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Has Honda's run - run out?

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  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    "Macpherson strut isn’t a big deal now, is it?"

    It used to be a big deal to Honda marketing. Now, it's not a big deal.

    "I should see tons of 1999-2000 Civics with those after market stuff. Guess what, I don’t! Most Civics with aftermarket stuff, that I get to notice, come from early 90s era and understandably so! You don’t mess with a car and its warranty."

    Plenty of people mess with new cars and their warranties. How naive to think otherwise. Many of the things that you mess with aren't visable without opening the hood and even some modifications aren't visable AT ALL. Chips on turbo cars come to mind.

    "However, this isn’t a case where numbers are needed, just common sense."

    And common sense would dictate that as the average age of a car buyer goes up for a particular car, less younger people are buying that car. No?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Element is an unqualified success. Keep in mind it cost them very little to build, using an existing platform and engine, and yet it exceeded their sales goals without cannibalizing sales of the vehicles it is based on.

    You tell your boss: I used almost no budget at all, repackaged stuff off the shelf, made about 25% more sales than was forecast, with no trade-offs. When do I get my promotion? :-)

    -juice
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "I agree. I think certain people in here fall right in line with banking on Honda's reputation and being arrogantly complacent."

    Just out of curiousity... What's Mazda's excuse for selling cars that aren't perfect? Given their past, it certainly can't be complacency following strong products.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Last time I checked the car with the absolute lowest mean age was the $30K Lexus IS300. Not exactly a realistic choice of ride for a teenager. So take the "average age" business with a grain of salt.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    It used to be a big deal to Honda marketing. Now, it's not a big deal.

    Then let us be consistent. If you want to talk on the premise of marketing, you should continue to do so about the switch as well. After all, more room and greater safety are also a part of marketing, aren’t they?

    Quiz: “In contrast, the Honda fared poorly in the fun-to-drive department.”

    Sounds familiar, now doesn’t it? This is from a comparison test of a Civic to another car at Edmunds. Can you guess which model of the Civic this would be for? (Hint: In a comparison test with Escort ZX2).

    Here is more:
    “In tight corners, the Honda's Firestones folded over and the Civic plowed like Farmer Ted at the start of planting season. And, during our emergency maneuver test, the Honda slewed all over the road, tail threatening to swap places with the front end. The Escort ZX2 handled better in both instances, particularly during the latter test. At high speeds, the Honda's light steering provided the driver with little connection to the road, while the heavier-effort ZX2 steering at least didn't frighten the driver while approaching triple-digit speeds. Still, both Whitmore and I felt that the steering and suspension of the Civic communicated more clearly to the driver in all other circumstances, which is more desirable in any urban commuter. What the Civic HX Coupe really needs is more aggressive rubber and some suspension modifications to control roll.”

    Sometimes, it is not the choice of suspension set up, but how it is utilized. RSX is a fantastic car to drive when pushed around. Now, compare it to Civic. Both utilize same basic suspension set up, one tuned differently than the other.

    Plenty of people mess with new cars and their warranties. How naive to think otherwise. Many of the things that you mess with aren't visable without opening the hood and even some modifications aren't visable AT ALL. Chips on turbo cars come to mind.

    It was not about what I think, it was about what I see. If they do, more power to them.

    And common sense would dictate that as the average age of a car buyer goes up for a particular car, less younger people are buying that car. No?

    Not necessarily. I was 25 when I got into my Accord. If I replace my Accord with another now, Honda would need an 18-year old buyer to “make up” for my choice as a 32 year old to get into a new Accord and maintain the same average age.

    You cannot pass judgment about cars and their long term appeal based on short term data. Hold on to your numbers that you have (if you do) for any car(s) of your choice, and see if the average age stays or rolls back. Of course, in case of Mazda, the transition has continued from 323 to Protégé to 3. If it is a Mazda3, hopefully, you will have enough years to arrive at a conclusion.

    BTW, on your answer to what is an "alright" price for a young buyer, how did you come up with $16K? I think Honda Element starts right there, and leaves some room for "souping up" unlike CR-V that now starts at $20K.

    Oh, and if parents buy it for their kid(s), they would be adding up to the average age of the buyer!
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Thanks for bringing it up, I get to learn something new everyday (or so it appears). Not necessarily learn, but look for more information.

    Looks like AEM/DriverFX.com RWD Civic is doing quite a job on the drag racing scene. The interesting thing is that it is RWD and powered by NSX 3.0/V6.

