Ultimele articole din presa straina referitoare la Honda

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  • Sales Watch: Honda Accord sales creeping up on Toyota Camry?


    While the Honda Accord dominated the 1990s, it has been virtually all Toyota Camry in the new century. Yet a look back at the first six months of 2009 shows that the newer, larger Accord is continuing to gain ground on its chief rival. Camry sales have so far remained top in its segment, with 150,242 sales in the first half of the year. The Accord isn't far behind, though, as it has amassed 131,143 sales through June; only 19,199 behind Camry.

    Wards Auto reports that the Accord's gains have been consistent over the past three years, as the sales gap went from 94,004 in 2006 to 80,877 in 2007 and 63,828 in 2008. With sales deeply depressed so far in 2009, though, the numbers can be a bit deceiving. Still, the Camry has seen a 37.4% drop in sales, as compared to 36.3% for the Accord.

    Toyota told Wards that one reason for the Accord's improved sales verses the Camry are increasing incentives on the full-size Honda. According to Edmunds, the Accord's April incentives increased four-fold verses the automaker's April, 2008 numbers. Even more interesting is the fact that cash on the hood has increased since April, hitting $2,183 in June. The Camry, on the other hand, had $1,538 on the hood last month; down over $400 compared to May.

    [Source: Wards Automotive]

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    Honda Civic, Ford F-Series top June sales !


    Richmond Hill, Ontario - The Honda Civic and Ford F-Series topped Canadian new car and truck sales in June, according to industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers.
    The report noted that small, entry-level vehicles are not selling any better than other segments. ďThese are much lower-priced, obviously, so one would think that they would be drawing in consumers from other segments,Ē DesRosiers said. ďThis may be true, but these vehicles also play to the lower quartile of consumers from an economic perspective, and these are the consumers most hurt from the recession and therefore not buying.Ē

    The large/luxury/sport segment is down 12.6 per cent year-to-date (YTD), but is still performing better than the market, which is down by 18.3 per cent. Midsize family vehicles performed the worst, down 26.8 per cent in June 2009 when compared with June 2008, and down 22.3 per cent YTD.

    Despite taking the top spot, Civic sales were down 24.4 per cent in June and 28.2 per cent YTD. ďThe Hyundai Elantra is the big winner so far this year with sales up 121.3 per cent,Ē DesRosiers said. ďAnd surprisingly, the Hyundai Accent is one of the biggest disappointments, with sales down by 13.3 per cent despite being one of the lowest-priced products in the market.Ē

    The top ten best-selling passenger cars in June, in order, were the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus, Hyundai Accent, Chevrolet Impala, Ford Fusion, Toyota Matrix, and Nissan Versa.

    Year-to-date, the top ten in order to the end of June were the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Accent, Ford Focus, NissanVersa, Toyota Matrix, and Honda Accord.

    The top ten best-selling light trucks in June, in order, were the Ford F-Series, Ford Escape, Ford Ranger, Toyota RAV4, Dodge Ram, Hyundai Santa Fe, Honda CR-V, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, and Ford Edge.

    Year-to-date, the top ten in order to the end of June were the Ford F-Series, Ford Escape, Dodge Caravan, GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Silverado, Dodge Ram, Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Ranger, and Honda CR-V.

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    Hondaís small car codenamed 2CV; Will be made in India and Thailand !


    Hondaís mini-Jazz will be manufactured in India and Thailand, but specifically meant for the Indian market. Just like how the Accord was designed for the Americans and the City was built for the Thai market, the new mini-Jazz will be Indiaís turn in Hondaís book.
    Codenamed 2CV, the mini Honda car will also be built in Thailand as part of the eco-car project.
    What are the needs of an average Indian car buyer?
    Definite needs -
    • It needs be cheap
    • It needs to be fuel efficient
    • It needs to be spacious
    • It needs to maintenance-free
    • It needs to have a diesel engine (forget if the petrol engine delivers 30kmpl, somehow diesel is more efficient to many Indians)
    • The depreciation value should be less because many of us think of selling our car even before buying them
    The above is more or less what the majority of buyers are looking for in a car. I was tempted to add looks and luggage space but changed my mind looking at the currently most successful Alto, Wagon Rís storage spaces behind the rear seats.
    For more images of the how probably it would look, visit our earlier Honda mini car post.

    Source - Auto in car

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    Honda City Diesel and Jazz Diesel might happen !


    Since its debut in 1995 with the Honda City, Honda has never thought about a diesel car. Despite the lack of a diesel engine, Honda could somehow entice the consumers with its ultra smooth petrol engines. Even abroad, Honda offers its popular i-DTEC (diesel) engine option only for the Accord and CR-V.
    Until recently, Honda has found the necessity of launching a diesel engine variant for its City sedan and Jazz hatchback, as the consumer choice is slowly drifting towards economic diesels. The market share of diesel cars continues to raise (Maruti Swift & Dzire, Hyundai Verna, Ford Fiesta, Tata Indigo) hence Honda is in need to come up with diesel to continue its leadership.

    In the Indian auto sector, almost all manufacturers have diesel power units in their cars. Honda blames the 30% price difference between petrol and diesel as the reason for delay.
    ďIndia is (the) onlyÖ(major) country in the world with such price differentials. In countries such as China, (those in) Europe, and Japan, this difference is only 10-12%,Ē Masahiro Takedagawa, president and CEO, HSCI said.

    The City and Jazz are likely to share the same diesel engines , much like Marutiís Swift and Dzire. Honda is currently performing research on smaller engines, suited to Indian conditions. A CR-V was recently caught testing with a diesel engine. But as things progress, Honda cars with diesel engines is sure to be quite an unbeatable combination!

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    Honda Jazz to get Cityís 1.5L V-TEC engine in 2010 !


    Honda Siel will launch a ĎHotí variant of its pricey hatchback - Jazz, by early-2010. The new variant will feature Honda Cityís 1.5L V-Tec engine that produces close to 110Bhp. The Jazz will also be offered with an optional automatic transmission by end-2009.
    Honda claims that the V-Tec engine will be as fuel efficient as the 1.2L counterpart. Despite the 300cc increase in engine displacement, and a 20Bhp increase in power, Honda says that the clean and efficient City V-Tec engine will find the best match in the lighter Honda Jazz.
    Predictions say that the Jazz 1.5 would cost 10-15% more than the existing Jazz 1.2, almost a lakh more. But for those who are looking for a powerful, comfortable, spacious and compact alternative to entry sedans, the Honda Jazz would be the only choice.
    Senior Member
    Last edited by tokyodream; 18-07-09, 08:28.
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    • Toyota, Honda Seek To Ride Green Car Demand

      Honda Brings Back Overtime; Toyota To Start Producing Hybrids In UK

      YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer


      TOKYO -- Toyota said Friday it will start making hybrids in Europe next year, while its Japanese rival Honda is bringing back overtime to meet demand for small cars, underlining the potential of their green vehicle strategies to underpin recovery from the auto slump.
      As part of a growth strategy that hinges on its strength in hybrid technology, Toyota Motor Corp. said it will produce a gas-electric hybrid version of its Auris hatchback from mid-2010 at its Burnaston Plant in central England. It didn't give any production figures.
      The world's top automaker already makes hybrids in North America, Japan and China. It has been eager to expand its business in Europe, where it's still a tiny player.
      Toyota said the decision to start making the hybrid Auris underlines its determination to "distinguish itself in that market through the strengths of its hybrid technology" as it fights the global auto slump.

      Honda Motor Co. is stepping up production and bringing back overtime at its Japanese plants, having workers come in on weekends at its Saitama plant for the first time since the financial crisis.
      It will start with one day in July, but is adding another extra work day in August, and two days each in September and October, said company spokesman Hiroyuki Horiuchi.
      The Saitama plant, in a Tokyo suburb, is returning to a double-shift at one of its two assembly lines in August, because of the solid demand in Japan for the Freed hatchback, boosting production there to 1,450 vehicles a day from 1,100, according to Japan's No. 2 automaker.
      Honda is also having workers do overtime at another Japanese plant, in Suzuka, which makes the hit Insight hybrid, as well as the Fit subcompact.
      The latest move underlines signs of a gradual recovery at Honda, which has been riding out the slump relatively better than its bigger rival Toyota.
      Strong hybrid sales, meanwhile, have furnished the one bright spot in Toyota's gloomy performance. The maker of the Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury car sank to its worst ever loss in the fiscal year ended March.
      Government incentives to encourage the purchase of ecological vehicles have helped boost sales of hybrids and small vehicles.
      The remodeled Prius has been selling briskly in Japan since they went on sale in May, and has been the top selling car in Japan for two straight months.
      Sales of Honda's Insight hybrid and smaller Freed and Fit models are also doing well.

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      First Alabama-built Accord rolls off Honda's Lincoln production line !


      Earnest Goggins boasted a year ago that he and his co-workers at the Honda plant in Lincoln could make anything -- even the automaker's flagship Accord sedan. On Friday, Goggins was behind the wheel as the first official Alabama-built V-6 Accord rolled off the plant's assembly line.
      Although he didn't know it when he made the statement that Honda could add Accord production at its Alabama plant, his statement was caught on video for another Honda event. The plant's brass just couldn't resist playing it on the big screen at Friday's event.
      Another video played at the event talked about the esteemed place the Accord holds across the globe for Honda. Since its U.S. debut in 1976, the car has become the Japanese automaker's signature vehicle, with sales topping 10 million.
      "Congratulations on getting the Accord," John Mendel, the head of Honda's U.S. operations, said on the video. "Let's knock it out of the park!"
      Music by Coldplay and Smash Mouth added to the party atmosphere. Tony Giles, best known as the voice over Bryant-Denny Stadium during the University of Alabama Crimson Tide football games, was emcee of the event.
      At 9:50 a.m. Friday, the production line came to a stop and a sea of workers in matching white uniforms descended on the end of the production line where final products roll off.
      Until now, that assembly line has produced Odyssey minivans, Pilot sport utility vehicles and Ridgeline pickups -- no sedans. As "Sweet Home Alabama" played over the speakers, the first of each of those larger vehicles made at the plant made their way off the line.
      Nobuyuki Sanui, chief executive at the plant, told workers they should be proud that Honda has given them more responsibility. "This is good news because it gives us more flexibility to react to market demand," Sanui said.
      'More job security'ź
      Steve Sewell, an executive with the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, said the Lincoln plant is an important one for Japan's No. 2 automaker.
      "It underscores how integral Lincoln, Ala., has become to Honda's global manufacturing," Sewell said in an interview at the event. "It sends a clear message Honda intends to be building vehicles here for a long, long time. That's awfully reassuring in these times."
      Eric Norris, a worker in the paint shop, programmed robot paint patterns for the V-6 Accord at the Lincoln plant. He said producing the Accord is special.
      "To me, when you think about Honda, that's the car you think of," he told the crowd. "I'm glad we have the Accord here because to me it means we have a little bit more job security."
      But Norris said that isn't all that's important. He said he has family and friends already thinking about buying an Alabama-built Accord.
      "The first thing they are going to see is that paint job," he said. "It's a paint job I'm proud of."
      Vivian Sanders, a weld department worker who was on the Accord transition team, shared Norris' sense of accomplishment.
      "I remember how excited we were when we completed that first Accord white body weld, how we were taking pictures with it," she said, noting they did so more than a week before their target date. "It makes me feel like we can do whatever Honda needs us to do -- that we can do whatever our company asks us to do in order to keep us running."
      That was really what Goggins was trying to say a year ago when he made his comments about producing the first Ridgeline at the plant.
      After climbing out of the Accord to cheers and high-fives from his co-workers, Goggins remained confident of the plant's capabilities.
      "We will build anything," he said. "If they will bring the parts, we will build it."
      He quickly added a caveat.
      "Any Honda product."
      Join the conversation below or e-mail Tomberlin at mtomberlin@bhamnews.com.

