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Is Honda the best motor company in the world?

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Thank goodness Honda has never been one to increase marketshare at all costs. We see from Toyota's example just how steep those costs can be.

    But Honda will have to do something about its lineup. The Insight is a bare $1500 less than the cheapest Prius and makes 10 points less MPG. They billed it as the affordable hybrid, but that $1500 margin hardly makes it stand out as the most affordable.

    They need to break the 50 mpg barrier.

    And the CrossTour? OMG, the CrossTour. What a waste of resources that was. Why not just build an Accord wagon with the same powertrain and trim choices as the regular Accord, and call it a day? The thing looks awful from most angles.

    As for the Accord itself, it will continue to lose share in the flooded midsize sedan market. I think if you drive it you can detect a hint of what used to make the Accord great, and in that way it is a better choice than many of the other sedans out there (except the Fusion), but it is priced high against any of them you might care to compare.

    I think Honda is still more of an engineer's company than the other 5 of the Big 6, but they need to translate that, which should be an advantage, into more compelling product at dealerships.

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

  • car_lovecar_love Posts: 27
    Honda's consistent quality, from their lowest end base model to their fully packaged luxury brand (Acura) deliver good quality, high reliability and very good gas mileage. Honda makes more than just automobiles but they build cars that can run practically forever and with little upkeep. Parts are cheaper than most and easier to find too. For your economic models, The Fit, Accord LX, Civic VP models fit into this. They are good restricted budget cars, providing excellent gas mileage and reliability. In the EX and EX-L trims with all the goodies, are well equipped and provide a very good ride quality all around. Leather and wood trims are nice and solid and the base model plastics and textures are very decent, though they could improve upon the base model interiors. Navigation systems, electronic seats and premium satellite radio are a few options.

    Then they have their full size cars likes the CRV, Odyssey, Accord Crosstour, and Ridgeline and even the Accord. For the gas mileages vs. cost of ownership vs. initial cost, these are great cars for durability and practicality if planning to own the car for more than 5 years. The interior of the new Crosstour in its top leather and wood trim is luxurious though the size of the car is much larger than most Hondas ever built. Honda has also introduced the Acura/premium version of the Crosstour.

    Now if it came to their luxury brand, Acura(Honda's American luxury brand known as Honda everywhere else) have fallen behind since the popularity of the V6 TL and even the TL-S only a few years ago. They also have the CL and TSX as well as MDX, another top urban SUV contender. However, in the sporty offering, BMW, Mercedes, Lexus(Toyota) and Infinity(Nissan) have stolen their thunder with their purist rear-wheel drive vehicles. Honda's S2000 may be coming back but doesn't come close to contending with the new Nissan 370z. I'd rate the Acura TL-S on par with the new Nissan Maxima V6 for FWD sports sedans.

    However, Honda has delivered high revving engines, economical value and consistent quality and reputation. But are they the best? Not by long shot but they are not bad either. Boring but a reliable car is not a bad thing at all.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    edited April 2010
    I dunno about consistent quality. My brother has an Odyssey and it's nice to drive. The transmissions can be problematic though. CR-V's are known for exploding AC compressors and differential problems, but I like them a lot better since they got the spare off the hatch. The recent brake recalls on older Odys and Elements were significant.

    I don't keep up with the sedans very well and the only rap I hear about the Pilot is the gas mileage. Rumor is that the Ridgeline is going to be dropped by 2012.

    I took a Fit Sport manual home overnight last Fall and it didn't wow me, but I liked it a lot better than my wife did. The dealer experience was good too.

    I was really hoping for a better Insight - good co-efficient of drag in a less dorky shape with still great mileage. They missed. The CR-Z sport hybrid with the 6 speed MT could be a halo car for Honda though.

    Acura is a premium brand - calling it a luxury brand may be a bit of a stretch though.

    All the nitpicking aside, it still surprised me to learn that Honda's sales are down in the States.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    All the nitpicking aside, it still surprised me to learn that Honda's sales are down in the States.

    Have to wonder if "styling" of Accord is an issue in loss of sales. And, as previous poster mentioned, Honda probably made a mistake in styling of the Crosstour. It is a goofy looking vehicle.

    Honda/Acura, per my opinion, has regressed in styling of their top line sedans, the Accord and TL. The TL has grown in length and is fat looking.

    Latest issue of Road and Track has a comparo of Acura TL, BMW, Infiniti and Audi. The TL was ranked 4th with Audi winning.