    Or something like this would help, right? After all is said and done, a 24 year old is unlikely to buy a $17K-18K car and soup it up with $10K worth of additions. I have a feeling that the current Civic Si will be an excellent aftermarket car but a few years down the road as more options to tuning the engine (turbo/SC) open up.

    It is designed from the factory to be like that, a low compression relatively high output engine, with a stout chassis. Rest is up to your imagination, but for imagination to translate into reality, the initial cost would have to come down. Why bother spending $12K-15K if one could find a reasonably nice older Civic now?

    If I were interested in tuning a car, 1991-1992 CRX would be my choice. Dirt cheap to start with, and plenty of options to go from there.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    "Just out of curiousity... What's Mazda's excuse for selling cars that aren't perfect? Given their past, it certainly can't be complacency following strong products."

    It's not a matter of the Civic being "perfect" or not, it's that the Civic hasn't really changed much since 1992.

    Look at the Protege in 1992. Look at the Mazda3 now.

    "After all, more room and greater safety are also a part of marketing, aren’t they?"

    Of course. Are you saying the wishbone suspension HAD to be ditched to acheive that? Or, was getting rid of the wishbones a de-contenting cost cutting issue? I thought so.

    "Not necessarily."

    Yes necessarily. Geez.

    If the average age of the buyer is going up, that means that more older people are buying and less younger people are buying. It's pretty simple.

    "I have a feeling that the current Civic Si will be an excellent aftermarket car but a few years down the road as more options to tuning the engine (turbo/SC) open up."

    You don't have to wait for those options, they're already there.
  • I saw your list on the average age of Honda and Acura buyers.

    It will be VERY interesting to see what will be the average age of buyers of the second-generation Honda Fit that will likely start US sales early in 2006 calendar year as a 2007 model. If the price of gas drops slightly, I expect the average buyer age to be in the low 30's; if the price of gas continues to stay relatively high I expect the average buyer age to be in the low 40's.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,703
    From what I can tell, the Scion brand is attracting quite a few older buyers (myself included). I think kids tend to be poor, but older folks are just cheap!

    But yes, the Fit should bring in younger buyers.

    One thing to keep in mind is that automakers like repeat buyers even more than young buyers (well, they actually like anyone with money the most). So, since Honda has long lasting name plates, and takes their models a little more upscale with each iteration, it makes some sense that the buyers ages will rise 9for the repeat buyers).

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (daughter stole that one), and 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again)

  • 'Look at the Protege in 1992. Look at the Mazda3 now'

    The 1992 Protege didn't have problems with AC, or CEls. Overall, I agree with you, the Mazda3 is a big improvement over the Protege, but the execution by Mazda leaves a lot to be desired, just like the 6, another excellent car spoiled by the actual execution.

    The new Civic will tell us whether it is all that improved or another evolution. Sales wise, even this model is doing great, but I hope Honda is taking steps to take on the new competition
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    "The 1992 Protege didn't have problems with AC, or CEls."

    How do you know the 1992 Protege didn't have issues? Did you read Edmunds online in 1992?

    I'm sure the 1992 Protege had some issues. Every car does.

    Can't you just get over the AC and CELs? If there's an issue, I'm positive that there will be fixes. Besides, AC and CEL issues on the Mazda3 aren't an excuse for the Civic not changing at all.

    "but the execution by Mazda leaves a lot to be desired"

    You could say the same thing about Honda. My brother's 2002 Civic EX coupe has issues with the struts (they go "clunk" when going over bumps and the dealer has attempted to fix a few times), a loose driver's seat that the dealer can't or won't fix, a poor paint job with many imperfections, and HVAC vents that rattle. My 1992 Acura Integra had less issues when I sold it with 130,000 miles.

    And do I even need to ask how long it took or will take Honda to "execute" a decent automatic transmission?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    To call that a "Civic" is quite a stretch. Kinda like a NASCAR is a Taurus or Impala. Most we can say is the vinyl stickers on the front slightly resemble the Civic's headlights.

    Actually, no, not even that. The headlight design on the Civic changed this year.

    The '92 Protoge ES was a nice little car. Back then it had the Baby Benz look, resembling the C class of the day, and it had the 1.8l DOHC engine with good torque and power for the class.

    Honda used 1.6l engines back then, so Mazda was offering more torque as they do now.

    Mazda also has passive rear wheel steering and you could get a 5 speed manual with the top engine.

