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Let's Discuss the Projected Reliability of the New 2015 Honda Fit from Mexico.

carattorneycarattorney Posts: 57
edited September 15 in Honda

Since the Honda FIT came to the United States from Japan in 2007, all Units made and sold by Honda have been manufactured in Japan through the current model year.

Starting with the newly redesigned 2015 Honda FIT, to be delivered to US Dealers this coming spring (2014), Honda built an assembly line for US shipments in MEXICO! No longer will the US receive FITS from Japan starting in the Spring of 2014.

Honda's Statement is the following: "For North America, the brand-new Fit will be constructed in Mexico, in a plant modeled heavily on the company’s innovative brand-new Yorii manufacturing facility in Japan."

Does anyone here on Edmunds want to "weigh-in" on the reliability of vehicles manufactured in Mexico vs. Japan?

Is it safe to conclude that if Honda builds the assembly line--it really does not matter what country the FIT is manufactured in?

Are assembly lines so automated now, that workers are mere attendants and it does not matter if an automobile is manufactured in Mexico, Japan, Germany, Italy, China, or America--the car will be the same quality no matter what?

Comments

  • accdguy13accdguy13 Posts: 7

    It really is hard to say. My first Honda - a 2003 Accord was built at a Mexican plant and I had horrible paint quality issues. Mechanically it was flawless. I'd be willing to bet that with Honda's increasingly strict quality standards - the Mexican built FIT will be similar in quality levels to Japanese produced units. I am concerned about their quality control however, and the reliability of Honda's direct injection engine and CVT transmission. Time will tell

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,912
    edited June 22

    Won't have to worry as much about it having radioactive parts I suppose. :p

    People said the same sort of things about Nissans from Canton, Mississippi and Mercedes M-Class SUVs from Alabama (they did have problems with those, but who's to say any new factory would have had bugs?)..

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  • carattorneycarattorney Posts: 57

    Stopped over at my local Honda dealer this week to check out the first shipment of the new FITS that just arrived. Didn't test drive, just took a look around. Sticker stays they are 70% Mexico, and the Transmission is made in Indonesia. I did not know that Indonesia was known for Transmissions? It's definitely a new and different body--side panels have a curved indentation that runs almost the full length of the vehicle. On the doors, the indentation is deep enough that you could almost affix a temporary ledge to the side. You will have to see them in person. Wonder why they choose to design that in? Aerodynamics? Appearance?

    It almost gave me the impression that if you got a dent on the doors, it may not be immediately noticeable, because you already have a deep factory dent that is more noticeable.

    Again, you have to see it in person.

    I can't tell if I like it or not yet? I am kind of used to my 2009 FIT body style.

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,912
    edited June 23

    Why call it FITS? Honda doesn't use all caps. All those Mazda MAZDA3 names bug me too. :)

    Would like to hear your test drive report; hope you make time to do one. I had a Fit overnight a few years back and wanted to like it but it was just too buzzy or something.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,927
    edited June 23

    I just don't have a lot of faith in a Mexican/Indonesia built Honda but I suppose my fears could be unfounded.

    Once in awhile, I would get a customer who swore that the Japan built Hondas were in some way "better" than the US ones but I was never able to detect one smidgeon of difference.

    I spent nearly 20 years in the tool business working for a US company that used to toot their horn about their US manufacturing. Not anymore. On a recent trip to Lowes, I spent some time carefully examining the now Chinese made hand tools, tape measures etc and I have to admit, they looked and felt the same as the old stuff did.

    They also sell a brand of wrenches, sockets, ratchets etc called Cobalt that at least in feel and appearance looked flawless.

    However, under hard usage, the jaws may spread, the chrome may peel they may break when pushed hard and not stand up to much abuse. I don't know.

    I do know the pros who depend on tools for making their living generally stay away from this stuff along with Craftsman and harbor Freight items.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,956

    the product will be as good or bad as the management that is overseeing the factory. If you don't train the workers properly, or the working conditions really suck, you're going to have problems. "A fish starts to rot at the head".

    it's the same genetic material building Mercedes in the USA as built a lot of Detroit junk in the old days, so there you go.

    Also, in addition to management, whether a factory is state of the art or some worn-out facility will have a lot to do with it-----investment $ in, gets quality out.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,927

    I can still remember when I was very young, Made in Japan = junk

    Scary but countries like China, India and Mexico are perfectly capable of turning out any quality they are asked to turn out.

