Ultimele articole din presa straina referitoare la Honda

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  • http://arabnews.com/economy/corporat...icle625084.ece

    Fourth generation Honda CR-V debuts

    Abdullah Hashim Co. Ltd. (AHC), sole distributor of Honda vehicles in Saudi Arabia, has introduced the all-new Honda CR-V, which is available for customers in LX, EX and EX-Leather grades.

    Tabish Akhtar, DGM, Abdullah Hashim Group, said, "Globally, the CR-V has been recognized as a pioneer of compact SUV. Since its first launch in 1996, over 5 million CR-Vs have been sold so far, which amply proves its global appeal in terms of design, quality, refinement and popularity. Building on this solid reputation, the all-new CR-V now enters into its 4th generation with enhanced exterior aesthetics, car like interior comfort, innovative features and a smoother and quieter ride, and is designed to offer urban sophistication and exceed customer expectation of a 5-seater compact SUV."

    The previous generation CR-V's refined styling, size and proportions contributed a lot to its success since its launch in 2006.

    "Compared to the previous-generation CR-V, the 2012 model takes on a more aggressive and aerodynamic stance with deeper sculpting of the bodylines and a bolder front fascia. The front bumper's smooth-flowing lines are highlighted by a horizontal three-bar grille and deeply set multi-reflector headlights. The lower front bumper wraps smartly upward to convey SUV capability with a generous approach angle, while the lower front bumper design with fog lights (only for EX & EX-Leather grades) now integrates more smoothly with the fascia for improved aerodynamics," he said.



    Maita adds Citrus Heights Honda dealer

    The Sacramento-based Maita Automotive Group has added to its dealership empire along Auburn Boulevard.

    Maita this week closed on its purchase of the Carmichael Honda car dealership at 6151 Auburn Blvd., in Citrus Heights.

    Dealer Norris Rancourt, who started the dealership more than 40 years ago, is retiring. The pending purchase became official with formal approval from Honda. Financial details were not disclosed.

    Maita's auto row along Auburn Boulevard already includes a newly built Toyota-Scion store in the 2500 block, a recently built Nissan dealership in the 2800 block and a Mazda/Subaru store at 2410 Auburn Blvd.

    A new Subaru store is being built adjacent to that site and is scheduled to open this summer.

    When the new Subaru store opens, the 2410 Auburn Blvd., building will be devoted solely to Mazda. Maita also oversees Maita Chevrolet in the Elk Grove Automall.

    "We're extremely excited about having the Honda lineup available for our customers," said Steve Maita, Maita group president. "The Honda brand offers an exceptional lineup of vehicles."

    Maita group veteran Chuck Baccarella, now general manager of the Honda store, said the Citrus Heights dealership has amassed "many loyal customers" over two generations.

    "We intend to build on their tradition of service under the Maita banner," Baccarella said.

    Maita Honda is part of a crowded Honda landscape in the Sacramento-area market.

    In 2009 alone, Mel Rapton Honda moved into a new 77,000-square-foot dealership along the Capital City Freeway, and Don Palombi launched his 70,000-square-foot Folsom Lake Honda store in the Folsom Automall.

    Also in the mix are Auto-West Honda in the Roseville Automall and Elk Grove Honda in the Elk Grove Automall.

    However, officials with Torrance-based American Honda Motor Co., the U.S. arm of Toyko-based Honda, maintained even during the recession that they were betting big on California once the economy improved.

    They predicted that Honda's mix of fuel-sipping passenger cars and hybrids would prove popular among Golden State motorists.

    That bet appears to be paying off.

    According to the Sacramento-based California New Car Dealers Association, the Honda Civic was California's best-selling passenger car in 2011 with 37,475 unit sales. The Honda CR-V was the state's top-selling light truck, with 21,863 units sold.

    Last year, Honda, General Motors and Ford each had statewide new-car market share of about 12 percent, trailing only Toyota's 19.2 percent.

    Jesse Toprak, an analyst for the Santa Monica-based TrueCar.com, called California "one of the best markets for Honda."



    Honda to Bring High-tech Vehicles to Zipcar

    One of the world’s premier car-sharing services will soon be featuring four of the world’s premier fuel savers: That’s because Zipcar and Honda have teamed up to offer vehicle sharers access to a quartet of the automaker’s most advanced new products.

    “The future of mobility is being shaped by economic forces, evolving technology and global trends, from increased urbanization to concerns about climate change to how the newest generation of drivers thinks about transportation,” said Scott Griffith, chairman and CEO of Zipcar. “This win-win partnership with Honda adds to Zipcar’s array of smart and sustainable transportation options and by introducing Zipsters to Honda’s newest hybrid and electric vehicles we can help increase overall awareness of these exciting new technologies.”

    Specifically, the new agreement calls for expanded Zipcar availability of the Honda CR-V, which is capable of 26 mpg in combined driving and is one of the most fuel-efficient crossovers in the U.S., as well as the Honda Insight, rated by the EPA at 41 mpg city/44 mpg highway/42 mpg combined. Then, by 2013, the Zipsters will be able to enjoy the new Honda Fit EV and Honda Accord plug-in hybrid. The former is expected to deliver an all-electric, zero-emissions driving range of 123 miles per charge, along with a charging time of about three hours using a 240-volt connection; the latter will feature a three-mode propulsion system that seamlessly combines all-electric travel (of up to 15 miles), gas-electric hybrid driving and traditional gas-only power for optimum fuel economy and performance.

    “Honda provides the most comprehensive lineup of vehicles that offer improved fuel efficiency, reduced emissions, and enhanced vehicle and pedestrian safety, while producing a consistently high level of product quality and value,” said Steven Center, vice president of the Environmental Business Development Office at American Honda. “As the car sharing market leader, Zipcar is the best choice for us to showcase our newest energy-efficient transportation technologies, given the strength of their brand, their tech-savvy, conscious and connected members and the geographic reach of their operations.”



    Hertz to Offer Civic Natural Gas at Airports

    In a major step forward for proponents of compressed natural gas, Hertz will begin renting the Honda Civic Natural Gas to travellers at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City. This marks the first time Hertz has offered CNG vehicles at a U.S. airport, and it kicks off a pilot program that could see similar efforts throughout the country.

    “Hertz is committed to providing our customers with a full spectrum of vehicle options to suit their rental needs including clean emission vehicles such as CNG, electric vehicles, as well as other fuel-efficient vehicles included in our Green Traveler Collection,” said Mark P. Frissora, chairman and CEO of Hertz. “As more low emission, fuel efficient vehicles become available for general use we will continue to expand our rental fleet, reflecting our dedication to offering sustainable travel options.”

    The Civic Natural Gas, of course, is an ideal choice for the program, since it’s still the only factory-built CNG-powered car produced in America. It also happens to be the 2012 Green Car of the Year, as well as the cleanest internal-combustion vehicle to be certified by the EPA.

    “By renting a CNG vehicle, Hertz customers will cut their fueling costs in half, while driving a vehicle that is better for the environment,” said Aubrey K. McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corporation, an Oklahoma-based company that is a leader in natural-gas production. “We hope the success of Hertz’s program in Oklahoma City leads to adoption of this program nationwide.”

    Just remember, you don’t have to fly to Oklahoma City to get in on the action. As part of its own effort to offer customers more ways to decrease their reliance on gasoline, Honda now sells the 2012 Civic Natural Gas in more than 200 dealerships in over 35 states.



    Honda Picks EV, Plug-in Hybrid Charging Partner

    As Honda prepares to launch two new electrically powered vehicles for U.S. drivers—the all-electric Honda Fit EV and Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid—the company has now chosen the Leviton Manufacturing Company as its preferred supplier for charging solutions—for both customers and dealers alike.

    “As leaders in the fields of advanced technology for mobility and energy solutions, Leviton and Honda both have unique missions to create a more sustainable future,” said Steven Center, vice president of the Environmental Business Development Office at American Honda. “Pairing Leviton’s EV charging solutions with Honda’s advanced Fit EV and Accord Plug-In Hybrid Sedan electric vehicles will enable a more convenient and seamless ownership experience for our customers.”

    Simple, affordable charging solutions are vital to helping customers get the most out of these new Hondas, and they certainly have a lot to give: The Fit EV will boast a range of 123 miles of all-electric, zero emissions city driving on a single charge, and can then recharge its battery in as little as three hours when using a 240-volt circuit. The Accord Plug-in, boasting a brand-new two-motor hybrid system, will deliver a 15-mile electrically powered driving range, as well as superior fuel efficiency in both its gasoline-electric hybrid mode and traditional gas-only operation.

    “Leviton is excited to work with American Honda as they launch their electric vehicle program here in America. At a high level we share a very similar overall mission; to supply products of the highest quality at a reasonable price for complete customer satisfaction,” said Michael Mattei, vice president and general manager for Leviton’s Commercial and Industrial Business Unit. “In addition, we hope to continue to enable the electric and hybrid electric industry through simple, easy to purchase, easy to install and easy to use products, while providing the highest level of consumer safety.”

    The Honda Fit EV is slated to begin arriving in dealerships this summer, with the Accord Plug-in scheduled for launch in the winter.

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    • http://www.inautonews.com/leviton-of...ions-for-honda

      Leviton Offers Charging Stations for Honda

      Electric company Leviton was chosen by Honda Fit EV to supply electric vehicle charging stations for the Honda Fit EV and Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid Sedan due in 2014.

      Leviton is known as a large manufacturer of electrical wiring systems that has a well-developed range of electric car charging station products. Honda has chosen Leviton to supply charging stations for its pair of electrified vehicles coming soon. The first is the 2013 Honda Fit EV, based on the Honda Fit, offering a 123 city/95 highway mile range and a 6.6 kW onboard charger which allows full recharges in three hours. The car will hit the market at the beginning of this summer. The second model is he Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid Sedan due next winter, which will have up to 15 miles of driving range per charge.

      Leviton offers both charging stations meant for residential and commercial use, as well as other charging station equipment like wiring kits. Several weeks ago Leviton unveiled a new charging station capable of charge rates up to 32 amps at 240 volts AC (7.7 kW output), called the Evr-Green 320 Level 2 Home Charging Station. It can be either be hard wired to a distribution panel, or connected to a NEMA 6-50P plug, and has either a 15-foot or 25-foot charging cable.

      “Pairing Leviton’s EV charging solutions with Honda’s advanced Fit EV and Accord Plug-In Hybrid Sedan electric vehicles will enable a more convenient and seamless ownership experience for our customers,” said Steven Center, vice president of the Environmental Business Development Office at American Honda.



      10 cars that take longest to sell

      Edmunds.com and 24/7 Wall Street release list of cars Americans are not buying

      Car sales are up 2 percent overall. But Edmunds.com and 24/7 Wall Street have released a list of the top 10 vehicles Americans are not buying. According to the list, these cars may not be the best deals.

      10. Dodge Ram Pickup 1500
      9. Cadillac DTS
      8. Suzuki SX4
      7. Honda Element
      6. Toyota Matrix
      5. THE Toyota Yaris
      4. Mazda 6
      3. Kia Rio
      2. Nissan Titan
      1. Volkswagen Routan SUV

      Last edited by tokyodream; 08-05-12, 08:13.
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      • James May (TopGear) conduce Honda Clarity (motor pe hidrogen)
        Nu te invarti in cerc daca nu e circuit


        • bravo Honda, locul intai!!!!!
          Ex: CR-V 2,2 Diesel Executive 2012
          now: CR-V Elegance WP NAVI 2.0 A/T


          • Cam vechi articolul...dar oricum nu cred ca s-a schimbat ceva!

