Honda Counting on Engine Efficiency

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Very interesting. I've always felt like Honda is the Japanese Chrysler. Superb engine design... hit-and-miss execution. If either one could ever bring the cars they produce up to the same standards as their engines, they'd be a force to contend with. As it is, they're always 2nd or 3rd fiddle behind GM and Ford or Toyota and Nissan.
 
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 Originally Posted By: 440Magnum
Very interesting. I've always felt like Honda is the Japanese Chrysler. Superb engine design... hit-and-miss execution. If either one could ever bring the cars they produce up to the same standards as their engines, they'd be a force to contend with. As it is, they're always 2nd or 3rd fiddle behind GM and Ford or Toyota and Nissan.
You are nuts! Honda is already way ahead of GM, Ford and Nissan in virtually every category and exceeds/on par with Toyota. Almost every review and ranking puts the Accord, Civic, Pilot and Odyssey towards the top of their segment. The Accord is the best selling car in the US (has been 1 or 2 every year for the past 20 years or so). The CRV is the best selling small SUV in the country and they sell hundreds of thousands of Civics a year. They can't make enough of the Fit to satisfy demand and the new Insight has a waiting list. The Accord is the benchmark for mid-priced family sedans, the Odyssey is the benchmark for minivans. The only area they lag GM, Ford and Toyota is their size. Honda is a much smaller company.
 

BrianWC

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I think he meant they trail Toyota and Nissan the way Chrysler does GM and Ford. I'd say the only way they trail Nissan is in product diversity. Volume-wise, Honda has about double the sales of Nissan in the US.
 
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 Originally Posted By: 440Magnum
Very interesting. I've always felt like Honda is the Japanese Chrysler. Superb engine design... hit-and-miss execution. If either one could ever bring the cars they produce up to the same standards as their engines, they'd be a force to contend with. As it is, they're always 2nd or 3rd fiddle behind GM and Ford or Toyota and Nissan.
Mitsubishi is the Japanese version of Chrysler. Honda is a niche player in the market.
 
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I always saw Chrysler as some of the best LOOKING domestic cars, but with inferior quality. Save for some long gone exceptions such as the 727 transmissions and the slant 6 engine and perhaps some others, Chrysler has been more about good looking cars than well engineered cars. So what I think is similar is Honda's excellence to engine building compares to the Chrysler design studios. I've heard Honda described as, "An engine company that happens to make cars." The engines are what Honda is known for. They just build cars in which they can install those engines.
 

Win

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 Originally Posted By: BrianWC
http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-GreenBusiness/idUSTRE55M4K620090623 Interesting insights (no pun intended) on Honda's plans and mindset.
A commentary in the current (June 2009) Ward's Autoworld, "Piston Engines Not Done Yet" opined that massive gains are still to be had in fuel efficiency from piston engines, maybe as much as 70% in the next decade. The author lamented that there was so much emphasis on hybrid technology when piston engine technology is so much less costly. The lead editorial, "Yes We Can, Maybe" opined that the fearless leaders fuel economy mandates will add as much as $5-12K USD to the cost of an automobile, not the $1300 number that everyone is being scammed with.
 
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 Originally Posted By: javacontour
I always saw Chrysler as some of the best LOOKING domestic cars, but with inferior quality. Save for some long gone exceptions such as the 727 transmissions and the slant 6 engine and perhaps some others, Chrysler has been more about good looking cars than well engineered cars. So what I think is similar is Honda's excellence to engine building compares to the Chrysler design studios. I've heard Honda described as, "An engine company that happens to make cars." The engines are what Honda is known for. They just build cars in which they can install those engines.
Those cars that they build their engines for are extremely successful leading virtually every category they compete in.
 
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BrianWC

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 Originally Posted By: javacontour
I always saw Chrysler as some of the best LOOKING domestic cars, but with inferior quality. Save for some long gone exceptions such as the 727 transmissions and the slant 6 engine and perhaps some others, Chrysler has been more about good looking cars than well engineered cars. So what I think is similar is Honda's excellence to engine building compares to the Chrysler design studios. I've heard Honda described as, "An engine company that happens to make cars." The engines are what Honda is known for. They just build cars in which they can install those engines.
While I would agree that the engines are what Honda is all about, I don't think people would buy the Accord or the Civic in the numbers they do if it were just the engine. Honda has consistantly made reliable cars (early 00's tranny trouble excluded) that people may not fall in love with, but are comfortable driving.
 

