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Is Honda the best motor company in the world?

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  • fezofezo Posts: 9,363
    You hit the nail on the head! The new Sonata is pretty much all the competition's worst nightmare.
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    The biggest problem with Honda and Acura right now is that they has a company are stagnate. Believe me, I don't take this critism lightly, mainly because I'm on my second Acura right now, but it is true. The combo of stagnation and corporate flip-flop on their goals/direction as a company is what is causing their current troubles!

    Both Honda and Acura have had no really technological invention/innovation over the last few years, while companies like Hyundai, Nissan, Ford, BMW, and Infiniti have clear directions on where and how they want to take their companies and have the new technological improvements to prove that.

    I mean when you have a company like Hyundai, who is on a real freakin role right now, that can come up with a turbo 4cyl engine that is suppose to get mid 30mpgs for fuel economy, while Honda has turbo 4cyl's not even close in HP or mpg to that, it just goes to show you how both Honda and Acura are slipping behind the times. Nissan is on a role with their CVTs and fuel econ, while Ford is doing something similar with their hybrid and ecoboost engines! What exactly has Honda come out with innovatively to combat these companies. Right now they currently have nothing to do so.

    A huge contributor to this is the corporate wishywashy behavior and statements about what direction they want to take the company. For instance, Acura execs say they want to expand the product line to compete with BMW, MB and Lexus again, yet the next month they say they are not and want to focus on smart luxury, and come out with butt ugly products, like the TSX wagon and ZDX, which are not selling, or at least are never going to sell well. We have heard nothing from Acura or Honda yet of new I4 or V6 engines with much improved fuel economy.

    I mean even Infiniti, who isn't exactly known for stellar fuel economy, has announced plans for hybrid engine options for the M and other models in their line-up and a new fuel efficient V6 for the G25 at the end of this year/beginning of next, with a possibility of a turbo I4 maybe!

    I mean take their previous bread and butter TL. The 3G TL was beautiful and except for some torque steer issues, was great and highly regarded in every way, and a very competitive alternative to the A4, 3-series, and C class. Now, the 4G TL has increased in size with overall not highly regarded styling choices, and seems to not be selling that great. The price has increased tremendously on the car, a fully loaded one I think is abou $42k, yet there was no new luxury features added to the vehicle. I mean a Nissan Maxima loaded comes with heated/cooled seats, auto dimming mirrors, power rear sunshade, rear window/audio/climate controls, heated steering wheel, telescoping steering column, dual panel moonroof, and a couple of more goodies for 37k-39k dollars. While for 42k, you get none of this in a loaded TL or even a couple of these things in a loaded RL for over 50k!

    My whole point is this, Honda and Acura are great companies that make high quality, reliabile products but have become complacent and too cozy in their position/reputation and now beginning to fall behind the times.

    They need to come out with a straight forward position on what direction they want to take their company, what new technological and mechanical innovations they are going to focus on and introduce into their line-up, and when they are going to do this. If they do all this, they will be back on top of again and will be able to get out of this stagnate period their company is currently in!
  • berriberri Posts: 4,206
    You raise some very good points and observations. But I have to wonder whether Honda will ever be able to have the pricing strength they did a few years back? The market is much more competitive now and the public is realizing that no car is perfect or bullet proof. I think people used to be willing to pay a sizeable price premium on Honda and Toyota because there was a lot of reliability concerns about other makes. Toyota was American car like in its drive and Honda was the sportier alternative. Having said that, I do think Honda will remain a strong company in the car market and expect to see some changes there down the road.
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    All very good points. The market has changed drastically in just the last 5-6 years. Acura is having a difficulty with their pricing and I think they are starting to go a bit crazy in what they think people will pay for a Acura product. They don't have the brand prestige or history that BMW and MB do yet some of their prices are going nuts and they don't offer any of the luxury features that there competitors do at those prices or for even less. I mentioned the Maxima as an example of this when compared to the TL.

    The new ZDX is a fortune and so is the RL and both those vehicles do not offer half if not more of the luxury features/innovations that their equivalent Infiniti, BMW, MB, Lexus, or Audi does!

