According to Autoblog, Honda started production of their 2019 Insight Hybrid car. This will be slotted between the Civic and Accord Hybrid.
This brings the Honda family of Green Cars to the following 5 models:
Clarity Fuel Cell Clarity Electric Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Insight Hybrid Accord Hybrid These are all cars in the age of CUVs & SUVs. Does it make sense for Honda to be building all these new car models when the newest Honda Accord is sitting on the lots with 104 day supply at the end of March and now at over 145 day supply Honda is idling for 2 weeks the 4,200 employees at the Marysville Ohio plant. This is in comparison to the average of just 70 days for all other car models out for sale.
EPA rating are not out yet, but Honda expects to get 55 mpg equal to the Toyota Prius and hyundai Ioniq for City driving and no word on Highway driving.
Does it make sense that Honda is continuing to invest in cars at a time that the public is ignoring them as they move to trucks / CUVs / SUVs?
EV Battery War Heats UP, Asia Versus America!
Seems America, Tesla and the department of energy have created the next war. This is the Battery war, Lithium Ion versus Solid State batteries and Japan is behind. As such according to the story in the Nikkei, the Japanese government is funding research by leading Japanese manufacturers to develop what they believe will power the EVs of the future.
This group brings together the Japanese Consortium for Lithium Ion Battery Technology and Evaluation Center (Libtec) with Toyota Motor, Nissan Motor, Honda Motor, Panasonic and battery maker GS Yuasa to develop rapid charging solid-state batteries that are easier to manufacture, safer, denser energy and costs less.
The story goes on to say that Toyota's Solid State battery technology is considered to be the most advanced in the world, but is not commercialized yet. This new consortium is meant to make this happen by being funded by the Japanese government. This should help Japan beat China, Korea and the US in having the fastest charging, safest and densest battery packs in the world. Current market numbers are that global battery market shows Japan had 70% in 2013 but shrunk to 41% today, China and Korea combine for 26% today from 3% in 2013
The consortium is quoted as bringing the smaller but denser 400km Toyota solid state battery pack to market in the next 18 months in current EVs and have the size grow of the solid state batteries grow very little while having 550km batteries by 2025 and 800km batteries by 2030. For those that are a bit rusty on their metric, this equates to 249, 342, and 497 miles of range in a small dense battery pack.
Japan industry ministry is eager for the country to reclaim its global dominance by setting the standard for solid-state batteries.
By William Maley
Ford is serious about cutting costs and that means cars will be cut. During the company's first-quarter earnings, it was announced that Ford would be killing off the Fiesta, Focus Sedan/Hatch, Fusion, and Taurus in North America. The only vehicles that will remain are the Mustang and the upcoming Focus Active in 2019. This will save Ford $11.5 billion and up their cost-cutting goal to $25.5 billion by 2022. This is a sizeable increase from $14 billion projected by CEO Jim Hackett in October.
“Everything is on the table. We can exit products (and) markets. We will do that. That work (started in October) has really gained traction. We have looked at every single part of the business. It’s a very complex endeavor. We are determined to turn this business around right throughout the whole company. There’s more work that’s underway,” said Ford Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks.
The move to reduce Ford's passenger car lineup is not shocking. Sales of Ford's passenger cars have been tanking for the past couple of years as trucks/SUVs have taken off. We've also be reporting on the death of Ford's car lineup in the rumorpile within the past year. It is unclear the timeframe as to when the various models will end production for North America. Our guess would be Taurus, Fiesta, Focus, and Fusion.
Ford is also not planning "next generations of traditional Ford sedans for North America.” Instead, the company will focus on what it calls “white space” silhouette vehicles - models hat combine attributes from cars and utility vehicles (A.K.A. crossovers) Also in the cards are hybrid powertrains for various models and 16 electric vehicles by 2022. By 2020, the company expects 90 percent of their North American lineup will be comprised of pickups, SUVs, and commercial vehicles.
For the time being, other markets will continue to get the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, and Taurus.
One item that is still up in the air is what will happen to the Lincoln models that share platforms - the Continental and MKZ.
Source: Ford, Automotive News (Subscription Required), Bloomberg, The Detroit News
By William Maley
The Honda Insight has always been a out-there vehicle. The first-generation model was a two-seat hybrid that offered a manual transmission. It would morph into a Toyota Prius clone for the second-generation. The third-generation model, making its debut this week at the New York Auto Show looks somewhat normal.
We got our first peek at the Insight's design via a concept at the Detroit Auto Show back in January and not much has changed in the transition to the production model. There is the large front grille, LED headlights, and coupe-like roofline. Step inside and conventional look continues. The dash is lifted from Civic with an 8-inch touchscreen (and actual volume knob).
