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Has Honda's run - run out?

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  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,860
    The torque steer/weight shift stuff is VERY interesting, but really not what this topic is supposed to be about. Perhaps we need an "automotive physics" topic her to talk about all these matters scientific. With that in mind, here's a link to the place where you CAN continue the weight transfer discussion...

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  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Honda has led all automakers over last few years in terms of earnings per year, and seems to maintain the same number (about $1500 per vehicle). Honda is usually followed by Toyota and Nissan comes in at third.

    What interests me about the latest Harbour report is the apparent jump in earnings per vehicle for Nissan by at least twice compared to last year (and before that). In case of Toyota, the company added $763 in spending per vehicle last year, and the net profits dropped by 4% (in the USA), still showing an earnings per vehicle improvement by $300 or so? In case of Nissan, net profit was up 1.7% and the same was up 8.8% for Honda compared to last year (also from Harbour Report).

    I’m not sure how all this adds up.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the Harbour Report only apply to factories in North America? For several years Nissan has had the single most productive factory in the country (in terms of hours spent building the cars). But it was the only factory they have. Has that changed?

    Ayway... That's one supercool factory pitted against the average of the four that Honda has here. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's kind of a misleading number if you are trying to draw conclusions about the whole brand.

    As for Honda's slip in the rankings, I'd guess it's because they have been spending all the factory budget on new facilities, rather than upgrading the old ones. I think they've added something like six new lines to their existing factories, and four completely new factories within the past 4 years.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    I was looking over Acura sales figures yesterday and began to wonder if there is a connection between TSX and TL sales vs those of the Accord. (Yeah, I've been a little slow on this.)

    The TSX in particular has really taken off. Originally, that car was selling at MSRP, but I'm reading that dealers are moving on the prices now. Wonder if that has had an impact on Accord sales. In several ways, the TSX does resemble the Accords of old. It may be stealing sales from the new model.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I would consider (and am considering) TSX over Accord if I can have one at close to invoice.

    But looking at last month's sales numbers, Honda (nearly) made up for lost Accord sales in just one month, selling 43K units in May.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "merc, if the products are perceived as cheap, the market will adjust accordingly, and lots of incentives will have to offer, driving your profits down. That's not happening to Nissan at all."

    Well some of them are perceived as being cheap, this has been documented in the press over and over. In the market however Nissan's designs are so much fresher than what they used to be to the point of this not being an issue, yet. I stress yet because over time cars like the 350Z aren't going to do well in those surveys when material quality and build are examined after 3-5 years.

    The new Titan and Armada haven't done as well as Nissan wanted them to do either. The worst offender in interior quality (besides the 350Z), the Altima has been greatly improved for 2005, taking that car off the hook from 2005 onward.

    I mean look at the differences between the TL and TSX's interiors compared to the G35's or Maxima's. Big difference.

    I still think that Toyota and Honda bake more quality in than Nissan does, thus their profits are slimmer. Especially Toyota.

    M
  • mariner7mariner7 Posts: 509
    You're correct. Harbour surveys only NA factories, so their numbers apply only to NA-made cars, which for the Japanese mean the majority of cars. For Honda, it means many of the Acuras, because isn't TL made in this country now? Most Lexis and Infinitis are still made in Japan. The only Infiniti made here is QX.

    merc, a basic maxim in business and any industry is low-quality products don't equate to high profits, especially not high absolute profits. Low quality products may for a while earn high relative profits. Let's take an entirely hypothetical example of Kia and BMW: Kia may make a higher relative profit than BMW, relative to their revenues, but absolutely a Kia car will not make a higher absolute profit than a BMW.

    BTW, that's why all sorts of companies are trying to make luxury, hi-quality cars, because that's where the best profits are.

    The perception by some is that Nissan doesn't mean the same quality as Honda and Toyota. And yet Nissan makes the highest relative profits of any company this side of Porsche, and it makes much higher absolute profits than Honda and Toyota, at least in US. What I'm saying is, merc, the market is rating Nissan quality to be much higher than the perception of those critical of Nissan cars.

    And aren't Nissan resale values caught up to Toyota and right on Honda's tail? That'd say the same tale as the comparative profitability!
  • talon95talon95 Posts: 1,110
    "What I'm saying is, merc, the market is rating Nissan quality to be much higher than the perception of those critical of Nissan cars."

    That assumption is arguable... after all, Nissan was rated significantly below Honda and Toyota in JDP's most recent initial quality report, as well as being well below the industry average. And the JDP survey is based on feedback from new Nissan owners (not from people who would be inclined to be critical of Nissans), so the owners who gave them feedback apparently weren't all that impressed by the quality.