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      Auburn Honda celebrates 30 years in business !


      As long as thereís been a Honda dealership in Auburn, thereís been a Cooper at the helm.
      This year, Jay Cooper, who took over when his father, Marvin Cooper, retired in 1996, is celebrating 30 years in business.
      Marvin and Jay Cooper opened in September 1979 at 2730 Grass Valley Highway, just a short drive from the new, bigger building that became home to the dealership in 2004.
      Jay Cooper is the third generation to be involved in the car business. His grandfather started with a gas station in the 1940s. In the 1950s, Marvin Cooper worked for American Motors, then moved to General Motors in the 1960s, eventually owning a Chevrolet dealership in the Pacific Northwest.
      Then when the opportunity arose to open a Honda store in Auburn, he took it despite some initial reservations.
      ďHe thought Hondas were little roller skates because he was a die-hard GM man,Ē Jay Cooper said recently.
      But Marvin Cooper quickly realized heíd made a great decision.
      In those days, the gas crisis of 1973-74 was still a vivid memory. Honda was starting to solidify its reputation for gas-sipping, well-made cars ó and Accords and Civics were moving like hotcakes.
      ďWe were selling every car we could get and begging for more,Ē Jay Cooper said.
      Auburn Hondaís opening coincided with the year the parent corporation completed its first assembly plant in the United States ó in Marysville, Ohio. And the dealershipís 30th anniversary coincides with Hondaís 50th year in business in the United States.
      Along the way, the Auburn store has grown as the Honda brand flourished.
      The Coopers started with 12 employees. During the boom years, that grew to 110. The staff now numbers 65, Cooper said.
      The original building, with 18,000 square feet and 12 service bays, saw the business through its first 25 years.
      Customers Jack and Teresa Moss purchased their first new Honda Civic there and began bringing in their family cars ó new and used ó for servicing in the mid 1990s.
      ďWe feel they are so honest,Ē Teresa Moss said. ďThey keep track of our vehicle, maintenance history and any future needs. So weíre always aware of services that may take place in the next few months. The customer service is great. Dave Mays and the service technicians are great. They meet you at the door and take you right in.Ē
      When the new location opened at 1801 Grass Valley Highway, it nearly doubled the dealershipís floor space and added 18 more service bays. With its modern facade, high ceilings and big windows, ďit was a lot more comfortable for everyone,Ē Cooper said.
      It also has provided a special opportunity for outreach.
      ďWe have always believed ó this came from my father ó that any business is only as strong as its commitment to the community and only as good as the people who work there,Ē he said.
      Cooper enjoys putting out the welcome mat for local non-profit events. In February, HEART ó Health Education Africa Resource Team ó had a fundraising dinner for 250 guests in the showroom.
      ďWe easily accommodated that,Ē Cooper said. ďAnd there is no cost involved. When youíre raising money for charity, every dime counts.Ē
      Likewise, the Coopers always have chosen their employees with an eye toward the long haul. Several employees have worked there since it opened. Numerous others have stayed for 10, 15, even 20 years or more, Cooper said.
      Auto tech Gary Olson has been there since day one.
      ďI was the second person they hired,Ē he said.
      Olsonís nuts-and-bolts knowledge gives him a unique perspective on cars. But he has a particular fondness for the Civic.
      ďThatís what I started on way back when,Ē he said.
      Thirty years later, itís a job he continues to enjoy.
      ďIf itís not broke, donít fix it,Ē he said. ďI would like to stay until I retire and I donít plan to do that anytime soon.Ē
      Sales/manager Paul Kimbrel came to Auburn Honda 13 years ago.
      ďI was looking for a good home and thatís what Jay has provided,Ē he said.
      Kimbrelís favorite part of the job is the people.
      ďJayís been a great owner to work with,Ē he said. ďHe treats people fair and honest. He wants to have a family atmosphere at the store.Ē
      Service adviser Stuart Schrader agrees.
      ďItís a great place to work,Ē he said. ďI think Honda is the best brand out there.Ē
      Cooper sees the 30th anniversary as a special milestone.
      ďItís an important time for me,Ē he said. ďEspecially with the employees who have worked for me for such a long time. I want to let them know the appreciation I have. Iíve literally hired them as young people Ö so itís really a family.Ē
      The Journalís Gloria Young can be reached at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com

      Info Box: Auburn Honda
      1801 Grass Valley Highway
      Phone: (530) 823-7234

      Hondaís 50th anniversary in the U.S.
      Hondaís U.S. operations started as a motorcycle shop in Los Angeles in 1959.
      In 1963 it began selling power equipment products including generators and lawn and garden equipment through its U.S. motorcycle dealers
      Its first automobile was the 600 Mini in 1969. The Honda Civic was introduced in 1973 and the Honda Accord came on the market in 1976.
      Hondaís first assembly plant Ė for motorcycles Ė opened in 1979 in Marysville, Ohio. In 1980 Honda broke ground for an automobile assembly plant in Marysville, Ohio.
      Today, Honda has 11 manufacturing plants in the U.S. It employs 28,000 direct employees and another 100,000 through dealerships
      It manufactures more than 4 million products annually including 22 automotive models.
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      • ...and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither does bread come to the wise, nor wealth to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.


        • Trist...


          "Liniutele sunt pentru masini rapide, curbele sunt pentru soferi rapizi" - un film

          '08 Civic Sedan ES 1.8 M/T Neutron Blue


          • Pana la urma, mi se pare normal. In primul rand, nu pot concura cu modelele super-consacrate deja existente pe piata si, in al doilea rand, producatorii premium au inceput sa renunte usor-usor la motoarele mari. Exemplu: E-klasse cu motor in 4 cilindri diesel biturbo, cu cuplul si puterea unui diesel V6. Downsizing e noua religie.


            • Honda Civic tops reliability table !


              The Honda Civic, which is built in Swindon, has been named Britainís most reliable car.
              This is good news for a workforce which has suffered because of the economic downturn. It has seen its production cut almost in half and the total number of employees reduced by more than 1,000 to 3,700.
              ďWeíre absolutely thrilled to be the top of the tree,Ē said Honda spokesman Steve Kirk. ďItís a testament to our great workers at Swindon.Ē
              Five of the top six reliable cars are Japanese. Three of them are made in Britain with Toyota coming in third and Nissan sixth.
              But itís Honda owners who can drive smugly, knowing there is only a 10 per cent chance of a breakdown when the car is between three and six years old.
              ďThese figures just prove how good we are at making cars,Ē said Ken Keir, the UK boss of Honda. ďIíve always told people to count the number of cars which you see broken down at the site of the road and itís rare to see a Honda.
              ďAnd of course we do actually train AA patrolmen because they hardly get any practice on our cars.Ē
              Other Far Eastern companies, like Mazda, Subaru and Mitsubishi, are high on the reliability index top ten.
              At the wrong end of the table is Land Rover, with a 47 per chance of a breakdown, closely followed by Renault.
              The index is compiled by insurers Warranty Direct, which gauges the most dependable used cars among 250 popular models.
              The AAís president, Edmund King, praised the Swindon workers at Honda. ďIt shows that workforces are an important element in the success of these companies,Ē he said.
              Honda is always close to the top in the reliability stakes. Recently it reclaimed second place overall in the JD Power Survey, scoring highly across all four categories Ė vehicle quality and reliability, vehicle appeal, service satisfaction and ownership costs and included were the Swindon-built models.
              That meant Honda has appeared within the top three manufacturers for four years running.
              The factory is in its eighth week back at work after the four- month shutdown but on Friday will close for a three-week break Ė the usual two weeks plus one for the production cutback.
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              • 2009 Honda Accord Coupe Review !


                STYLING | 8 out of 10
                Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the 2009 Honda Accord Coupe's aggressive look pleases most tastemakers.
                At a quick glance, the Accord Coupe does look big, but it's more of an illusion caused by the taller, longer nose. Also notably larger are the wheels; the four-cylinder models now have 17-inch wheels, while the V-6 version gets bigger 18-inch hoops. Popular Mechanics notes that the Accord Coupe's footprint is 3 inches longer, 1.5 inches wider, and a full inch taller, which makes it roomier and more comfortable, but it's still small enough to carry the designation of being a compact car.
                Cars.com notes the Coupe's ďchiseled look that's highlighted in front by a narrow mesh grille and bulging front fenders." Both Cars.com and Edmunds point out that the Coupe's hindquarters, with a distinctive kink in the C-pillar and taillights that wrap around the side of the body, are reminiscent of the BMW 5-Series.
                Edmunds goes on to report that the 2009 Accord Coupe "is a genuine attention-grabber, in a sporty kind of wayósomething no previous version of the Accord Coupe could be accused of." Jalopnik is not as enthusiastic about the Coupe's exterior or interior esthetics, saying, "In places the 2009 Honda Accord Coupe is woefully bland, in others awkwardly edgy." While they claim that the interior is "positively posh," they're not too crazy about the grayish plastic dashboard and "cornucopia" of buttons, which are "awkwardly unintuitive" and clash with the nice leather.
                Motor Trend likes the look of the seamless matte finish and silver gray plastics and says that "the new Accord's dash displays are MacBook Pro all the way." The reviewer also favors the Accord Coupe's cabin: "Honda has always done tight panels and high quality surfaces, but with the new Accord Coupe they've really outdone themselves."
                For the first time ever, the Honda Accord Coupe enjoys a unique look. The two-door is markedly sleeker, with a sexy curve to the roof, and the bold character line, sweeping from front wheels to rear lamps, gives the coupe a sense of constant motion. The new Accord's cockpit is definitely among the best, tooóthe dashboard is laid out in a sort of dual-cockpit mode, and gauges and controls are particularly well placed.
                The 2009 Honda Accord Coupe is one of the most refined-looking Accords ever, with new bold styling that distinguishes it from Accords of the past.

