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Honda sneaks up on Big Three


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Honda CEO Takeo Fukui, a former rally car driver who still drives race cars at age 62.

Japanese carmaker quietly expands its U.S. market share

The same ingenuity and engineering skill that produced Asimo have pushed Honda to the forefront in developing futuristic fuel-cell cars. As volatile gas prices are shifting U.S. consumers' interest to more fuel-efficient models, Honda is the only automaker with a fuel-cell car certified for U.S. retail buyers, and it has leased two hydrogen-powered FCX cars to customers to monitor their performance under real-life conditions.

Detroit's automakers are fixating on Toyota Motor Corp. as their biggest threat, but Honda, Japan's No. 2 carmaker, is also gaining on them. Together, Toyota and Honda account for a fourth of U.S. auto sales, and half the vehicles sold here by foreign automakers. While Honda may not be growing as fast as Toyota, which has 15.4 percent of the market, it has expanded steadily. Over the past 10 years, Honda has increased its U.S. market share 50 percent to 9.1 percent.

Honda's emphasis on technology positions it to become an even stronger rival in the future. "In many areas, we take Honda more seriously than Toyota, especially when it comes to engine technology," said Bob Lutz, vice chairman of General Motors Corp. "Honda doesn't have the scale of Toyota, but they're also on a very fast track."

Honda is driven more by technological challenges, its executives say.

The company has always been run by engineers, like Fukui, who design all sorts of things with motors.

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This is an interesting article. It starts out about Honda, but most of it is about the differences between Honda and Toyota, and there is quite a bit about Toyota in it. I like this quote by Honda's CEO in regards to Toyota's growth:

"When auto companies start talking about the volumes they want to sell, that shows those companies are not valuing each individual customer," Fukui told reporters.

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I love how they always advertise with photos of RWD, V8/V10 powered F1 cars

but their production cars are a bunch of FWD economy cars that are idolized by

ghetto rats & the 4-cylinder S2000. Honda is so lame, their lineup was relevant

in 1989, now they're just the 2nd largest producer of 4-wheeled appliances.

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I love how they always advertise with photos of RWD, V8/V10 powered F1 cars

but their production cars are a bunch of FWD economy cars that are idolized by

ghetto rats & the 4-cylinder S2000. Honda is so lame, their lineup was relevant

in 1989, now they're just the 2nd largest producer of 4-wheeled appliances.

...that are eating the detroit 3's lunch. (just thought I'd finish the statement for you.)

Obviously, you haven't driven their 'appliances' against the appliances they compete against. They may be toasters, but they're better toasters. What is GM producing that's demonstrably better than the Accord? Is Ford's Focus or Dodge's Caliber really better than a Civic? Rather an Aveo than a Fit? C'mon.

Does GM have a F1 team? Or a V10?

You want to argue their truck aren't 'trucky' enough? That I might buy...if the lion's share of truck customers ever use the capability of their 4 dr. pick-ups (which are merely SUV substitutes most of the time.)

Proportionately, I'd argue that a larger % of Honda's production worldwide are vehicles with an enthuisiasts edge to them, as compared to any of the Detroit 3 or Japanese cos.

You have to be realistic with your premise if the statement is going to be persuasive. If Honda isn't relevant, than I'd hate to hear your assessment of GM's true situation.

Edited by enzl
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Honda also has the lowest incentives of the major manufacturers. Disturbingly, Acura's incentives have risen considerably since 2002 (when they used to be the lowest). The biggest jump being from '05 to '06, no doubt helped by the RL.

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i am softer on honda and toyota because honda had its foot in the US defining markets in the Motorcycle and ATV arena. They also diversified here to small engines and other similar markets.

Honda also is not pretentious to the same degree that Toyota is.

I think what is happening is that Honda is laying in the weeds, waiting to become Japan's golden child, when toyota backlash hits full steam. The import humpers will need one Japanese brand to deiefy. Honda is the best bet.

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That's all Honda should make is the Civic, CRX, motorcycles,

lawnmowers, generators, weedwhackers & such...

& beyond my hate for FWD & 4-bangers I hate the styling of

90% of their lineup these days.