    The thrust of Harbour's report was that Nissan's per-unit profit is relatively high (at least in the one plant that was reported on) primarily because it takes them less time to build a car than Toyota or Honda. Considering that fact along with their poor showing on the JDP initial quality report, one possible conclusion could be that Nissan is taking shortcuts to achieve the fast build time, shortcuts that may be compromising quality.
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    I like that it's not just accepted, but expected for NSX owners to personalize ("rice up" if you prefer) their cars. It's a niche within a niche.

    Anyway, the other day I went with my friend who was test driving Civics and Corollas. I test drove an Si and my first impression was that there was nothing sporty about the view outside. Wasn't low, didn't feel open, and I felt like I was in a very safe padded box. I'm not a big fan of "hunkered down" I guess. The engine sounded great but the steering didn't fight back. It'd make a nice non-Si car (whatever Si stands for).

    I'm beginning to agree that Honda has strayed. I haven't sat in an RSX but it doesn't look like much fun... nice design features, but too tall. I hope they don't think their fans can all afford S2000s.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    "whatever Si stands for"...I think the S was originally for "sport", as in sport hatch. The "i" came along later and meant the car was fuel-injected. If memory serves the first Civic SI was the 1986, or perhaps 1985? And the CRX was right around the same time.

    The RSX is definitely taller than I would like, but is still SO short compared to all the vehicles on the road right next to me. I feel a little more assured that they will actually see me next to them, compared to the even lower height of the last Integra.

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

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Talon95's post #873 is exactly what I'm saying. I agree with his viewpoint totally on this. Nissan's great profitability is still relatively new and I personally don't think it will last like Toyota's, Honda's, BMW's and Porsche's has.

    I just watched a Car and Driver review of the Armada and its the same thing thats been said about a lot of Nissan's "new" products. They lack refinement: too much engine and suspension noise, plasticy interiors and just an overall impression of a rushed product.

    Now I'm not saying Nissan will have another fall like they did before that French company stepped up, but I do think their profits will be eaten up more so than the four I mentioned above. It seems to me that they're going for flash, quick lauches, but not enduring quality like Honda or Toyota.

    This makes their cars cheaper to build, giving them more left over when it is time to count the profits. Their designs kill Honda and Toyota when it comes to styling so incentives aren't needed as much. I don't think Nissan's lesser dependency on incentives has anything to do with quality, its all new product with styling that makes Hondas and Toyotas look very bad in comparison. Lets see what happens to their profit/quality relationship in 5 years or so. I think it is too early to tell anything yet.

    There is a most relevant (and timely I might add) story about this very thing in the July issue of CAR magazine, page 33.

    To quote"

    "The four most consistently successful car companies of the past decade are Toyota, Honda, BMW and Porsche. Other boom and bust, huff and puff, and regularly deliver warnings about poor productivity, (which doesn't apply to Nissan now obviously) over-capacity, cost cutting and all ther other stultifying language of the multinational car giant...."

    This article fingers VW and DaimlerChrysler, but I think some of the same things apply to Nissan, but again..not the productivity part.

    M
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    Ad far as far as Nissan they have had problems with rattling and recalls of late with the Armada and Quest. I think Nissan's new plant in Mississippi is the culprit of those problems or bugs. I know from what I read Nissan is taking a look at the problems at the Mississippi plant. The car business is like any other business: when a problem occurs a company has to take a look at it or else they will lose customers. I'm sure Nissan will respond to these problems.

    As far as Honda as goes just alot of exteriior styling problems that Honda has needs to straighten out. The Acura brand is fine. I don't know what is trying to do with the Accord. The stragety in terms of the target audience is baffling with this generation of Accord. Its just like ever since after the 97 model Honda has been unsure of what exterior styling direction to take with the Accord. The 98 Accord had the same tailight treatment as the 90 Accord. I'm trying to figure out what kind of styling evolution what kind of styling evolution I see with the Accord in the upcoming generation. Its just very hard for me to figure out.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    Ad far as far as Nissan they have had problems with rattling and recalls of late with the Armada and Quest. I think Nissan's new plant in Mississippi is the culprit of those problems or bugs. I know from what I read Nissan is taking a look at the problems at the Mississippi plant. The car business is like any other business: when a problem occurs a company has to take a look at it or else they will lose customers. I'm sure Nissan will respond to these problems.