            Sent from my GT-I9100
            Volkswagen Golf V, 2.0TDI, BKD, MTM Engine Performance Upgrade, GOODRIDGE Brake Lines Hoses, Front&Rear EBC Turbo Groove Brake Discs, Front&Rear EBC Redstuff Brake Pads, Zandvoort 17" + GY Eagle F1 Asymmetric, Hella Xenon-look Headlights, Hella LED Clear Taillights


            • The All-New Civic Hatch Is Coming..


              TULLAMARINE, AUSTRALIA – May 8, 2012: Honda’s all-new Civic Hatch will hit Australian shores in mid-June 2012.

              Designed to meet European standards, the stylish and functional Civic hatch will compete in the fast-growing small car segment.

              Honda Australia spokesperson, Mr. Lindsay Smalley, said the new Civic Hatch is sure to surprise and delight. “The all-new Civic Hatch is a stylish and practical offering in the small segment. It embodies style as well as substance.

              “Its flowing character lines, improved aerodynamics, dynamic ride and handling along with clever packaging are what our customers can look forward to,” Mr. Smalley said.

              The all-new Civic Hatch – that debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year – has an elegant and seamless design, a lower and wider stance along with improved aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. Quality cabin materials give the new Civic Hatch a luxurious feel, while clever features such as the hidden rear door handle and Honda’s unique ‘Magic Seats’ bring practicality to the versatile hatch.

              The Civic Hatch will be available in two variants – the VTi and VTi-L. Both variants receive an improved 1.8 litre four cylinder i-VTEC engine delivering maximum power of 104kW at 6500rpm and 174Nm of torque at 4300rpm. From the outset, the engine was designed to function as part of a high quality, easy-to-handle powertrain with improved operation at every stage of the drive, including start-up, shifting, acceleration and deceleration.

              Safety is of course paramount and the all-new Civic Hatch achieves a five-star ANCAP safety rating with six airbags (front, side and full length curtain), Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, Vehicle Stability Assist, Honda’s G-Con technology, tyre deflation warning system and a reversing camera for the VTi-L (displayed in the Intelligent Multi-information Display).

              The inclusion of Honda’s Eco Assist system, Econ Mode and improved aerodynamics contribute to the combined urban/extra urban fuel consumption figure of 6.1l/100km for the manual transmission and 6.5l/100km for the automatic transmission.

              The all-new Civic Hatch has an elegant exterior design, seamlessly unifying all surfaces including the wheel arches and the body. It is lower and wider with an aerodynamic monoform profile. A new brake-light cluster and rear combination lamp design further add to its form and functionality.

              The interior combines futuristic design with versatility, raising practicality and utility to a new level. The cockpit feel envelops the driver. Two interface zones improve functionality and the full-colour Intelligent Muilti-information display (i-MID), the same system as in the Civic sedan range, allows personalised wallpaper. New tactile surface materials have been used to improve the quality and feel. The Civic Hatch also boasts multiple storage compartments, USB and iPod connectivity, Bluetooth audio streaming in the VTi-L and a new tilt and telescopic steering wheel with easy operating controls, finished in extra-smooth leather with more comfortable stitching in the VTi-L.

              The all-new Civic Hatch has a new colour palette – Yellow Topaz, Alabaster Silver, Crystal Black, Deep Sapphire Blue, Milano Red, Polished Metal and White Orchid. All have a black interior, with the VTi receiving cloth and the VTi-L receiving leather trim and heated front seats.

              Pricing for the all-new Civic Hatch will be announced closer to its Australian launch date.



              Honda Civic’s mojo is in the drive

              ROAD TEST: Honda Civic 1.8 Executive

              Reaction to the Civic’s smaller brother, the ‘reincarnated’ Honda Ballade, has been a bit on the lukewarm side. It’s smaller than most of previous Ballades and it doesn’t quite have that sporty spirit that fans expect from the nameplate.

              Well, for starters, the new Ballade is not actually a Ballade - it’s a rebadged Honda City, which is based on the Honda Jazz. Mind you, the old Ballades (barring the first one) were not actually Ballades either - they were Civics. So the new ninth-generation Civic that you see here is really the new Ballade.

              Not that this latest Corolla rival is going to have previous Ballade owners tripping each other up to get to the showroom floor, but it’s unlikely that anybody who drives it is going to argue that it’s not a worthy successor.

              Hold onto that thought for a minute.

              When I took delivery of a 1.8 Executive sedan I was expecting nothing but a week of mindless, humdrum commuting.
              IOL mot may7 test civic rear

              While not something to stand apart in a crowded parking lot, the Civic sedan is easy on the eye.


              Stepping inside, I’m greeted by this big, hard mass of grey plastic. From the helm it follows the same theme as the Civic before it, complete with split-level instrumentation, but they seem to have toned that design down a bit and made it look more dreary and clinical than futuristic and exciting. It’s enough to put a person to sleep.

              But, as I alluded to earlier, drive the new Civic in a hurry and it really comes alive. It’s not as peaky as earlier VTEC engines, as there is a fair helping of oomph in the lower rev range, but stomp the pedal and it’s both satisfyingly quick and sweet sounding.

              It’s a pleasure to wring its free-revving neck.

              It feels quicker than its rather modest quoted outputs - 104kW at 6500rpm and 174Nm at 4300rpm - would suggest. Against our clock at Gerotek in Gauteng, it sprinted from 0-100km/h in a reasonable 11 seconds.

              If there is one gripe, Honda could have added a sixth gear ratio to aid highway cruising. However, the gearbox itself has a very slick and solid feel and the short-throw joystick-like lever is a joy to operate.

              Honda has also done its homework on the chassis, which boasts a fully independent rear suspension to put it up there with the best in its class. While the handling is as agile as you’d expect from a car of this nature, the ride quality is notably cushy. This and the well-insulated cabin make it feel like a far larger luxury car.
              IOL mot may7 test civic int

              Interior assaults your eyes with overwhelming greyness, but it is at least roomy and comfortable.


              BLAND GREY SUIT

              Not that the Civic sedan is small inside. There’s plenty of stretching space for those in the back - once again mimicking a larger car. And, besides the grey sky blandness that I mentioned earlier, everything from the driver’s position works well from an ergonomic and comfort point of view.

              Just a pity about the design and that colour scheme seemingly designed to match a bland gray suit.

              Thankfully, a different team appears to have worked on the exterior design - for the most part at least. While not something to stand apart in a crowded parking lot, the Civic sedan is easy on the eye. The front has a purposeful and chiselled look about it and the side is elegant, if a little generic. Only weak link is the rear end, which looks like it was penned in the middle of a yawn.


              Note to Honda - add a lot more polish to the interior, a little more zing to the exterior and a few ponies under the bonnet and the new Civic could be a true mini-Accord.

              It’s surprisingly satisfying to drive, but it’s also up against some stiff competition at this end of the market. If you’re spending this kind of money, the 118kW VW Jetta TSI seems a better buy, while the Hyundai Elantra 1.8 GLS will provide most of what you get in the Honda for a good 40 grand less.


              Honda Civic 1.8 Executive (104kW) – R269 900


              Chevrolet Cruze 1.8 LT (104kW) – R266 500

              Ford Focus 2.0 Trend P-shift 4dr (125kW) – R271 360

              Hyundai Elantra 1.8 GLS (110kW) – R229 900

              Kia Cerato 2.0 SX (115kW) – R213 995

              Mazda3 2.0 Individual (110kW) – R289 420

              Renault Fluence 2.0 Privilege (105kW) – R249 900

              Toyota Corolla 2.0 Exclusive (102kW) – R269 500

              VW Jetta 1.4 TSI Highline (118kW) – R274 500



              Neal's Fantasy Factory Refreshes Its "Earth Dreams" Accord Sedan Concept

              Honda's Chinese Concept C sedan and recently released order sheet casts a brighter light!

              Inspired by the release of the 2013 Honda Accord order sheet and the recent debut of the Concept C show car in Beijing, Neal has decided to revisit his Accord Sedan Concept created after the 2012 NAIAS. With a bit more information now available, he hopes this latest iteration is closer to the mark.

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              • http://nhpr.org/post/county-judge-ov...-against-honda

                County Judge Overturns Small Claims Hybrid Judgment Against Honda

                It was a story about the little guy taking on the big, multinational corporation on equal footing: Heather Peters, a California woman, took Honda to small claims court claiming her hybrid Civic wasn't getting the gas mileage promised on the window sticker.

                She won a $9,867 judgement partly because in a small claims setting, Honda couldn't hire a high-powered attorney so it was represented by technical specialist. Peters, who is a lawyer, was armed with pictures of her dashboard showing that at best her car did 42 miles per gallon when the promise in advertisements was 50 miles per gallon.

                As we reported, Honda appealed in a superior court where it could arm itself with high-priced attorneys. Today, a county judge overturned the settlement.

                The AP reports:

                "Superior Court Judge Dudley W. Gray's ruling released Wednesday found that most owners of that type of car achieve fuel economy close to federal EPA estimates. ...

                "Peters opted out of a class-action settlement giving some 200,000 owners between $100 and $200 each, plus a rebate if they buy a new Honda, electing instead to sue the automaker on her own."



                CAR WARS! Honda's Family Friendly CR-V Takes On The New Kid On The Block, The Mazda CX-5

                Though we've been very straightforward with our thoughts on Honda/Acura, we have to admit that the all-new CR-V is probably one of its better designs in recent years; however, that's not saying much.
                We do like how it stayed relatively true to the CR-V concept.

                But there's a new sheriff in town, folks. That, my friends, is the Mazda CX-5. Considering Mazda is in a bit of financial pain, I have to say that I have a soft spot for this all-new offering. That and it looks good, in my eyes.

                So, how do these two make out? Well, according to Consumer Reports the CR-V is more geared towards a family -- no kidding -- and the CX-5 is the sportier, more fun to drive sport-utility vehicle. AND, it even delivers the best-in-class fuel economy.

                Ultimately though, CR goes on the record and says that the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forrester still outscore both products from Honda and Mazda. The reasons? For the Honda, it was downed by excessive road noise, large blind spots and some play in the steering. The Mazda received red marks because of its noisy cabin, firm ride on the highway and underpowered engine during day-to-day driving.

                All things considered, WHICH entry-level SUV do you believe is getting boned by Consumer Reports?




                TEXT-Fitch affirms Honda at 'A'; outlook stable

                May 09 - Fitch Ratings has affirmed Honda Motor's (Honda) Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at 'A' and its Short-Term Foreign and Local Currency IDRs at 'F1' respectively. The Outlook is Stable.

                The agency has also affirmed its US subsidiary American Honda Finance Corporation's (AHFC) Short-Term Foreign Currency IDR at 'F1'. A full rating breakdown is provided below.

                Honda's ratings and Stable Outlook reflect Fitch's expectation that the company's automobile division will show a sharp recovery in the financial year ending March 2013 as production normalises after experiencing major disruption in FY12. The ratings also reflect a stronger-than-expected recovery of the US automobile market and continued robust growth in Honda's motorcycle division. However, Fitch notes that the company's success in regaining US market share also hinges on the success of its new models amid intensifying competition.

                Production disruption due to Japan's earthquake in March 2011 and the Thai floods in H211 caused Honda's automobile division to report a 23% yoy decline in revenue and an operating loss of JPY122bn during the first nine months of FY12. However, as production normalised in Q4FY12 and as the motorcycle division continued its robust performance throughout the year, Honda was able to post an operating profit of JPY61bn in its non-financial operations for FY12.

