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Is Honda America in trouble?

tonychangtonychang Posts: 6
edited March 12 in Honda
Doing some research on CR-V sales figures, I was kind of wondering why Honda was taking so long to post their monthly press release. Common practice in the industry is for it to go out the first weekday following the end of a month, sometimes sooner if the last day is a Sunday (usually doesn't count as a "sales day"). It was a couple days late last month, presumably for a good reason -- they had to double check all the red ink and spin doctor the press release's negative sales numbers.

American Honda Reports Record September Truck Sales

Total September Honda and Acura light truck sales increased 7.3 percent* over last year to 49,114 units and broke the previous September record of 44,271 set in 2004, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. announced today. American Honda sales continued on a record-setting pace of 1,160,510 cars and light trucks, increasing 3.8 percent over last year on a daily selling rate basis, putting the company on target for a 13th straight year of sales increases.

Yet another month passes and once again, Honda's sales figures are slumping badly. The only vehicles propping up a vast sea of negative numbers was the Civic Hybrid, a miniscule rise for the MDX, and massive sales for a freshly minted 2007 CR-V. The figures on the CR-V are absolutely astounding and quite shocking when you notice that they're within a thousand or three of unseating the Civic and Accord as the best selling vehicle in the Honda stable!

American Honda October Sales Increase 3.7 Percent; All-New CR-V Sets All-Time Sales Record

Honda's light trucks continue to shine with another record month of sales

TORRANCE, Calif., Nov. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Honda and Acura total vehicle sales of 110,624 for October increased 3.7 percent over last year on a daily selling rate basis, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced today.
American Honda light truck sales of 52,789 led the increase with a 15.6 percent gain that broke the previous October record of 49,193 set in 2004.

I sort of counted the Fit and the RDX -- though they didn't exist a year ago, they did boost Honda's October total by 4,500 units. A positive number is a positive number, right?

So... The newest Civic is only a year old, the Accord, last refreshed in 2003, isn't due to be replaced until 2008 (and the hybrid version is tanking in sales compared to the Camry) -- and as far as I know, there's nothing due to be replaced in their lineup for a couple years or more.

Hardly a "death knell", since Honda is still moving over a million vehicles into the US buyers' hands annually. But, is this symptomatic of a bigger problem just manifesting itself? Is Honda in real trouble here, or are they just suffering the auto industry's (except for Toyota) current sales slump with everyone else?



  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Honda has something a lot of automakers don't- a lineup that is very fuel efficient. They can use this to their advantage in marketing, particularly for the Fit and Civic.

    The major reason for the slump as I see it is the aging Accord. A new one should be due out very, very soon. The new Camry is just regarded as a better car than the outgoing Accord.

    The Accord was refreshed for 2006 by the way, but its age is beginning to show.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    This question comes up every few months it seems. I'd have to say no. Honda like anyone else (except Toyota) hits a ruff patch every now and then, but this isn't anything that will stick, IMO. Acura has been slumping, there could be a problem there, but Honda itself, NO. The next Accord will literally, single-handidly fix any "problems" they're having right now.

  • pch101pch101 Posts: 582
    Honda's US sales for 2006 are up 3.9% over last year, while the US auto market declined 3.0% during the same period.

    In numeric terms, Honda has posted the second highest sales gains of all the automakers (Toyota had the lead) this year, while Big 3 sales are down 8.6%. I don't see a problem here.

    Ward's Automotive
  • corvettecorvette United StatesPosts: 4,005
    The Accord got its last major redesign in 2003, but got a mid-model correction in 2005 to fix the sedan's taillamps and introduce the Accord Hybrid.

    I don't think they're in trouble--they're selling every Civic and Fit they can build, they've got a new Accord and Pilot coming in 2008, have a new CR-V available right now, and their minivan is the best on the market. The Ridgeline may be an acquired taste, but it's very practical.
  • pch101pch101 Posts: 582
    The Accord got its last major redesign in 2003, but got a mid-model correction in 2005 to fix the sedan's taillamps

    The Japanese makers often make minor design tweaks on popular models at about the midpoint of a product life cycle. That's not a sign of problems, it's just a way that they freshen up the product's look in order to sell more units.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    this discussion already has a home. See the "has Honda's run - run out?" forum.

    Waste of space to have a second forum for the same thing.
  • Last I checked, that thread was padlocked -- and it was started over a year ago. Hence, a new one.
  • The main reason that Honda can claim to have the highest CART number is quite simple -- they don't have anything larger than a V6 in their lineup and displacement tops out at 3.5L. Only very recently, with the redesigned MDX has that powertrain been bored out to 3.7L.

    With the bulk of their sales coming from 4-cylinder equipped locomotion (and the decision to keep around the past-its-prime fuel-sipping Insight) along with the lack of a true fuel "guzzling" powertrain, they're bound to routinely secure the title again.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    Post # 5 on this thread is right that the problem is Honda doesn't have enough inventory of Civic's, Fits, and even 4 cyl accord's. I read about Honda's inventory problems on the internet. I think thats the reason Honda sales have been slumping of late. One thing I don;t get about the inventory is they build most of the Civic's are built in Canada and most of the Accords in the US so why are they having inventory problems? Honda did however add another plant to build Civic;s to meet demand of that car. I forget if the plant that they added to building more Civic's was in Ohio or another plant in Canada besides the one that already builds Civic's. I understand how the Fit is having an inventory problem because its built in Japan.

