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Has Honda's run - run out?

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  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    Honda is slipping because they aren't playing the power game? Or are we saying that Honda isn't slipping everyone is is just getting better? Maybe we are saying it is too soon to tell one way or the other. For a While Honda was the Number two manufacturer in Japan and sold more Accords in the US than anyone else sold sedans. Today that is not true. At one time the Civic received nothing but praise from almost all can magazines and now they are being criticized for a lower build quality. Or is it the same build quality and everyone is just getting better? At one time the Civic SI was the leader of the pocket rockets and today they are at the back of the pack. All things have happened. How are we supposed to evaluate this?

    The real question isn't if Honda is a good company it is if Honda if running out of steam? Why did Nissan catch them in Japan and why did Toyota Camry outsell them in the US? Lastly, from a enthusiasts perspective what made Honda decide to let the Sentra, Focus, Neon and Corolla XRS have all the spotlight?

    This is the same company that gave us the origional SI and CRX and even the Prelude. They were pretty bold moves for their time. The Ford guys got the Focus SVT for a time, the Nissan guys got the Spec v back and the neon guys got the SRT. Honda fanatics cried for the Civic type R but didn't even get a nibble and the SI hatch looks to be dying on the vine. What has happened?
  • Who knows. It might be heavier. In cars the size of the RSX and TSX every pound counts. The Si has been criticized for being "porky". I do know that it would be more than a matter of just swapping the engines out. It could cause the interior room to go down. Who knows. It might be faster. Who knows. But Honda doesn't "need" the 2.4L to make the RSX go fast .. it does a good enough job of that with the 2.0L.

    I just think it's hilarious that you are so obsessed with this.
  • "why did Toyota Camry outsell them in the US?"

    This one is easy. Rebates and rentals. Even now you can get $750 cash back on the 2005 Camry and they have 1.9% financing available. Toyota sells 10-12% to fleets while Honda hovers =/- 2%.

    The Sentra and Corolla both have axles, the SRT will always be a Neon no matter how fast it is, and the Focus is ... a Focus. They are all competent cars but hardly head and shoulders above the Civic/Civic SI.

    Honda/Acura have given us a 6-speed Accord coupe, the TSX, the 6-speed TL, and the S2000. As nice as the original Si and Prelude were they were no nicer for their time than the above-mentioned cars are for theirs.
  • "The Sentra and Corolla both have axles, the SRT will always be a Neon no matter how fast it is, and the Focus is ... a Focus. They are all competent cars but hardly head and shoulders above the Civic/Civic SI."

    Have you even DRIVEN a Focus? Or even it's second-cousin, the Mazda3?

    I'll agree the Focus started off ugly, with recalls. But it also hit the same market that Honda had always shot for with Civic. Small, fun to drive, with decent performance and fuel economy. And once they became more reliable, and ESPECIALLY now that they've un-screwed the looks, it's a great competitor. It's also available CHEAPER than the Civic, and you can get lower-line models with ABS. That's important to people because it brings an insurance discount (BIG screwup by Honda with ABS availability).

    Civic used to be king of compacts, but competition is a LOT stiffer now. The Neon isn't as bad of a vehicle as it can be and it DOES have a great suspension and steering setup. The Focus is lightyears ahead of it, with experience developed from rally-racing the Focus chassis, just like Subaru with the Impreza. So between Impreza, Focus, and 3, you've got great fun to drive compact cars. With Neon...well, you've got an attempt to be like that, though execution leaves much to be desired, like power rear windows. ;) Who knows how the new Cobalt will stack up in this area as well?

    Back in the "olden days" Honda's Civic had it easy. They were competing with the Cavalier (snort), an Escort that went too far from it's Mazda roots, and...well, the same freaking Neon with no ability to have power rear windows. ;) (Lucky for Honda back then that Protege never registered on anyone's radar). But the competition has stiffened considerably.

    It might not be so much of a case of Honda running out of steam. It may be more of a case of Honda taking their usual pace at a time when the rest of the industry is maing a huge leap forward. If Cobaly offers the same quality and fun to drive factor as a Focus or 3 or Impreza, then the horse race DEFINITELY has gotten interesting. Then it will depend on the next re-design of the Civic, and if Honda can make a great leap forward as well, or even just keep up.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    "Civic used to be king of compacts, but competition is a LOT stiffer now."

    Here's something to think about.