                Fitch notes that the US market is now more competitive, with stronger performances from US makers and the rising market presence of companies such as Hyundai Motor Company ('BBB'/Positive) and Volkswagen Group ('A-'/Stable), which could constrain Honda's recovery. The success of new models, such as the remodelled sedan Accord to be launched in the fall of 2012, would also be a key factor to Honda's US market share recovery.

                FX remains a key factor for Honda given its reliance on overseas markets. To reduce its FX exposure, the company is realigning its production capacity and increasing its North American production. Earnings have been negatively impacted by the yen strengthening to below JPY80/USD in H211 although the currency has stabilised at this level so far this year.

                Negative rating action may result from market share erosion in key markets, a reversal of global recovery of auto demand, or negative free cash flow on a sustained basis. The ratings may benefit from market share gains in key markets or increased market presence in the premium auto segment.

                AHFC's ratings are linked to those of its parent, reflecting strong business and financial linkages between the companies. Its debt ratings are supported by intercompany funding and a keep-well agreement provided by Honda. A change in the perceived relationship between Honda and AHFC, or deterioration in Honda's financial performance or credit profile could affect AHFC's ratings.

                AHFC's operating performance improved for the nine months ended December 2011, due to a modest increase in financing volumes, lower loss provisions and gains on residual values for used vehicles. Fitch expects continued improvement in the near-term given a recovery in inventory levels and pent-up demand.

                AHFC's funding profile is diversified and consistent with its current ratings. The company has lengthened the maturities of its long-term debt, reducing potential liquidity risk associated with the short duration of its receivables base. Fitch believes AHFC has sufficient liquidity under its bank facilities, medium-term note programmes and commercial paper facilities to meet near- term funding needs and maturing debt obligations in 2012.

                AHFC's capitalisation is consistent with that of similarly rated peers. Fitch believes Honda will provide capital contributions to AFHC as and when necessary to comply with its keep well agreement.


                Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency IDRs affirmed at 'A'; Outlook Stable

                Short-Term Foreign and Local Currency IDRs affirmed at 'F1'

                Senior unsecured debt rating affirmed at 'A'


                Short-Term Foreign Currency IDR affirmed at 'F1'

                Commercial paper affirmed at 'F1'



                Best cars for all types of moms

                Mother's Day is just around the corner and if a new car is on the wish list, there are many choices from which to select the perfect one. Whether she is a mother with young children or teens, has an outdoorsy or sporty personality, or an empty nester dreaming of retirement, we have test-based recommendations on good, safe, and reliable new cars.

                New moms

                All mothers naturally place a priority on safety, but new moms also need plenty of cargo room to fit all the baby gear. A small SUV can be the ideal choice for carting around your new bundle of joy. Their elevated height means easy-on-your-back installation of the baby seat. TheHonda CR-V, Subaru Forester, and Toyota RAV4 all score well in Consumer Reports tests and have excellent safety scores and reliability. Plus, they deliver relatively decent fuel economy.

                Environmental moms

                If you're looking for a fuel-efficient vehicle, it's hard to top the Toyota Prius. It has an average fuel economy of 44 mpg overall, roomy interior, and excellent reliability. However, if you need something a little larger, the Prius V wagon adds even more second-row and cargo space, while delivering a still-excellent 41 mpg overall.

                Sporty moms

                Moms who want a sporty ride, but still need a backseat to tote kids around, may want to look at the BMW X3, Volkswagen Tiguan; sporty wagons such as the Acura TSX or Audi A4; or a hot hatch like the Volkswagen GTI. All are relatively practical, deliver good acceleration, braking, and handling and are fun to drive.

                Adventurous moms

                With the warmer weather here and more opportunity for fun in the sun, moms who like to spend time outdoors will need a car that can fit items such as bikes, camping equipment, and beach gear. The Subaru Outback is a rugged wagon with generous cargo space, plus good fuel economy. If mom likes to hit the trails or tow recreational toys, the powerful-and-refined Jeep Grand Cherokee can handle some off-roading adventures, too.

                Empty-nester moms

                If the mom in your life now has time for herself, a sedan a good choice for everyday outings, vacations, and trips to see the grandkids. The Toyota Camry is comfortable and refined, with a nice interior. Fuel economy is excellent at 27 mpg for the four-cylinder. For more space, consider the roomy Toyota Avalon. If mom wants something sporty, look to the Ford Mustang, or the sporty and luxurious Infiniti G37. They all rate well within their respective categories.

                Big family moms

                Large families need a vehicle with plenty of room for seating, gear, and entertainment to keep kids occupied and mom sane while driving. The Toyota Sienna minivan offers generous cabin storage that includes large bins, pockets, and open trays. The optional in-vehicle entertainment system includes a large fold-down screen can show videos from two sources at the same time, including the DVD player up front. For a smaller vehicle with better fuel economy and seating for six, check out the Mazda5. It stands out in our testing by combining utility, sportiness, and affordability, making it a practical alternative to a larger minivan or a small SUV.

                Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there; we hope you enjoy your ride no matter what vehicle you choose.

                See our model pages for road tests, Ratings, and pricing information.
                Last edited by tokyodream; 10-05-12, 06:44.
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                • http://carscoop.blogspot.com/2012/05...ims-court.html

                  Honda Wins Appeal of Small-Claims Court Over Civic Hybrid's MPGs

                  In February of 2012, Honda Civic Hybrid owner Heather Peters was awarded US$9,867 by a small-claims court in California after she accused the Japanese automaker of overstating the car's 50mpg fuel economy figures.

                  However, being that Peters wasn't the only one to refuse Honda's class-action settlement that offered some 200,000 owners US$100-200 each and a $1,000 credit on purchasing a new car, the Japanese company decided to appeal her win.

                  While lawyers are not allowed in small claims court in California, they are permitted on appeal. And unfortunately for Peters, Honda pulled the big guns hiring a national law firm with more than 800 lawyers to represent the company in court.

                  On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Dudley W. Gray II overturned the small-claims judgment against American Honda Motor Co. on the basis that Honda simply advertised the official EPA figures.

                  Gray's ruling found that while Peters has standing to bring the suit in state court, "federal regulations control the fuel economy ratings posted on vehicles and advertising claims related to those fuel economy ratings" and that Honda at all relevant times "complied with applicable Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requirements".

                  The judge's ruling noted that EPA's estimated miles per gallon ratings are for comparison among vehicles and do not take into account many factors that affect mileage at a given moment.

                  "Despite these many variables, most of the owners of the subject vehicle achieve fuel economy very close to the EPA estimate," wrote Gray. "A graph was presented that showed the results of real world fuel usage as reported to fueleconomy.gov . The graph demonstrates the bell curve expected in nearly any large group surveyed. The majority of users report mileage very close to the EPA estimates," he added.

                  Gray also ruled that Honda's advertising slogans did not promise anything.

                  "With regards to Plaintiff's complaint about Defendant's use of advertising slogans such as "sipping fuel", "amazingly little fuel" and "saves plenty of money on fuel", the Court rules that these are non-actionable sales puffery. They are not specific promises of anything," said Gray.

                  Peters on her behalf said that she understands the ruling but is disappointed.

                  "It’s a sad day when regulations designed to protect consumers are used against them. I’m certain that the EPA and FTC never intended to shield Honda from liability for advertising claims that a court of law determined to be false," she said.

                  "Of course I'm disappointed, but I'm still glad that I raised awareness that Honda is no longer the great brand that it used to be. They used to go the extra mile in customer service, now the go the extra mile fighting customers in court. I guess the moral of the story is buyer beware - especially of Honda!," said Peters.

                  The court decision is now final, though the ruling will not directly affect the other pending cases on the matter.

                  Peters wrote on her 'Don't Settle with Honda' website that the 1,705 people who opted out of the class action settlement "may possibly be able to opt back in" adding that anyone who owned or leased a 2003-2009 Civic Hybrid can read about their rights at www.hchsettlement.com.


                  Patch Drives: Honda Odyssey Proves Smart is the New Cool


                  Who says boring isn’t cool?
                  OK, I said that, just a couple days ago. But after driving a Honda Odyssey I realized boring still isn’t cool, but smart is.
                  And the Odyssey is a smart person’s car.
                  Am I a Honda person?

                  This week I headed over to Honda Bloomfield to test drive an Odyssey.
                  Here’s the thing: I know a few Honda people. You probably know Honda people, too. People who swear there is nothing better than a Honda. People that are practical. People that are serious. People that read the safety reports before shopping for a car. People that are, well, kind of boring.
                  I like to think of myself as more of an edgy, fun, cool kind of chick (that’s why I drive a 2001 full-sized van around town, of course). Full disclosure here: my rebellious (some might say juvenile) spirit might be at work here (again, waaaaah). My very practical, smart (not too boring though) older sister is a Honda person. My father is a Honda person. I had a very serious stepmother once who was, and just might still be, a Honda person.
                  Maybe I am still trying to live up to my black sheep label and be different.
                  I went into the dealership with a chip on my shoulder and pre-conceived ideas of how boring it was going to be.
                  Yep, it hugs the road

                  The sales manager, Diane Boring-Lucaj, was nice and helpful, and in fact very serious. She hooked me up with a semi-loaded 2012 Odyssey EX.
                  Once again I was impressed with the hands-free technology and ability to synch my iPhone. A very nice sales consultant, Shaban Shkembi, showed me all of the car’s features and then sent me on my way.
                  I instantly knew this: The minivan didn’t feel like a minivan at all. This new model is sleeker, lower. Honda people talk about how the Odyssey “hugs the road” and they aren’t lying. It was a smooth ride that felt safe.
                  I felt very comfortable.
                  Holding up the car loop

                  Off to the crucial elementary school car loop test. I pulled up not so much ready to wow, but ready to show off how safe and practical, yet modern and sleek I could be. Dare I say mature?
                  Until I couldn’t figure out how to open the automatic doors and held up the entire line of quite anxious parents. (This was user error, nothing to do with the car.)
                  The kids liked it, and I liked how they all fit. My 10-year-old son said he was neutral because he didn’t want to hurt either Honda's or Ford’s feelings in declaring whether he liked one better than the other. (I test drove a Ford Flex last week.) “Awww, that’s sweet, kid, but that’s not how you write a review,” I told him lovingly.
                  Hands down my kids’ favorite feature was the windows being able to go down in the back. They looked like little puppies sticking their heads out to feel the wind on their little faces.
                  Hands down my favorite feature was what a smooth operator the Odyssey was. That and the fact that it can seat up to eight people: the middle seat in the second row can be easily removed and stored in the trunk or even in the garage. Not that I’m looking for more passengers than my own four kids, but if I happen to ever host a play date, I could offer to drive that child, or two, home.
                  The lowdown

                  Let's see how the Odyssey measures up with the my checklist:
                  • Was there chemistry? Somewhat. It felt comfortable, like we fit together nicely, my family and this Honda Odyssey. Super excited, fever-like anticipation to get in and drive as soon as possible? Not so much.
                  • Appearance? I liked the fact that it wasn’t very van-like. This year's model is sleeker than its predecessors.
                  • Lifestyle? The Odyssey absolutely fits well with my family’s lifestyle. There is plenty of space for the kids and their school bags, sports bags and any other bags they have. The trunk is deep and would work well when we traveled, too.
                  • Affordability? I drove a 2012 Odyssey EX, which starts at $32,435.