    As far as Honda as goes just alot of exteriior styling problems that Honda has needs to straighten out. The Acura brand is fine. I don't know what Honda is trying to do with the Accord. The stragety in terms of the target audience is baffling with this generation of Accord. Its just like ever since after the 97 model Honda has been unsure of what exterior styling direction to take with the Accord. The 98 Accord had the same tailight treatment as the 90 Accord. I'm trying to figure out what kind of styling evolution what kind of styling evolution I see with the Accord in the upcoming generation. Its just very hard for me to figure out.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    than follow the direction of the new RL (Legend) - a nice sleek front, nothing too boxy or bulgy. I don't like the squared-off look of the new TL and TSX as much. The current Accord has an OK (not great) looking front, but a big bulgy butt with a bad taillight design.

    But I am not sure Accord could maintain class-leading interior volume if it used the swoopy roofline of the new RL.

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

  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    90 and 98 Accords are my favorites. Those were the generations where I'd pick the Accord over any of it's competitors.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    We love the new look. Honda knows they can't please every buyer. But they only expect to sell around 2 million of them over the next 5 years. That's less than the population of one decent sized city. They would have to design the Galant to mess up the reputation they've built.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    The 98 Accord had the same tailight treatment as the 90 Accord. I'm trying to figure out what kind of styling evolution what kind of styling evolution I see with the Accord in the upcoming generation. Its just very hard for me to figure out.

    1998 Accord sedan’s taillight was clearly derived from late 1980s Prelude, and that of coupe’s came from NSX. That’s going back about eight to ten years in both cases.

    Until MY2003, Honda stuck with “slim” headlamps for Accord. This “slim-style” was a design element in Integra, Legend and Vigor, and continues in current TSX and TL. Speaking of TSX and TL, their back end seems to have been inspired by first generation Integra (in case of TSX, the shape of the taillight) and 1994-97 Accord (the rear end stance of the TL with more “aggression”). Once again, going back in history by ten years or so (more in case of the “slim taillight” in TSX).

    1992-95 Civic had slim headlamp too, and matched by a similarly shaped taillight. In 1996, Honda adopted the “large eye” headlamp for Civic, and the taillight size grew to compliment it. Honda adopts the “large eye” treatment for 2003 Accord, but much of the size is contributed by the “eye-brow” (the turn signal made angular and moved from bottom as in 1998-2002 Accord to the top). The main headlight area is still “slim”.

    And while we’re at it, try to notice the similarities in the rear end profile of 1992-95 Civic sedan and 2003-2004 Accord. They both have short/rounded rear deck!

    2003 Accord Coupe’s tail lamp, and its inspiration is no secret. We first saw the style in 1996 Acura TL, and the same evolved for 2001 Acura CL, and finally made it into 2003 Accord Coupe. Having seen all three cars side by side, I can attest that a detail as subtle as a horizontal line running across the rear between tail lamps exists in all three cars!

    2003 Accord Sedan’s taillight has been talked about a lot. I see it as an evolutionary style too! And guess where I see the birth. Let us go back about ten years, to 1992 Accord. Although 1990-1991 Accord sedan’s taillights were rectangular, to match the rectangular headlamps, in 1992-1993 Accord, stylists chopped the single piece headlamp lens at one of the top corner (inside), AND they chopped off one of the lower corners (also inside) of the taillight lens! So, the new taillight was no longer a full rectangle, but appears “detached” at the bottom, away from the license-plate area.

    For 1998 Accord, Honda went back to full-length taillight. Combine the two (“chopped at a corner” element from 1992-93 Accord and full-length taillight of the 1998-2002 Accord) and add edges to the overall shape (especially corners) with curves to match the shape of the headlamps, and voila, 2003 Accord taillight is here!

    Honda continues to practice the same with the upcoming RL as well. While the front end is typical RL (as it came around in 1996 with wide “heavy looking” grill and largish headlamps), the rear end is derived from 1996 TL (including the shoulder line that runs below and to the side of the trunk lid that many are confusing to be similar to BMW 7-series’ “trunk lid cover” style).

    So, it is possible that we will see some design elements from a ten year old Honda/Acura, when the next Accord comes around in MY2008 (or MY2007 if Honda decides to go back to four-year redesign cycle).
  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    Impressive review of the last decade+ of Honda design!
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    I think if you look hard enough, you can see similarities between just about any set of vehicles. I think evolutionary styling is when strong styling cues are carried from one generation of a car to the next generation of the same car.