    It is pretty bad when I go to Home Depot to buy some long wooden dowels for a community service project to read Made in China on the label.

    So, we ship our wood and steel overseas so they can manufacture something only to have them ship it back here? Something is broken with that system

    Getting back to the Fit question, although I am bothered by this outsourcing I would think the quality would be up to snuff. I suppose time will tell.

  • dand7dand7 Posts: 1
    I was contemplating getting a new Fit. The Japanese made Fits got tremendous reviews and owners I spoke with raved about them. I checked out the new 2015 Fit and numerous things made me real nervous: Mexican made engines, Indonesian or Philippine transmissions, and 70 % Mexican content are more than enough reasons for me to consider another car. I am a loyal Honda owner, but this new Fit is making me lean heavily towards a Mazda 3 which is still made in Japan, with a Japanese engine and transmission. The Mazda 3 actually gets better mileage and is not that much more money. You only pay for quality once! Caveat: I now see that Mazda is starting to assemble the 3 in Mexico, at least they come with Japanese engines and transmissions!
  • I have a 2009 FIT (Japan)--Love it! Looking at the new FITS. Have my eye on the 2015 yellow loaded (Mexico). Waiting till they work out the bugs a bit more.

    Funny story from my Honda Dealer where I get all my servicing done for years:

    Met up with the service manager a month before they shipped the 2015 FITS and asked him his opinion of new FITS from Mexico. At first he did not know what I was talking about--he said, "Honda isn't going to make any more cars in Mexico after what happened with the Accord switching from Japan to Mexico a few years ago." I said, yes, they built a new assembly line there. He then "smacks" himself on the side of his head with the palm of his hand, and says, "I remember all the trouble and complaints we had with the Mexico units when they started making the Accord over there." "I don't understand it." Shakes his head a few time.

    The first FIT units off the Mexico assembly line did fail the Insurance Company Offset Crash (IIHS) Test. But that was a design issue. Honda already shipped many to the dealers when this happened. But they stopped the production line when the FIT failed, changed the front end, and passed the Offset Crash Test after the retrofit. So the first couple or so months of production out there on dealer lots may not have the retrofit? Honda said that they fixed all cars still at the factory not yet shipped. SO if you are shopping for one, check the production date with the dealer to see if that is one that has the front end that passed the IIHS and if not, see if the dealer can replace the front end for you before you buy the car new.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,327
    The driver-door window controls panel wasn't completely snapped in by the factory, leaving about a 1/4 inch gap between it and the main door panel, but it was easy enough for me to snap it in fully.
    The rear trim piece under the wiper came off in my hand when I pulled on it instead of the hatch release handle. I was able to snap it back in place, but it shouldn't have come off so easily.
    I've been having smell issues with my HVAC since early-mid July, and one thing the technician found while servicing my 2015 Fit LX was that the wrong cabin air filter was installed. I don't see how that could happen as they are building only one model car at the plant. Go figure.
    I learned the launch delay was actually due to a worker walk-out, which may explain the large amount of dust found inside my Fit's fresh air intake. It could account for the smell coming out of my A/C, which can get really unpleasant, especially for a vehicle that's just 3 months old (I got it in mid-June). It could also explain the fleas that came with it if the car were left outdoors in a state of semi-assembly. I took care of the flea problem with a bug bomb and lots of vacuuming instead of taking it into the dealership (though I did let them know about the infestation and the numerous bites I received).
    Of course, there are the two recent recalls: the first for the revised front bumper beam and the second about the incorrect A-pillar trim pieces having been installed (they may have been for models without A-pillar airbags, which can prevent the airbags from deploying correctly or even creating hazards for occupants). I just received my notices for both these recalls.
    Were it any other make, I'd say it's average for a new model. However, the Fit/Jazz has been released for over a year globally and I expect better from Honda as the premium they charge for their brand is partly based on build quality and reliability.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,912
    Forgot the brand, but I remember reading about a relatively small recall 5 or more years ago that was due to one or two shipping tubs full of some wheel part getting shipped to the wrong assembly plant. Maybe something similar happened with the cabin filters, or even the pillars.