                PERFORMANCE | 9 out of 10
                The 2009 Honda Accord Coupe offers class-leading performance and handling. Popular Mechanics believes that Honda will probably sell more Accord Coupes with the 190-hp four-cylinder engine, and those who opt for this package will be pleased with the engine's silky smooth operation and seamless power delivery. They also praise the Accord Coupe for its miserly fuel consumption, saying the four-cylinder Accord has "simply excellent fuel economy for a car this size." The base 2009 Honda Accord Coupe features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that pumps out an impressive 190 hp and an estimated 21/31 mpg.
                The optional 3.5-liter V-6 with 268 hp will be on the top of the list for those who crave more performance, but despite the huge power increase, the V-6 isn't much thirstier at the gas pump. Thanks to Honda's Variable Cylinder Management system that shuts down cylinders when they're not needed, the V-6 earns an estimated 19/29 mpg. TheCarConnection.com finds that the majority of reviewers praise its smooth power delivery, silky smooth six-speed shifter, and sports-car-like handling.
                Car and Driver believes that the Honda Accord Coupe is a better machine than its chief competitor, the Nissan Altima. "It's certainly fast," the reviewer notes, and even though the Accord Coupe has fewer ponies under the hood, it's quicker and has a "slick and easy to use" six-speed gearbox. Motor Trend reports that the 268-hp Accord Coupe EX-L they tested "drives like a dream." It also has 248-pound feet of torque, "and yet at WOT, there's no wheelspin or torque steer.Ē
                The V-6 Accord Coupe exhibits good acceleration, "but it doesn't blow you away with its power the way the Toyota Avalon's V-6 can,Ē reports Cars.com, which praises the V-6's smooth power, but knocks off a few points because "it doesn't feel as strong as its 268 horsepower rating would suggest.Ē
                The 2009 Accord Coupe handles very well, too. Edmunds compares the Accord Coupe's performance to that of the discontinued Acura CL Type-S. The 2009 Honda Accord Coupe has more power, however, and the six-speed shifter and clutch mechanism "feels exactly the same" as the Acura's. They report that six-speed shifter also shares the CL's notchy feel, "and the clutch take-up is abrupt, making an Accord Coupe with its powertrain difficult to drive smoothly." They have no gripes about the Accord Coupe's power and report that even though it "is narrowly outgunned by the 270-hp Altima Coupe," the Honda's engine is "far smoother" than the Altima's VQ-Series V-6.
                Though bigger, the new Accord has a lower center of gravity, thanks to Honda engineers. They've modified the double-wishbone front suspension geometry and gone with a multilink rear. The result is a very supple suspension package that seems to soak up bumps almost imperceptibly, without numbing its road feel. The new, variable gear ration steering is precise and supple, with a clear, on-center feel. At Honda, 2009 brings the Coupe standard 18-inch wheels, too.
                A wide range of reviewers, along with those at TheCarConnection.com, believe the new 2009 Honda Accord Coupe is one of the best compact coupes to drive, whether in four- or six-cylinder guise.

                COMFORT AND QUALITY | 9 out of 10
                The 2009 Honda Accord Coupe is roomier and more comfortable than its predecessor, but rear seating access and legroom remain only acceptable.
                Edmunds reports that "the Accord feels as it always has, like a very high-quality mid-size, mid-price vehicle" but wishes Honda would have carried over the previous Accord Coupe's touch-screen navigation system; the new nav system has an "iDrive-like" control knob and more than 30 buttons surrounding it, which makes the system "intimidating." Car and Driver has very few complaints about the Accord Coupe but notes "we'd like to see more differentiation in the cabin from the Accord sedan." Cars.com praises the Accord Coupe's cabin for its tight fit and finish and use of high-quality materials that rival those found in Honda's luxury brand, Acura.
                The 2009 Honda Accord Coupe's front seats are more comfortable and supportive than in previous Accords. "There's ample headroom and legroom, even for taller adults,Ē says ConsumerGuide. Climbing in and out of the cabin is easier, thanks to the larger door openings and higher roof. Rear legroom has increased as well, "though seating is still best left to children."
                Road & Track praises the 2009 Honda Accord Coupe's high-quality materials and fit and finish. "The cabin has an upscale Acura aura that comes from finely tailored sport bucket seats, a choice of silver or wood accents, a coupe-only three-spoke steering wheel and Honda's straightforward controls and instrumentation." They also note that the driver and front passenger sit farther apart with a wider center console between them, and the dash arrangement makes the driver and the shotgun passenger feel as if they're in separate compartments.
                Popular Mechanics commends Honda for including an active noise-canceling exhaust system and active motor mounts that keep the exhaust notes down to a minimum inside the cabin and smooth out any vibration.
                A legacy of class-leading quality and comfort is upheld in the 2009 Honda Accord Coupe.

                SAFETY | 10 out of 10
                The 2009 Honda Accord Coupe is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and NHTSA rates it at five stars for crash protection, save for a four-star rating for passenger side impacts.
                The new airbag system has two chambers: one for the pelvis area and another for the torso. Honda claims this new airbag system minimizes potential injuries when the Accord is struck by a large SUV or pickup. Popular Mechanics notes that in the Honda, 2009 brings "enough airbags to cushion the fall of the Holy Roman Empire," and they refer to the new dual-chamber, side impact airbags as a "safety breakthrough."
                Among the numerous standard safety features of the 2009 Honda Accord Coupe are side curtain airbags, Honda's Vehicle Stability Assist electronic stability system, all-disc anti-lock brakes, and active front head restraints.
                The 2009 Honda Accord Coupe is among the leaders in terms of safety.

                FEATURES | 10 out of 10
                The 2009 Honda Accord Coupe is well appointed in base trim, and it has enough optional electronic gadgets to impress even the most dyed-in-the-wool techies, though some may find the navigation fiddly.
                According to Cars.com, cloth seats are standard, but the EX-L model adds leather seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with tilt and telescoping functions and audio buttons. Other standard features include air conditioning, cruise control, lighted vanity mirrors, and a CD stereo with an MP3 jack. The list of options includes Bluetooth hands-free cell phone connectivity, XM Satellite Radio, and a premium audio system with a subwoofer that will meet the demands of most audiophiles.
                Automobile.com notes that with the 2009 Accord Coupe, Honda is squarely aiming at young buyers with its impressive "mix of high-tech features," including bigger wheels and an optional subwoofer.
                Edmunds questions whether replacing the well-loved and easy-to-operate touch-screen nav system in favor of an "iDrive-like control knob" is considered progress. They also note that the cluster of more than 30 buttons surrounding the control knob "is intimidating." ConsumerGuide agrees and points out that the deeply recessed screen obscures the sight lines, and "the display can be washed out in certain light conditions"
                You can have it pretty much any way you like it; the 2009 Honda Accord Coupe has a long list of both standard and optional features.
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                • Score One for Honda Flexible Manufacturing !


                  The Honda Accord started rolling off the assembly line at Hondaís plant in Lincoln, Ala., which before now only manufactured truck models.

                  The flexibility to build a car in a truck plant or vice versa is a big competitive advantage for Honda, since it allows Honda to shift production in response to consumer demand, without having to build a new factory.

                  In this particular case, Honda needed to free up capacity at a plant in Ohio to build more four-cylinder Accords, in response to greater U.S. demand for cars that are more fuel-efficient and affordable. Honda did that by moving production of V-6 Accords out of Ohio.

                  The plant in Alabama already built the Odyssey minivan, the Ridgeline pickup, the Pilot SUV and V-6 engines, but it had never been used to build cars. It took Honda nine months to start producing Accords in Alabama on July 17, from the time the change was announced, back in October 2008.

                  If that sounds like a long time, consider that General Motors announced last month that GM will build a to-be-named small car at an existing plant in Michigan, but it will take until 2011 to start production.
                  Granted, thatís probably not an apples-to-apples comparison. Honda moved an existing model from one plant to another. Depending on which small car GM decides to produce in Michigan, GM has a bigger task ahead of it, if itís launching an all-new model.
                  But the net result is that Honda is already responding to bigger demand for smaller engines, while it will take GM much longer.

                  Photo: Honda

                  ================================================== ==================

                  Road Tests
                  Comparison Test: 2010 Ford Taurus vs. 2009 Honda Accord !