    I own a 2004 TL and definitely will not buy another TL unless there is a major redesign of the car and it loses some girth.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,076
    ...the title should actually be "Is Honda the Best Engine Company in the World?" A motor is an electrical device. I guess "motor" would be appropriate when discussing hybrids as they use an electrical motor in addition to an internal combustion engine.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    Honda/Acura, per my opinion, has regressed in styling of their top line sedans, the Accord and TL. The TL has grown in length and is fat looking.

    I absolutely agree! This is what is costing Honda sales. The problem is not anything wrong with the cars mechanically. They have just become strikingly unattractive.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    edited April 2010
    It would be too expensive to go around and change their official name from Honda Motor Company, Ltd. to Honda Engine Company, Ltd. on all their signs and stationery. :shades:

    Since everyone talks about their motor vehicles, I think your definition isn't the most accepted one. A motor would include both electric and ICE devices.
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    Agreed, considering I have a 2008 TL and I'm so glad I got that car when I did because the size and exterior styling of the 4G TL has really turned me off.

    But anyway, I think that Honda is a very nice company. I personally think they have the best material quality, fit and finish of the rest of the mainstream auto brands but I used to think their customer service was top notch, because I always had excellent treatment with both my local Acura dealerships and with ACS, that is until I saw this forum on edmunds that really makes Honda just as poor in customer service as some of the rest. Take a look and see for yourself what many personal hell Accord owners are having with their brakes!

    http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/WebX/.f0bb55b/316
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    All the nitpicking aside, it still surprised me to learn that Honda's sales are down in the States.

    The Civic is a 5 year old model, the Accord is 3. The CRV and Pilot face fierce and ever-increasing competition, and neither was an inspiring redesign at the last go-round, in fact Accord wasn't either.

    In the light of those observations, it's not all that surprising Honda sales are down, especially if you add in the fact Honda continues to forego factory-to-customer cash back, which is now a FLOOD from all the other major automakers, plus Hyundai/Kia.

    The most remarkable incentive floated by Honda has been $220/mo for a Civic LX, $250/mo for an Accord LX, with 0 due at signing, and even then Toyota has got them WAY beat, model for comparable model, as do most of the other Big 5...

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

  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    Good point. My wife reminded me that one reason we didn't get an Odyssey years ago was because we felt they were overpriced.
  • avucarguyavucarguy Posts: 56
    As an owner of 3 Accords in the past(94,99,05). I like the size of the 08+ Accords but not the lower quality interior or increase in engine noise in the 4 cyl model compare to my 05 EX 4cyl Accord. I do like the larger size of the car. I agree with you the Cross Tour is an overpriced UGLY Accord. I was also disappointed the Accord Diesel never made it to this country. I would love to have an Accord diesel wagon. I would love to see more diesel motors offered in this country besides the Germans and American companies(truck). How about Honda and Toyota make their mid size sedans look nice like the 2011 Sonata. I think Honda and Toyota need to keep an eye out for Hyundai. With that said, I would always turn to Honda and Toyota for their reliable vehicles.
    The interior of the 09+ TL is nice, but the exterior is too much. The MDX is the only Acura I like right now.
  • avucarguyavucarguy Posts: 56
    My brother-in-law has an 05 Odyssey EXL+Navi+DVD ent with 90K+ miles, and it still drives beautifully and problem free. My other brother-in-law used to own a 06 Sienna with 45K+ problem free miles. The Honda rode better and have a slightly better interior to my opinion.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    A motor is an electrical device.

    I hear NASCAR drivers and tv commentators refering to motors in their cars, not engines.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Straight from dictionary.com:

    mo·tor   /ˈmoʊtər/ Show Spelled[moh-ter] Show IPA
    –noun
    1.a comparatively small and powerful engine, esp. an internal-combustion engine in an automobile, motorboat, or the like.


    A motor is anything which provides motive power, hence the name. All engines in cars are motors (except the one in the upcoming Volt), but not all motors are engines. The only reason we at Edmunds have become hung up on the difference between the two is because of the advent of hybrids and the widespread use of electric motors in cars now.

    In fact, the Prius (as an example) has two motors - one is electric and one is an internal combustion engine.