                  Overall, there is something to be said for safety and comfort. It’s actually a pretty cool thing to be smart and mature.
                  I just may not be ready for it yet.
                  Angela shopped for her Honda Odyssey at Honda Bloomfield in Bloomfield Hills. The dealership is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday and Thursday; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. To build your own Odyssey or to check on the inventory at a dealer near you, visit automobiles.honda.com/odyssey/
                  There are lots of opinions about the Honda Odyssey; browse the blogs of what other auto writers have had to say. Also, visit autos.aol.com



                  The case of Heather Peters and the Honda Civic Hybrid sets an alarming trend

                  As Autoblog readers likely have already learned, a Superior Court judge in California has tossed out a judgment issued by a small claims court earlier this year awarding nearly $10,000 to Honda Civic Hybrid owner Heather Peters. She had taken the Japanese maker to court claiming it used misleading advertising promising the sedan would get significantly better mileage than proved true in the real world.

                  In overruling the lower court, Superior Court Judge Dudley W. Gray II wrote that, "Federal regulations control the fuel economy ratings posted on vehicles and advertising claims related to those fuel economy ratings."

                  Well, um, no. That was my understanding, too, until I had the chance to pursue the matter with the EPA a couple years back. In fact, I was told, the law simply sets an upper limit. If the tests determine a new model gets 50 mpg – as with Peters' Civic Hybrid – that's the most a maker can advertise or use on the Monroney window sticker. But should a manufacturer like Honda realize through its own tests that the vehicle's real-world mileage might be noticeably less they can mark it down to whatever they think is valid.

                  Of course, who would do that? With mileage now one of the top things on the consumer's shopping list, who can blame a manufacturer for wanting to put the prettiest lipstick on a gas hog. And this week's Superior Court verdict suggests there's little to no recourse for consumers who only discover that fact after they've given it a big smooch.

                  Now, one can also sympathize with Honda. The maker has already had to battle 18 small claims lawsuits in California regarding the under-performing Civic Hybrid. The process is designed to level the playing field; attorneys are barred and small claims judges have a surprising amount of leeway in making their decisions. Imagine if everyone frustrated with the mileage of their vehicle took the maker to small claims. It would see corporate managers spending much of their work week testifying rather than trying to figure out how to actually deliver the fuel economy they tout.

                  The alternative for an owner is to go into a conventional courtroom where the playing field typically tilts in favor of the corporation because of the legal firepower it can deliver. That's why so many significant automotive lawsuits have, in recent years, turned to the class action process. It lets a wide field of plaintiffs pool their resources to even things back out.

                  Manufacturers love to rail about class action lawsuits and plaintiffs' attorneys. But, in reality, they often make out far better by going this route when there's a real chance the company is in trouble. Consider the settlement just recently approved by another California judge. Same basic complaint: Honda overstated the mileage of its early Civic Hybrids, adding up to far higher fuel bills and lower trade-in values. Forget the argument that only the EPA controls the mileage numbers used in advertising. In this case, Honda couldn't do more to convince the court to accept a settlement.
                  Perhaps nothing has been more prone to enhancement than horsepower and 0-to-60 times.
                  That settlement earned owners between $100 and $200 in cash and discount coupons for the purchase of another Honda. That's become a favorite way of settling class action cases in recent years because it gets lots of otherwise pissed-off customers back into your stores.

                  Of course, the sweetener is the millions – in some cases, tens, even $100s of millions that those plaintiff attorneys pocket as fees. Might we wonder how many new hybrids they will purchase with their part of the settlement?

                  Of course, fuel economy ratings aren't the only numbers the industry has manipulated over the years. Perhaps nothing has been more prone, historically, to, ahem, enhancement, than performance figures, especially when it comes to horsepower and 0-to-60 times.
                  If actual mileage doesn't pan out for consumers, who cares. What are they going to do, sue?
                  Intriguingly, more and more makers these days decline to even provide acceleration numbers and they take pains to ensure that they can back their hp claims, usually through certification by organizations such as the Society of Automotive Engineers.

                  No wonder. There have been plenty of lawsuits here, as well. Recall Mazda had to come up with a settlement when it overstated the output of its RX-8 a few years back. And it isn't alone.

                  One difference is that when a manufacturers muffs it here there's no EPA it can point to and insist it is shielded by law.

                  The good news is that the EPA regularly tracks how its mileage ratings compare with real-world figures and the agency has adjusted its testing procedures on several occasions. It was particularly aggressive when it came to hybrid ratings a few years back because, yes, the numbers were way overstated.

                  Protecting the industry, as Judge Gray has done, may only further encourage some makers to tweak vehicles specifically to maximize the way they perform in the EPA tests. If that doesn't pan out for consumers, well, who cares. What are they going to do, sue?

                  There are probably some good reasons for the courts to try to avoid an endless flood of small claims cases, but if this week's verdict simply provides a shield for the industry then consumers everywhere will prove to be the losers.
                  Last edited by tokyodream; 11-05-12, 06:22.
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                  • http://www.nzherald.co.nz/motor-vehi...805014&ref=rss

                    Honda wins hybrid appeal

                    A United States judge has overturned a nearly US$10,000 ($12,700) small claims judgment against Honda that was won by a car owner who said the carmaker misrepresented that her hybrid Civic could get 50 miles (80km) per gallon (4.7l/100km), according to a ruling released this week.

                    "'We are never satisfied when a customer is anything less than satisfied with one of our products, and the company does not relish the necessity to defend the truth in opposition to any of our customers," the statement said.

                    Superior Court Judge Dudley W. Gray's ruling found, among other issues, that while Peters had standing to bring the case in state court, federal regulations govern fuel economy ratings posted on vehicles and related advertising claims. The ruling also said most owners of that type of car achieve fuel economy close to federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates.

                    In addition, the judge said EPA miles per gallon ratings are for comparison among vehicles and don't account for various factors such as the condition of the car or the length of the trip, that can affect mileage.

                    "Despite these many variables, most of the owners of the subject vehicle achieve fuel economy very close to the EPA estimate," Gray wrote.

                    Peters argued that Honda knew it had problems with the hybrid cars but continued to advertise them as an alternative to high petrol prices and a way to help the environment.

                    But Gray said the manufacturer's advertising slogans "are not specific promises of anything".

                    Peters also said her battery failed early on and was never again fully charged after she received a software update, leaving the car to run almost entirely on petrol.

                    "The court finds it was designed to prolong the life of the battery, not to increase mileage or performance of the vehicle," Gray responded about the software update.

                    Peters took her case to the small claims court in January, saying her 2006 Civic was expected to get 50 mpg but barely got 30 mpg (7.4L/100km). She said she wouldn't have bought the car if its mileage was advertised, and her purpose for taking Honda head-on was to hold the carmaker accountable for false advertising.

                    Her suit marked a unique end run around the class-action process that she said offered too little to Honda owners and too much to lawyers. Others counter that consumers are fairly warned when they buy a car that their mileage might vary.

                    "Most everyone, including customers, generally acknowledge that although the fuel-economy numbers shown on a new-vehicle window sticker should be theoretically achievable, it's unrealistic to think of those figures as always attainable," Edmunds.com senior analyst Bill Visnic said.

                    A judge has valued the class-action settlement at US$170 million ($216 million). Attorneys for the plaintiffs have placed the value between $87.5 million and $461.3 million, depending largely on how many people accept rebates of up to $1500.

                    Our results

                    At Driven, we get to pedal quite a few cars - including all the current hybrids available here.

                    A quick team survey - not a particularly scientific one, and reflecting nothing close to the mileage that Ms Grey experienced in her 2006 Civic - reveals ...

                    Honda Civic hybrid: Alastair Sloane managed a solid 5L/100km in this year's Civic model during urban driving

                    Honda CR-Z: Liz Dobson scored a respectable 5.7L/100km in Honda's sportiest IMA offering for a week-long test of city and motorway trip.

                    Honda Insight: Matt Greenop managed 4.4L/100km during a recent economy run in the Insight over a weekend in Auckland.



                    Mazda CX-9 meets Honda Pilot

                    They're both big, three row SUV/Crossovers, from Japan, and both sell for about the same price. But are they mostly the same, or are they two distinct variations on the theme?

                    Clearly, just to look at the two vehicles you can tell it's the latter, that each of these big family haulers is its own man, so to speak. The Mazda comes across as, well, "Zoom-Zoom," but it's also more stylish than the rather boxy Pilot – not that beauty is anything other than in the eye of the beholder, of course.

                    The Honda appears clearly as more utility-oriented than the CX-9, with nifty storage areas throughout and a much more "workman-like" mien.

                    Yet they have so much in common, right down to their "as tested" prices of just over $48,000 Canadian ($48,270 for the Mazda versus $48,520 for the Honda).

                    Both also feature V6 engines that put out at least 250 horses, each has an independent MacPherson strut-type front suspension and a multi-link rear, all wheel drive and, in the higher end trim levels Mazda Canada and Honda Canada provided for the sample vehicles, are loaded with just about anything you can imagine, including a fold down LCD screen and DVD player so rear seat passengers can veg out with a flick or a game rather than resort to bored fisticuffs – unless it's over the choice of which DVD to watch!

                    And they're both terrific vehicles.

                    Zoom, with a view…

                    The Mazda CX-9 GT which, like the Pilot, has a marvelous greenhouse, gets its motivation from a 3.7 liter DOHC V6 engine that "Zoom-Zooms" 273 horses onto the road (with 270 lb.-ft. of torque). That's plenty to get this large hauler hauling briskly. The power gets to the four wheels via "active torque split," which is standard on the upscale GT, and a six speed automatic transmission with overdrive and a manual sport mode that lets you shift the vehicle yourself.

                    That's more enjoyable than the Pilot's five speed automatic, which offers no manual setting at all – further giving the impression more of utility than sport. Honda does offer variable cylinder management for its 3.5 liter DOHC V6, however, an engine that puts 250 horses and 253 ft.-lb. onto the road via its Variable Torque Management 4-wheel drive system.

                    The lower power output and the variable cylinder management undoubtedly helps contribute to the Pilot's better gas mileage – 12.3/8.2 liters per 100 kilometres city/highway versus the CX-9's 12.8/9.0, though Mazdas exhibiting a larger thirst than some of its competition should surprise no one. Nothing in life is free, and if you want "Zoom-Zoom" you should be prepared to pay for it at the pump – though it appears the premium isn't that much if you believe these Canadian government stats.

                    The Mazda's GT trim level gets you 20 inch alloy wheels, a Blind Spot Monitoring System that lights up in the outside rear view mirrors and beeps if you activate the signal lights when the BSM says you shouldn't, which can be annoying.

                    You also get a rear view camera, Xenon (HID) headlights, fog lights, turn signals on the outside mirrors and an intelligent key system that lets you keep the fob in your pocket. Add to the list driver's seat memory an audio display screen, Bluetooth hands-free phone system with music streaming, and a premium, 10 speaker Bose audio system with an in-dash six disc CD changer.

                    The only option on the GT test vehicle was the Navigation package, which includes a voice-activated touch screen, power tailgate, and the rear entertainment system.

                    The interior is modern, clean and luxurious, with easy to read gauges and easy to learn and operate controls. The GT also came with heated leather and lots of room in the first two rows. Getting in and out of the third row is interesting, but the seat itself is surprisingly comfortable. Put three people back there and only two are going to come out, unfortunately – though the same can be said for the Pilot and pretty well any another vehicle in this class.

                    The Mazda has an interesting smart key/keyless entry system. Little black buttons on the outside door handles let you lock and unlock the CX-9 with the key fob in your pocket, but there's no "start/stop" button inside. Rather, the CX-9 starts conventionally, except you just crank a little twisty thing on the steering column instead of using the key. This seemed a bit like an afterthought, but it's actually better than push button start because you can turn off the engine and go to auxiliary mode without having to shut the vehicle all the way off. You also don't need to step on the brake to start the CX-9, unlike most of the push button start/stop vehicles I've driven.