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  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,327
    Got front bumper assembly replaced under warranty. I have to give Honda credit for covering that. Front A-pillar trim were the correct pieces on mine.
    Smells (and what smells like mold/mildew spores) are still coming out of HVAC system but reduced, probably due to the drier air recently. Service department claims they found nothing after three service attempts, even after removing CAB and blower sub-assemblies so they could peek into the evaporator coils from the blower port. There is still something. I will be getting a flexible borescope and try to find anything via the central dash vents going down into the evaporator core.
    Front seat design is atrocious. Not only do they have the too-forward head restraints (my wife and I each flipped them as both posts are notched - perhaps by design to allow flipping?), the seat back provides no lumbar support and the seat bottom cuts off circulation after 40-45 minutes. They are the worst seats in any vehicles we've owned, and that counts the cars our parents had.
    Still, the car's mechanicals have been reliable and deliver very good fuel efficiency (getting 41.4mpg average over almost 6,000 miles of mixed driving).
    The stereo rebooted while I was driving once and has lost its wired connection through the USB port to my iPhone a few times. Unplugging and reconnecting the device or turning the audio off and then on doesn't restore the information displayed on the head unit. I have to turn off the car completely and restart it to restore the usual displayed information.
    Seals around the engine bay don't seem to work very well as it gets dirty/wet in there quickly. I've been wiping what I can reach in the engine bay about once a month.
    Oil seems to be seeping out around the dipstick. Yes, it is firmly seated. I've been wiping this area to keep the oil from baking on.
    Wipers already have started streaking, leaving big unwiped sections.
  • MazdaFun, thanks for sharing your experiences with the Mexican 2015 FIT. I have been closely watching this vehicle and have taken a couple of test drives. They definitely ride different than their older siblings but that is to be expected from a car that has had so many engineering changes.

    I have test driven 2 of the 2015 FIT models on two different occasions.

    The steering on the 2015 was very different. In my 2009 you feel the road like a go-cart, and in the 2015, it is more of a polite larger sedan feel--less vibrations, less race characteristics, less road feel.

    What model seat do you have in your FIT that you do not like? The 2015 comes in cloth and heated leather. Which one do you have?

    I have been looking at the Navigation Edition Yellow one.

    They are rare and the two dealers in Southern California that were allotted one, were behaving like they had a rare Ferrari on their lot. One dealer raised the sticker 3000.00! above MSRP and the other 1500.00 above. Both had the cars in their inventory more than 30 days and neither would budge on the mark-up. It's a Honda FIT! Not a new model Corvette with 10 buyers waiting for the first one that comes in.

    I don't know how Honda chose which dealers to choose to get the Yellow/Nav, but I wish that they did not choose those two birds.

    That is interesting about the worker strike at the plant in Mexico. One auto commentator wrote a while back about the FIT in Mexico that workers there will work harder and be more loyal than an American auto worker because in Mexico they have so few good job opportunities that they will be so thankful being employed by Honda. But if they are striking already? that is a serious miscalculation on Honda's behalf. Hyundai for example, builds cars non-union in Alabama and has a dedicated work force that never once voted for unionization, and never called a strike on their own either.





  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,327
    I have the LX as I don't fit the Fit when it has a moonroof. I use a thin chair cushion to provide lumbar support. My wife does too. She finds the rear seat to provide better back and neck support, but says the ride back there is much more jiggly, probably because it is almost right over the rear wheels.

    On long drives (more than 40 minutes), I have to also use another cushion to raise my rear high enough to keep the side bolsters on the seat from cutting off circulation to my legs. I think the press in on the sides of my buttocks like one would apply pressure to an artery to close it off. On short jaunts around town, it isn't an issue, but it definitely makes long hauls more of a pain.

    Regarding the drive, it's definitely isolated. Most small bumps are filtered out, big ones are sometimes muted, sometimes barely dampened. The rear hops around like mad through turns if the pavement is bumpy, but that's due to the torsion beam suspension. Otherwise, it handles adequately nimbly. On concrete roads, the ride is noisy and jiggly even in the front. This is not a long-distance cruiser. It is best suited for short hauls.

    Though I find many workers in Mexico to work hard, I think they are more likely than American workers to strike collectively, with or without unions. If enough people strike, often the rest of the plant will join in.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,327
    I just came back from a long drive to my parents place in NYC. I got about 41mpg average. The ride was OK. Not comfortable but acceptable with breaks every 120-150 miles (I used to go about 250 miles in my Protege before needing a break, for comparison). My wife rode the entire way with the passenger seats arranged in lounge mode, which was more comfortable for her, but made her a little carsick.