    Most powerful engine available, compact sedans:

    1994 Nissan Sentra-110 hp
    2005 Nissan Sentra-175 hp

    1994 Mazda Protege-125 hp
    2005 Mazda3-160 hp

    1994 Toyota Corolla-115 hp
    2005 Toyota Corolla-170 hp

    1994 Mitsubishi Mirage-113 hp
    2005 Mitsubishi Lancer-160-300 hp

    1994 Honda Civic-125 hp
    2005 Honda Civic-127 hp
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    good point.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,143
    the Mazda3 selling, anyway? I went to www.autosite.com, but for some reason they don't have the 3 listed. At least, I couldn't find it.

    At the DC auto show, Grbeck, Mminerbi, and I checked out the new 3's, and our consensus was pretty much that every other small car on the market had suddenly become obsolete. It seemed to really bring a new level of style, luxury, and class to the small car market, and it seemed like one of those cars that when you looked at the window sticker, your first response is "IS THAT ALL?!"

    But out in the "real world", Mazda3's still seem fairly rare.
  • "But out in the "real world", Mazda3's still seem fairly rare."

    Mazda is a niche manufacturer. Compared to GM and Ford they have little market penetration. Still, I've seen a large (comparitively) number of 3 and 6 models around here, especially since the nearest Mazda dealer is 40+ miles away. What IS seen around here are a lot of Focuses (Foci?) because they're such good cars, a lot of Cavaliers because GM pays people to take them off the lot and open up space, a lot of Elantras because the job market here stinks, and fair number of Accords....but much fewer current-model Civics than there used to be.

    2 Mazda dealers serve this area...each almost 50 miles away, in opposite directions. One of them can't keep 3s in the lot very long at all. The other one can, but they're in CT and also carry non-CARB ones, which don't move quite as fast.
  • All of the cars above have been redesigned since the Civics introduction with the exception of the Sentra. Up until this past month the Corolla had a 130HP max and until this year the Protege made do with 130HP. Even with the Corolla only having 130HP it is the top-selling small car right now with the Civic a close second. Which further proves the theory that, outside of EdmundsLand, HP is not a driving factor for purchases in this class.
  • By saying that Mazda is a niche player, do you mean to say they wouldn't like to sell as much as Honda/Toyota etc?

    The 3 is a great little car, just like the 6, but Mazda does not seem to get a handle on build consistency, inherent design defects. Most 3 owners are complaining of poor AC performance, added to the check engine lights coming on repeatedly, even after being fixed by the customer. The CEL issue also came up in the 6 as well as the stain/rust problem. I agree that every manufacturer has issues with new models, but for Mazda it was really important to get a handle because they were getting two great cars in the market, replacing two not so great ones (626, Protege to a lesser extent) and needed all the positive word of mouth publicity they needed.

    The Focus, well, what can I say, the number of issues it has had does not inspire confidence, even though most are sorted out now, but that was at the expense of the people who bought them all these years. Clearly, a rental favorite.

    I am not defending the Civic, but I am definitely going to reserve my jydgement till I see the new Civic in a couple of years
  • Focus was pre-Civic-redesign though. That was (and is) also a hot selling car.
  • Mazda doesn't even have the capacity to BUILD as many cars as Honda and Toyota, so no. All they have to do is sell everything they build. As far as build consistency, the Mazda3 seems to be better off than the Civic. If the majority of complaints are scattered A/C issues (many people's A/C is fine) and the odd CEL when you don't tighten the gas cap enough, I'd have to say the car's pretty good. However, more than one magazine has complained about the latest Civic's not so impressive build-quality.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Did you forget that the TSX is about 450 lbs heavier than the RSX?
    200 HP Category
    2004 TSX: 22/29 mpg
    2004 RSX-S: 25/31 mpg

    Here, poorer mileage must be due to “weight issue”.
    160 HP Category
    2004 Accord: 26/34 mpg
    2004 Civic Si: 26/30 mpg
    Here, poorer “highway” mileage must be due to K20A being a gas guzzler.

    2004 RSX: 27/33 mpg… yeah who cares. It must be the weight issue again!

    I see inconsistency in your arguments. There are just too many variables that affect the picture so if you want to talk about the whole picture, talk about every little thing that affects it. Common sense will dictate that K20A will help in a lighter car (if not by much) and will result in slightly better fuel economy than K24A under similar performance criteria. If it didn’t, we would see fuel economy go up with displacement and torque, not down. But yes, K24A will make for a very powerful Civic, especially at the low end. I doubt there is a need to achieve that. K20A is more than enough, but we might see K20B after all.

