article about Consumer Reports' 2011 car ranking. Honda is number 1.

    Hard to argue with that - AFAIK their reliability, in particular, is still tops. But their Accord sales are slowly losing ground to Toyota and others. In the '90's wasn't the Accord the top seller? I know we had a '92 Accord, and I currently drive an '05 TL. Although the TL has more goodies and is more luxurious, the '92 Accord's interior was better designed and built, and it didn't rattle at all, unlike my TL. And it also had tauter handling and better steering than the TL.

    I'm also perceiving that this is a trend that is downhill, although they haven't fallen too far yet. And certainly Toyota's recent problems haven't hurt Honda. But with Ford and Hyundai coming on strong, will Honda step up? I don't see them trying nearly as hard as those two.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    Yeah, first it was the weirding of Acura and then came the 08 Accord which has had virtually taken all the Hondaness out. It's almost a Camry which is the last thing I want an Accord to be.

    I've had three Accords but right now I can name maybe half a dozen crs in its class that I'd look at if I were buying as opposed to 10 years ago when I would have just automatically bought another Accord.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,071
    ...was with the super-ugly Crosstour and Acura ZDX. You just look at them and wonder, "Who greenlighted these monstrosities?" They actually make the Element look sexy.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    True enough. They seem to have gotten an ugly stick half a dozen years ago and started hitting the whole lineup.

    Meanwhile they seem to have decided that the old engineering ahead of the competition was old hat and stopped doing it.

    THey are still fine, dependable cars but that alone won't cut it.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    edited March 2011
    I think the next all-new Civic, which will be introduced in April or May, and the '13 Accord, will tell us a lot about whether Honda is getting its mojo back. From the pictures I've seen, the '12 Civic doesn't look like a great leap forward in styling, but it would be unfair to prejudge the car based on a few pictures. I look forward to reading some reviews and comparison tests.

    The Focus and Elantra will be much tougher competition than the compacts the Civic has been competing against. The Cruze, while okay, doesn't look like a home run to me. The next Mazda 3 could also be a worthy competitor, and it will be interesting to see whether Toyota takes more risk with the '13 Corolla. Oh, and then there's the new Jetta, which is good on value, but less than great, overall.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,701
    Unlike a lot of the comments I've read, I actually think the new Civic looks pretty good in photos, though that could change when we see one in person. IMHO the Civic was one of Honda's very best products, so they don't need to improve it THAT much. The Accord is a very different story. Hopefully the new Accord (2013?) will be smaller, better looking and perhaps more refined and quieter.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    edited March 2011
    Civic is being dropped in the home market. Doesn't bode well for the next-gen - I'm sure they will Americanize (make it big, numb, and boring) it even more than it already is. :-(

    Wish we knew more about the changes they will make to the SI.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,701

    Wish we knew more about the changes they will make to the SI.


    Don't forget they used to have the CRX, Prelude, S2000. Now we have the Crosstour. :cry:
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,159
    The ZDX designer was a female named Michelle Christensen and the ZDX was her first design.

    Michelle

    Big break: "In 2006, when Acura challenged company designers to create a car that filled a hole in the market, my sketch for the exterior won — and became the blueprint for the ZDX [above], which went on the road last year."

    So Honda took a chance with her and it didn't work. But for years Honda designs have been either criticized for being dull and bland (even though they still drive very well) so when they finally took a risk with the ZDX (or other models like the Element, the new TL, the new Odyssey, etc...) it has those same people saying that the disgns are now ugly, bloated and overweight...

    My thinking is that alot of these people just don't like Honda and won't be pleased no matter what...

    Btw, the article mentions Michelle now works for Government Motors... :D
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,159
    edited March 2011
    Well, the Si is still going to carry the same 200 (around) horsepower as the outgoing model but torque has increased due to the use of the 2.4l motor out of the TSX rather than the outgoing 2.0 that's in the current Si.

    Also, Hondas focus is on fuel economy... even with the fun stuff. The Civic is expected to rate at 39mpg highway with an even more efficient model that will get 41mpg. They will also continue to offer the class exclusive Natural gas powered version and a hybrid, maybe even an all electric.