                    Speaking of driving, the CX-9 does very well in that department. Indeed, it feels big (and indeed, it is), but it manages to up the smile-generating component better than many such vehicles – the Pilot, for one.

                    The voice recognition works fine, once you stop overthinking it. I tried saying phone numbers extra slowly and clearly and it screwed up every time. When I tried speaking normally, however, it worked fine. Go figure!

                    Prodigious Pilot…

                    The Honda Pilot Touring looks almost as if Honda wanted to compete with the Hummer (and look where that got GM!). It's boxy, and very utilitiarian-looking compared to the sporty Mazda. Yet it's really just as good a vehicle as the Mazda; they're just two very different ways of approaching the three row SUV/CUV concept.

                    For 2012, the Pilot features a somewhat sleeker front-end and enhanced interior features such as a "more refined" instrument panel and a more intuitive button layout, the latter of which is especially good to see.

                    The boxy theme is repeated inside, with lots of rectangles and not much in the way of artsy swoopiness like that found in the CX-9. It's full of storage bins, including a really great one on the center console where most vehicles have the gear lever.

                    Honda moved the gear lever up onto the dashboard, where it's still nicely at hand (though a tad awkward). That leaves a big squarish storage bin on the console, with a sliding and latching top that's big enough to hold my iPad very nicely if I want to leave it there unseen.

                    The Touring version comes loaded to the gunwales, too, from an easy to pair Bluetooth HandsFreeLink connection for phone and tunes, Honda's Satellite-Linked Navigation System (with trilingual Voice Recognition, which should make for some interesting opportunities for those who enjoy trying to confuse the robotic brain). Naturally, there's a rear view camera and front and rear parking sensors.

                    The audio system is a very good 650-watt AM/FM/CD Premium system with 10 speakers, including a subwoofer and 5.1 Surround Sound Theatre Mode. It doesn't play DVD-Audio discs in their native MLP format (it plays them as Dolby Digital 5.1 instead, which is okay), but neither does most of the competition.

                    The Pilot feels even bigger than the CX-9 to drive – and to park – but it handles well enough and, though it doesn't pull as nicely as the Mazda, it's more than up to the task of getting you up to speed. The suspension features MacPherson struts up front with a multilink rear and, in keeping with the utility theme, there's a trailer hitch integrated into the Pilot's posterior. Honda says the Pilot will pull 4500 pounds.

                    Honda's interfaces are kind of annoying. You have to click through a "lawyer's screen" before you can get at the LCD (otherwise it just displays the time after a while), at which time it defaults to the map. Then, if you bring up the audio screen to listen to the radio, it reads out the station's ID. This is undoubtedly meant to help blind drivers choose the right music.

                    The interior is comfortable and reasonably luxurious, and the third row seat is as tolerable as any. And unlike my experience with the Mazda, I didn't nearly do a face plant getting out of the steerage section – though may have been more a case of operator oafishness than a Mazda design flaw, however.

                    So which is better? That's a tough one. Since these vehicles seem aimed a very different people, and they're almost similar in price, capabilities and comforts, each can claim the title legitimately.

                    I could live with either, easily, but if push came to shove I'd take the Mazda's more luxurious feel, coolness and drivability over the Honda's utility and, as the company says, "highest fuel economy available in a three-row, eight-passenger SUV."

                    But I might sneak over to a Honda dealer late at night, rip that iPad storage bin out of the Pilot and cram it into the CX-9.

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                    • http://reviews.cnet.com/sedan/2012-h...R_Automobiles&

                      2012 Honda Civic NG

                      The good: At current prices, it takes less than $20 to fill the tank of the 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas, and it produces significantly fewer harmful emissions and greenhouse gasses than its gasoline equivalent models.

                      The bad: Power takes a hit with natural gas, and the tanks take up more room, yet provide less range, than in a similar gasoline model. The navigation system's maps look rough.

                      The bottom line: The 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas works well as an economical commute car and errand runner, but its average cabin tech falls far short of the cutting edge.
                      MSRP: $26,155.00 Low Price: $26,155.00

                      Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price From Edmunds.com
                      $26,155.00 See it

                      Set price alert

                      Driving the natural-gas-fueled version of the 2012 Honda Civic brought me back to my high-school chemistry class. As I thought about how Honda derives a miles-per-gallon figure for this car, I considered the physical states of a liquid versus a gas.

                      That train of thought only explained why the natural gas tanks in the car impinged so much on the trunk space, yet still only carried 8 gallons. The 13.2-gallon tank in the 2012 Honda Civic EX-L used up much less space. As my chemistry teacher explained, a gas takes up more volume than a liquid.

                      It took a little Web research to find that Gasoline Gallon Equivalent (GGE) is a commonly used measurement for compressed natural gas (CNG). A GGE of CNG contains the same amount of energy as a gallon of gasoline. Being a gas, that GGE of CNG takes up more volume, and means there is maybe room for three grocery bags in the back of the Civic Natural Gas.

                      Given its smaller fuel capacity, the Civic Natural Gas does not boast the same range as its gasoline counterpart. A Civic EX-L goes an average of 422 miles on a full tank, while the Natural Gas version can only go, on average, 248 miles after its tanks have been topped off.

                      Add lesser range and trunk space to the fact that CNG filling stations are much, much rarer than gas stations, and the question arises, how does the Civic Natural Gas justify itself?

                      Not hurting its case is the fact that fuel economy is about the same between the CNG and gasoline Civics. Same amount of energy per gallon, remember?

                      The most immediate tangible benefit from the Civic Natural Gas is that CNG costs much less than gasoline. A survey of stations around the San Francisco Bay Area, using CNGPrices.com, showed prices ranging from $1.99 to $2.80 per GGE, with $2.09 being the most common price in an area where gasoline is going for over $4.00 per gallon. That means a full tank in the Civic Natural Gas for $16.72.

                      For those willing to think beyond the pocketbook, CNG produces less pollutants than gasoline. According to a Department of Energy study, the Civic Natural Gas emits 20 to 40 percent less carbon monoxide and 80 percent less particulate matter than an equivalent gasoline-powered car. It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent. Under California's emissions rating system, the Civic Natural Gas qualifies as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle, making it eligible for the car pool lanes.

                      And the politically minded might want to consider that CNG is a domestic fuel source, so it lessens the pressure to become embroiled in foreign conflict.

                      In California, this sticker means cruising past miles and miles of cars jammed up on the freeway.
                      (Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)

                      The Civic Natural Gas suffers a power hit compared with its liquid-powered brethren. Where the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine in the Civic EX-L produces 140 horsepower, that same engine only generates 110 horsepower in the Civic Natural Gas. Torque likewise goes down from 128 to 106 pound-feet.

                      That power loss becomes palpable when flooring the accelerator, either to merge on a freeway, pass another car, or through a misguided sense of fun. The Civic Natural Gas is not a fast car, taking its sweet time in the run up to 60 mph. Under this sort of acceleration, it showed a preference for very specific rev ranges, getting a boost after each gear change for a short amount of time.

                      The five-speed automatic transmission is only remarkable for the three low ranges it offers. There is no manual mode, but I could practically choose gears by rowing through D3, D2, and D1, each of which caps the top gear the transmission can go into. A sixth gear might seem like a good idea, but I found the engine speed maintaining just over 2,000rpm at speeds of 70 mph.

                      Generally, the Civic Natural Gas' transmission remained unobtrusive, doing its job quietly in the background, which puts it in sync with the car's overall character. This version of the Civic is about as far from the Civic Si as possible. Even during a quick lane change, the Civic Natural Gas felt wobbly. Its cornering characteristics could best be described as sloppy, but as there is no real power to put down for a turn exit, slewing down a winding road is not much of a temptation.

                      The 5-speed automatic transmission is an example of the Civic's generally average tech.
                      (Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)

                      The Civic Natural Gas seems most suited to suburbia, serving as a commute vehicle and errand runner. It feels solid, with a no-hassle, get-in-and-go nature. Filling it up does requires a little research, to find local CNG stations. Sites like the aforementioned CNGPrices.com can help, as can the Department of Energy's alternative fuel stations locator. Road trips will mean advance planning, making sure there are CNG stations on the route.

                      The car's own navigation system aids the Civic Natural Gas driver in search of some CNG. Honda included a list of CNG stations in the points-of-interest database, and saved it as a favorite category, something owners will certainly appreciate.

                      I saw this optional navigation system in the previous three 2012 Honda Civics CNET reviewed, and it has not improved with familiarity. Although perfectly functional for route guidance, the maps look rough, with jagged letters for street names. The system shows maps only in a 2D perspective. On the plus side, the route guidance graphics give useful information, such as showing how many lanes are available for a freeway exit. It also incorporates live traffic data, and the maps, stored in flash memory, react quickly to inputs.

                      Using route guidance, I was annoyed during one trip that the system guided me to a freeway off-ramp, then put me right back on the same freeway at the next on-ramp. That strange little maneuver could be chalked down to the fact I chose the last route among the three alternates the system calculated for me.

                      The navigation system has a completely different look, with the smaller i-MID integrated with the instrument panel.
                      (Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)

                      The navigation head unit also incorporates the stereo, which offers a good array of digital sources. A USB port in the console supports both iPods and flash drives, but the interface for these two sources on the head unit is very different. Where the system let me browse my iPhone's music library by artist and album, and even showed album art for a currently playing track, the interface for the flash drive was primitive. From this source, it only showed folders and files, failing to organize the MP3 tracks on the drive into a similar music library, as most other cars do these days.

                      With this generation of Civic, Honda's interface turned bipolar. With or without the navigation option, Civics come with what Honda calls the Intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID). This display shows fuel economy and audio information in the Civic Natural Gas with good, modern graphics. However, Honda did not give its navigation unit a similar graphics treatment, resulting in a very disparate look between the two interfaces. I would like to see some more integrated development here.

                      Audiophiles will not be impressed by the Civic Natural Gas' sound system, and will be given no options from Honda for improving it. The car comes with a 160-watt, four speaker system, with no upgrades available. The music reproduction is not horrible, although it had a tendency to highlight odd treble sections in a track. Bass is almost nonexistent, and the system begins to distort with the volume up at 75 percent.

                      In sum
                      The 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas' biggest tech win comes from its fuel source, the low cost of natural gas, and its low emissions. But those benefits are mitigated by lower power and lessened range compared with the gasoline-powered Civics. Other running gear in the Civic is average, such as the five-speed automatic, but not cutting-edge.

                      Nothing about the cabin tech stands out. The navigation system is functional, and the traffic data is helpful, but the system is not much better than a less expensive portable device. The stereo and Bluetooth phone systems do not break any new ground. Honda has not shown a connected car strategy with the Civic, either. Ultimately, the Civic is a mild-mannered, useful little car, but not big on advanced tech.
                      What You'll Pay

                      MSRP: $26,155.00
                      Low Price: $26,155.00
                      Average Price: $26,155.00

                      Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price From Edmunds.com $26,155.00

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                      Price History

                      Tech specs
                      Model 2012 Honda Civic
                      Trim Natural Gas
                      Power train 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine, 5-speed automatic transmission
                      EPA fuel economy 27 mpg city/38 mpg highway
                      Observed fuel economy 32.7 mpg
                      Navigation Optional flash memory-based system with live traffic
                      Bluetooth phone support Standard, with contact list integration and voice command
                      Disc player MP3-compatible single-CD
                      MP3 player support iPod integration
                      Other digital audio Bluetooth streaming, USB drive, auxiliary input, satellite radio
                      Audio system 160-watt 4-speaker system
                      Driver aids None
                      Base price $26,305
                      Price as tested $28,425

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                      • http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7...news&tag=title

                        Honda Civic Natural Gas review: Clean and cheap

                        The natural gas version of the Honda Civic boasts very clean emissions, but most owners will appreciate the low cost of a fill-up: less than $20.