Power will come from Honda’s third generation two-motor hybrid powertrain system. This is comprised of a 1.5L Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder, a pair of electric motors, and a 60-cell Lithium-ion battery pack. Total output stands at 151 horsepower and 197 pound-feet of torque. Honda estimates the Insight will return 55 mpg in the city.
In terms of safety, all Insights will come with a backup camera, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and traffic sign recognition. The EX and Touring will add Honda's LaneWatch system.
The 2019 Honda Insight will be built at the company's Greensburg, Indiana plant - home to Civic and CR-V. Sales are expected to begin this summer.
Press Release is on Page 2
All-New 2019 Honda Insight Production Model Makes Global Debut at New York International Auto Show
Mar 26, 2018
Sleek and sophisticated new Insight hybrid sedan boasts robust acceleration and exceptional driving refinement with competitive fuel efficiency Outstanding 5-passenger comfort with premium feature content, including standard Honda Sensing® and available Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ integration Built in Indiana with the battery unit from Ohio, the all-new Insight reflects Honda's investment in growing electrified vehicle manufacturing capabilities in America NEW YORK – The all-new, production version of the 2019 Insight will make its global production debut on March 28 at the 2018 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), providing a first look at the latest entry in Honda's expanding lineup of electrified vehicles. The new Insight, launching at Honda dealerships nationally in early summer, joins the Clarity series and just-launched 2018 Accord Hybrid as the fifth new Honda electrified vehicle introduced over the past year.
As a premium compact sedan, Insight is positioned and priced between Civic and Accord in Honda's passenger car lineup. The Insight is unique in providing universally appealing styling, with the packaging and refinement of a premium compact sedan and fuel efficiency competitive with leading hatchback hybrid models. Powered by the third generation of Honda's innovative and efficient two-motor hybrid system, Insight's 151 net system horsepower combines with a lightweight structure to deliver the best power-to-weight ratio in its class as well as up to 55-mpg in the city1.
"The Honda Insight shows consumers that the efficiency of a hybrid car doesn't mean sacrificing style, refinement or performance," said Henio Arcangeli, Jr., senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "The Insight is another symbol of a new era in the evolution of Honda electrified vehicles, where customers can have everything they want with no compromises."
Design and Packaging
The 2019 Honda Insight boasts a sleek sedan design with a low and wide stance highlighted by Honda's signature "flying wing" grille and bold front fascia, low-profile LED headlights and taillights, sharp and dynamic character lines and sweeping coupe-like roofline. Inside, the new Insight features premium cabin appointments including a soft-touch instrument panel with real stitching, ergonomically sculpted seats, a 7-inch TFT color digital driver's meter, available heated and leather-trimmed seating and an 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ integration.
The new Insight's comparatively generous wheelbase (106.3 inches) and exceptional packaging efficiency yields best-in-class rear legroom of 37.4 inches, along with a spacious 15.1 cu.-ft. of trunk space that rivals gasoline versions of midsize cars. The placement of the lithium-ion hybrid battery pack beneath the rear seats allows for a fold-down rear seat (60/40-split on EX and Touring trims) to maximize cargo- and people-hauling flexibility.
Trims and Features
The 2019 Honda Insight will be available in three trims – the well-equipped Insight LX and EX and line-topping Insight Touring. Standard features include full LED headlights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, 16-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, a 7-inch TFT digital driver's meter, push-button start, a 6-speaker audio system, Bluetooth®, Pandora® compatibility and a folding rear seat.
The Insight EX adds Smart Entry, two additional audio speakers, SiriusXM® radio and an 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen with smartphone-like features and functionality, including customizable app tiles and home-screen shortcuts.
The line-topping Insight Touring adds 17-inch alloy wheels, LED fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, a power moonroof, LED side-mirror turn signals, perforated leather seating, heated front seats with 8-way power adjustment for the driver and 4-way power for the passenger, dual-zone climate control, embedded Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™, Honda HD Digital Traffic, 4G LTE Wi-Fi with mobile hotspot capability and Wi-Fi-enabled over-the-air system updates, next-generation HondaLink® subscription services, a 10-speaker premium audio system, and HomeLink® Remote System.
Body and Chassis
The Insight shares its basic platform architecture with the highly-praised 10th-generation Civic. In keeping with its premium compact sedan character, the Insight gets numerous engineering enhancements to further improve ride quality, cabin quietness and efficiency. The body features Honda's Advance Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure. An aluminum hood, unique to Insight, reduces weight, while additional sound insulation in the engine bay, front fenders, front firewall, and front and rear floor further aids cabin quietness.