                  A Product of Their Times

                  By Erin Riches, Senior Editor Email
                  Date posted: 07-20-2009
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                  If you understand the limitless desire of Americans for personal space, then you understand the thinking behind the 2010 Ford Taurus Limited and 2009 Honda Accord EX-L V6 with Navigation. Taurus and Accord may be iconic midsize-sedan nameplates, but now the badges are on large-car rumps.
                  Officially, the 2010 Ford Taurus and 2009 Honda Accord each seat five. Realistically, neither of these large sedans will ever see more than four passengers. And nobody will so much as rub an elbow, shoulder, buttock or knee during the 15-minute drive to the sushi buffet.
                  As crossovers promise everyone a whole row of seating to himself, families are fleeing even the roomiest of family sedans like these. So you might be driving around by yourself in a Ford Taurus or Honda Accord. And you might care about something besides shoulder room and legroom.
                  In its previous life, the Taurus couldn't stand up to such scrutiny. It was a big lug, a slobbery SUV shaped like a sedan. However, the 2010 Ford Taurus Limited reflects a serious change of heart at Ford. This is a smarter Taurus with crisper handling, quality interior bits, and up-to-date but easy-to-use technology.
                  This is also exactly the sort of Taurus that should be able to do battle with the smarty-pants of the family car class, the 2009 Honda Accord EX-L V6 with Navigation.
                  Tuck in That Tummy
                  You'll notice we call both the Taurus and the Accord large cars. We don't kid you, though. The truth is, these two have gotten fat together.
                  Our 2009 Honda Accord EX-L V6 Navi tester weighs in at nearly 3,600 pounds. It outweighs the previous-generation Accord by 250 pounds. It outweighs a 1999 Accord EX V6 sedan by more than 300 pounds.
                  Although rivals like the Mazda 6 and Nissan Altima are close in size (and weight, in the case of the Mazda), only the Accord crosses the 120-cubic-foot interior volume threshold into the EPA's "large car" classification.
                  Built on a 112.9-inch wheelbase (2.7 inches longer than the Accord's), our 2010 Ford Taurus Limited stretches nearly 203 inches from nose to tail. It's 8.5 inches longer than the Accord, not to mention unnaturally tall (60.7 inches) and wide (76.2 inches) for a sedan.
                  The Taurus is certainly the hulk of the family sedan class. It draws fat jokes from strangers and outweighs the hefty Honda by 450 pounds. But at 122.3 cubic feet, its total interior volume only tops the Accord by a couple cubes.
                  Pounds of Gadgets
                  At least a few dozen of those pounds are accounted for by all the technology in our 2010 Ford Taurus Limited, which isn't even fully optioned. Notably, it lacks a sunroof, Ford's hard-drive-based navigation system and the multicontour seats that heat, cool and knead your backside. We'll live.
                  For a $31,995 base price, the front-wheel-drive Taurus Limited provides a leather interior, 10-way power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a USB jack, the Sync hands-free interface, wood-grain interior accents that may or may not be to your taste, and 19-inch wheels that definitely will not be to your taste.
                  Our test car also has Package 302A ($2,000), which adds keyless ignition, a blind-spot information system (Volvo's BLIS), automatic high-beams and a very decent 12-speaker Sony audio system. The blind-spot radar supplements the car's standard rear-bumper sonar by providing useful warnings on the trip computer display like "vehicle approaching from the left" when you have the Taurus in reverse.
                  Adaptive cruise control adds an additional $1,195 to the Ford's bottom line for a total of $35,190.
                  Most of these features simply aren't available on the Accord. However, our 2009 Honda Accord EX-L V6 comes with the high-quality Acura navigation system (stripped of the nav weather and nav traffic features), as well as Bluetooth, heated leather-upholstered seats, dual-zone climate control, a sunroof, and an unassuming set of 17-inch wheels.
                  We don't mind the lack of wood-grain appliquťs in the Accord, but this car needs an iPod-friendly USB jack. Aux alone doesn't cut it in 2009.
                  Still, this 2009 Honda Accord EX-L V6 with Navigation can be yours for $31,615 ó a savings of $3,575 over the 2010 Taurus Limited.
                  Different Personalities
                  You wouldn't know the 2009 Honda Accord EX-L V6 Navi is the cheaper of the two based on how it drives.
                  Right away, the Accord establishes itself as the sportier of the two sedans, which isn't terribly hard to do when your opponent weighs 2 tons. Still, we wonder if Honda has subtly recalibrated this car's drivetrain for 2009, because this Accord V6 doesn't feel as shortchanged on low-end torque as the 2008 models we tested. In addition, its five-speed automatic transmission shifts crisply right at the 3.5-liter V6's 6,800-rpm redline instead of short-shifting. Good thing, because there's still no manual shift gate.
                  Honda has rerated the V6 sedan's output at 271 horsepower at 6,200 rpm (from 268 hp) and 254 pound-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm (from 248 lb-ft), but there's more here than meets the eye. Throttle response is downright snappy in the 2009 Honda Accord.
                  At the track, the Accord reaches 60 mph from a standstill in 7.2 seconds (or 6.9 seconds with 1 foot of rollout as on a drag strip) and hits the quarter-mile in 15.3 seconds at 93.1 mph.
                  The fact that our 2010 Taurus Limited breaks into the 15s at all borders is impressive considering its weight disadvantage. It runs a 7.8-second 0-60 time (7.5 seconds with rollout) and a 15.7-second quarter-mile. With a trap speed of just 88.9 mph, though, it has no hope of catching the Accord. The Ford's 3.5-liter V6 is rated at just 263 hp at 6,250 rpm, but its torque is accessible at lower rpm, with the peak 249 lb-ft available at 4,500 rpm.
                  Most of the time, our 2010 Ford Taurus Limited accelerates adequately in traffic. It's only when you hop into the Accord that you realize what you've been missing. Shifts from the Ford's six-speed automatic transmission often feel lackadaisical, too, even in manual mode. Plus, torque steer is an issue under full throttle.
                  Fuel economy ratings are close, with the V6 Accord earning a slight advantage with its 19 city/29 highway mpg figures versus a preliminary rating of 18 city/28 highway mpg for the front-drive 2010 Taurus. Both sedans return high teens in weekday traffic, though our Taurus test car's 2,500-mile road trip understandably pushes its two-week average above the Accord's, with its average during our test interval coming to 21.1 mpg versus 19.3 mpg.
                  Weight Management
                  Ordinarily, we don't give the current-generation Honda Accord a lot of credit in the handling department. Its steering is precise, but conservative suspension tuning, meek P225/50R17 Michelin Pilot HXMXM5 all-season tires and a few too many pounds rob it of it the usual Honda cornering character.
                  But it's all relative, and a 2-ton 2010 Ford Taurus makes the Accord look good on a back road.
                  It's not that the Taurus Limited is a terrible handler. There's just a lot of car to transition through corners, and Ford's legal team knows this, so the big sedan has a very aggressive and very non-defeatable stability control system. If it senses you're about to stuff the Taurus into a tight corner, it clamps down hard on that inside wheel. The steering ratio (17.0:1) also feels slower than it needs to be, and heavy inputs elicit moaning from the power steering pump.
                  At our test track, the 2009 Honda Accord EX-L V6 manages 0.83g on the skid pad and 64.1 mph through the slalom. With its stability control active, the 2010 Ford Taurus Limited can't do any better than 0.79g and 60.3 mph. When we run the Accord through these tests with stability control on, the numbers are closer: 0.79g on the skid pad and 62.2 mph in the slalom.
                  In braking tests, the Ford's wider P255/45R19 100Y Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires give it a slight advantage. The Taurus stops from 60 mph in 131 feet. This is 2 feet shorter than the Accord's best stop. Still, we prefer the Accord's firmer pedal. And notably, this is the first Honda we've tested in months ó even years ó that hasn't had an issue with brake fade (though there's still some smoke coming off the rotors after our testing).
                  The Comfort Argument
                  We're not sure how Ford's chassis engineers were able to get such a well-damped ride out of a car with a 19-by-8-inch wheel weighing down each corner, but they did. The 2010 Ford Taurus Limited has an exceptional ride quality. It's plush over most interstate freeways, yet highly controlled at all times. This is the family sedan you want to drive cross-country.
                  You could do the same in the 2009 Honda Accord EX-L V6, but it wouldn't be quite so comfortable. In Honda tradition, the Accord's ride is all about firm control. You might be fine with this as a driver, but passengers often give a different opinion.
                  We measure a higher decibel level in the Accord at a 70-mph cruise, and we blame it on characteristic Honda road noise, which detracts from cabin calm even when you're just running errands around town.
                  Better Packaged Accord
                  Yet you might put up with the extra noise, because the smaller 2009 Honda Accord EX-L V6 has a subtly more spacious cabin. The beltline is lower, the seats are wider and, whether you're driving or riding in back, the cabin has an airier feel. Here we are back at the personal space argument again.
                  But there's also cohesion to the Accord's cabin design that makes the car easier to live with day-to-day. All the displays and controls have an ergonomic design that feels instantly familiar, and there's a unity to how everything works. You and the car and all its stuff are part of one Honda life form.
                  That's not to say you can't live well in the 2010 Ford Taurus Limited, which feels more upscale than the Accord and offers many more conveniences for iPod and BlackBerry users. But somehow the tall chairs, deeply recessed gauge pods, pixelated radio displays and sophisticated Sync interface in this Taurus Limited feel more like a collection of stuff than elements of a whole.
                  Critical Mass
                  Family sedans don't necessarily involve your family anymore, so most of us are looking for more than vast amounts of space on the cheap. We want quick acceleration; we'll take adroit handling if we can get it; and the cabin electronics had better play nice with our smart phone.
                  The 2009 Honda Accord EX-L V6 with Navigation wins this test by 2.6 points, largely because it's faster and more agile, yet less expensive. It's hardly a sport sedan, but of these two, the Accord is the driver's pick. A more space-efficient cabin design is another big point in the Honda's favor.
                  At the same time, the 2010 Ford Taurus Limited is more refined and personable than any Taurus to date. Its nicely resolved ride is no small benefit if you take long road trips, and we really do like Sync. Yet it's tough to justify paying $35K for a 263-hp sedan that needs almost 8 seconds to hit 60 mph.
                  There's a larger issue here, too, as we'd like to have an intervention with both Ford and Honda to talk about weight. From the standpoint of acceleration, handling, braking and fuel economy, neither the Honda Accord nor the Ford Taurus can afford to get any larger. If anything, make them smaller.
                  The manufacturers provided Edmunds these vehicles for the purposes of evaluation.

                  Inside Line Executive Editor Michael Jordan says:
                  You know, we can parse these cars all day and not come to any sensible conclusion. The Accord is easier to drive around all day, while the Taurus is what you want if you're actually going some place. The Taurus is also a lot more fun to drive if you're squealing the tires; though it's hard to believe very many people will find this out.
                  For me the unspoken question is whether these cars stack up to a crossover when it comes to daily utility. And I don't think so.
                  SUV haters have always claimed that once you make a car as spacious as a utility vehicle, then there's no reason to have anything other than a sedan. But I find in the Taurus and Accord another reminder that sedans are driven around largely free of passengers most of the time, just like utility vehicles. And when you do fill them up with people, the guys in back always feel slightly crowded because the visibility is poor. And folding rear seats not withstanding, it's way easier to pack stuff in the back of a crossover (you know, like the dog), and the flat load floor comes in handy every weekend besides.
                  A sedan makes a fine people-hauling device, and we've got two of them here. Each gets good gas mileage compared to a crossover, and that's a good thing (in fact the Taurus purposely compromises engine output to ensure the mpg is respectable). But when it comes to daily utility, a crossover is what you want. The rejection of the conventional sedan for utility vehicles over the last decade has not been some sort of strange conspiracy, no matter what SUV haters might say.
                  What the Ford Taurus and Honda Accord really offer is luxury ó quietness, composure and all the convenience amenities. And if that's their mission in life, then the Taurus is my pick. It's the best of the American-style sedans, and a better deal than a Hyundai Genesis V6 or Toyota Avalon besides.

                  Senior Member
                  Last edited by tokyodream; 23-07-09, 14:25.
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                  • Honda tops reliability survey !


                    study of 84,000 cars found that it gave its owners almost no problems, with 98.5 per cent reporting that their vehicle had required no attention whatsoever last year.

                    The magazine based its reliability survey on whether a car had broken down, been taken back to the dealer or had any niggles over the past 12 months.
                    Japanese-built cars took seen of the top 10 places with Honda taking four of the top seven. The best European car as the Ford Fiesta with 96.2 per cent of owners enjoying a year of trouble-free motoring.
                    The performance of British-built cars was disappointing with three Ė the Jaguar S-type, Jaguar XF and Land Rover Discovery Ė featuring in the list of least reliable performers.
                    However according to the survey it is the Audi A5 which has caused greatest difficulties, with nearly one owner in four reporting problems.
                    Richard Headland, editor of Which? Car, said: "Owning a reliable car can make the difference between getting your summer holiday off to a flying start and sitting on the hard shoulder of the M6. You can't do better than the Honda Accord, which is one of the most reliable cars we've ever surveyed.
                    "Japanese cars in the main seem to run like clockwork, although there are a few exceptions to the rule. It's also encouraging to see good reliability scores for the best-selling Ford Fiesta and other small, economical cars."
                    A spokesman for Audi said that the sample was unrepresentative. "We are talking about seven cars with a problem out of a total of 8,000. We stand by the reliability of our cars."
                    A spokesman for Jaguar Land Rover said: "Jaguar is committed to providing a consistent high quality driving and ownership experience for all of its customers. The Which? brand Reliability Index puts Jaguar the same as other luxury car manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
                    "Quality and customer satisfaction are top priorities for Land Rover. The report findings are based on a relatively small sample of owners and largely focused on models we no longer produce and which are not truly representative of the real and quantifiable progress Land Rover is making in terms of overall quality and reliability."

                    The 10 most reliable cars :

                    1. Honda Accord (2008-present) 98.5%
                    2. Honda Jazz (2008-present) 98.2%
                    3. Daihatsu Sirion (2005-present) 97.5%
                    4. Hyundai i30 (2007-present) 96.8%
                    5. Ford Fiesta (2008-present) 96.2%
                    6. Honda Jazz (2002-2008) 95.9%
                    7. Honda Civic Hybrid (2006-present) 95.7%
                    8. Citroen C1 (2005-present) 95.7%
                    9. Toyota Prius (2004-present) 95.0%
                    10. Mazda 3 (2004-2008) 94.4%

                    The 10 least reliable cars.