    One more thing: whats up with Honda styling? WHy does the current CR-V look so bland? I thought Honda would do a major re-vamp on the styling but they didn;t. The Civic Coupe was a huge re-do for 06 over the 05 model. The 07 MDX looks overstyled on the front to me. The RDX looks alright except for the plastic grille. I was at the auto show today so I did see all the cars.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    They make Civics in East Liberty, Ohio. Not sure though.

    I do know that Honda had some excellent timing for the launch of the 2006 Civic last year (Hurricane Katrina caused $3.39 a gallon in my area right as the 40 MPG EPA rated Civic was launching) and the launch of the Fit.

    Acura has the new MDX and RDX (don't know how well those are selling) and the TL just went through a refresh.

    I'd say the 2008 Accord will fix the majority of any "problems" that Honda may have right now.

    And I'm pretty sure GM and Ford are absolutely dying to have Honda's set of problems (lack of supply versus demand on the Civic and Fit) instead of theirs (labor unions, legacy costs, slumping sales, etc)

    Ummm, a few months ago, when gas was 3+ per gallon, and the Fit first came out, they were selling 6,000 units+ per month, now(look at the Honda thread....)they are selling under 3000(every month, past few months) . they are barely outselling Accent, Rio or even the new Aveo!
    I think the Yaris, on the other hand , is still selling 6000+ units per month..
    Is it due to Honda can't keep up with demand, or are there sooo many other choices.... sales went down? I dunno.
    I know Hyundai/Kia also said they cna't keep up with sales of their 4 cylinders, thus sales are down.
    Toyota is irksome, but Honda charges even more $$$ type of vehicle vs type of vehicle.
    I know, I priced soeme out, and was surprised.

    Anyhow.. on with the debate.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Hyundai has a big problem with worldwide demand outstripping supply of the new Accent.

    And Honda had such trouble meeting demand on the new Civic they were forced to choose between it and Fit. So, of course, the more profitable won out, which is why first-year sales are now not expected to top 40,000, despite Honda wanting to sell more. It was either that or sell Chinese-built Fits in the States, and Honda didn't want to be in the awkward PR position of defending that choice.

    If they ever take the Fit seriously and build more, maybe offer a slightly more loaded model as well, or one with real sport suspension rather than just bigger rims and a bunch of cosmetics, I could be first in line for gen II in about two years! :-)

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

  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Didn't Honda say that they eventually plan on building the Fit in the U.S. somewhere?

    I'm looking forward to seeing the dedicated Hybrid model Honda says they'll have by 2009... :)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Saw one of the new MDXs on the road today, and how grotesque is the front of this thing? Looks like they took the front of the new Suzuki XL7 and made it look even WORSE, not that I would have thought it possible until today. Ick. Think they screwed this one up. Makes the RDX look pretty good, despite being no award-winner for styling either.

    All these new SUVs, no NSX or any other dedicated sport coupe, where is Acura headed these days? It's becoming, in the words of the mighty rockylee, a gadgetology-fest. At least SH-AWD is spreading through the line, about the only silver lining I see since they cancelled my favorite Acura ever, the Integra.

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

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,680
    It is a trend my friend. Ugly is "in" when you are talking vehicles and dogs. Seems like the uglier and more expensive the car, the more people like them. Same goes for dogs. I had no idea there were so many ugly breeds of dogs until the last few years. "You Paid WHAT for that ugly mutt?"

    I liked the looks of the Integra line also.
  • Autoblog -- Third place is sweet: Suzuki overtakes Honda in Japanese market

    Due in part to the booming market for the kei or mini car, Suzuki has overtaken Honda for third place behind Toyota and Nissan in the race for Japanese domestic car and light commercial vehicle sales. For the period between January and October 2006, Suzuki outsold Honda by a margin of nearly 7000 units.

    It seems that even as the Japanese economy recovers, the Japanese consumer sentiment has shifted. They feel cars are now a commodity and are more reluctant to pay the higher costs associated with larger cars. Kei cars are also cheaper to produce, helping to keep the average cost in the market around one million yen ($9000 US). The kei segment, with engines limited to 660 cc, have only three manufacturers (Suzuki, Daihatsu and Mitsubishi) and account for 35% of the 6 million vehicles sold in Japan each year.

    [Source: Shiotsu]
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    I waiting for somebody to ask where's my air-conditioned seats ? That's one of a very few gadgets the Acura's are lacking. :confuse:

  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Wouldn't mind having them, but I'd probably hesitate to spend another $500 to get them...

    Then again... if I had a black leather interior I might have different thoughts...
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    Well they have been proven to save the environment, something the Honda greenies talk about but haven't followed through on this now common gadgetology. Hell even Ford vehicals have em on em' now.

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    I liked the looks of the Integra line also."

    Well, I didn't just like the looks, I owned a few, including one the not-so-wise marketing mavens at Honda North America chose to label "RSX". Which was my last Integra, also the worst-built one, and the least visceral of all.

    Nowadays, what do they have? A bunch of fairly boring sedans and SUVs that offer a middling value at best amongst a SEA of similar sedans and SUVs built by a variety of manufacturers. And if sport is your thing, their value quotient drops even further. And although AWD will serve to boost that sport quotient slightly, it will never trump RWD. And air-conditioned seats and better sound and NAV systems? Oh geez, if those are the hope for Acura's future, then it is clear I will never own another Acura vehicle again. Talk about the ANTITHESIS of aspirational for me personally.

    I say slap a hardtop on the S2000 and build a proper Z4 competitor, then bring back that NSX just as quickly as you can possibly manage, and hope it's not too late for the Acura line-up. :-/

    I'm sure people will continue to buy the MDX just as they always have for what it offers, DESPITE its looks, but how depressing that ugly sells so well these days.

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

This discussion has been closed.