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

  • berriberri Posts: 4,013
    Personally, I think Honda is a Toyota in waiting. I suspect they have been using the same business practices and now we're seeing more and more reports about transmissions, engines (like VCM and oil consumption), air conditioners, etc. Once our CRV got around 40K it started having lots of nickel and dime stuff (like power windows and locks failing, headlight assembly fogging up, windshield washers leaking, etc.) just like our previous Ford and GM products, only Honda charges a lot more. Unfortunately, the CRV also seems prone to big dollar weaknesses like AC compressors and rear differentials. We're going to dump ours. We've had better luck with our Ody, but I really don't understand why people pay a couple grand price premiums for Honda's - they don't seem built like the ones of a decade or more ago in my opinion at least. I think D3 has an opportunity if they can capitalize on it.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    edited May 2010
    is being associated too much with Toyota and all its recalls right now, and losing out in sales as a result. Now we see another month go by in which Ford and Nissan, and now even GM (for retail sales) go shooting up, while Honda and Toyota remain dead even at a 12% gain for the year, below the industry average.

    Was interested to see this article at Automotive News today:
    Honda feels squeezed by Koreans, Detroit 3

    May 3, 2010 - 12:01 am ET

    TOKYO -- Honda Motor Co., fresh off a 92 percent jump in annual operating profit, says it is feeling the pinch from Hyundai and Kia on one side and a more competitive Detroit 3 on the other.

    Executive Vice President Koichi Kondo says inexpensive Korean brands are appearing increasingly on Honda's cross-shopping lists. At the same time, Honda's U.S. rivals are refocusing on small and mid-sized sedans after the slump in light-truck sales.

    "Since the Lehman Brothers shock, the Big 3 have been re-emphasizing passenger cars like the Civic and Accord," Kondo said while announcing the Japanese automaker's earnings for the fiscal year that ended March 31. "Competition in that segment is really increasing."

    He added: "We will have to develop better product so as not to lose."

    .....So far this year, Honda has failed to capitalize on Toyota's lost U.S. market share. American Honda's share fell to 10.1 percent in the first quarter from 10.5 percent a year earlier.

    While Honda-Acura lost ground, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Nissan North America took a piece of Toyota's 1.2 percentage points in lost share. Volkswagen Group gained 0.5 points.

    Last month Honda launched an incentive program that lets customers lease the Accord, Civic and Insight cars and the CR-V, Pilot, Element, Odyssey and Ridgeline light trucks with no down payment or security deposit and no money due for a month. But the company has not resorted to the cut-rate financing or cash rebates rolled out by Toyota, Ford and GM.


    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100503/RETAIL02/305039972/1- - 424

    I'm glad they are not resorting to buckets of cash on the hood like the rest of the industry, as that would be the end of the fabulous Honda resale. And I'm glad they had a 92% jump in profit, but if they don't return to their roots soon they are going to lose this battle they have going with the Koreans and the resurgence of Ford (and maybe eventually GM).

    Was glancing through some old comparos at Edmunds last night, noticed one where they compared the old Integra type R (a '99 model with only 5000 miles on the clock) to the new Civic SI. There's more power at a lower price in the Civic, and the Integra was already a 5 year old model when that '99 was built, yet the editors all agreed they would much rather have the Integra than the Civic. I think the kernel of Honda's inevitable future problems lies in that statement. And I wouldn't disagree with those editors. Honda used to know how to make pure, unadulterated mechanical interfaces (otherwise known as cars! :-P) with the road. Now they are beginning to make isolation machines just like everyone else. But if you're just like everyone else, then the guy making what you make for $2000 less per unit is going to steal all your sales before too long......

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

  • berriberri Posts: 4,013
    I'm thinking Honda's big problem is really just price. D3 is improving their product and Toyota is on sale. Honda wants too much premium for what they offer. But I do agree that you can't help but wonder a bit about Honda and Nissan after the Toyota fiasco.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,459
    the field would be pretty level if all the manufacturers did it. General MOTORS. Ford MOTOR Company, Bavarian MOTOR Works, Toyota MOTOR Corporation.
    Since many are starting to come out with electric powered vehicles, you could make the argument tha the names are becoming more appropriate. ;)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Nissan, pshaw! These days Nissan is just a French company with an American manufacturing wing and a Japanese name. If they see any hit from the Toyota fiasco I would be surprised.

    In 2006 Honda didn't seem noticeably overpriced, yet now it is a standout for overpricing. What happened in those 4 short years?

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

  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,076
    This is Honda's biggest problem:

    image

    I'm hardly a Hyundai fanboy, but this is impressive for a company that once built the Excel - the second worst car to a Yugo.
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