                        Among hybrids and the new generation of electric vehicles, one stalwart of the roads comes with emissions much reduced over an equivalent gas-engined car, and its domestically sourced fuel costs almost half that of gasoline. The natural-gas-powered 2012 Honda Civic makes a good argument for its own environmental responsibility.

                        The Civic Natural Gas checks off some important boxes on the pro side, but also suffers from some pretty serious cons. The low price of a fill-up is not only because of the cost of natural gas, but also from the fact the car's tanks can only hold 8 gasoline gallon equivalents. Despite the lower fuel capacity, the car's tanks affect the trunk room significantly. Although the fuel economy is about equivalent with gasoline, the lower fuel capacity also means less range.

                        Then there is the fact that the Civic Natural Gas takes a performance hit, losing about 30 horsepower compared with the gasoline-powered Civics. However, it is perfectly drivable, doing fine on city and suburban streets.

                        This Civic Natural Gas is a sound car for those who want to spend less at the pump and place a value on protecting the environment.



                        Honda Wins Appeals Decision in Civic Hybrid Lawsuit: How It Happened

                        After more than four months of legal battles, a Torrance, California, judge overturned the February 1 decision that awarded $9,867 to 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid owner Heather Peters. She won the judgment in California’s small claims court system, convincing the court that Honda made false claims about her car’s ability to achieve 50 mpg when, in reality, she reported her car achieving 29 mpg.

                        Judge Dudley Gray II was nonplussed with the original decision, reversing it today. Because of California law, there can be no further appeals of the case.

                        Regarding the ruling, Honda said in a statement, “We are never satisfied when a customer is anything less than satisfied with one of our products, and the company does not relish the necessity to defend the truth in opposition to any of our customers. However, it is important to note that, since January of this year, 17 similar small claims cases involving Civic Hybrid owners have been heard in courts across the country and Honda has now prevailed in 16, based on facts and the law.”

                        Peters countered in a statement of her own that “It’s a sad day when regulations designed to protect consumers are used against them. I’m certain that the EPA and FTC never intended to shield Honda from liability for advertising claims that a court of law determined to be false.”

                        Below is a report of how it all unfolded. Puffery vs. Fact

                        “Things like this happen around the country, every day,” Honda spokesman Chris Martin said April 19 as he stood outside a Torrance, California, courtroom...

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                        • http://paddocktalk.com/news/html/story-191459.html

                          A Fantastic Season For CTCC To Start This Weekend

                          Eight long months of off-season are finally behind us and the Canadian Touring Car Championship (CTCC) presented by Continental Tire is ready to launch its new racing season. This weekend, on May 19th and 20th, the two first Rounds of the season will be battled on the main track of the new Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

                          With 53 confirmed drivers so far for the season, CTCC will have more than a respectable field as this summer; three Cclasses will take assault the track each weekend. The new B-Spec Class will be very well represented by seven well-know drivers. Amongst them, 2010 Super Class Champion Nick Wittmer will race behind the wheel of a Honda Fit # 91, Valérie Limoge in the Mazda2 #26 and Simon Dion-Viens in the Honda Fit # 17. In Touring Class, sixteen drivers will compete this season, and just to name a few: Marc-André Bergeron in the Mazda RX7 # 21; Jacques Deshaies in the Mazda3 # 27; Karl Thomson behind the wheel of the MINI Cooper S JCW # 45; Michel Sallenbach in the MINI Cooper S JCW # 46, and Jocelyn Hebert in the Honda Civic Si # 89 will strive for the win.

                          As for the Super Class, it is worth mentioning that the 2011 Touring Class Champion, Tom Kwok, has made the jump to Super Class in the Acura CSX Type S # 9 along with his brother Gary which will be driving the Mitsubishi Evo X # 66. They will compete with twenty-eight other competitors, for a total of thirty in Super Class. It is safe to say that this field will be spectacular, and the competition will be very exciting to watch all through the season. Amongst Super Class drivers, Etienne Borgeat is coming back to defend his title. The 2011 Super Class Champion will return in his Pontiac Solstice # 1 while Alex Healy will drive the Acura RSX Type S# 5, Dave Ciekiewicz returns behind the wheel of the BMW 330i # 10; Mathieu and Remy Audette will share the Acura RSX # 12; Gunter Schmidt also returns in the Chevrolet Cobalt # 38; Scott Giannou will compete for the first time in CTCC driving the BMW 330i # 80 and Marc-Antoine Camirand comes back behind the wheel of the BMW M3 # 96.

                          “We are looking forward to another fantastic season in 2012,” stated CTCC President, John Bondar. “Each year we welcome more competitors, fans and partners, and 2012 promises to be the best yet. This season, we will perform in front of 700,00 spectators. We are grateful to the great support we receive from the event promoters as we grow the Championship and motorsport in Canada,” he continued.

                          Weekend Schedule

                          During the Victoria Day Speedfest event on May 19th and 20th, CTCC competitors will have a qualifying session at 9:25 am Saturday morning followed by Round 1 at 1:30 pm the same day. Drivers will be competing Round 2 on Sunday at 3:30.



                          Toyota, Honda top supplier survey with lower results, GM and Chrysler improve

                          Before financial Stargate opened in September of 2008 and transported us to an entirely new economic dimension, it was oh so common to read about domestic automakers hammering Tier One suppliers to lower their prices. Of course, suppliers are still asked to find efficiencies, but pre-2008, it seemed a point of honor to hold a supplier's feet to the fire. No more: in the latest Working Relations Index survey of suppliers by Detroit firm Planning Perspectives Inc., General Motors and Chrysler rocketed up the charts to bring the bunch much closer together.

                          Admittedly, the two companies are still in last place, with GM just ahead of Chrysler and Toyota and Honda still up top. But perspective and improvement is the issue here: in 2005, Toyota scored 415 and GM scored 114. In this year's survey, Toyota scored 296 and Chrysler scored 248. It is the first time in the 12 years of the survey that the six automakers covered have been separated by less than 50 points. Chrysler's jump was led by the efforts of the the late Dan Knott, whle GM's improvement has been led by Bob Socia.

                          And yes, this is also a matter of the perennial leaders, Toyota and Honda, suffering a dip: in 2010 Toyota scored 327 and Honda 309, two years later, Toyota has dropped 31 points. Every automaker, however, from top to bottom acknowledged that they still have work to do with supplier relations. The benefits of good feelings are that suppliers tend to present their newest tech to, and make better parts for, the automakers with whom they have the best relationships. Naturally, it has been found that the reverse is true as well.

                          Nissan and Ford make up the middle two spots, where they've been for years. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Hyundai aren't on the list yet; PPI feels it doesn't have enough data on the Germans to yet to officially include them, and it doesn't have enough data on Hyundai to rank it at all. If the data gathered on the Germans was included, though, they would sandwich the rest of the field: BMW and Mercedes at the top, Volkswagen at the bottom a point shy of Chrysler.



                          Honda unveils another Segway-fighter [w/video]

                          It seems that ever since humankind grew legs and climbed out of the ocean, we've been trying to figure out ways to avoid using said appendages. While many of these efforts have been wildly successful – think Roman chariots, Pony Express, and the Ford Model T – the recent spate of personal mobility devices hasn't quite taken off.

                          The poster child for this failure is, of course, the Segway. Though completely awesome, its greatest success has come in comedic appearances on television (Arrested Development) and in the movies (Paul Blart: Mall Cop). But manufacturers have forged ahead, undaunted in their desire to bring human-like mobility to humans. The latest: The Honda Uni-Cub.

                          An evolution of Honda's U3-X motorized unicycle, the Uni-Cub marries a saddle and sturdy base with an omni-directional drive wheel. A rider controls the Uni-Cub by simply shifting their weight. Honda says it is "designed for harmony with people," as the device positions the rider at relatively the same height as pedestrians, rather than towering over them like a Segway rider.

                          The Uni-Cub is designed for use indoors, and is powered by a lithium-ion battery and electric drive. It can reach a top speed of 3.7 miles per hour and has a range of 3.7 miles, meaning that any reasonably fit individual should be able to both outrun and outlast the Uni-Cub.

                          Honda will begin demonstration testing of the device in June.

                          Scroll down to read the full press release and watch a video of the Uni-Cub in action, and be sure to check out all the images in our gallery.


                          Last edited by tokyodream; 16-05-12, 06:33.
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                          • http://vtec.net/news/news-item?news_item_id=1064540

                            Is this the first look at the 2013 Civic?

                            TOV reader Chad Davis sent this photo to us last night. The subject car was spotted in Ohio, and as you can see it's wearing one of Honda R&D's license plates, it's definitely a Civic, and it's taped up as if to hide something. This naturally leads one to conclude that we could be getting an early look at the hastily revised 9th generation Civic, which is due for the 2013 model year.

                            Hopefully we will get some more shots from different angles so we can see what's going on.

                            A big thanks to Chad Davis for sharing this photo with the TOV community.




                            2013 Honda Civic launched in Thailand

                            India-bound Honda Civic launched in Thailand with two engine options; prices and other details revealed.
                            We simply love the current Honda Civic even though it has been virtually unchanged for the last six years. As expected, there is a new model coming now and as we showed you last year, it is much similar to the Civic that is being sold in the US market – albeit with minor design changes for the ASEAN countries.

                            Earlier this week, the all-new Civic was launched in Thailand and provides an insight into the model that will be launched in India. For the Thailand market, the Civic gets two engine options – 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre i-VTEC petrol mills. There is still no word about the diesel powerplant though. Surprisingly, the paddle shifters that were so popular with the automatic variants of the Civic are now available only on the 2.0-litre version and not on the 1.8 automatic.

                            The interiors too have been updated and get new features like telephone connectivity, in-dash navigation system, push-button starter and reversing camera. The design of the interiors is an evolution of the two-tier design that you see in the current Civic. The steering wheel has a new design though and is a big departure from the current design which is now common to the Civic, City and Brio. The highlight of the interiors is the ECON switch and the Intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID). The new Civic also gets projector headlamps now with HID lamps and auto-leveling feature.

                            Honda has a total of five variants for the new Civic, out of which four are powered by the 1.8-litre mill. The pricing starts at THB 773,000 (Rs 13.4 lakh approx.) and goes all the way up to THB 1,124,000 (Rs 19.5 lakh approx) for the top of line 2.0EL variant. The top end version is also sportier of the lot with black leather interiors, paddle shifters and the more powerful engine.



                            What are the best cars for commuting?