PT1

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 Originally Posted By: Win
The lead editorial, "Yes We Can, Maybe" opined that the fearless leaders fuel economy mandates will add as much as $5-12K USD to the cost of an automobile, not the $1300 number that everyone is being scammed with.
This is 100% true. People in the US will wake up one morning and realize what they have voted for. The average car will cost at least $5,000.00 more and require another 30% maintenance costs. The average truck/suv will be $8-10k more. Then add in the expense of cap & trade and the cost to operte a vehicle will increase by 25%. The lower 20% of wage earners will be using public transportation. I hope they enjoy it.
 
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If it helps reduce our reliance on foreign oil, I'm all for it. We pay for it anyway (troops in Iraq and what not).
 
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 Originally Posted By: BrianWC
I think he meant they trail Toyota and Nissan the way Chrysler does GM and Ford. I'd say the only way they trail Nissan is in product diversity. Volume-wise, Honda has about double the sales of Nissan in the US.
You pretty much got what I meant. Among the American brands for most of the past 50 years, Chrysler has always showed the most innovation and best engineering, but shoot themselves with high-then-low quality control and poor product choices (eg, clinging to the K-car 5 years too long). GM is at the other end, plodding along with constant mediocrity, but then leads in sales. Ford's kinda best of both worlds. Among the Japanese brands, Honda is the engineering innovator that shoots themselves with shoddy interiors, lack of inspiration in styling, and poorer marketing. Toyota is the non-innovative but 900 pound gorilla that wins sales (actually, I would argue that Toyota has succeeded in BECOMING the next GM in every way). Nissan has kinda fallen from grace at times (and teetered on going out of business) but since Renault took them over their products have been very consistently impressive (and after what Renault did to AMC, I *never* thought I would be saying anything like that).
 
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 Originally Posted By: javacontour
I always saw Chrysler as some of the best LOOKING domestic cars, but with inferior quality. Save for some long gone exceptions such as the 727 transmissions and the slant 6 engine and perhaps some others, Chrysler has been more about good looking cars than well engineered cars.
That's pretty much completely the opposite of the way I see Chrysler. I've owned them and driven them for 30 years, and while some of them truly are beautiful, for the MOST part I've tended to be a little embarrassed by Chrysler styling (62 Lancer anyone? How about that 1980 Diplomat, or '95 Stratus... blech!). I've never had any mechanical issues whatsoever, though. I sure can't say that about the GMs, Japanese cars, and (to a much lesser extent) Fords I've owned. The very best single car I ever had was my wife's 1993 Vision TSi (first-gen LH) that went 257,000 miles with minimal trouble. Pretty much just turn the key and go. Chrysler engineering DESIGN generally is superb- among all the engines and all the transmissions (early electronic ones from '89 to '95 being a notable exception.) Either an old 440 or a modern 5.7 Hemi is every bit as bulletproof as a slant-6, and to be honest I think the 318 actually topped the slant-6 in reliability. I've got a 318 with 430,000 miles on it. Where Chrysler has always screwed the proverbial pooch is in quality CONTROL- usually chassis and body, but sometimes drivetrain too. They have a 15-20 year cycle where they get very good, and then everything goes pear-shaped again. Late 50s- Beautiful cars that turned to rust in no time. Fixed the corrosion by about 1960, but at about that time the cars went ugly. Then pretty good quality all through the 60s, but come 1975 it all goes south again- Volares and Aspens that rust away, Volare's with an "Aspen" badge on one fender, etc. etc. Almost bankrupt, saved by Iacocca, and the 80s Mopars are very well-built again, but awful to look at and completely uninspired to drive (Charger 2.2, Reliant/Aires, Diplomat/GranFury, etc.). Then they held it together REAL well through the 90s and built some cars that were both inspired styling AND solidly built (LH cars, both gen 1 and gen 2). Then it all went screwy again after the Daimler merger. Now they're building good cars again, but except for the Challenger they're utterly uninspired style-wise. Avenger? Puh-LEEZE. Caliber? YUCK! The Jeeps, minivans (including the Journey, which is highly underrated), Ram, and Challenger are all they've got going right now. Just my take on things...
 