    We were able to haul a lot of luggage and gifts and parking was easy, which is good as parking is tight.

    However, the mildew smell has started coming out of the vents again. It has been rainy for about a week now. It was so bad once that a sharp stabbing pain struck one of my upper sinuses. It went away after opening all the windows. There is definitely something wrong with the design or the plant for a brand new car to have mildew smells this strong. If you can afford to wait, hold off on buying this car until they fix their startup or design problems.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 15,635
    well, reading this does not sound like what I expect out of Honda. Fleas? really? Guaranteed if that happened to us, my wife would be sending me back to return it.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2007 Volvo S40 (daughters college car)

  • MazdaFun, it really bothers me that you are having all these problems with the new FIT! I was giving serious consideration to purchasing the new FIT in Yellow, but after hearing about what you are going through...I don't know now. I really like the look of the Yellow one and now there is more supply at the dealers here in California I see. Most are LX models--at 17K+ on the sticker for a base automatic--it seems like a good deal for the utility and great gas mileage this car provides. But my 2009 FIT is doing well so I would hate to go from very good to fair. But yellow is so cool!

    I do see on the web that the unsold dealer inventory of FITS in the US is very high now--they don't seem to be selling as well as Honda anticipated. Not sure if that is because of it's funky body style look, the fact that it is made in Mexico, or just new model year jitters?

    I was at he huge LA auto show a couple of weeks ago and Honda had on display the new HV Urban SUV to be at dealers in the spring 2015 the rep there said. It is nice looking. It's larger than a FIT, smaller than a CRV, and has all wheel drive. It will be built on the same assembly line in Mexico as the FIT on the FIT base. It's an SUV FIT. I wish they would put a spare tire on the back gate like they used to have on the CRV years ago. That would improve it's looks greatly and improve interior room and make it safer and faster to change a tire if you don't have to remove property from the interior to change a tire. Not to mention having to put a dirty tire back in the vehicle and back out again to fix it! Put the spare outside the SUV!

    Maybe take a look at that one when it comes out in the spring and everything is finalized.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,912
    I kind of doubt that few potential Fit buyers know or care where it's made, although a good portion likely assume it's made in Japan.

    Can't agree about the spare on the back though; that would be a deal killer for me. Much prefer having a hatch that opens over my head than a gate anyway.

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  • Stever, I think you have to look at the spare on the outside back this way: Your SUV large or small is filled to the gills with stuff from your weekend away in the mountains. You are on the highway moving at 65 MPH when the rear tire blows out. There is no close exit. Cars blazing by at 70 to 80 MPH. You get the jack out and easily remove the tire from the rear and but the bad on the rear gate and you are off... If that same tire was inside under all your stuff--it would have to come out on the road all over the place--major time consumption, damage to goods, dirty, longer time on highway creates a safety hazard. It would be a big mess.

    Another scenario--someone you love gets a flat tire and has to call AAA. If the tire is on the back, 5 minutes, he or she on the way. Drive car to costco--easy fix--no one needs to get inside the vehicle. If spare is inside--they have to remove all that stuff--out onto the roadway, re-pack--major hassle. Person is exposed to great danger. They have to do it all over again to fix the flat tire.

    What about a swing away tire with a gate that open up like you like?
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,912
    edited December 11
    A swing gate is just something else to hassle with - every time you want to toss something in the back you have to unlatch the gate and swing it out of the way.

    I tend to get one or two flats a year (most recently this past July) and I'm well versed in crawling under overloaded minivans to get the spare out. Only had to partially unload my old Outback once to change a flat a few years ago (one of my few flats on an Interstate - I usually get them on blue highways or worse).

    Huge pain for sure (but at least I have a spare). Even with the crawling around or unloading stuff, I can put on a spare and be on my way an hour before the roadside assistance contract person would even show up. And the two flats I had in Newfoundland a decade apart - good luck getting cell service much less a mechanic. Each time both tires were ruined.

    My wife always helps so she knows the drill.

    All in all, I think the best solution is to have a spare, even if it's just a spacesaver like the Fit has, and put it underneath the car in the back. It's not going to be much filthier there than the flat you are going to be taking off the car and it's out of the way until you need it. Next best is under the rear floor, which is what I assume the new Fit continues to do.

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