                    112. Hyundai Santa Fe (2006-present) 82.2%
                    113. Jaguar S-type (1999-2007) 81.2%
                    114. Volvo XC90 (2002-present) 80.6%
                    115. Land Rover Freelander (2006-present) 80.1%
                    116. Ford S-Max (2006-present) 79.9%
                    117. Land Rover Discovery (2004-present) 79.5%
                    118. Alfa Romeo 159 (2006-present) 79.0%
                    119. Jaguar XF (2008-present) 78.0%
                    120. Ford Galaxy (2006-present) 76.3%
                    121. Audi A5 (2007-present) 75.8%
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                    • Modern Classics: Honda Prelude, 1979-2001 !


                      Photo Gallery:
                      Honda Prelude, 1979-2001

                      The first Honda cars to reach North American shores in the early 1970s were anything but exciting, but the Civic and Accord would prove to be reliable and fuel-efficient alternatives to what other manufacturers had to offer Ė notwithstanding their tendency to rust out in Canadian winters.
                      Honda offered reliability and fuel efficiency at a time when fuel prices were starting to skyrocket as a result of the OPEC oil embargo in 1973. On this side of the Atlantic, the car-buying public were ďwarmingĒ quickly towards fuel efficient vehicles. The days of stuffing big motors into small and medium-sized cars were becoming a thing of the past.
                      It was important for Honda to make a good first impression, and that they did. Throughout the 1970s, the Civic and Accord models could best be described as bland, ordinary ďgrocery-getterĒ type vehicles. If North Americans wanted to experience excitement from the folks at Honda, they would have to wait nearly a decade for the Prelude to be unveiled.
                      The Prelude was Hondaís first attempt to introduce a more refined and ďinterestingĒ sports coupe to its lineup, one which consumers might be persuaded into paying a premium dollar for. It debuted in 1979 and shared many components with the Civic and Accord models.
                      In comparison to later-generation Preludes, the 1979 model was an ugly duckling, complete with a high belt-line and a very Civic-looking front end. The wheel-base for the Prelude was almost three inches shorter than the Accord, giving it a stubby, awkward appearance. Exciting it was not Ė but as the name ďPreludeĒ suggests, it would become a model in future years that would house some of Hondaís most advanced automotive technology.
                      Transmission choices for the first generation Prelude were a five-speed manual and a two-speed Hondamatic. This transmission was dropped in 1980 and replaced with a three-speed automatic.
                      Powering the Prelude was a 1,751-cc version of the Accordís SOHC (single overhead cam) four-cylinder engine, producing 72 hp and 94 pound-feet of torque. These numbers, while nothing less than abysmal by todayís standard, were comparable with other vehicles in its class.

                      Second generation (top); Third generation. Click image to enlarge
                      Some critics denounced the interior finishings as well as the ďgadgetryĒ that Honda used, but what the feature pundits had the most disdain for was the amount of space (or lack thereof) that rear passengers had Ė suggesting the rear cabin of the vehicle would provide passengers with a ďclaustrophobic-likeĒ touring experience.
                      The second-generation Prelude, introduced in 1983, was a much more refined model, and possessed little relationship to the Civic and Accord. It was more performance-oriented, longer and wider, and its beltline was lowered, providing the car with that ďgo fastĒ appearance, even when parked.
                      It did, however, share the Accordís 96-inch wheelbase and was powered by a brand new 1829-cc SOHC 12-valve four cylinder engine producing 110 hp at 5500 rpm. The low belt-line, complete with pop-up headlights and lowered nose, produced a drag coefficient of only 0.36 - promoting it to ďbest in class.Ē
                      Most notably, the suspension involved an innovative upper and lower arm layout (called double-wishbone) providing for a tighter and more responsive driving experience. Midway through the 1985 model year, Honda launched a new 2.0-litre engine in the Prelude Si model featuring fuel injection. The Si was also outfitted with front and aft spoilers, premium sound system and cruise control. This second generation Prelude lasted five model years Ė from 1983 through to 1987.
                      To improve upon the next generation Prelude, Honda tweaked its performance and made subtle changes to its appearance. The exterior proportions of the 1988 Prelude were familiar but more purposeful and refined.
                      Honda also introduced four-wheel steering in 1988. When moving slowly, the rear wheels would turn slightly in the opposite direction to decrease the turning radius, while at higher speeds, they turned in the same direction, to increase high-speed stability, such as in lane changes. These models were badged ď4WSĒ and would cost the consumer an extra $1,300. To this day, it remains the only true mechanical four-wheel steering system offered on a production vehicle. Other manufacturers offered either electronic or hydraulic four-wheel steering systems.

                      Two engines were available for the late 80ís edition of the Prelude: a 2.0-litre SOHC four-cylinder producing 104 hp was stuffed into the Prelude ďSĒ model, while a more robust fuel-injected DOHC (double overhead cam) 16-valve four-cylinder producing 135 hp was standard for the Prelude Si Ė at the time, this was the most powerful engine offered by Honda in a production vehicle. By 1990, the powerplant of the Prelude Si received an upgrade to a 2.1-litre all-aluminum 140-hp DOHC 16-valve engine.
                      By 1990, Honda designers were already busy sharpening their tools and the lines of the newly redesigned 1992 Prelude. Gone were the pop-up headlights and the more familiar exterior stylings of the two previous generations. The wheelbase was shortened by almost an inch, and the exterior offered a more stylish and aggressive appearance.
                      Three engine choices were available during its five-year production run, a 133 hp 2.2-litre inline four was standard for the ďSĒ model and a 158-hp 2.3-litre inline four powered the Si version. For 1993, a new and innovative range-topping VTEC (Valve Timing Electronic Control) 16-valve four, producing 187 hp, was introduced. This VTEC-powered Prelude could catapult to 100 km/h in just 7.2 seconds, trouncing the competition.

                      Fourth generation. Click image to enlarge
                      This fourth generation Prelude was perhaps best known for its dashboard, complete with blue backlighting, and the newer Preludes (1994 Ė 1996) featured translucent speedo and tachometer dials. While the Canadian version of the Si came with heated mirrors and optional leather seats, the Japanese version could be had with an optional in-dash television set. Hmmm, I wonder if A&W ever offered window service in Japan?
                      This Prelude once again had its critics and as with the very first model, complaints about the lack of legroom in the rear were prevalent. By 1995, the 4WS version was finally dropped as consumers werenít willing to pay the extra price associated with it. Other critics referred to the overall exterior design as ďunbalanced,Ē stating that the bulkiness of the rear-end did not match the sleek, shark-like design of the front.
                      While sales of the Prelude were brisk throughout the 1980s, consumer interest waned in the 1990s, perhaps as a result of soaring prices. The Prelude was inching close to the $30K mark, and there were now strong alternatives being offered for that kind of money. Sales figures started to slump mid-way through the 90s, signalling yet another design change.

                      Fifth generation. Click image to enlarge
                      The fifth and final generation saw a return to the box-like exterior styling of the 80s Prelude, minus the pop-up lights. Even the headlights of this latest offering from Honda were boxy (square) in style. The styling features were clearly an acquired taste and the redesign did little to boost sagging sales.
                      The engine powering this fifth generation Prelude was, however, the 2.2-litre VTEC producing 195 hp. Honda squeezed another five hp out of this engine for the 1999 through 2001 models. A five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions were available. Both base and Type-SH models possessed a generous number of standard features such as ABS (anti-lock braking system), cruise control, air conditioning and power windows, mirrors and locks. All in all, a very impressive line-up of creature comforts.
                      Despite Hondaís attempt to win back the buying public by producing a great performing car with numerous standard features, the $26,000 price tag was clearly more than what individuals were willing to pay and the Prelude was discontinued after the 2001 model year.
                      Will the Prelude ever be resurrected? Who knows for sure, but the Prelude did prove to be a solid ďtesting groundĒ for many of Hondaís most innovative and technological automotive advances, many of which can still be found in Honda vehicles today.

                      Jeff Burry has been an automotive enthusiast for over 35 years. Currently Jeff is a member of the Motorsports Club of Ottawa (MCO) and recently joined CanadianDriver as a journalist focusing on modern classics of the 1980s and 1990s.
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                      • The air runs out of run-flat tires !


                        After settling a lawsuit last month with disgruntled owners of Michelin run-flat tires, Honda dropped the tires for the 2010 model year. It was another disappointment for Michelin and other makers of run-flat tires in a 17-year effort to win customers in the United States.
                        When run-flat tires appeared here in 1992, they were expected to win wide acceptance as original equipment. The prospect of no flats or blowouts seemed like a strong pitch.
                        But except for applications on a few luxury and other vehicles, the tires were largely ignored because of their high cost--$200 to $500 each--and their impact on fuel economy.
                        A Michelin study released last year found that only 3 percent of drivers worldwide want run-flat tires. U.S. market share is well below 1 percent.
                        BMW AG, General Motors Co., Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. and several other companies continue to offer run-flat tires on a few vehicles. But at American Honda Motor Co., the 2009 Honda Odyssey Touring and Acura RL were its last models available with run-flat tires. "Never say never, but we have no current plans" for other models, says Honda spokesman Sage Marie.
                        After being punctured, run-flats typically can travel only 50 miles before they shred, says Jennifer Stockburger, a program manager at Consumer Reports magazine.
                        Depending on its size and the vehicle, a replacement run-flat costs about $200 to more than $500, compared with about $100 for a typical high-quality tire. Also, not all tire stores repair or stock the tire, and some owners in the Honda suit said the tires wore out at around 15,000 miles.
                        The owners of 94,000 2005 to 2007 Odyssey Touring and some 2006 and 2007 Acura RL models joined a class action suit in U.S. District Court in Maryland against Michelin and Honda. The owners alleged unreasonable tread wear, high replacement costs and difficulties finding a repair shop. The tires have been discontinued.
                        As part of the settlement, announced June 23, Michelin said it is offering a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty on the tires to owners of the affected models. Also offered is a $300 rebate on a new Odyssey or Acura RL or $110 for the purchase of Honda-approved Pax spare-tire kits.
                        Michelin spokeswoman Lynne Slovick said Michelin "will continue to offer zero-pressure tires [run-flats] if we get specific requests from vehicle manufacturers." Michelin run-flat tires are offered on the Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 and several BMW models.
                        Honda declined to comment on the settlement.
                        Dave Cowger, GM's engineering group manager for tire and wheel systems, said run-flats cost about a third more than a conventional tire, but he declined to provide figures.
                        GM also said run-flats are 20 to 40 percent heavier than a conventional tire because of a thicker sidewall. They also have higher rolling resistance, so they reduce fuel economy by about 1 to 2 percent, GM says.

                        But Cowger is not giving up on run-flat tires at GM. He said the tire industry expects to cut weight and rolling resistance in three to four years. For more Car news, road tests, photos and insight, click here.