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I respect Honda much more than Toyota. While I hate riced-out 90's Civics as much as the next guy, they know how to build good cars. Not only that, they're not arrogant f@#kers like Toyota is. They're proud of their racing heritage and don't try to lie to people and convince them that they are American. Plus, their motorcycles are awesome...and they last forever. I drove a clutchless manual motorcycle for my first motorcycle...it was a blast.

I love that quote from the CEO.

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Am I misreemebering that honda's sales were down the last 2 months vs. last year, and '07 is shaping up to be a downward tic in the annual charts? The model volume charts are mixed, to say the least.

And still no theories or reasons why, if honda is doing so well, that they are reducing U.S.-assembled hondas in favor of more imported hondas....

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Am I misreemebering that honda's sales were down the last 2 months vs. last year, and '07 is shaping up to be a downward tic in the annual charts? The model volume charts are mixed, to say the least.

And still no theories or reasons why, if honda is doing so well, that they are reducing U.S.-assembled hondas in favor of more imported hondas....

Not a misread, however, they are replacing the Accord & Pilot this year and there is a clear weakness at Acura, as the RDX haasn't set the sales charts on fire. There is also the issue of Civic production, which I believe has slowed in anticipation of an expansion of total Civic production in the states...

Whats great about Honda is that the sales are not the only thing....they are truly long term thinkers and have an engineering spirit. They're making Jets now! (And it's supposedly a superior product as well.)

http://world.honda.com/jet/

http://www.usatoday.com/money/biztravel/20...ajet-usat_x.htm

Edited by enzl
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I do like Honda as a company a lot more than Toyota. However, as much as Sixty8's comments about Honda are all negative, I have to agree that a lot of Honda/Acura's current and future products are becoming rather ugly.

The CR-V actually is the only one that has grown on me since its initial release. IRL, it actually doesn't look too bad in darker colors. The Civic sedan is oddly proportioned with the coupe being a good looker. The Accord sedan was stripped of all personality this generation but again the coupe variation maintains a decent sporty car. The refreshed Pilot and TL taillights are a step backwards, the RL is the definiton of bland, and the RSX is now gone too. The Honda/Acura concept cars that have been coming out also don't bode well for the future.

The V8/V10 issue isn't a concern whatsoever for me, I don't have the money for that and probably would opt for something else nowadays with GM's V8 equipped vehicles(G8, CTS).

It's good that Honda is the most economical of all the car manufactuers, and that they are an engineer driven company, not like Toyota where they just want to dominate everything for the sake of being #1. I just hope Honda gets two things done soon:

1) Start designing cars with a little more sporty flair. Back in the 90s I could say all Hondas were sportier looking than Toyotas.

2) Hire a REAL marketing firm that knows how to make ads. Not those boring 20sec spots that currently air which are all forgettable.

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Though I'm not a big fan I can recognize the Civic is uniquely styled/non-conventional inside and out yet obviously equal or better quality than the competition.

If they can they do that with the Accord and maintain or increase its sales level, more power to them.

Someone's got to style some quality high volume cars that are not generic or conservative.

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As much as I am a Chevy and as a matter of fact GM fan, I love and respect the Horn-dawg.

Agreed they build FWD and four bangers, but you will not disagree that they are probably the best FWD and four bangers in the world.

My best friend works for a company which produces Catalytic Converters for DC, Ford, Toy and Horn-dawg among the others. He was telling me the company which is difficult to meet specs of is no other than Honda, they have a great precedence for immaculate quality, and here is the shocker, the company who is dilly-dally about quality is---> the TOY.

Hondas interior may not be the best, but they are well thought of. I think TSX has the best steering and the stick shift anything south of $50k and that includes the overly bloated 3-er.

They have their own philosophy of FWD, and no V-8's, it may be wrong in some of our eyes, but by sticking to it, they have made most of the engineering involved in the FWD, four bangers and the V-6. Can you imagine any 2.4l, producing 200 hp and giving 35mpg at cruise on the highway? Yes, my TSX gets that.

As far as coming close to the Detroit 3's. I still believe that GM is on the path of recovery and will not be touched by any other Japanese co's and that includes the TOY. Ford will come out from their rut, they came up with Taurus when they were looking in the barrel in the 80's. As far as DC is concerned it is always a short term Pheonix, rises from ashes for a while and they gets charred again.

All we need is some faith in the 3 manufacturers and help in improving people's perception about them.