    I think you picked a bad example. LOL

    -juice
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    from all the heated discussion here that the '06 Civic needs to be a MUCH wider line than it is now! :-P

    We could have a DX (A/C now standard please, Honda!) with 14" wheels and gas-saver tires that would not increase in price at all over the current model, to keep all of robert's alleged core Honda buyers for the next gen. We would need an LX and EX with optional NAV and leather and at least 170 hp to compete with the Mazda3 and the next Sentra, to make newcar happy. And for all the magazine editors out there, we need at least two higher trims with serious power, at least one of which must be basically a racing hybrid with 40+ mpg. Full racing suspension must be standard on all but the DX, along with 18" wheels on the higher trims. And of course all of the models must achieve class-leading fuel efficiency and emissions, and the price can't increase more than a couple percent.

    Should be no problem for Honda, right?! :-P

    Sheesh, people! The Civic's sales are UP in its fourth year! Nothing out there outsells it in its segment except Corolla, which combines a wagon (the Matrix) in its sales figures! Things are not all that bad.

    If you are worried about younger buyers abandoning the Honda brand, so is Honda, which is the reason you will see the newer, less expensive Fit here in a little over a year. Civic is a volume label, and as such it will be designed to appeal to a mass audience. Which is how it sells so many copies, even if it is not the outstanding performer in some individual categories.

    To those here who wistfully long for the days when Honda was an all-enthusiast label all the time, it is one of the sad corollaries to becoming a successful volume brand that some of the enthusiast appeal will go away...

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

  • "How do you know the 1992 Protege didn't have issues? Did you read Edmunds online in 1992?"

    So before Edmunds was there, cars either didn't have problems, or consumers never were able to find out about them before buying that particular car.

    I can get over CELs if they are fixed, but I can't get over a car that is sold in 2004 with a non performing Air Con. The reason I keep bringing this up is because I really like the Mz3, have test driven it many times, and have always been close to buying it, primarily for the AC issue, less so for CELs. I am now waiting for next summer to try one of the new Mz3s to make sure the AC works real well.

    Secondly, as you would see from my earlier posts, I have always said that all manufacturers have issues with their new cars, but some are able to tide over them.

    Coming to Honda automatics, I own a 2003 Accord that had a whine at around 35k miles, reported to dealer who said it was 'wind' noise, then called Honda customer service, who fixed an appt with the same dealer, and called me in the evening saying that the transmission needed to be replaced, which was done at a later date in a day. I was initailly devastated that a new car could have a tranny replaced and wanted to sell the car, but sense prevailed, and the excellent customer service from Honda made me think over my decision.

    Honda extended my warranty to the full Honda care warranty, kept calling me to follow up on the issue, and this with a 4 cyl Accord, which is not even in the tranny recall. I was really impressed by their attention to detail, and so took exception when you said that Honda is an arrogant company. Honda is a company that stands by its product, and I have seen it first hand.

    On the other hand, I have seen on this very forum how Mazda treated the rust issue on the 6, AC issues on the 3, and that does not give me much confidence. This is what pains me, here I have been close to buying a 3 because I love it, but somehow don't have much confidence in the company, and that's keeping me away for now.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think the young buyer hoopla is over-rated.

    People just aren't as loyal as they used to be. They switch brands like it's no big deal nowadays.

    -juice
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    "The '92 Protoge ES was a nice little car. Back then it had the Baby Benz look, resembling the C class of the day, and it had the 1.8l DOHC engine with good torque and power for the class.

    Honda used 1.6l engines back then, so Mazda was offering more torque as they do now.

    Mazda also has passive rear wheel steering and you could get a 5 speed manual with the top engine.

    I think you picked a bad example. LOL"

    It was a perfect example. I used the 1992 Protege to show how Mazda's small car has changed. Contrast that with the 1992 Civic vs. the 2004 Civic.

    "So before Edmunds was there, cars either didn't have problems, or consumers never were able to find out about them before buying that particular car."

    Which is why I asked you how you knew that the the 1992 Protege didn't have issues.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My point was the Mazda stood out the same way it does today - mostly with more engine displacement.

    You seemed to imply that Mazda has made more progress. To me it seems like they're more or less in the same position relative to each other.

    Honda still does more volume with a more efficient, small displacement engine, while Mazda caters to the niche of enthusiasts.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same!

    -juice
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    "Honda still does more volume with a more efficient, small displacement engine, while Mazda caters to the niche of enthusiasts."

    OK, let's just talk about efficiency and engines. Take a look at the 1992 Civic and the 2004 Civic. The 2004 Civic isn't significantly more powerful or more efficient than the 1992 Civic.

    The 1992 Protege with the 1.8l gets about the same mileage as the 2004 Mazda3 with the 2.3L, yet it is not nearly as powerful.

