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Is Honda the best motor company in the world?

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  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    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: 4,000
    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: 12,669
    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: 4,000
    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: 12,669
    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: 5,282
    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: 15,071
    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: 5,282
    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.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,953
    "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
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,071
    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: 12,669
    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: 4,000
    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.
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