                        This article was last updated on: 07/27/09, 09:47 et

                        Read more: http://www.autoweek.com/article/2009...#ixzz0MWg4Q8W1

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                        Accord (TSX), Jazz (Fit) top UK reliability survey


                        Honda's new Accord has been named as the UK's most reliable car in this year's Which? car survey, it was announced today. The car achieved a reliability score of 99%, one of the highest scores ever achieved; closely followed by the new Honda Jazz in second place with a score of 98%.

                        Honda cars hold four of the top ten places in the recent survey. As well as the new Jazz reaching second place, the first generation Jazz also scored 95.9% achieving sixth place in the survey. The Civic Hybrid achieved pole position in the hybrid vehicle sector with a score of 95.7%, seventh place in the overall survey and edging ahead of its rival the Toyota Prius with 95%.

                        A total of 77,000 drivers across the UK took part in the Which? survey to assess customer satisfaction. The survey based its results on breakdowns, faults and general niggles over a 12 month period.

                        Honda have maintained their position at the top of the Which? overall reliability index. Matt Gibson, Head of Customer Services for Honda UK said, 'A reliable car is something every customer deserves; knowing that your car will simply get you from A to B without any problems makes a huge difference to a customerís enjoyment of their car. We always strive to give our customers the best experience. It is fantastic news that four of the top seven cars featured in the survey are Hondas.'

                        Honda has also performed well in the recent JD Power survey, appearing in the top three car manufacturers for four years running.

                        Honda UK will be discussing the outstanding survey results in this monthís Which? Podcast. To listen to the podcast and to view further information on the survey please visit: www.which.co.uk

                        TOV Editorial Notes

                        1. Final standings:

                        10 most reliable new cars :

                        - 1 Honda Accord 98.5%
                        - 2 Honda Jazz 98.2%
                        - 3 Daihatsu Sirion 97.5%
                        - 4 Hyundai i30 96.8%
                        - 5 Ford Fiesta 96.2%
                        - 6. Honda Jazz 95.9%
                        - 7 Honda Civic Hybrid 95.7%
                        - 8 CitroŽn C1 95.7%
                        - 9 Toyota Prius 95.0%
                        - 10 Mazda 3 94.4%

                        10 least reliable new cars :

                        - 112 Hyundai Santa Fe 82.2%
                        - 113 Jaguar S-type 81.2%
                        - 114 Volvo XC90 80.6%
                        - 115 Land Rover Freelander 80.1%
                        - 116 Ford S-Max 79.9%
                        - 117 Land Rover Discovery 79.5%
                        - 118 Alfa Romeo 159 79.0%
                        - 119 Jaguar XF 78.0%
                        - 120 Ford Galaxy 76.3%
                        - 121 Audi A5 75.8%

                        2. According to guardian.co.uk one of the main problematic areas revealed by the survey was electronic systems. That explains in part why cars on the top10 are relatively small and simple why many luxury ones lie at the bottom. It only makes the Accord's performance even more impressive though, since this car in Europe is available with an impressive array of electronic gizmos (including CMBS, LKAS, and ACC...)

                        3. Some people like Audi do not think their results are significant, and here is what they said after watching their A5 score :

                        "Based on the very small sample size of the Which? survey, the reliability score for the A5 represents a total of just seven faults, and Audi has so far sold over 8,000 A5 models in the UK.

                        "Audi is world renowned for building extremely high quality cars, and in the vast majority of cases very strong reliability scores reflect this. We believe that sample sizes of below 500 cars do not generate useful or workable data, and we therefore do not acknowledge the Which? findings as valid indicators of the level of A5 reliability."

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                        Top 5 Fuel Efficient Cars for 2010 !

                        1) Toyota Prius

                        The Prius is a hybrid 4-door sedan powered by a 98 horsepower 4-cylinder gasoline engine and an 80 horsepower electric motor. The Prius meets the even most demanding emissions standards. Mostly due to Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive©, the Prius boasts an impressive 51 city/48 hwy.

                        For $22,000 you can get the barebones Prius or for about $28,000 you get a fully loaded leather interior Prius. This car looks good and will save you a lot of gas money.

                        2) Honda Civic Hybrid

                        The Honda Civic has the reputation of reliable, quality vehicle supported by its millions of owners and many years of great sales. The Civic Hybrid takes the Civic to a whole another level in terms of fuel efficiency. The Civic is also meets the strictest emissions standards. Like other hybrids, it has a 4-cylinder gasoline engine and a powerful electric motor providing locomotion. Because it gets 40 city/45 hwy mpg, the Civic Hybrid sips on gas, instead of guzzling it like a truck would. Starting at $23,000, well equipped at $28,000, this hybrid will save you plenty of money in the long run.

                        3) Honda Insight

                        The Insight is a hybrid car powered by a 4-cylinder gasoline engine and a DC electric motor. Honda's cutting edge Integrated Motor Assist© uses the electric motor to run the car at low speeds and uses it to augment the gasoline engine at higher speeds. This helps improve fuel economy. The most innovative and fuel-economical features of the Insight are its ECO Assist and ECON button. ECO Assist gives you real time feedback about your driving efficiency. Different colors above the speedometer and an in-dash data screen help you tweak your driving habits to become more fuel efficient. The ECON button minimizes the Insight's general energy usage, reducing emissions and improving fuel efficiency. The Insight gets 43 hwy/40 city mpg. Starting at $20,000, this car is more than affordable.

                        4) Chevy Volt

                        The Chevy Volt is an outlet plug-in rechargeable hybrid that has an average all-electric range of 40 miles before the gas engine is even activated. Which means that if you drive less than 40 miles commuting daily, you won't even use any gas. No gas means no emissions and no need to stop

                        at the gas pump every week; try every other month (depending on driving habits, of course). The Chevy Volt redefines fuel efficiency. There is some debate over the Volt's actual mpg. The EPA's first tests came back with an average of 100 mpg between city and highway. This number blows all the competition out of the water, but the EPA reevaluated and redid the tests forcing the gas engine to run more than it would during daily use. They then ended up with an mpg of 48, which is still great. The real thing to look at though is that the Volt could potentially be filled up with gas once, and never have to refuel ever again. It would just need to be recharged every night. Slated for release in late 2010, the Chevy Volt will cost around $40,000, but will be well worth it.

                        5) Ford Fusion Hybrid

                        Ford's response to competitors' fuel-efficient cars, the Ford Fusion does not let down. The Fusion runs on a 156 horsepower 4-cylinder gasoline engine and a 102 horsepower AC electric motor. It averages 41 city/ 38 hwy mpg. Not only is this car fuel efficient, it is eco-friendly. The Fusion has many optional features that make it stand out. From the blind spot detection, cross-traffic alert, reverse sensing and rearview camera safety features, to the voice activated navigation system and Sync connection, the Fusion can be well equipped. At $28,000, this hybrid isn't cheap, but its features and engine power justify the price.

                        Some of the cars in this list are also on the 2010 Most Eco-Friendly list as well. Well, that's because fuel efficiency and reduced emissions go hand in hand, especially with hybrids.




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                        • Honda Brings Squeaky-Clean Civic GX To A Third StateóUtah!


                          2009 Honda Civic GX, carpool lane
                          Enlarge Photo

                          Hondaís natural-gas-powered Civic GX is only offered to the general car-buying public in two statesóCalifornia and New York. But today the automaker announced a third state where itís available: Utah.
                          Why Utah? According to Honda, the Great Salt Lake state leads the nation in per capita natural gas refueling infrastructure and has the lowest natural gas prices in the country. Current average prices are just 99 cents per gasoline gallon equivalent. The 2009 Civic GX costs $25,090, but buyers might qualify for a double money-saver in the form of a $4,000 federal tax credit plus a $3,000 Utah tax credit.
                          Still, not all dealerships in California and New York sell the Civic GX; Honda says that 42 California dealerships and just nine New York state stores have added retail sales of the GX. Plenty moreó129 dealerships in 32 statesósell it as a fleet only vehicle though.
                          TheCarConnection.com has driven a Honda Civic GX in previous model years. The GX has a range of about 170 miles and takes just a few minutes to refill at a compressed natural-gas station. Honda partner company FuelMaker offered the Phill home refueling system previously, but the firm went bankrupt earlier this spring and the system was taken over by Fuel Systems Solutions.

                          2009 Honda Civic GX
                          Enlarge Photo

                          On a gasoline-equivalent basis, the 2009 Honda Civic GX achieves 24 mpg city, 36 highway, and it is classified as an Inherently Low Emission Vehicle (ILEV)óa designation only awarded to a few clean fuels, like natural gas.
                          There are just eight dealerships in Utah and two of them are already selling the Civic GX, so itís unlikely that the move will have much effect on the GXís relatively low retail numbers compared with the rest of the Civic lineup.
                          2009 Honda Civic GX, carpool laneEnlarge Photo Hondaís natural-gas-powered Civic GX is only offered to the general car-buying public in two statesóCalifornia and New York. But today the automaker announced a third state where itís available: Utah. Why Utah? According to Honda, the Great Salt Lake state leads the nation in per capita natural gas refueling infrastructure and has the lowest natural gas prices in the country. Current average prices are just 99 cents per gasoline gallon equivalent. The 2009 Civic GX costs $25,090, but buyers might qualify for a double money-saver in the form of a $4,000 federal tax credit plus a $3,000 Utah tax credit. Still, not all dealerships in California and New York sell the Civic GX; Honda says that 42 California dealerships and just nine New York state stores have added retail sales of the GX. Plenty moreó129 dealerships in 32 statesósell it as a fleet only vehicle though. TheCarConnection.com has driven a Honda Civic GX in previous model years. The GX has a range of about 170 miles and takes just a few minutes to refill at a compressed natural-gas station. Honda partner company FuelMaker offered the Phill home refueling system previously, but the firm went bankrupt earlier this spring and the system was taken over by Fuel Systems Solutions. 2009 Honda Civic GXEnlarge Photo On a gasoline-equivalent basis, the 2009 Honda Civic GX achieves 24 mpg city, 36 highway, and it is classified as an Inherently Low Emission Vehicle (ILEV)óa designation only awarded to a few clean fuels, like natural gas. There are just eight dealerships in Utah and two of them are already selling the Civic GX, so itís unlikely that the move will have much effect on the GXís relatively low retail numbers compared with the rest of the Civic lineup.

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                          Cars' Big Weight Gain Hurts Fuel Economy, Study Says !


                          If ever there was a perfect illustration of how cars got to be so huge, this is it, and from eco-conscious carmaker Honda! In 20 years, the Honda Accord has not only added 50 percent to its weight, it has also gone on steroidsóincreasing horsepower by a factor of 2.5.