    Here's something to think about. Most powerful engine available, compact sedans

    If 125 HP was the most power Civic had in 1994, in 2004, the number was up to 160 HP. So, the power was up by 28%. In 1994, the most powerful Sentra had 140 HP, and in 2004, 175 HP (power up by 25%).

    In 2006, I’m hoping Civic would hit 200 HP, but you want 160 HP. ;-)
  • The Focus is 50,000 behind the Corolla and Civic despite incentives and fleet sales. Interestingly, Ford discontinued the high-performance SVT version with 170HP. The strongest engine is 151HP now.
  • "All they have to do is sell everything they build."

    Something that was hard for Mazda to accomplish with the 6 and the RX-8. The 3 is selling well but most 3's I've seen are the base 3i sedans. So again, it looks as if HP isn't the driving factor in compact sedan purchases.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Why did Nissan catch them in Japan and why did Toyota Camry outsell them in the US?
    Answer to the first part would be in an understanding as to whether it was Honda being aggressive and taking over the second place position in Japanese market or was it Nissan going down the drain? If I remember correctly, Nissan had closed a few manufacturing units and slowed down production. It wasn’t until after the Renault stepping in, the production capacity and new models were launched. If this weren’t a temporary situation, it would had been very surprising for Honda to be in that position.

    Toyota Camry sells better than any car in the USA because Toyota wants to. And that’s the bottom line. We seem to forget that over last 15 years or so, Accord has rarely been the best selling car (sales including fleet), but we seem to compare only those 2-3 times when it did.

    Lastly, from a enthusiasts perspective what made Honda decide to let the Sentra, Focus, Neon and Corolla XRS have all the spotlight?
    Corolla XRS is just too new to be a part of the equation. I think part of the equation is the demise of Celica. Focus SVT and Civic Si arrived around the same time. We talk so much about Civic Si as not being a success, but where is the SVT which was supposedly a darling 2-3 years ago? And Sentra, is that car still selling? Chrysler isn’t doing anything unusual by making noise. In the end game, it isn’t the noise that counts.

    But this isn’t meant to indicate that Honda should stay put. I also believe that Civic is getting ignored. By now, Honda should have replaced the D-series engine with K-series. OTOH, Honda is being aggressive with its V6 engines (as well as K24A in Accord/CR-V/Element/TSX). I have a feeling that as long as Honda is able to move out 300K units or so of Civics this year and next, they are in a comfort zone. Civic sales are actually up a little this year (compared to last) and may see an all time high sales.

    Something that Honda needs to do is diversify, without being overly aggressive. Civic needs it, even Accord needs it. And that need is for a sport tuned chassis to go with a reasonably (not overly) powerful engine.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    "160 HP Category
    2004 Accord: 26/34 mpg
    2004 Civic Si: 26/30 mpg
    Here, poorer “highway” mileage must be due to K20A being a gas guzzler."

    Thanks for making my point. The Civic Si needed to be geared the way it is in order for it to perform like it does. If it were geared more for economy, it wouldn't perform as well and as it stands now, it's already lagging behind the heavier Accord as far as acceleration/economy balance. The Accord has an excellent acceleration/economy balance with the 2.4L and I don't see why the Civic wouldn't as well.

    "If 125 HP was the most power Civic had in 1994, in 2004, the number was up to 160 HP."

    If you would have read and comprehended my post, you would have seen that I was specifically talking about compact sedans. You even quoted me as talking about sedans. Since when is the Civic Si a sedan?

    We can't seem to agree that the 160 hp 2.4L would be better in the Civic than the 160 hp 2.0L, but can you at least agree that it might be time for more than 127 hp in the Civic coupe and sedan?...or do you just want to argue any point that I make?
  • Hard to say that when the 3 base model has the most horsepower of any base compact car out there, you know. 148 horses, dontcha know. ;)
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    So again, it looks as if HP isn't the driving factor in compact sedan purchases.
    Yep. Its about focusing in the strengths that a particular segment demands.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    If the overall sales target is just 70K units/year, you could as well have 200 HP as base power rating.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    "So again, it looks as if HP isn't the driving factor in compact sedan purchases."

    Do you think Civic sales would go up or down if a 160 hp 2.0L or 2.4L were offered in addition to the 1.7L in the sedan and coupes?
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    "I see inconsistency in your arguments."

    Inconsistency in MY arguments?

