Ultimele articole din presa straina referitoare la Honda

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  • http://www.bangkokpost.com/auto/auto...nymous-concept

    Anonymous concept

    What could this concept be pointing to?

    When we first saw the Honda Concept S at the Beijing auto show last month, our immediate reference was the next-generation Jazz because the today's model is about to reach the end of its lifecycle.

    The Concept S has a compact MPV body _ something the Jazz boasts as its USP in the Thai B-segment _ and should do marvels for Honda's future sub-compact.

    Today's second-generation Jazz is such a mild evolution over the first one, which is why you would hope that the third-gen would have a bold face and swoopy profile along the lines of Concept S.

    But according to the Japanese grapevine, the huge popularity of the Jazz worldwide (known as Fit in Japan) means that the successor will play the cards safe by adopting a very evolutionary appearance.

    Then what is it previewing?

    According to one Japanese media outlet, the Concept S could be disclosing some cues of the next-generation Stream, a mini-MPV based on the Civic.

    Like the Jazz, the Stream is aging and is set to be replaced next year in third-generation form to rival the Toyota Wish, Mazda 5 and Nissan Lafesta.

    This genre of minivan is now relatively unknown to Thais because sales of the Chevrolet Zafira, Wish and Honda have ceased ever since the previous generation models.

    But if you look closely at Concept S in these pictures, the rear end doesn't really seem to be capable of housing a third-row seat. Because of this, the American press says Concept S is a pointer to a new dedicated hybrid-powered Honda.

    To rival the Toyota Prius V?

    Exactly. One of our media friends on the opposite side of the Pacific predicted that the Concept S points to a spacious and versatile alternative to the Prius V.

    Just to refresh some minds: the regular Prius is a five-seat hatchback, Prius V (sold as Prius Alpha in Japan and Prius+ in Europe) is a Prius with an extended boot to optionally take a third-row seat and Prius C is a compact five-seater to rival the Honda Insight.

    The popularity of the Prius means that Honda doesn't want to lose action in this segment of hybrid-powered vehicles. In fact, Honda has made it clear that Concept S has a hybrid engine, although it didn't reveal the details.

    And such a model is important for Honda because the Japanese market isn't getting the Civic (as tested at right side of this page) anymore. A proper rival for the Prius is being mooted instead.

    That's quite an interesting territory for Honda in Thailand, too...

    It is, for several reasons.

    First, a dedicated hybrid would provide Honda with an answer to the Thai-built Prius.

    Second, Honda doesn't have a compact hatchback or mini-MPV body in its Thai model line-up anymore.

    Third, today's Hondas in showrooms are mostly on the bland side in terms of design and technology (latest Civic included).

    All in all, a dedicated hybrid in the mould of Concept S should help invigorate zest into the brand in Thailand.

    So you're sure what the Concept S is now...

    This is merely speculation, so we'll have to wait till next year. In fact, Honda has been clear with Concept S: it points to a new global vehicle which will be first launched in China in 2013.

    The Concept C, Honda's other show car that made its debut alongside Concept S in China last month, is claimed by its maker to preview an all-new saloon.

    But as its initial indicates, the Concept C points to a China-only four-door car to be pitched in size between a Civic and Accord (something like Toyota's now-defunct Corona).

    The aggressively styled Concept C has been designed by the Chinese and Japanese offices of Honda. Acura, Honda's upmarket brand, insists it has no say in Concept C and won't have a variation based on it either.



    Passion a prerequisite for 'Hill-climbers'

    For drivers at the 55th Annual Knox Mountain Hill Climb, a cloudy Sunday promised a change in conditions after testing under sunny skies on Saturday.
    Photo: Grant Scott
    Zac Zawisza prepares for his first run up Knox Mountain in Mirkowsky's 1998 Honda Civic Sunday morning.

    That means the race teams involved will have to be prepared for cooler temperatures and maybe a wet track, with rain in the forecast.

    However, it will take more than just some rain to dampen the enthusiasm of the over 70 competitors as they vie for the title of "King of the Hill."

    The enthusiasts who try to conquer the mountain every year face a number of obstacles to get their machines ready to race, and each story is unique.

    For the number 44 car, owned by Calle Mirkowsky and driven by Zac Zawisza, it's amazing that it even survived, never mind raced this weekend.

    Mirkowsky's custom race car, a souped up 1998 Honda Civic, was stolen from a lot on Evans Court in Kelowna in December, 2010.

    "I bought it a long time ago, just needing a mode of transportation."

    But it soon become much more than that.