                            WASHINGTON - Commutes in the D.C. area are among the longest in the country. Combine commutes with the region's unpredictable drivers, stretches of unforgiving pavement and painfully high gas prices, and that makes selecting the right car all the more important.
                            CNBC has come out with its list of best cars for commutes. The report uses several factors including roominess and fuel efficiency.
                            WTOP had experts weigh in on the selections.
                            The most basic cars on the list are the Chevrolet Cruze ($16,800), the Honda Civic ($15,755) and the Hyundai Elantra ($15,995).
                            Mark Phelan, auto critic for the Detroit Free Press, likes both the Cruze and the Elantra because of their 40-plus miles-per-gallon highway fuel economy, which he says seemed "almost like science fiction" just two or three years ago.
                            Phelan prefers the Cruze and Elantra to the Civic, which is slightly less fuel efficient. But he says there's not a bad choice in the group.
                            Ed Hellwig, editor at Edmunds.com, singled out the Elantra for its utilitarian approach.
                            "It just has a good, high-tech, four-cylinder engine that delivers solid mileage numbers, and it has all the features most people would expect," Hellwig says.
                            "It's about the size people would expect for a commuter car. Most people would be comfortable in it."
                            If those cars are too basic, a pair of upscale compacts also made the list.
                            The Mini Cooper ($20,200) is "an enthusiast's car that's fun to live with," says Phelan.
                            The Buick Verano ($22,585) is based on the more humble Cruze, but has enough improvements to justify the nearly $6,000 price difference.
                            "It's as quiet as a tomb. Quiet interiors are something Buicks have kind of hung their hat on, and they've definitely succeeded with this car," Phelan says.
                            Hellwig also says he, "can't think of any feature people would want and not get in a Verano."
                            Several cars that use electric power were included. But cars with more exotic technology, such as the Nissan Leaf ($27,700) and Chevrolet Volt ($31,645), only save owners money in rare circumstances because of their high initial cost.
                            Phelan says the Volt was his favorite car of the bunch because of its revolutionary technology. But he also says, "Nobody should buy a Volt or a Leaf in the expectation that it's going to pay for itself in the first four or five, even six or seven years."
                            Phelan adds that the all-electric Leaf could be a viable option for someone with a very predictable driving pattern, since it has about a 70-mile cruising range before needing a long time to recharge.
                            Even less expensive hybrids on the list, such as the Toyota Prius C ($18,950), take three to five years to recover the expense. Phelan calls the Prius C "really, really small" and prefers the conventional Prius hatchback.
                            A new kind of hybrid, the Chevrolet Malibu Eco ($25,235), tries to lessen the price premium by using a hybrid-lite mindset. Phelan says he's glad the unique car, which GM isn't promoting as a hybrid, made the list.
                            The Eco has a smaller battery pack than a traditional hybrid, and never runs in all-electric mode. Phelan predicts more cars will adopt this use of hybrid technology in the future.
                            But Hellwig says, while the car is interesting, the battery pack takes up space and makes the car less usable. For example, the rear seat doesn't fold down like the standard Malibu.
                            If a larger car that still gets good gas mileage is the ultimate goal, a diesel powerplant may be in order. Both Hellwig and Phelan like the choice of the Volkswagen Passat TDI ($25,995), which gets the same fuel economy as its Jetta TDI sibling despite being noticeably larger.
                            "If you have a longer commute where you're doing 40, 50 miles, that's a car that could really deliver good mileage numbers," Hellwig says, adding that it doesn't feel slow.
                            "It's really kind of the best of both worlds."

                            Last edited by tokyodream; 18-05-12, 06:27. Reason: completare
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                            • http://blogs.importtuner.com/6770978...ent-honda-crz/

                              Wilwood's New Brake Kit for the '06-Present Honda Civic & '10-Present Honda CRZ

                              Featuring Wilwood's Forged Narrow Superlite six-piston calipers that work perfectly with the OE master cylinder, and ABS functions, this track-tested kit will provide better performance than the original brakes, both on and off the track.

                              The complete kit (part number 140-11978) comes with the calipers, caliper brackets, rotors, aluminum hub adapter, brake pads, and all the hardware needed for installation. The calipers are available in red or black powder coating and buyers have the choice of having a slotted, or drilled and slotted rotor assembly.

                              Wilwood - www.wilwood.com


                              Honda CR-V doesn't fiddle with winning formula

                              Excellent fuel economy, rock-solid reliability


                              "New and Improved!" How many times have you read this slogan on the box, only to discover that things inside were certainly New, but not actually Improved? If truth in advertising were more strictly enforced, one might see slogans like, "New, and now slightly more terrible!"

                              So too with car companies, where the pressure to constantly bring new products to market can often result in a mis-step. Think of something like the 2008 WRX, which was a bit flobbery and rolypoly compared to the outgoing 2007 model.

                              Mistakes can be made, and it gets even worse when you've already got a best-selling winning formula. Do you step up your game with massive changes and innovation - and risk the fumble? Or do you play it safe, pile on the defence and hold the line?

                              All-new for 2012, here's the fourth generation of Honda's best-selling small crossover, the CR-V.

                              Hey, guess what?


                              Take one look, and I bet you'll know which play Honda is calling. There's a lot of new sheetmetal here, but you'll have to know where to look, or be really good at those "Spot the Differences" puzzles.

                              The 2012 CR-V shares the same footprint as the out-going model, and while the new front grille now matches that of the Accord, Odyssey and Crosstour, from there on back it's business as usual. Or at least, that's what your eyes would tell you.

                              Again, as with the Civic redesign, there's much that's changed, just that the original's conservatism remains. There's a bit of a faux skid-plate up front, a minimum of style lines on the flank, and larger vertically extended tail-lights. Better yet, the new CR-V has a squared-off back end with more room for cargo, but the tapered rear window gives the impression of a sleeker rear silhouette. I've decided to call this the Yoga Pant Effect.

                              All this nip-and-tucking of the outgoing model's "melting ice cube" shape has resulted in a trucklet that isn't flashy, but should age well. Verdict: Improved.


                              Amongst all the players in the crossover segment, the CR-V was perhaps the one that previously felt the least car-like inside. With its captain's chairs and low centre console, the old CR-V always had a spritz of Essence of MiniVan about it.

                              This new model has an interior that is much more Accord sedan than Odyssey mini-van. The shifter is still mounted up high on the console, leaving plenty of room for bucketsized cupholders, but the overall effect is slightly less utilitarian.

                              Most of the plastic inside is the hard variety, rather than soft-touch. If you're like me, you'll wonder why the differentiation between the two is of such large importance to some reviewers. After all, hard or soft, it's just plastic, and the greater question might be whether or not it gives the impression that it's going be durable.

                              Good news: this is a Honda. While the silverpainted surfaces seem prone to scratching, the rest gives off the typical Honda impression that pretty much everything's still going to be working on the car when your children's children's children get their hands on it.

                              Speaking of kids, the rear doors on the CR-V swing open a full 90 degrees, handy for anyone wrestling with a rear-facing child seat - which are now required by law to be the size of a 1967 Volkswagen Beetle. Adult passengers will find these rear seats comfortable and spacious, although threeabreast seating is a trifle pinched.

                              Those of you considering a cute-ute for haulage duties will appreciate the new CR-V's flatter-folding seats. These fold with a one-touch, damped motion, either by pulling a tab if a side door is open, or using a lever located at the back of the car; pretty much the same way the Nissan Murano's rear seats have been folding since 2003.

                              Still, it's a nice touch for the cute-ute segment, and even better is the lower loading surface which should be a great boon for anyone ferrying around an older dog. Verdict: Improved.


                              The 2012 CR-V has a 2.4L engine producing 185 horsepower and 163lb/ft of torque. This is an improvement of 5 horsepower and 2 lb/ft of torque over the outgoing model. Look out, Vin Diesel.

                              Also back on duty is the faithful old 5-speed automatic transmission, now with slightly tweaked gear ratios. Most other manufacturers are offering 6-speed automatic gearboxes, with Audi, BMW and Chrysler producing 8speed options.

                              But then, why bother? The CR-V's acceleration is perfectly adequate for the segment, and fuel economy (9.2/6.6L/100kms city/ highway - AWD model) borders on exemplary. It can be a tad noisy though, when pushed.

                              I also hope you made use of that flat-folding rear cargo area to pack your fun with you. The new electric power-steering is more boosted than the old CR-V, and while the handling is slightly improved - as well as the ride, with longer-stroke dampers - it stops well short of anything that could be considered sporty.

                              Like the new Civic, the CR-V can be switched into Eco mode by depressing a green button to the left of the steering-wheel. Doing so greatly reduces the sensitivity of the accelerator pedal. While forcing you to drive in the most fuel-efficient manner possible, it does make the CR-V feel very sluggish: leave this off if you're climbing a series of hills.

                              For most users, the front-wheel-drive CR-V will have all the functional practicality needed for daily life. However, it's worth noting that the new all-wheel-drive system is a bit better. Rather than the old "slip and grip" AWD, the new, lighter system provides better grip from a dead stop, and works with the stability control for better sure-footedness.

                              Verdict: Improved. Sort of.


                              Standard features on the CR-V are more plentiful than ever. The base LX version ($25,995+freight) is anything but basic, boasting Bluetooth handsfree, heated seats, keyless entry, and privacy glass.

                              Also standard - and an industry first - is a multi-angle rearview camera that combines with the full-colour multi-function display mounted high in the dash. Not that the CR-V is difficult to park, being about the same size as the old model, but this is an incredibly useful feature to have for that added bit of safety when backing out of a driveway. The ability to choose between three views is also great.

                              Moving up to the EX and EX-L levels adds niceties such as alloy wheels and a leather interior, respectively. Also available for the Canadian market is a Touring edition with Satellite Navigation and unique trim.

                              Patriotic-feelin' folks should take note that this new CR-V is built in Alliston, Ontario. Subdued styling, frugal operating costs, built two kilometres from a Tim Horton's: yep, sounds pretty Canadian to me.

                              Green Light:

                              Good-if conservative -looks; sensible cargo layout; excellent fuel economy; rock-solid reliability; very good projected resale value

                              Stop Sign:

                              Numb steering; some engine noise; few innovations; not particularly engaging to drive

                              The Checkered Flag:

                              Not the driving enthusiast's choice, but doesn't fiddle too much with what was already a winning formula.


                              Ford Escape ($21,499)

                              The CR-V might be the best-selling import SUV in Canada, but the Ford Escape is the best-selling SUV in Canada, period. Talk about your winning formula: Ford sold 44,248 Escapes last year in Canada. So, play it safe?

                              Not hardly. The new Escape is about as far from its boxy predecessor as you could get. Sleek and sophisticated, with engine options ranging from hyper-efficient to powerful, the new Ford is also full of high-tech gizmos: selfparking, MyFord connectivity, you can even pop open the tailgate by shaking your foot underneath the rear bumper-clever!

                              Mazda CX-5 ($22,995)

                              Riddle me this: how can a Mazda cute-ute with just 155 hp be so much more fun to drive than the CR-V? Answer: Zoom-Zoom.

                              No, really, the CX-5 is light and nimble with lots of lovely steering feedback: kind of like a Miata with a backpack. It's much more engaging than the CR-V, and not dissimilar when it comes to cargo room.

                              On the other hand, all those Skyactiv fuel-saving tricks - like the Ferrari-ish 13: 1 compression ratio - aren't as proven as the Honda's impeccable reliability record. What's more, you really have to rev the CX-5 into the stratosphere to get anywhere; it might not suit your driving style.



                              Toyota President Lists his Favorite Cars Made by Domestic Rivals

                              Toyota President Akio Toyoda is not one your typical automotive CEOs, as believe it or not, the 56-year old grandson of the Japanese company's founder actually likes cars [...]. He is a full-time car guy and a weekend racer who has even competed in the Nürburgring 24 hour endurance race. And like any other car buff, Toyoda's list of favorite cars is not restricted to one brand. However, unlike other automotive executives, Toyoda has no problem revealing which cars he likes from Toyota's domestic competitors in public.
                              According to Autonews, during his inauguration today as chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Toyoda quoted some of his favorite nameplates from each of the four Japanese automakers that are represented in the board.
                              Not surprisingly, from Nissan, he chose the Skyline, which spawned today's GT-R, while from Honda, the NSX mid-engined sportscar.