                          This is hardly an isolated incident. According to Christopher Knittel of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis (whose work the chart represents), ďFrom 1980 to 2004 the average fuel economy of the US new passenger automobile fleet increased by less than 6.5 percent. During this time, the average horsepower of new passenger cars increased by 80 percent, while the average curb weight increased by 12 percent.Ē

                          The author adds that if we just stopped adding so much weight, cars today would be much more fuel efficient. ď[I]f weight, horsepower and torque were held at their 1980 levels,Ē he said, Ēfuel economy for both passenger cars and light trucks could have increased by nearly 50 percent from 1980 to 2006; this is in stark contrast to the 15 percent by which fuel economy actually increased.Ē
                          Wow, all cars had to do was stop putting on weight. But, as we humans know, slimming down is easier said than done.

                          The Obama Administration recently adopted Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards calling for cars to get 35.5 mpg by 2016, but weight gains are the enemy of that. Knittel adds, ďI also find that once technological progress is considered, meeting the CAFE standards adopted in 2007 will require halting the observed increases in weight and engine power characteristics, but little more; in contrast, the standards recently announced by the new administration, while certainly attainable, require non-trivial Ďdownsizing.íĒ

                          In other words, cars will have to get on a scale. As I wrote here last week, the stripped-down Nissan Versa Iím test-driving (with roll-up windows, no radio, and power nothing) points a way toward a possible car of the future. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction: Adding features and power also inevitably adds weight, and our future cars, either powered by electric motors or smaller gas engines, will need to watch every pound.

                          First chart from: Knittel, Christopher R. (2009) ďAutomobiles on Steroids: Product Attribute Trade-Offs and Technological Progress in the Automobile Sector.Ē Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-09-16. Second chart from U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

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                          • Trendy Japanese Flock to Hybrids !


                            SHOPPERS who stop into Toyota dealerships here and across Japan generally have just one thing on their minds: buying a Prius.
                            After years of indifference toward hybrids ó in part because many gas-only models that got excellent mileage were already available in showrooms ó drivers in Japan are lining up for the Prius, the Honda Insight and other models powered by gasoline and electricity.
                            The enthusiasm for hybrids is also a result of new models arriving in showrooms. Toyota introduced the third-generation Prius in May; in June, it was the best-selling car in Japan, elbowing aside the Insight, which in March became the first hybrid to hold the top sales spot.
                            Honda has been selling about 10,000 Insights a month, twice as many as had been expected in the companyís internal forecasts. There has been a five-month waiting list for the Prius in Japan, similar to the situation in California last year when gas prices swept past $4 a gallon.
                            ďOrdinarily, small cars donít have much status, but people donít care about changing from a bigger vehicle to a smaller vehicle if itís a Prius these days,Ē said Toshiyuki Yokoyama, the general manager at Kanagawa Toyota Motor Sales, which runs about 50 dealerships in and around Yokohama. ďSuddenly, everyone wants the car as soon as possible.Ē
                            Japanese consumers are only now embracing hybrids because, as in Europe, there have been plenty of cheaper fuel-efficient alternatives. But the sales of new, reasonably priced models have jumped in the past year or so because of government subsidies and a blizzard of media coverage that has fueled Japanís fad-conscious consumers.
                            The question is whether the recent surge in sales of ďeco cars,Ē as the Japanese call hybrids and alternative-fuel vehicles, is a lasting trend or one pumped up by short-term subsidies and high gasoline prices.
                            In the United States, where Japanese automakers had trouble keeping up with demand for hybrids in 2008, sales have slowed (along with the rest of the market). Toyota suspended work on a factory in Mississippi devoted to building the Prius.
                            Japanese are eager consumers of trendy products ó everything from the latest handbags to video games ó and sales often fall as fast as they rise.
                            Automakers in Japan say, however, that sales of hybrids will remain strong even if government subsidies of up to $4,000 are phased out. Though down from the peaks reached in 2008, gas prices are still relatively high, and in a weak economy consumers are looking to spend less on gasoline.
                            From an early age, Japanese are taught to be more efficient because their country has few natural resources. To reduce the use of air-conditioners, businessmen a few years ago were encouraged to do without neckties. Appliance companies eagerly promote waterless washing machines.
                            But it is price that matters most, which is why Toyota and Honda used less costly technology to cut the cost of their hybrids below three million yen, or $30,000, the rough benchmark for a luxury car in Japan.
                            Price was definitely an issue for Eiji Suga, a storekeeper in Kawagoe, a city one hour from Tokyo, who reserved a white Prius in April.
                            Mr. Sugaís 13-year old Honda Accord, which has 43,000 miles on it, had very little resale value. But because of the carís age, he qualified for a 250,000 yen (about $2,500) government subsidy if he scrapped the car and bought a more fuel-efficient replacement.
                            He will receive another 150,000 yen in tax breaks for buying an eco car. The price of the new Prius was about 300,000 yen lower than its predecessor, too.
                            ďTogether with the tax breaks and other government benefits, it was easy to choose,Ē said Mr. Suga, who added that seven of his friends in the neighborhood were also buying the new Prius.
                            Nissan and Mitsubishi have also announced plans to leapfrog hybrids with new electric vehicles.
                            But the durability of the hybrids on the market may make it hard for automakers in Japan to persuade consumers to buy electric cars.
                            Tadashi Ishida, a retired electronics company executive, bought his Prius in 2006 to replace a Toyota Mark II, taking advantage of a 190,000 yen government rebate. Mr. Ishida, who lives in Yokohama, has been particularly impressed with the carís fuel economy.
                            He uses just a quarter-tank of gas to get to his familyís summer house about 75 miles away, about half of what it took to get there in the Mark II. He said that hybrids were no passing fad.
                            ďAverage Japanese people do not consider the hybrid car a status symbol,Ē Mr. Ishida said. ďOur Prius just fits our needs in terms of fuel consumption, daily family use and easy driving.Ē

                            Enlarge This Image

                            BROWSING Honda is selling twice as many Insight hybrids in Japan as it had expected. A shopper checks one out at the company headquarters in Tokyo.


                            Graphic Catching On at Home

                            WAITING Eiji Suga is replacing his Honda Accord with a Toyota Prius.

                            ================================================== =========

                            Pe asta am ratat-o

                            REPORT: Honda to invest in Pioneer electronics !

                            by Jonathon Ramsey (RSS feed) on Apr 30th 2009 at 5:33PM

                            In spite of Honda's $2.91 billion Q1 loss, the Japanese marque knows the investment show must go on, and it's reported to be finalizing a stake in Pioneer. The Japanese electronics maker is shutting down its home electronics division, which has been losing money for years, in order to focus on in-car electronics. After approaching Honda to inquire about a tie-up, Honda is looking to put several billion yen into the company for around a 5% stake (a billion yen is about $10 million U.S.). With in-car electronics a key component in the current automobile revolution, it could be very handy for Honda to have the inside track on developing proprietary systems with an electronics expert, especially if it can use that to maintain an advantage over other Pioneer-equipped OEMs.

                            [Source: Reuters]

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                            • Top-selling vehicles in the US in July !


                              Automakers released July U.S. sales figures Monday. These were the top-selling vehicles, as well as the total number sold and the percent change in sales from July 2008.

                              Vehicle June 2009 sales Percent change :

                              1. Ford F-series 36,327 -19.0
                              2. Toyota Camry/Solara 33,974 -19.4
                              3. Honda Civic 30,037 +3.1
                              4. Honda Accord 29,774 -28.1
                              5. Toyota Corolla/Matrix 29,774 -14.1
                              6. Chevrolet Silverado 27,617 -16.3
                              7. Ford Focus 21,830 +43.6
                              8. Ford Escape 20,241 +94.2
                              9. Nissan Altima 19,252 -21.2
                              10 Toyota Prius 19,173 +29.7
                              Source: Autodata Corp.

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                              Honda Will Raise Car Production to Meet Emerging Market Demand !


                              By Makiko Kitamura and Tetsuya Komatsu

                              Aug. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Honda Motor Co., Japanís second- biggest carmaker, will increase global vehicle production as emerging markets pace a recovery in auto demand.
                              Honda will build about 90,000 vehicles more than initially planned in response to higher-than-forecast sales from China, Thailand, India, Indonesia and Brazil, Chief Financial Officer Yoichi Hojo said in an interview today.
                              The carmaker is raising output in Asia where it predicts sales will reach 840,000 vehicles this fiscal year, 8 percent more than an earlier estimate. The Tokyo-based company also boosted its earnings forecast last month, leading better-than- estimated results for Toyota Motor Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co.
                              ďPeople in emerging markets want their first cars --thatís a long-term trend,Ē said Takashi Aoki, who helps manage about $1 billion at Mizuho Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. ďHonda will benefit from that growth in demand.Ē
                              Sales in China are increasing on government stimulus spending and a recovery in the economy, Hojo said. In the first six months of the year, the companyís sales in the country rose 12 percent, capped by a 54 percent jump in June.
                              Honda fell 1.3 percent to 3,000 yen at the close of trading in Tokyo as the benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 1.2 percent. The shares have surged 57 percent so far this year.

                              Sales Forecast :

                              Honda raised its global sales forecast in July to 3.295 million vehicles from a previous estimate of 3.21 million. The company predicts net income of 55 billion yen ($577 million) in the year ending March, compared with an earlier forecast of 40 billion yen.
                              ďEarnings should improve further as the market will likely recover after the second quarter,Ē said Yasuaki Iwamoto, an analyst at Okasan Securities Co. in Tokyo.
                              Honda lowered its full-year North American sales forecast to 1.3 million units from 1.35 million units last week. The so- called ďcash-for-clunkersĒ program in the U.S., which gives consumers as much as $4,500 for trading in an old car, may boost Hondaís sales by only ďa few thousand units,Ē Hojo said. Most buyers are using the subsidy to replace U.S. carmakersí models with poor fuel economy, he said.

                              Hybrid Sales :

                              Sales of Hondaís new Insight hybrid in North America may only reach half of the companyís initial target of 100,000 units, Hojo said.
                              ďGasoline at $2.50 a gallon makes it difficult to sell hybrids,Ē he said. The Insightís main competitor is Toyotaís Prius, which gets 50 miles per gallon, compared with the Insightís 41 miles per gallon.
                              Meanwhile, Insight sales in Japan may exceed the original 60,000 unit target to 100,000 units, Hojo said. The global goal of selling 200,000 units in the first year remains unchanged, he said.
                              Japan has implemented tax cuts and subsidies on some fuel- efficient cars to spur auto sales. Consumers can apply for a 250,000 yen subsidy if they scrap a car more than 13 years old to buy a new one and 100,000 yen for a new car purchase without scrapping an old one.
                              The incentives in Japan may be cannibalizing sales that would have come in later, making the outlook after the end of the incentive programs difficult to predict, Hojo said. The programs have raised public interest in hybrid and other fuel- efficient cars, which will help when Honda introduces its CR-Z and Fit hybrid models next year, he said.

                              To contact the reporter on this story: Makiko Kitamura in Tokyo at mkitamura1@bloomberg.net;

                              Last Updated: August 5, 2009 04:30 EDT

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                              Honda to export Civic Type R from England to Japan !


                              08/06/2009, 8:42 AM

                              By Andrew Ganz

                              It might seem a little backwards, but Japanese automaker Honda says that, beginning in 2010, it will start exporting its sporty Civic Type R hatchback from its Swindon, England, assembly plant to its home market of Japan.