    See what I'm saying?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,026
    use those crap Ford automatics? Or was that just the bigger cars, such as the 626/MX-6/Probe?
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    It's not a matter of the Civic being "perfect" or not, it's that the Civic hasn't really changed much since 1992.

    With a winning formula on hand that provides you with results year after year, as a businessman you could do one of two things:
    Look at needs, and decide to keep it going with subtle changes to keep up with times
    Look at wants, and decide to drastically change the formula completely to change the direction

    Which of the two would be your pick? Honda has chosen the first, hence evolutionary changes, but that didn’t begin in 1992! It goes back to the time when Civic first arrived in the early 70s.

    Now, if Civic were one of the other cars in the market and wasn’t getting the job done and drastic changes weren’t going to hurt, I don’t see a point in continuing with the first approach.

    What next for next Civic? Honda has to continue to evolve Civic on the winning formula, but with enough resources that can be allocated now (Tom Elliot’s comments on Honda’s focus on light trucks since mid/late-90s is appropriate), it should be possible to add more flavor on top of the regular Civic. I believe it will happen.

    Look at the Protege in 1992. Look at the Mazda3 now

    Sure! 1992 Protégé was spanning a price range of $10K-12K with following engine choices:
    1.8-liter: 103 HP (DX)
    1.8-liter: 125 HP (LX)

    While we are at it, 1992 Civic lineup (including CRX) spanned a price range of $9.8K-15K with engine choices:
    1.5-liter: 70 HP to 102 HP
    1.6-liter: 125 HP (Si)

    Fast forward to the present, and Mazda continues to offer larger displacement engine, now 2.0/2.3 liter engines with 148-160 HP (up 30-45%) and Civic goes with 1.7/2.0 liter engines with 115-160 HP (up 30-65%). Base price for both vehicles has jumped up about the same.

    Are you saying the wishbone suspension HAD to be ditched to acheive that? Or, was getting rid of the wishbones a de-contenting cost cutting issue? I thought so.

    Both! You choose to emphasize on it as a cost cutting measure only while refusing to accept anything from the other side. To answer your question, why do you think BMW uses MacPherson struts? Is it superior than it would be from using double wishbones? Or are there other variables involved? If you can think about this with a balanced mind set, you will be able to see what you have not been so far, and by then, you will have the answer.

    If the average age of the buyer is going up, that means that more older people are buying and less younger people are buying. It's pretty simple.

    Simple until you think about it. But you simply won’t get it. I quoted myself as an example, and it still doesn’t click, does it? I will be 32 if I traded my old Accord for the old. In the process, I would have added to the average age. Of course, the number of buyers won’t increase (considerably) after a saturation point that I believe Civic and Accord may have reached in their respective classes.

    Let us say a company sold 100 units in year 1, with 50 buyers age 40 and the other 50 age 30, for an average age of 35. Seven years later, the sales are stagnant but 60 of these buyers return to get the car. These 60 buyers represent an average age of 42 now. Now, to maintain the old average age of 35, this car will have to be able to pull 40 buyers that are no more than 24.5 years old on an average! If you get 40 buyers that are 28 year old, and while they are still younger than what you had earlier, the average age has increased to 36.4 now. Like I mentioned earlier, a bit of common sense would eliminate the need for this simple math.

    You don't have to wait for those options, they're already there

    Oh, I know that! But the car itself isn’t inexpensive yet. BTW, I see more Preludes with aftermarket stuff than Civics from 1996+ era.

    Take a look at the 1992 Civic and the 2004 Civic. The 2004 Civic isn't significantly more powerful or more efficient than the 1992 Civic

    I have let numbers speak for themselves above. Take a look.

    Mazda also has passive rear wheel steering and you could get a 5 speed manual with the top engine.

    So does the Civic. The rear suspension in the Civic is called "Reactive Link" double wishbone suspension designed to allow passive rear wheel steering. It is a 3-link double wishbone setup.

    image

    FYI, pre-98 Accords used 4-link double wishbone later modified to use 5-links ("Watt-link"). It is also designed for passive steering.

    And with the top engine in Civic, you get ONLY manual transmission. No slushy offered.
  • "OK, let's just talk about efficiency and engines. Take a look at the 1992 Civic and the 2004 Civic. The 2004 Civic isn't significantly more powerful or more efficient than the 1992 Civic"

    "The 1992 Protege with the 1.8l gets about the same mileage as the 2004 Mazda3 with the 2.3L, yet it is not nearly as powerful"

    So is the 2.3L engine more efficient than the current Civic engine? That would give a clear indication of engine efficiency of each car.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    "Fast forward to the present, and Mazda continues to offer larger displacement engine, now 2.0/2.3 liter engines with 148-160 HP (up 30-45%) and Civic goes with 1.7/2.0 liter engines with 115-160 HP (up 30-65%)."