                              While most would expect the Lancer EVO lineup to be Toyoda's first option when it came to Mitsubishi, the Toyota CEO selected the Pajero SUV. As for Mazda, his vote went to the company's first rotary-engine-powered car, the Cosmo Sport Roadster.

                              Toyoda also made a reference to the Isuze Bellett, a popular subcompact model made from 1963 to 1973 that is said to have been the first Japanese car to receive a GT moniker in 1964 (the two-door version).
                              So there you have it. If you would like to tell us what you think about Toyoda's choices, the comments area is all yours.
                              Last edited by tokyodream; 19-05-12, 07:35.
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                              • http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2...pular-4x4.html

                                Honda CR-V Is 'Honestly' The Most Popular 4x4

                                SLOUGH, UNITED KINGDOM – May 18, 2012: The British built Honda CR-V has fought off fierce competition to be crowned Most Popular 4x4 by expert motoring website honestjohn.co.uk. The CR-V came out on top as Google Analytics data, which analysed the number of page views for each car over the last 12 months, recognised it as the most searched for 4x4 on the site. The reliability and robustness of this British built model are just some of the qualities why users are regularly searching for this car.

                                This is the second recognition Honda has received recently from honestjohn.co.uk after being rated as a top three performer in their analysis of MoT pass rates earlier this month.

                                “There has been a significant increase in traffic to the CR-V review and in such a tight category with plenty of popular models, it’s done well to come out on top” said Dan Harrison, Editor of honestjohn.co.uk. “It’s rare to see increased traffic for a model that’s soon to be refreshed, but the current model CR-V continually drives high traffic for the 4x4 reviews. That said, we’ve already seen plenty of interest in search from users, months ahead of the official launch of the new model.”

                                Dave Hodgetts, Managing Director of Honda (UK) commented: “It’s great to see honestjohn.co.uk visitors are showing such support for the CR-V and have already begun creating a buzz around the fourth generation model coming out later this year.”

                                Spacious, versatile and comfortable, these are just some of the qualities that highlight why the CR-V has generated such interest online. The CR-V is available from £23,030 OTR and now couldn’t be a better time to get behind the wheel as customers purchasing a CR-V in SE+ specification will be upgraded to the ES-T variant. This means the addition of £2,490 worth of extra equipment including 18” alloy wheels, half leather/half alcantara upholstery, heated front seats, retractable wing mirrors, iPod connectivity and Satellite Navigation with Hands Free Telephone system, all completely free of charge.

                                Customers looking for that added luxury and opting for the ES-T specification will automatically receive a complimentary upgrade to EX trim. This means the addition of premium audio, full leather upholstery, panoramic roof, HID lights, auto lights and wipers, full body coloured bumpers and eight way power assisted driver seat – worth a total of £2,520. The model is also available with a range of flexible finance packages and low cost service options to help drive down ownership costs.



                                Drive From The Rising Sun: Why Japan's Car Companies Are Moving Manufacturing Overseas

                                012 2:38 AM EST

                                Japan's vaunted automakers may soon stop building cars in their homeland for export as a soaring yen combines with Mother Nature's mood swings and an aging population saps the strength of the Nipponese domestic market, driving the companies across the oceans and far from their birthplace.
                                View Full Image

                                Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn, who really looks an awful lot like "Mr. Bean," speaks during a news conference in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, May 11, 2012. Ghosn said on Friday that he does not expect the yen to remain strong and believes that, logically, it should weaken.

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                                Last week, Nissan Motor Company Ltd. (Tokyo: 7201) CEO Carlos Ghosn said that the automaker was seeking to "minimize exports from Japan." The very same day, Honda Motor Company Ltd. (NYSE: HMC) announced that it planned to stop exporting hybrids and instead produce them solely in the markets where they are intended to be sold. In 2011, Honda discontinued production of Civic model cars in Japan in favor of international production. And even Mazda Motor Corporation (Tokyo: 7261), which has been slow to set up plants outside of Japan, has recently broken ground on new factories in Mexico to produce Mazda 2 and 3 cars as well as engines.

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                                These moves are a bitter pill for Japan and its foundering economy - and also a peek into Japan's future. Just a few decades ago, when Japanese companies were audaciously acquiring such international icons as Pebble Beach Golf Course and Rockefeller Center, Burberry, Aquascutum, Sun Chemicals and Columbia Studios, fears were rife in the West that Japan was going to dominate the global economy, eclipsing the U.S. in importance and innovation.

                                Nobody raises those concerns anymore. As Japan's automakers begin the process of closing the door on their domestic operations, they will leave a bedraggled economy that last year fell behind China to No. 3 in Gross Domestic Product and offers little reason for optimism. By all accounts, Japan's GDP will continue to shrink inexorably as its population ages and the dynamism of its domestic market weakens.

                                "Partly it's a hedge against currency; it's also to be closer to customers," said Robert Cole, Professor Emeritus at the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business and visiting researcher at Japan's Doshisha University. "And the domestic market is not growing anymore. They (automakers) must go global."

                                The Big Bad Yen

                                If anything is accelerating the move by automakers to leave their Japanese operations behind it is the strength of the country's currency. The Yen hit a record low of 75.31 to the dollar last year and has fallen almost 32 percent in the past five years. A strong yen makes Japanese exports less competitive globally and cuts into the value of overseas earnings when repatriated into yen. According to analysts, for each yen that the dollar loses in value, Toyota Motor loses about 30 billion yen in earnings per quarter.

                                "The pressure has increased on Japanese manufacturers across the board in recent years to move manufacturing overseas because of the sky-high yen," said James Lincoln, Mitsubishi Chair in International Business and Finance at the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business.

                                Earlier this month, as part of an alliance with Renault and Daimler, Nissan broke ground on a new factory in Decherd, Tenn., which will employ 400 employees. The company also announced that it would take a $450 million stake in Russian car company OAO Avtovaz, maker of Lada-brand cars. The Russian market is the fastest growing automotive market in Europe.

                                Nissan is likely to extend its global footprint even further in the near future. CEO Ghosn said that if the exchange rate remains at its current levels the company would be forced to move more of its production overseas, including its luxury Infiniti brand models. "Without a doubt, we will have to do it," Ghosn said, "at 79 yen or 80 yen, most of the growth is going to take place outside Japan, if not all of it."

                                The Supply Chain Ouroboros

                                Last year's string of natural disasters laid bare another set of critical vulnerabilities for automakers with factories in Japan. The Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and the subsequent nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture as well as torrential flooding in Thailand disrupted supply chains for all of Japan's car companies and set back their production schedules by months.

                                Toyota and Honda, in particular, were hard hit as their Japanese factories and those of their suppliers were idled for long periods, delaying the launches of critical new models, like the Honda CR-V. Toyota's net income for fiscal year 2012, which encompasses the disasters and recovery period, fell 44 percent, to $3.56 billion and its worldwide production fell 8.4 percent in 2011. Last year, Honda lost 0.8 percent of its marketshare globally and its production fell 20.1 percent.

                                To better protect its global supply chain - in other words, to hedge against natural disasters and to avoid being overly dependent on any one region - Toyota has invested $565 million in U.S. and Canadian manufacturing facilities since February, hiring almost 1,000 employees and increasing North American capacity by 100,000 vehicles, 120,000 transmission and 100,000 engines annually. Meanwhile, Honda has decided to manufacture the Acura NSX in Marysville, Ohio and the Honda Fit at a new plant in Mexico. Between these two factories, Honda is ponying up more than $1.3 billion.

                                These moves have the additional benefit of cutting down on distribution costs for vehicles that otherwise would have to be shipped to, for example, North America for sale.

                                "Honda has always operated under the principle that we want to build products near our customers," said Jeffrey Smith, assistant vice president of corporate affairs for American Honda Motor Company.

                                With its new plants in Mexico, Mazda plans to assemble cars for the U.S., Mexican and South American markets and to take advantage of Mexico's many free trade agreements. Mexico has more free trade agreements than any other nation in the world besides Israel.

                                "It allows manufacturing for markets that can be hard to reach overall," Mazda's Amestoy said.

                                Through Mazda's longstanding relationship with Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) - Ford owns about 2 percent of Mazda - Mexico is one of the few places outside of Japan in which the automaker has already developed a substantial presence. When Mazda first entered the Mexican market, some six years ago "we could have sold Mazdas as food processors, recognition was just that low," Amestoy said. Now Mazda has roughly 3 percent market share in Mexico.

                                The Old Man and the Machine Press

                                Playing into the need for Japanese automakers to retool their global manufacturing strategies is the disturbing demographics in the home country. Japan's population is expected to shrink by one-third by the year 2060 when people over 65 will make up 40 percent of the total. By 2050 the median age in Japan is expected to be around 55 while life expectancy is already 83. As these trends play out, auto sales in the country will no doubt decline as well.

                                In lockstep with Japan's aging population is a growing shortage of engineers, who are critical in the design and development phase of new vehicles. In part, young Japanese are not drawn to the engineering jobs that their parents once prized because the promise of a life-long career and top-flight benefits no longer exists in the country's corporations. But also Japanese schools have changed, focusing more on liberal and fine arts, while test scores are dropping in math and science, majors that used to produce the best engineering candidates.

                                Additionally, there is a sense in the country that today's Japanese youth do not view working hard as a sacred obligation or their jobs as the be-all and end-all of their lives, attitudes that their elders famously held. Many twenty-something Japanese prefer to live with their parents rather than move out and start careers in manufacturing.

                                "There's a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth in Japan about the younger generation, and some of it may be justified," Lincoln said.

                                Lacking sufficient qualified engineers, Japanese car companies are moving R&D operations overseas.

                                "We have the capability here in the U.S. to completely develop products soup to nuts," said Honda's Smith. In recent years, "the percentage of Japanese associates has decreased significantly" in Honda's U.S. development team as more Americans have "assumed very high positions in the company," according to Smith. An American now leads Honda's U.S. R&D operations and three of the seven members of the executive operating committee are Americans.

                                In many ways, Japan is an insular country. Its companies tend to have strong loyalties to their communities and local governments. Most Japanese do not speak a second language and few go to Western universities and especially business schools. Moreover, Japanese immigration policies work against diversity by, for example, outlawing unskilled workers from other countries.

                                The conflict between Japan's traditionally strong insularity and the demands of a global economy has weighed for a long time on the nation's car companies - and breaking out of Japan's shadow could be the best thing for these businesses, experts argue. For example, Japan-centric sentiments have made it virtually impossible for many domestic automakers to understand what consumers outside of the country want to buy, Lincoln said.

                                "Toyota has done well because the cars are so solidly built," he noted. "No one has ever accused Toyota of making cars that look interesting."

                                The Sun Is Setting

                                The Japanese automakers are deadset on leaving Japan because the numbers - from currency to customers - are so convincing. As Nissan's Ghosn pointed out when the company reported its fiscal year 2011 earnings on May 11: "We have increased sales by more than 650,000 cars in a year that has been really crippled by at least one major disaster and another significant one -- the one that hit Japan and Thailand. So, I think the growth -- the global market share increase -- was the most significant result."

                                To many, though, the separation from Japan was set in motion, its inevitability cemented, in 1982 when Honda opened up the first U.S.-based Japanese automotive factory in Marysville, Ohio. From that moment, the future - that is, today - was sealed.

                                "It's an evolutionary process, not a reactive situation," Honda's Smith said. "This is not new, we are just continuing on a direction we set out on more than 30 years ago."

                                Iubesc masinile japoneze. Ele nu mint, nu inseala !
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