    If Acura and Honda too, wants to charge these kinds of prices on their vehicles that is fine, but then they are going to have to really step up to the plate with adding more luxury features and technological/mechanical innovations to warranty paying those kinds of prices!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    going on here, but what about Honda? They have, what? A "compact" car that borders on midsize and is about to be quickly overtaken by the competition from Ford and possibly Chevy, and which has already been overtaken by Mazda, ALL of which are or will be lower-priced. A "large" car that doesn't have the moves it once did. And the Fit hatchback, which they produce in such tiny numbers it will never do them much good. CRV and Pilot, both lost in the crowd. Element and Ridgeline, niche products, not especially well regarded. They have NOTHING that stands out, and yet prices are all right at the top of their respective classes.

    We should see something abot a redesigned Civic this summer if they are not dragging their feet into a 6th model year for the current generation, but all I can see is it had better blow away the competition while maintaining its current price because nothing from Honda has done that in the last 5 years.

    As for Accord, CRV, and Pilot, the rest of the bread-n-butter, all are years away from their next redesign. Honda is going to have to lower prices or something.

    And I say all this even as Civic and Accord are perennially in the top 10 vehicles sold in the U.S. (with CRV always hovering just below that threshhold, so doing pretty well sales-wise), which makes me wonder if I am being too harsh? I guess my concern if I were running Honda would be for future resale values and sales success, looking at the next five years. At the rate they are going they will most certainly lose their edge.

    And another thing: where is the DI? Someone mentioned this earlier. Every major manufacturer has DI in their luxury brands and on the cusp of entering their non-premium ranks, but not Honda. This, while diesel for the U.S. seems to be dead, and their hybrid powertrain is second-rate compared to Ford and Toyota. Doesn't give one confidence for their future.....

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

  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    I mean we went off a little bit about Acura but I was addressing my comments for BOTH Honda and Acura. So you can take everything I said earlier today and apply that assestment to Honda as well.

    Currently, Honda is getting heavy competition from Hyundai, Nissan, and Ford because they are all offering near the same, or just about the same level of quality and reliability that Honda was known for, but offer many other technological improvements that no Honda still has, such as fuel efficient turbo I4's and CVT vehicles, some features that Honda's still don't offer, like intelligent high-beam controls, cooled seats, rear heated seats, and many others features then these, etc.

    As I said, like Acura, Honda is in a period of stagnation and as you pointed out, I don't know what they are going to do in the next 1-2 years to solve it because many of their products are a few years away from redesigns and the competition is passing them by quickly. Honda became to complacent in the last 5-8 years in sales due to their reputation for quality and reliability, which after the Toyota fisaco, is no longer the case and they are not going to be able to solely survive on that anymore. Hyundai, Nissan, and Ford are offering those things that used to be unique to Honda and Toyota only and people are flocking to these other automakers! Part of the reason causing this, is just like Acura, Honda corporate has given no clear straight forward goal/focus/direction as to where they want to take the company, unlike Ford, Nissan, and Hyundai have and it's interesting to note, that those 3 companies have profited the most from Toyota's recent troubles and their market share has increased!

    Both Honda and Acura need to come out with a clear vision of what they want to take the companies and stick with it. Thats another problem both of them have had is being very wishywashy or going back on what they say they want to do. They better think of something because they need a big breath of fresh air in both Honda and Acura to get them back on the map!
  • berriberri Posts: 4,206
    I believe I read somewhere that the reason we aren't seeing a lot of DI engines from anyone yet is because there are still some teething problems regarding potential engine crude build up that aren't fully resolved.

    I've never driven an Acura, but I'm sure they are nice drivers. I have ridden in several. My impression from a passenger POV is that they don't really ride any better than a Camry and are noisier. The leather was nice though.

    As for Honda, I think they need to give the CRV a drivetrain upgrade to improve performance. I'm sure DI would help, as would another tranny gear. The Pilot is kind of obsolete looking compared to a lot of current CUV's, but I think people are adapting to the Accord looks. However, the Accord just costs too much comparably equipped to its competitors. A buddy of mine has a new Civic. Its alright, but very noisy and bumpy riding compared to my daughter's Corolla. Personally, our Ody has been a very good vehicle, if a bit loud inside, but our CRV has been only OK - don't think we'll buy another one. Anyway, just my opinions as I know a lot of people like Honda and don't care for Toyota styling and ride.
  • jerrycupjerrycup Posts: 6
    After owning a 79, 83, 95 Accord, a 91 Integra, and a 97 Prelude, I just bought a Sonata. Still have the Prelude, a wonderful car, it has been very reliable and a joy to drive.