The Insight's new chassis is designed to provide a highly refined, confident and composed driving experience. It utilizes a fully-independent suspension system – Macpherson strut front and multi-link rear – with liquid-sealing compliance bushings at both ends (Touring only). Like Civic, the Insight also features variable-ratio dual-pinion electric power steering. Confident and linear braking performance is provided by an electro-servo brake system, which seamlessly combines efficient regenerative braking and mechanical (friction) braking for ultimate stopping performance.
Advanced New Powertrain
The all-new Insight is powered by the third generation of Honda's two-motor hybrid system, featuring a highly efficient 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle engine, a powerful electric propulsion motor, and lithium-ion battery pack. Total system output is 151 horsepower and 197 lb.-ft. of electric motor torque. Under most conditions, the Insight operates as a series hybrid, in which the gasoline engine, connected to the generator motor, produces electricity that is supplied to either the electric propulsion motor and/or the 60-cell lithium-ion battery pack.
The Insight features three selectable driving modes – NORMAL, ECON, and SPORT – allowing drivers to customize their experience by maximizing efficiency or driving performance. Additionally, all Insights have steering wheel-mounted deceleration selectors to choose among three levels of regenerative braking performance, depending on driving conditions. In normal mode, the Insight is capable of all-electric driving for short distances of roughly a mile. Unlike competing systems, Honda's two-motor hybrid technology works without the need for a conventional automatic transmission, with the electric propulsion motor directly powering the drive axles. During higher speed operation a lock-up clutch connects the engine to the drive axles to provide the most efficient operation during highway and freeway driving.
Advanced Safety Technology
The 2019 Honda Insight will include the Honda Sensing® suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies as standard equipment, which includes Forward Collison Warning (FCW), Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™), Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assistance System, Road Departure Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow and Traffic Sign Recognition. Insight EX and Touring trims will also come equipped with Honda LaneWatch™, and all trims will have a multi-angle rearview camera. The Insight targets top collision safety ratings, including an NCAP 5-star Overall Vehicle Score and IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK with a "Good" rating in all crash test modes and a "Superior" rating for front crash protection.
The Insight will be manufactured alongside the Civic and CR-V at Honda's plant in Greensburg, Indiana2. The hybrid battery unit will be assembled at the company's Marysville Auto Plant in Ohio, with the 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle engine manufactured by Honda's Anna, Ohio engine plant, which also produces the engine for the Ohio-made 2018 Accord Hybrid.
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By William Maley
The new Honda Accord has been lauded by the automotive press for its design, improved ride and interior, and noticeable increases in fuel economy. In fact, the Accord has been named North American Car of the Year. But dealers are struggling to move the new Accord off lots.
In February, sales of the Accord dropped 15.8 percent when compared to the year before. According to Automotive News, inventory levels of the Accord stood at a 104-day supply at the beginning of this month - very high by Honda's sparse count. Some dealers have been turning away shipments from the Marysville, Ohio plant.
"Where lease is heavy, like Florida, New York, Ohio and California, that's where we're getting hurt. When you get two cars as close as they are, it's not that much better than the Camry that people are going to pay $50, $60 [or] $80 more a month," said Rick Case, CEO of Rick Case Automotive Group.
One of Case's dealers in Florida has more than 600 Accords in stock, about 200 more than its usual stock. They have turned away some Accords in January an February. Sources told Automotive News that dealers in the Miami area have turned down around 1,000 Accords since they have too many sitting on their lots.
One reason is how consumers are trending towards to crossovers over midsize sedans. But dealers who spoke with Automotive News say there is another reason - the lack of attractive leasing options. The new Accord has a higher starting price than the previous-generation model which in turn raises the price of a lease. Honda's website lists a 36-month lease for the base Accord LX at $249 per month with a $3,199 down payment. Meanwhile, Toyota is offering a 36-month Camry LE lease in the Detroit area for $229 per month with a $1,999 down payment. In other regions, the Camry deal becomes even sweeter. In the Miami area, Toyota is offering a 36-month Camry LE lease for $199 per month with a $3,198 down payment.
The various accolades and high-quality that have been key Accord attributes aren't working at the moment.
"The quality gap has narrowed between the domestics, Honda and Toyota. When you're buying a car, you have a great story to tell a customer. When you're leasing, they say, 'Well, it has at least three years of warranty on it.' They're just renting it anyway. It is an uphill battle," said a Honda dealer in the Detroit area.
Dave Conant, owner of Conant Auto Retail Group which has four Honda dealers in California says he understand why Honda isn't throwing money at the Accord at the moment due to big investment to get it on the road. But he wouldn't be shocked if the automaker offers some sort of incentive support, especially in terms of leases later in the year.
"I'll be surprised if we don't see some help in April or May. They're not going to let the car sit on the lot. Without the incentive support, the payment from the car [that customers are] trading to the new one — the gap is too large. They need to do something to bring that closer, and the car will start selling and leasing well again," said Conant.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
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