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Whats great about Honda is that the sales are not the only thing....they are truly long term thinkers and have an engineering spirit. They're making Jets now! (And it's supposedly a superior product as well.)

http://world.honda.com/jet/

A little bit of the hype attached to the HondaJet isn't fully backed up. Initial specifications puts it at a 200-500nm disadvantage in range compared to some of the frontrunners as well as the $1-2 premium it may command over the A700, Eclipse, and some others. Asthetically, its the most unattractive VLJ I've seen. The pod-over-wing configuration lends itself to being ugly and 'unnatural' and is usually done out of necessity (Antonov AN-72's unimproved field expectations, for example).

I noticed the USAToday piece mentioned 'well-known name.' Maybe from its GE-built engines, but stacked up against the reputations of Cessna, Embraer, and Piper (soon to enter) as well as Diamond and Cirrus. Cessna's Mustang was first to the market and Eclipse has built a name for itself overnight with the 500, which again is already out. We'll see how this pans out.

I'm not totally dumping on Honda, mind you. The HA-420 is a monumental achievement for a company that has 'till now had no business being in the aviation field in the first place and perhaps the ultimate culmination of a corporation-wide dream. Its just entering an extremely competitive marketplace where looks, heritage, and (especially) the price play a huge role.

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I'd way rather see Honda make gains instead of Toyota, simply because Honda generally makes the better vehicle.

Plus, Honda has some awesome stuff.

If I had to get an import vehicle I have always said Honda. At least they have great VTEC's and sweet looking cars that are high quality un-like Toyota!

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O.K. people, that's enough Honda love. Honda is just as shady as Toyota. Read the headline: "Honda sneaks up on Big Three". That's exactly what they are trying to do. Increase market share without building more American plants, and without anyone noticing.

And just in case you were staring to like Honda a little too much:

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Edited by BrewSwillis
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I don't exactly care for the Ridgeline, but I'd rather see it win Truck of the Year than, say, Toyota's Tundra. The front end is still butt ugly though.

The Ridgeline had some innovative features that I wished would or could be implemented into a vehicle such as the Avalanche.

Edited by Captainbooyah
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I don't exactly care for the Ridgeline, but I'd rather see it win Truck of the Year than, say, Toyota's Tundra. The front end is still butt ugly though.

The Ridgeline had some innovative features that I wished would or could be implemented into a vehicle such as the Avalanche.

Yeah, the Ridgleine is ugly IMO but it has innovative features that I wish were incorporated into other trucks. The Tundra brings nothing new to the table.

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Looks like your plan backfired Brew. :pokeowned:

Man, people are brainwashed!!

[robot voice]It has innovative features[/robot voice]

It has a trunk in the bed....that's all!!.....unless you consider low power and not quite real truck specs "innovative features"?

If you actually put stuff in the bed, you are screwed if you get a flat tire:

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The tailgate is also not "innovative" as many people have pointed out that it has been done before.

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Man, people are brainwashed!!

[robot voice]It has innovative features[/robot voice]

It has a trunk in the bed....that's all!!.....unless you consider low power and not quite real truck specs "innovative features"?

If you actually put stuff in the bed, you are screwed if you get a flat tire:

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The tailgate is also not "innovative" as many people have pointed out that it has been done before.

No one is brainwashed besides your biased self.

If you put stuff in the trunk of your car, you're also screwed. As far as being underpowered, not for its size. Same with it's specs. There's no real and fake trucks. It's unique in that it isn't BOF and excessively sized. The only reason I don't like it is because of it's styling, inside and out.

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The Ridgeline gets appalling fuel economy for a new-school V6. Plus, its grotesque as hell. The hallmark of the Ridgeline from a feature perspective is just the in-bed trunk and, sorry, thats not any modicum of a big deal. As far as the spare tire, its possible the access the tire underneath a loaded truck bed (depending on weight) without unloading the contents of the bed; not so with the Ridgeline.

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The Ridgeline gets appalling fuel economy for a new-school V6.

New-school? The J-series engine was designed 11 years ago. It is SOHC and doesn't even incorporate variable valve timing (just lift). A DOHC V6 with A-vtec on the intake, VTC on the exhaust side, in a larger displacement, would undoubtedly get better mileage while delivering more power throughout the rev range.

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