    I wanted a sedan with more comfort. Drove the 2010 Accord sedan and coupe, and found them to be pretty blah. The styling of the Accords is very stale to me. Hate the bugeye look, and did not find the driving experience very satisfying.

    Without any strong optimism, I test drove the Sonata, and decided that I should go ahead. Better styling, stronger engine, equivalent (at least) handling, longer warranty, and a lot more features for about $2K less.

    I really wanted a 3G Acura TL (I find the new Acura chevron grin to be hideous), but a decent 3-4 year old with 30K miles was $17K, and the new Sonata was under $21K out the door.

    I think Honda is a great company. They have a strong US dealer organization. The problem I see is that they are making their lineup look and feel like Toyotas. The bigger and softer riding Accords do not appeal to me, and somehow their styling has gone weird, especially on the Acura side. Putting that crease down the middle of the car, and making the rear end look like a grille. Just awful. Why did they kill the Integra line? Even the decent TL has been inflated and given the new weird stying notes.

    I say tell the design team that Honda buyers want a return to a more athletic car, and no need to hire Cadillac stylists and hang chrome on wider fenders. I want better brakes, quicker steering, and the performance and economy edge that Honda used to have.

    So I believe it is still a great company, but in need of a return to their roots.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    I've never driven an Acura, but I'm sure they are nice drivers.

    That's just the problem, they aren't. It's better to be a passenger in a 2010 Acura than to be the driver.

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

  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,341
    edited May 2010
    Acura has fallen as of late. I loved the last TL, the new one not so much.

    As with all cars from everyone, they are getting too big, way too heavy, and have too much junk (like tire pressure monitor sensors). These useless features add weight, and maintenance costs.
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    Well I can't speak for every Acura model, but the only current one that I liked and enjoyed driving, much more than any Honda was the new TSX. But I agree with you about Acura as a whole. You don't know how many times I thank the Lord I got my 08 TL when I did!!! :D
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,189
    Two things kill Acura for me - that grotesque chrome beak for one and the lack of a V-8 in the RL for the other. I like the interiors. Very futuristic and high-tech.
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    You know lemko, you and I usually don't agree on many things, especially when it comes to GM, but on Acura we are on complete agreement. The snow plow shield grill just is such a turn off. I even waited, because I know pictures on the internet never show the true picture as being in person does but even after seeing it in person several times I just couldn't warm up to it.

    In regards to the RL, it doesn't bother me as much that it lacks the V8 but I do agree with you on this as well, I think it would be nice for Acura to offer it and they are missing a huge market segment that the 5, E, A6, and M fill with their V8 options.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,341
    The Honda Accord Coupe BLEW AWAY the Nissan Altima Coupe in the last Comparo I read on Edmunds I believe. It wasn't even close.

    They have a winner there, but it's slightly overpriced, way overweight, and somewhat oversized. Also, coupes aren't that popular.
  • car_lovecar_love Posts: 27
    edited May 2010
    I test drove the Honda Accord V6 Coupe and liked it a lot, real tame ride but had good power and comfort, but like everyone else, I couldn't agree with the prices when there's much better deals at Ford, Nissan and Toyota for cars with more and better features. As you can tell, I decided NOT to buy my Accord lease nor get another Honda in I got a Nissan 350z used instead with low miles as they come off lease. this year.

    Honda makes the best 4 cylinder engines.
    Nissan makes one of the best 6 cylinder engines.
    Ford makes a great V8 engine.
  • car_lovecar_love Posts: 27
    i heard the transmissions are finicky on the V6s more so than reported from 4 cylinder engines. I only had a slave cylinder go out on my Honda, only problem I ever had really.