    You know that the 2.0L is only available in the hatchback. I'm talking about the 1.7L which IS NOT a big improvement over the 1.6L in the 1992 EX Civic.

    "Simple until you think about it. But you simply won’t get it."

    Oh, I get it just fine. In order to maintain a younger average age of buyer, younger buyers need to continue to buy the product. If the average age is going up, it either means that less younger buyers are buying or more older buyers are buying or both. Period.

    "So is the 2.3L engine more efficient than the current Civic engine? That would give a clear indication of engine efficiency of each car."

    GEEZ!

    You really do not understand what I am getting at here. I'll repeat myself:

    Take a look at the 1992 Civic and the 2004 Civic. The 2004 Civic isn't significantly more powerful or more efficient than the 1992 Civic.

    The 1992 Protege with the 1.8l gets about the same mileage as the 2004 Mazda3 with the 2.3L, yet it is not nearly as powerful.

    The Civic has not improved engine power or efficiency significantly since 1992. The Protege/Mazda3 has. The 1992 Protege with the 1.8L does not get as good of gas mileage as the Mazda3 with the 2.0L and the 2.0L has more power. The 2.3L gets about the same mileage as the 1992 1.8L but it has 160 hp instead of 125.

    Get it?
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    "To answer your question, why do you think BMW uses MacPherson struts?"

    Why did the Civic have wishbones? Why does the Accord have wishbones?
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    Wishbones fit better in the old Civics' lower bodies than struts would have. It allowed the Civic to have a lot of front suspension travel despite its small size; other cars like the Sentra that used struts in a similarly-low body were prone to running out of travel and hitting their bumpstops.

    Struts go better with a tall design, and they allow more space in between them than wishbones do. According to Honda, the decision to go to struts was determined by the new engine bay design (the steering box moved; dunno why they felt that was more important). So it was a packaging issue.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    As far as looks are concerned it seems like Honda is getting more conservative with their exterior stylings. Looks are becoming more important in today's car business as a selling tool. Instead Honda is going backwards. With Acura they are going fowards. The newer Civic in my opinion has to be sportier than the current one. If its not Honda loses those precious young buyers.

    As far as RSX is concerned I like the stylings of the Integra's better(90-93, and 94-01.) I do prefer the looks over the 02-04 RSX over the 05's RSX's as well. I hope for the next generation RSX it gets the family look that the RL and TL have have but I don't know.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    "Struts go better with a tall design"

    Take a look at the high cowl on the current Accord compared to previous Accords.

    "the decision to go to struts was determined by the new engine bay design"

    Or, was the decision for a new engine bay design determined by the decision to use struts?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,026
    that the taller design came about because of the decision to switch to struts. Not the other way around. But then again, it's possible that Honda went to a higher, taller design because of more stringent side impact requirements. Those low beltlines and generous glass area make for a nice, airy interior and great visibility, but they're not so great when it comes to kissing the 3500 lb battering ram in laboratory tests! Or the even heavier SUVs and cars that roam the streets...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm not sure how the new 2.3l is geared, but the 1.8l back then was geared pretty short (final drive was 4.11:1). Mileage wasn't a strength, torque was.

    Mazda certainly has enhanced performance, though.

    The Civic Si made the same horsepower but it had less torque than the Protege LX.

    The 323/Protege did not (fortunately) use the worst transmission ever produced - the Ford CD4E. Only the 626, and even then only the 4 cylidner automatic, got it.

    Yikes, in the 626 thread we'd have about one failure per week. A rebuilt one still wouldn't give you another 2 years. They were just total junk.

    -juice
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    Andre....the Protege did not use a Ford Tranny at all. The Mazda's that used Ford Tranny's were the 94-97 4 cyl 626's and MX-6's. The 6 cyl auto and 5 speed manual MX-6 and 626 did not use a Ford Tranny at all. The 98-02 626 still used a Ford tranny in the 4 cyl auto but was much improved over the 4 cyl auto tranny used in the 94-97 626's and MX-6's
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "Or, was the decision for a new engine bay design determined by the decision to use struts?"

    I believe Honda reversed the direction in which the engine spins. They did this to make their new engine lines more compatible with other car makers, thus allowing them to sell engines to other companies. That change meant they had to revise the entire engine compartment.
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