    Lastly, they have cut significant weight from the car this time around. IMO, this is the greatest change the Civic line as well as Honda as a whole can do to "get it's mojo back" :shades:
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    "My thinking is that alot of these people just don't like Honda and won't be pleased no matter what..."

    I think you reached the wrong conclusion, based on an incorrect assumption. First, we do like Honda, based on Hondas and Acuras we've owned or own (I have a TL). Second, we very much want Honda to succeed, by designing and building cars that drive and handle better than the competition, look really sharp, and provide excellent value. Those characteistics differentiated Honda and Acura for most of us, but we're simply saying that recent models have lost these attributes, while retaining reliability.

    Third, while we admire Honda/Acura for taking some styling risks, I feel that, unfortunately, their risks have largely failed. In the meantime, it seems that they've been more risk averse in their engineering (eg. no direct injection or, until very recently, six-speed automatics). In the past, Honda led the charge in engineering.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    "they have cut significant weight from the car this time around. IMO, this is the greatest change the Civic line as well as Honda as a whole can do to 'get it's mojo back'."

    Didn't know this. Good news!
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    That weight cutting would be a good move.

    What I'd really like to see is a car that creates the buzz that the third and fourth generation Accord did. Those were beautiful, fun vehicles.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,353
    Part of the problem is all of the mandated safety requirements and the importance of getting five star safety ratings has caused the new cars to basically all look alike.

    And, competition is intense. I never, EVER thought people would actuallty buy Korean cars after their dismal initial offerings but people do! They have short memories and, yes, the Korean makes have certainly improved.

    And, a lot of people really want to buy "American" and they are taking a second look at cars that they wrote off years ago when the Big 3 were building junk. Ford, especially has taken huge strides in quailty control.

    So, not only for Honda, it's going to be a tough marketplace with competition like never before.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,701
    Part of the problem is all of the mandated safety requirements and the importance of getting five star safety ratings has caused the new cars to basically all look alike.

    There's still quite a bit of variety. You can't say that the new Sonata looks like the Fusion, for example.

    And the current Accord is still ugly, not to mention the TL.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,071
    I understand the TL is going to get a revised front end mid-year. They've already muted the chrome beak on the RL.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,353
    I don't happen to agree with you on the looks of the current accord and I never heard that from any of my customers.

    Acura is another story. I have no idea what they were thinking when they baiscally ruined the looks of all of their cars. The ugly "beak" front ends and the styling of the MDX's.

    The Sonata is another "me too" cookie cutter car.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,701
    I don't happen to agree with you on the looks of the current accord and I never heard that from any of my customers.

    I guess we can disagree.

    While not bold, I thought the early Accords and all the '90's Accords looked pretty good. The early 00's Accords were bland but not ugly. The late '00 Accords were bland and the 2 year refresh before the current generation actually was an improvement. The current Accord is much larger and has weird bloat on the taillights. IMHO the lines don't flow very well and this model won't stand the test of time as well as ANY of the previous generations.

    Now conversely, I see the current (soon to be replaced) Civic as a very nice looking car, and from what photos I've seen the new one reminds me a bit of the MB C class, which is a gorgeous design.
  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 2,578
    edited March 2011
    Saw the pics of the new Civic & I'm very underwhelmed with it...a natural progression for sure but nothing exciting like some of the "new" competition. It just doesn't go far enough! The reason I bought my '06 was it was something extremely different than what we'd seen before..one look & I was hooked. But if I were to buy right now...it would be the Elantra hands down. Some in here have suggested that I "come into reality" I think he said & try the Focus & Cruze. That I will do with no preconceived notions in the not to distant future.

    But Honda has lost it's way just like Toyota & their name alone will just not guarantee futures sales success...they need to bring to market product that people actually want. Hyundai has learned this & it shows while Ford is getting there. Something has to happen & soon as folks like us who are looking to swap out our current ride want something fresh & exciting. This class finally wants all the goodies the other more expensive classes have had for years. And it's about time with the price of gas & upkeep, economy cars will soon be the dominant class size in America, similar to the rest of the world! :)

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

    2014 Hyundai Tuscon SE/2005 Mazda 3s/2008 Hyundai Accent GLS/2009 Nissan Versa SL hatch

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