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My grandmother had a 71 or 72 Fury II that was an absolute lemon. Bodywise, it was impeccable. It's still on the road today and with a good wax, would probably look new. But, when she owned it, at least, she had to take it to a mechanic at least once a month. I'm pretty sure it was a carb issue. But I have fond memories of her cussing that thing and cranking and cranking until a giant cloud of black smoke flew from the exhaust. Eagle Vision-now that was, IMHO, the very best looking of the LH cars.
 
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 Originally Posted By: 440Magnum
 Originally Posted By: BrianWC
I think he meant they trail Toyota and Nissan the way Chrysler does GM and Ford. I'd say the only way they trail Nissan is in product diversity. Volume-wise, Honda has about double the sales of Nissan in the US.
You pretty much got what I meant. Among the American brands for most of the past 50 years, Chrysler has always showed the most innovation and best engineering, but shoot themselves with high-then-low quality control and poor product choices (eg, clinging to the K-car 5 years too long). GM is at the other end, plodding along with constant mediocrity, but then leads in sales. Ford's kinda best of both worlds. Among the Japanese brands, Honda is the engineering innovator that shoots themselves with shoddy interiors, lack of inspiration in styling, and poorer marketing. Toyota is the non-innovative but 900 pound gorilla that wins sales (actually, I would argue that Toyota has succeeded in BECOMING the next GM in every way). Nissan has kinda fallen from grace at times (and teetered on going out of business) but since Renault took them over their products have been very consistently impressive (and after what Renault did to AMC, I *never* thought I would be saying anything like that).
You are entitled to your opinion however I disagree with the comments regarding Honda. In virtually every category, they are the market leader. They are extremely successfull and any manufacturer would love to be in their position. The Accord is the #1 selling car in the US, The Civic is the #1 selling small car in the US, the CRV is the number #1 selling small SUV in the US, there are waiting lists for the Fit and Insight and the Odyssey and Pilot are leaders in their segments. The facts just don't support the statement you make above. You may not like the styling or the interior design however most buyers disagree with you. Since more people are buying Hondas then any other brand in most of the segments they compete in, I think the marketing is working just fine.
 

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If there are waiting lists for the Fit and Insight, they've just started in the last month. I bought my Fit on May 14 and there were at least 20 on the lot to choose from. It's state inspection sticker indicates it had been sitting there since December. They also had at least 5 Insights, and this was within a month or so of their release. Don't get me wrong, I love Hondas. But sales of the Fit are nothing like those of the Civic. Through May, the Civic outsold the Fit by about 83,000 units. Total Fit sales through May were 24,137. I believe Honda expected to sell 85k for the 09 model year.
 
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 Originally Posted By: Cardinal49
You may not like the styling or the interior design however most buyers disagree with you. Since more people are buying Hondas then any other brand in most of the segments they compete in, I think the marketing is working just fine.
You seem to be personally affronted that I criticized Honda (and it really wasn't a criticism, to be honest- as a Chrysler restorer/collector/driver I intended it as a mostly favorable comparison. ) I understand your brand loyalty and respect it, but the quote I bolded above is simply wrong. Let's look at some numbers. I quickly googled for US auto sales by manufacturer and found numbers for 2008. http://www.pyrabang.com/view.php?ref=retsey&post_id=7933&pd=4207&org=&visitor=true This was AFTER GM and Chrysler were already in a world of hurt- note the percentage change columns! Yet even with all that, Honda sold fewer units in the US than Toyota, GM, Ford, and (wait for it...) even Chrysler. Granted, Chrysler's sales were 1.36M units, and Honda's were 1.34M, so my point is supported in a way I didn't even realize- Chrysler and Honda are twins in the marketplace as well as design philosophy. Even my machinist, who has been building Mopar engines since 1968, chose Honda as his modern engine specialization and built a whole second business around custom building Honda engines in the late 80s. Coincidence? Not really.
 
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 Originally Posted By: Cardinal49
The Accord is the #1 selling car in the US, The Civic is the #1 selling small car in the US, the CRV is the number #1 selling small SUV in the US, there are waiting lists for the Fit and Insight and the Odyssey and Pilot are leaders in their segments. The facts just don't support the statement you make above.
http://autos.aol.com/gallery/best-selling-cars Camry outsells Accord. Corolla outsells civic. Escape outsells CR-V. The FACTS are otherwise.
 
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