    Finally took a ride in a Fit and an Insight, I was impressed by the smooth Honda feel and ride... no impressed by the ack of power and plain jane interiors. Still if 35mpg is what one is trying to average, they are good choices but being near civic and corolla prices and gas mileage is competitive, it's tough to pay up for a Fit or Insight.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,866
    "Edmunds.com analyst Ivan Dury says sales Honda, so far, has averted a dramatically precipitous sales slide. Still, consumer shopping consideration for Honda has been down in the first quarter this year at a time when one would expect it to be up in light of rival Toyota's troubles. "Honda's situation has the ingredients for a potentially tragic sales slide. If Honda keeps piling on incentives and sales remain flat or slip, we'll have another story on our hands."

    What's Wrong At Honda? Maybe Everything (AutoObserver)

    image

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,189
    Interesting article. I certainly agree with his assessment on styling. The Acura brand suffers on account of that ugly chrome beak on the front of its cars and a general styling theme that looks like a cross between Pokemon and Transformers. The Crosstour is the ugliest vehicle to come from Honda since the original Element. I don't know why Honda copied the dorky styling of the Prius for the Insight. I'd have rather they 'd have kept it like a Civic Hybrid. I kind of liked the original Insight though it's two-seater configuration was impractical. That car reminded me of a bullet.

    You'd think Honda would be doing well at the expense of a floundering Toyota, but it seems Hyundai is the major beneficiary of Toyota's trouble.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    Hyundai is in the right place at the right time to benefit from Toyota's problems - lots of new highly-acclaimed product, the first automaker to put DI in its mainstream sedans, pretty much the best warranty in the industry, and the lowest price relative to feature content.

    Compared to this, Honda has what? The CrossTour? LOL!

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

  • berriberri Posts: 4,206
    I think Honda does have styling problems. The CRV is ungainly, the Accord is dull and the Civic is goofy inside and out. But there are other issues as well. Honda needs to make its vehicles quieter. Loudness connotes cheapness. We just got a Chevy Traverse as a rental and couldn't believe how much quieter and smoother it was compared to our Ody, and it didn't drive and handle all that different either really despite all the talk about the Honda experience. Also, there are too many blogs about expensive premature failures in Honda's lately like A/C, Trannies and oil consumption. These are not things that add to Honda's attractiveness. Our Ody has been a decent car so far except for all the noises, but our CRV certainly hasn't provided this legendary Honda experience people talk about. We will be replacing both of them in the next few years and right now we're not inclined to stick with Honda and in our opinion their inflated reputation and pricing. So I agree that Honda needs to stop resting on its laurels and get to work improving their product.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    Finally their month-over-month sales increase matches that of the overall market, but they are still behind YTD: 13% increase YTD for Honda, 17% for the overall market.

    Who is eating their lunch? Ford and Nissan, that's who. And to a lesser extent VW and Hyundai (those are smaller companies, with much smaller U.S. sales in the case of VW), whose sales are also up more than the overall market, and quite a bit more than Honda.

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

  • temj12temj12 Posts: 450
    I have an '05 Accord Coupe EX-L. It has 95,000 miles on it and I have never done anything to it, nothing. It is by far the best car I have ever owned. It still has the original front brake pads; the rear were replaced at 85,000. I replaced the original tires at 75,000, but they could have gone 95,000. Having said that, I think the new Honda Accord designs are awful. I would not have one. They are having problems with premature wear on the back brakes. Their auto transmissions have a "sorry" reputation. I have a 5 speed manual. I don't know who does their designs, but they need a brain replacement. I will not buy one this next time around. I plan to buy a Fusion; Comsumer Reports gives them excellent service ratings. They also have some style to them.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,363
    Boy, I ahte to agree with this but I do...

    From the autoextremist -

    Oh, for the Honda of old. There was once was a pretty damn impressive little car company called Honda. Energized by its total gearhead founder, and reveling in the fact that its official corporate name was the Honda Motor Company, Honda was the car company that marched to a different drummer, fueled by imagination and creativity and powered by a willingness to take chances and push the outer limits of thought when it came to building cars. And build cars they did. Great cars that bristled with innovation and creative thinking while executed to a high standard. Yes, Honda was the one Asian automobile manufacturer that proudly waved its freak flag high, comfortable in the knowledge that what they were putting on the street at that very moment was the very best they could possibly do. Different from everyone else certainly, but usually wonderfully enticing nonetheless.

    But alas, things got weird.