    You think a 160 hp 2.4L is not necessary for the Civic and too much, but you want to see a 200 hp Civic?
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Do you think Civic sales would go up or down if a 160 hp 2.0L or 2.4L were offered in addition to the 1.7L in the sedan and coupes?

    Given the aggressiveness Honda has shown in much of its lineup in terms of horsepower, I have no doubt that Civic is next up in line for it. So, 2.0 will likely become a part of the equation when the redesign comes around next year. Hey, if 2.4 comes around, it would make it a rocket. Many seem to believe it is very much underrated in Accord, especially if you look at the C&D comparison that involved Mazda6 and Accord despite of similar power rating the Accord was said to feel much stronger and had a more linear power delivery, imagine that in a 300 lb lighter Civic. Well, double wishbones come to rescue to some extent in Accord, not sure how struts would take it in Civic. We already know about the tug-friendly Sentra (even with LSD).

    That said, even with addition of 2.0 or 2.4, the sales will likely stay close to where they have been for past several years (300-325K units/year). Honda’s idea of a performance Civic seems to be “manual transmission only”, and that is going to continue to have a narrow appeal. Now, if they equipped automatic to go with it, then there can be a considerable increase. But I hope, Honda remains true to its roots, and offers a screaming 190-200 HP Civic Si and tune the chassis to match it.

    You think a 160 hp 2.4L is not necessary for the Civic and too much, but you want to see a 200 hp Civic?
    Weren’t you complaining about lack of power in Civic? How would 160 HP be better than 200 HP? If the current Civic Si delivered 190-200 HP instead of 160 HP that it does, would it help change your opinion?

    Between 2.0 and 2.4, it is about getting the more. I don't see the point of getting same from more. In fact, use of K20 could help Civic in racing as well. It is said to be more flexible in terms of tuning due to its bore/stroke dimensions, and with lower displacement, the car can also be lighter.
  • alfoxalfox Posts: 716
    all Honda has to do is increase the diameter of the tailpipe to about the size of downspout, and lower the suspension another 4" - that's all. Oh, and make the muffler smaller.

    Maybe offer CAI's. The CAI doesn't have to add actual horsepower as long as the kit includes Type S stickers...
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Here is the answer to the question of spicing up the Civic (upper level), not only from power point of view, but also from fuel economy and emissions point of view...

    image

    Yes, the sticker "DOHC VTEC" will have to now say... "DOHC i-VTEC I"

    And if Honda does introduce K20B in Civic EX (if not in DX and LX), it could also mean introduction of CVT in something other than Civic HX in the Civic lineup. This CVT mated 2.0 also comes with 7-speed setting.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I can see the point about the Civic's peak power not really keeping up. But until recenctly the Corolla was the same way and those were the two best sellers.

    So Honda and Toyota were making tons of profit with extremely low costs.

    Remind me, was that a criticism or complement to Honda?

    Just playing Devil's Advocate. How would you convince their bean counters to change strategies in a radical manner?

    Remember, the Si with 160hp is their slow selling Civic.

    -juice
  • Well, instead of adding horsepower, Honda could just add a bunch of stickers to the Civic to make it faster, right? ;)
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    "Weren’t you complaining about lack of power in Civic? How would 160 HP be better than 200 HP? If the current Civic Si delivered 190-200 HP instead of 160 HP that it does, would it help change your opinion?"

    If they put 200 hp in the Civic, great, no complaints from me.

    I simply suggested that the 160 hp 2.4L would be a nice engine in the Civic.

    You were the one saying that the 2.4L is too much, people don't buy power, nobody needs a 2.4L Civic, it's against Honda's philosophy, bla, bla, bla.......

    And now you want a 200 hp Civic?

    Who's inconsistant?

    "Between 2.0 and 2.4, it is about getting the more. I don't see the point of getting same from more."

    It's not the same though. The 160 hp 2.4L is more powerful than the 160 hp 2.0L.

    "especially if you look at the C&D comparison that involved Mazda6 and Accord despite of similar power rating the Accord was said to feel much stronger and had a more linear power delivery, imagine that in a 300 lb lighter Civic."

    YES!!! Just imagine. I think you might be seeing my point now.
  • Or they could just come up with a catchy slogan like "zoom, zoom" and hope that noone really realizes their cars have no more zoom than any others.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    "Remember, the Si with 160hp is their slow selling Civic."

    Is it because it has 160 hp, or is it because the Si is an ugly little hatchback that is too much money?
This discussion has been closed.