                              The hatchback will be called Type R Euro and will be sold alongside the Type R four-door, which is assembled in Japan. Honda also exports the Civic Type R hatchback to the right-hand-drive markets of Australia and South Africa, so the move into the Japanese market was not unexpected.

                              Honda also exported the 2001 model year EP3-generation Civic Type R hatchback to Japan and even North America, where it was badged Civic Si. The automaker also builds the five-door Civic, Civic Type S and CR-V at its Swindon facility.

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                              • Auto production increased, cautiously !


                                by Bree Fowler and Dan Strumpf, The Associated Press Wednesday August 12, 2009, 6:19 PM

                                Kathy Willens/The Associated Press archiveNicholas Sasso considers buying a Toyota Corolla this month with help from sales consultant Mostafa Ellaida, right, at Bay Ridge Toyota in New York. The Corolla sedan is the best-selling new model for traders of clunkers.
                                NEW YORK -- After a lot of heartbreak, the nation's automakers aren't looking to commit.
                                They're taking small, tentative steps to raise production to meet the revived demand for new cars and trucks sparked by Cash for Clunkers. Carmakers are offering overtime or Saturday shifts at slack plants, but aren't willing to go as far as opening shuttered factories, concerned that demand may ebb when the program ends.
                                It typically takes a month for factories to ramp up for a full-fledged sales revival, and automakers worry current levels of demand won't last that long. Sales are usually dry in the early fall anyway, when the next model-year's vehicles hit dealer lots and summer clearance sales end.
                                "It's like dating versus getting married," said Jeremy Anwyl, CEO of the auto Web site Edmunds.com. "Overtime you can do for a while and then stop, but opening a plant is a much more serious commitment."
                                It's a delicate balancing act for automakers. Build too few cars and dealers are stuck turning away customers. Build too many, and they have to slash prices to get rid of inventory -- the same situation many in the industry were stuck with earlier this year.
                                "They're watching (sales) daily," said Ron Harbour, partner in charge of the North American automotive practice at consulting firm Oliver Wyman. "No one's going to get caught with their shorts down again."
                                General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC shut down nearly all of their factories during their time under bankruptcy protection. Chrysler is now adding overtime at most of its plants to respond to expected demand for its 2010 models, spokesman Max Gates said.
                                Ford, meanwhile, is also working to raise production. Spokeswoman Angie Kozleski said the company is "taking some action to add production" at its assembly plant in Wayne, Mich., but declined to offer specifics. The plant makes the Ford Focus, the No. 2 Cash for Clunkers seller.

                                Foreign automakers with U.S. plants are taking similar steps. Honda Motor Co. is adding Saturday overtime shifts at its auto assembly plants in East Liberty, Ohio; Lincoln, Ala.; and Greensburg, Ind. Honda spokesman David Iida said the company has seen a resurgence in demand for vehicles like the Ridgeline truck, the Odyssey minivan and the Pilot SUV, along with the Civic sedan, all of which are built in the U.S.

                                Toyota Motor Corp. last month began increasing production of "core" models such as the Corolla sedan -- the best-selling new model for traders of clunkers -- the RAV4 crossover and the Tacoma truck at its U.S. plants. And Hyundai Motor Co. is recalling more than 3,000 employees at its plant in Montgomery, Ala.
                                GM is being more cautious. Mark LaNeve, GM's vice president of U.S. sales said the company is doing careful analysis on whether to increase production but no final decisions have been made. Inventories are low, he said, because GM slashed production earlier in the year. But it's unclear whether July's sales momentum will continue through the remainder of the year.
                                "We're not going to oversupply our dealers and the market," he said.
                                Some dealers say the pickup in sales is causing shortfalls in their inventory -- a problem that many showrooms haven't faced in a long time.

                                Bill Feinstein, general manager at Planet Honda in Union, N.J., said he expects to sell nearly twice as many Civics as he usually does in August thanks to the program. The sedan is the third-most-popular Cash for Clunkers vehicle.
                                "We're begging the factory for more," said Feinstein, whose stock of Civics is about half the size it normally would be in August.
                                Other vehicles, even larger ones like the Ridgeline and the CR-V crossover, have picked up too, which he credits to stable gas prices.
                                "I think consumer demand shifted from the smaller vehicles," Feinstein said. "That market came back very robustly."

                                Honda had a 44-day supply of Civics at the end of July, down from 81 at the end of June. Ford had only a 25-day supply of Focuses, while Toyota had a 13-day supply of the Prius gas-electric hybrid, the No. 4 cash-for-clunkers seller. The industry average is a 48-day supply, according to Ward's AutoInfoBank.

                                Cash for Clunkers offers consumers up to $4,500 to trade in vehicles getting 18 mpg or less to buy new, more fuel-efficient models. The program got $2 billion in additional financing from the federal government last week. But experts have questioned whether the program is fostering new demand or simply stealing business from later periods.
                                If the latter is true, automakers could be in for a big drop-off in sales later in the year. Standard & Poor's analysts said in a report released Monday that there's no reason why the popularity of Cash for Clunkers can't continue for "several more weeks, if not months."
                                "However ... we believe the boost in sales may be short-lived, and there is even a risk that the program may pull demand from future periods," the analysts wrote, noting that similar programs in Europe have also been followed by a sharp drop in sales.

                                When the program kicked off last month, frenzied customers fearful that the program's funding would run out flocked to dealerships in droves. But some dealers said foot traffic has now begun to slow, with consumers no longer so worried that the program's end is imminent.
                                "It seemed that there was more sense of urgency prior to passing the bill," Anthony Ciuffo, sales manager at Crown Ford in Lynbrook, N.Y., said Saturday. "People feel that they have a longer window of opportunity."

                                Edmunds.com's Anwyl said he expects demand to die down in September, but said that drop may be tempered if the economy rebounds. However, it's also possible that an economic rebound could send gas prices and interest rates up, driving even more people away from new cars and trucks.
                                So when it comes to planning production, Anwyl said he doesn't envy the decisions the auto executives have to make.
                                "At the end of the day, you might as well roll the dice," he said. "There's no science to this."
                                Associated Press Writers Kimberly S. Johnson in Detroit and Chip Cutter in New York contributed to this report.

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                                "Almost too successful?"


                                Ellen Dennis, of Talent, watches from the driverís seat of a new Honda Fit as her husband Rick Harris, left, says goodbye to sales consultant David Thwing, after trading in their Ford F-250 XLT at Bob Thomas Chevrolet Honda in Bend on Wednesday afternoon. Through the Cash for Clunkers program the couple will receive $4,500 for their trade-in.

                                Andy Tullis / The Bulletin

                                Robberson Ford in Bend is down to just one fuel-efficent Ford Focus and a few Ford Escape SUVs, thanks mostly to the demand created by the governmentís Cash for Clunkers program, owner Jeff Robberson said Wednesday.
                                More vehicles are on the way, Robberson said. But Robberson is not alone, as many local auto dealers say the program has been wildly successful in spurring sales, leading to inventory declines.
                                At Toyota-Scion of Bend, General Manager Robert Durfee said the dealership has a 10-day supply of new cars, down substantially from its average 45-day supply. Durfee said the dealership also expects to receive new cars in the coming days.
                                The programís success has created some problems for the dealers, from declining inventory to a delay in government reimbursement. But they arenít necessarily bad problems to have, as the program has lured numerous customers to the showroom, they say.
                                ďThe really good thing about this program, for every (Cash for Clunkers) deal we did, we did two or three others outside the program,Ē Robberson said. ďIt just kind of got the whole market moving.Ē
                                The Cash for Clunkers program enables vehicle owners with certain older, inefficient cars and trucks to claim an either $3,500 or $4,500 credit they can apply toward the purchase of a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle. The government reimburses dealers for the amount.
                                The program, which took effect July 1 but didnít pick up steam until final rules were released July 24, was originally funded with a $1 billion mandate.
                                The money quickly ran out due to the programís success, and Congress appropriated another $2 billion last week.
                                The inventory declines have been exacerbated by decreased production from manufacturers, who slowed production during the recession in response to waning consumer interest.
                                Gary Gruner, owner of Gary Gruner Chevrolet-Pontiac-Buick in Madras, said General Motorsí bankruptcy further slowed production, leaving him with an emptier lot than normal at a time when consumer interest has spiked dramatically.
                                ďAll those plants are up again and back online and starting to get product built again ... (but) every GM dealer I talk to is running out of inventory,Ē Gruner said.
                                Gruner said the 55 new vehicles he had on his lot before the programís start have been reduced to roughly 25. He added that expects more vehicles soon.
                                According to an Associated Press report, manufacturers are taking small, tentative steps to raise production to meet the revived demand for new cars and trucks sparked by Cash for Clunkers. The report said carmakers are offering overtime or Saturday shifts at slack plants but arenít willing to go as far as opening shuttered factories, concerned that demand may ebb when the program ends.
                                The program is slated to expire Nov. 1 or when the $2 billion extension runs out. Robberson said his dealership is allowing interested individuals to reserve a vehicle even if itís not currently on the lot.
                                The programís success also has caught Washington by surprise. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is charged with administering the program, hasnít been able to keep up with the thousands of deals that have been made, leading to delays in reimbursing dealers.
                                Bruce Klouda, general manager for Bob Thomas Car Co. in Bend, said the dealership has yet to be reimbursed for roughly 40 Cash for Clunkers deals. Klouda, citing the National Association of Auto Dealers, said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently announced it would hire 300 new employees to handle the crush of paperwork.
                                The processing delays have meant dealers have had to store the clunkers on their lots because they donít have to destroy the cars until after they have been reimbursed.
                                Klouda said the program has reinvigorated the auto markets. He said sales were starting to inch up before the program began, thanks to thawing credit markets and a stabilizing economy. The program has caused a spike in sales, but he believes interest will remain strong after the program expires because itís got people thinking about cars again.
                                Andrew Moore can be reached at 541-617-7820 or amoore@bendbulletin.com .

                                Popular buys and trade-ins

                                Top 10 models replacing clunkers

                                Model Share:

                                Ford Escape 4.9%
                                Ford Focus 4.6
                                Honda Civic 3.9
                                Jeep Patriot 3.8
                                Dodge Caliber 3.7
                                Toyota Corolla 3.3
                                Ford F-150 3.2
                                Honda CR-V 2.7
                                Chevrolet Silverado 2.7
                                Toyota Camry 2.5

                                Top 10 clunkers traded in

                                Ford Explorer 10.2%
                                Ford F-150 8.6
                                Jeep Grand Cherokee 6.3
                                Jeep Cherokee 4.1
                                Chevrolet Blazer 4.0
                                Chevrolet Silverado C/K Series 3.5
                                Ford Windstar 3.0
                                Dodge Ram 1500 2.9
                                Cadillac DeVille 2.1
                                Dodge Grand Caravan 2.1

                                Note: Numbers are for July 24-Aug. 7 Source: Edmunds.com
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                                Last edited by tokyodream; 14-08-09, 10:17.
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