    Honda got sidetracked chasing segments they didn’t belong in, while losing sight of its founder’s vision. In short they started playing it safe, pulling back on the throttle when in the past they would have pushed down harder. Soon creativity gave way to a sober predictability - both in their designs and in their thinking - and everything Honda became known for was systematically watered-down or neutered to the point that the company and its products were barely recognizable. Today, Honda is flailing about while clearly lacking focus and direction. Its products are woefully predictable - the new CR-Z is a massive disappointment with its blatantly “safe” execution, like they pulled up halfway through and called it good - and a car that would have never seen the light of day at the “old” Honda.

    Honda, the company that once regularly stood this industry on its ear with its rampant creativity and innovational prowess, has been running on autopilot for too long now. A creeping conservatism has swept through its ranks and now the company is filled with upper management types who could easily blend in at any other car company, but who wouldn’t have passed muster at the “old” Honda not all that long ago.

    Something has got to give. We need and want the “old” Honda back. This industry desperately needs the “old” Honda back to show how it’s done and to demonstrate what’s possible when you allow creative thinking to run unfettered and free.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,175
    "Honda CR-Z Achieves Top Euro NCAP Overall Safety Rating"

    The CR-Z is the most recent in a string of Honda cars to receive top marks. Since the introduction of the new rating scheme Euro NCAP have tested 4 other Honda models; Civic, Accord, Jazz and most recently, Insight. All 5 models achieved 5 stars, with the Honda Insight also being named “safest hybrid vehicle” as well as the 2nd safest vehicle tested in 2009.

    :shades:
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    edited August 2010
    Too bad there isn't one journalist or professional reviewer ANYWHERE that likes the CRZ, or thinks it might be worth buying. :-(

    Just watched the AutoWeek "video log" of it with Natalie Neff I believe? Anyway, there were two of them there and they both disliked it. At the end the guy echoed the EXACT thought I have had countless times since Honda first confirmed it would be hybrid-only: "Honda, put a K-series 2.0-liter motor in this thing, and you HAVE my money!".

    I applaud Honda for making a valiant attempt at this, but they should have realized early on that its fuel economy was going to be so unremarkable that they ought to just go with gas engines and make it a really fun-to-drive coupe. Instead, we get a $20K coupe with a 31/37 rating?? The Mazda2 and five other subcompacts will get you 29/36ish, some will have handling to rival the CRZ, and all will cost at least $5000 less to buy. Or you could look the other way in the spectrum: the Mini Cooper which matches the fuel economy for the same money and is MUCH faster to 60 and through the slalom. Or the Civic SI whose fuel economy is significantly worse but which has four seats and is also MUCH faster, for the same money. Who is going to buy this CRZ?

    With Honda's new "direction", I'm afraid the next Civic SI will be a hybrid, if they don't cancel it completely. :sick:

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

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    From today's Verizon news...

    "SACO, Maine (AP) — A Maine man and his car are celebrating a million-mile milestone.

    Joe LoCicero (luh-SISS'-er-oh) was given a 2012 Honda Accord at a parade in the city of Saco on Sunday after surpassing the million-mile mark on the odometer of his 1990 Accord. He reached the milestone last Thursday.

    A Honda spokeswoman tells The Portland Press Herald (bit.ly/otOqd1) it's the first time the manufacturer has documented an Accord reaching one million miles.

    LoCicero says he bought the car in 1996 with 74,000 miles. The former mechanic did much of his own work. The secret he says is following maintenance schedules, using quality parts and driving safely.

    He swears the transmission and engine are original.

    Now that he has a new Accord, he's not sure what he'll do with the old one."

    I would have thought that Honda would have wanted Joe's old Accord, as a museum/marketing item, in exchange for the new one they gave him.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,825
    Those 90-93 Accords were good cars.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    It's too early to know, but I wonder if the '12 Accord is equally durable and reliable. I'd guess yes, in terms of drivetrain durability, but maybe not in overall reliability, due to all the added content. What's your perception?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,438
    How the hell did he drive 61,733 miles per year?? I find that a bit incredulous for someone who I assume is retired.

    And, hell, even if he did... how could he STAND driving that much in an Accord?? Hell would be a welcomed relief.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

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