    There wll be plenty of cross-model styling thefts (Robertsmx lists a good number of them), but that's just using what they perceive as good ideas. It has nothing to do with the brand or evolution of the car. It could just as easily have been stolen from a car from another brand, which Honda/Acura has also done.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    I thought Honda had it going it right with the Accord in the mid to late 90's with the 96-97 and 98-00 models. Yes I do like the 98 despite saying before that the 98 has the same talight treatment as the 90 Accord does.

    Also wanted to comment on Robertsmx's last post if you notice the Accord had the same tailights from 1990-1997 but got more a defined look to them during that time period. To explain it further Robert covered the 92. For 94 when Honda came out with the 94 Accord the headlights got more define looking and then with the refreshening for the 96 Accord the headlights had more of an aggressive look to them(not in your face sort of look but sort of.)

    If you noticed to the 96-98 Civic has the same tailights as the 92-93 Accord if you look hard enough. I think with the stylists did with the 96 Civic was take the 92 Accord talights and just shoterned the length of them.

    Also if you notice the 94 Accord and 01-03 Civic Coupe talights bare a striking resemblance to each other.

    Honda is plenty capable of designing great cars. The new TL is awesome looking.

    On Gee's post before about the Galant that car is awful looking. Mitsu had it going on with the 99 Galant. I don't understand how Mitsu in 5 years had a great looking Galant and now they have one of the worst looking cars in production right now.
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    Heck, they have a $78 million class action suit hitting them on the Galant - I figure that they figure they have nothing to lose, why not make it controversial?

    The more they lose in market share, the less profit they make, the less the pay out....
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,906
    is that, over the past 10-15 years ago, it seems like cars have actually STOPPED evolving! They might be getting better and more reliable, and safer, but style-wise, it almost seems like they're changing them for the sake of change, but not advancing the design of the automobile any.

    For instance, from just about any other era in time, if you took two cars that were 10 years apart and put them side-by-side, you could almost always tell which one looked older. For instance, just look back at how most cars looked, in 10 year increments. Most 1994 cars, IMO, don't really look any older than their 2004 counterparts. But then compare a '94 to an '84, and the differences are much more drastic. Same if you go back to '74, '64, '54, '44 (well, okay, that one's impossible! ;-), etc.

    I think if we had never seen a 1994 Accord before in the past, and Honda suddenly mad the next-gen Accord look just like a 1994 did (just bigger to keep up with the times) I don't think it would look a bit out of place.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    the subject of the lawsuit on the Galant? Defective manufacturing or fraudulent marketing?

    Sometimes on these boards you hear people say stuff like "yeah, it sucks, but if it had a Honda badge it would still sell like hotcakes". Even if there were an 'H' on the front of that miserable new Galant, its sales would still suck.

    andre: I think that is because around 1990 we went from wind tunnel tested, hand-drawn styling to computer-modeled styling. So now the clay putty look dominates from one generation to the next, with every carmaker seeking the lowest coefficient of drag and production cost they can get, and few going out on any sort of a limb with their styling. In this environment, we should applaud BMW for going out on that limb and doing something different; too bad that their "something different" was kinda ugly. :-(

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

  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    huge class action over brakes (premature wear, vibrations, shoddy OEM quality) - applies only to vehicles showing problems in the first 50k miles or so. I did the engineering inspection on the cars (6 units, pulled by Mitsubishi and plaintiff's lawyers) and wrote the report the judge used to certify the class action suit.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I’m not sure if “evolutionary styling” must be limited to a particular model within a lineup. In case of automakers with heavy bias on family resemblance, it does affect more than one model after all. BMW and Mercedes would be good examples.

    On the other side of the spectrum, among offerings in North America, Toyota is least consistent about a styling theme across the board.

    Here is another bit of historical revival from Honda (check out the hood)...
    2003 Inspire
    1988 Legend

    Ofcourse, that was also a design element in Prelude (except the last restyle).
    1979 Prelude
    1995 Prelude
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,906
    I think the '92-96 Camry was every bit as "modern" looking as the '97-01 generation, or the current model (which IMO is a big step backward).
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I think 1992-96 Camry looked the best among all generations that I can remember.
  • anonymouspostsanonymousposts Posts: 4,202
    92-96 Camry was (and still is) a classic design. Much like the 90-93 Accords. Some car companies could take those 10 year old designs today and sell them as new cars.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    I agree. Loved both of those cars. The side profile of those Camrys is almost identical to the original LS400.
  • anonymouspostsanonymousposts Posts: 4,202
    The Camry seemed to get "thinner" inside in 1997 compared to the 92-96's. I also prefer the one-piece dash of the early generation Accords vs. the new one. The original LS400 (we have a 94) is another great design. As is the Legend.
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