    "Having always been interested in the performance side of cars, it's one of the ones that's popularly modified and easy to get into. It was the inspiration for us to start our business," says Mirkowsky.
    Photo: Contributed - Calle Mirkowsky
    Zac Zawisza and Calle Mirkowsky pose with their entry in the 2012 Knox Mountain Hill CLimb.

    Together with her partner, Dave Ingraham, she created Four Function Auto Sport, a Kelowna based company which redesigns and modifies vehicles.

    "We slowly started as complete novices, not knowing anything about modifying cars, and it slowly improved. It's gone from being a hobby to being a business, and there's not very many people who get to do what they love"

    Eventually Mirkowsky's Civic became a full time race vehicle.

    "It's pretty much all it does. It's got a single seat, complete roll cage, and we've got a motor from a 2008 Honda Civic in it."

    Unfortunately, the street legal racer is also a target, and when it was stolen, common sense suggested it would soon be broken down and sold for parts. Mirkowsky felt like she had lost a friend.

    "You don't want to be overly sentimental, but it's true. You spend so much time working on something, moulding it, it becomes yours."

    Knowing the vehicle was a prime candidate for being "chopped," she notified as many local car enthusiast websites as she could.

    "There's a big market for those parts. There was a big fear that we'd never get it back," says Mirkowsky.

    But, she got lucky when a friend spotted the vehicle parked on a street in Kelowna and car and owner were reunited.

    So instead of being chopped, the Civic is hopped, and only has to worry about trying to become the fastest to the top of the mountain this weekend.

    Iubesc masinile japoneze. Ele nu mint, nu inseala !
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    • http://www.carnewschina.com/2012/05/...-2-0-in-china/

      Honda will launch a new 2.0 engine for the Spirior

      Honda will launch a new 2.0 engine for the Spirior, it is currently only available with a 2.4 and Honda wants to have a cheaper entry-level model. The Spirior, from Spirit and Superior, is a China-only Honda based on the Acura TSX.

      The Spirior is made in China by the Dongfeng-Honda joint venture. Price starts at 237.800 and ends at 271.800 yuan. The 2.4 poops out 181hp and 225nm. The tops-spec versions is called Spirior Type S, it comes with a body-kit and race wheels. Engine however still got 181hp.
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      • Originally posted by tokyodream View Post

        Honda will launch a new 2.0 engine for the Spirior

        Honda will launch a new 2.0 engine for the Spirior, it is currently only available with a 2.4 and Honda wants to have a cheaper entry-level model. The Spirior, from Spirit and Superior, is a China-only Honda based on the Acura TSX.

        The Spirior is made in China by the Dongfeng-Honda joint venture. Price starts at 237.800 and ends at 271.800 yuan. The 2.4 poops out 181hp and 225nm. The tops-spec versions is called Spirior Type S, it comes with a body-kit and race wheels. Engine however still got 181hp.
        Iubesc masinile japoneze. Ele nu mint, nu inseala !
        ACURA & HONDA SUV FAN CLUB ROMANIA - http://daimyo.ro/index.php?action=forum


        • http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2...an-market.html

          Honda expects to control 40% of mini-sedan market

          PT Honda Prospect Motor (HPM), a joint venture between Japan’s third-largest automobile maker, Honda Motor Co., and Indonesia’s Prospect Motor, unveiled on Wednesday the latest model of its Honda City, in a bid to tighten its grip in the country’s mini-sedan market.

          HPM president director Tomoki Uchida said that his firm aimed to sell around 2,400 units of the new City, achieving an increased share of the mini-sedan market.

          “We’ve already sold this model in Thailand and it’s very successful. So, why can’t we do it here?” he told reporters after the launch of the new model in Jakarta.

          The new City features a 1,500 cc i-VTEC engine, which combines power and efficient fuel consumption, and is supported by a 5-speed automatic transmission, torque boost resonator, drive wire, and a paddle-shift feature — similar to Formula-1 racing cars — this would differentiate it from its competitors, said marketing and after-sales service director Jonfis Fandy.

          Jonfis said that by introducing the new model, HPM expected to raise its share of the domestic mini-sedan market from 24 percent last year to more than 40 percent this year. The total mini-sedan market is predicted to rise by up to 30 percent to 7,000 units this year.

          Since the City entered the Indonesian market in 1996, Honda has cumulatively sold 58,982 units, making it the highest-selling mini-sedan in the domestic market. It competes tightly with Toyota’s Vios.

          “We lost our market share last year purely due to a shortage of supply. But whenever there’s supply, the market will rebound. With our new City, we are upbeat we can grab the market again,” Jonfis said.

          Honda’s sales were down 35.05 percent to 45,416 units last year due to a disruption of supply after the worst flooding in a decade hit Thailand and submerged its production facilities in Ayutthaya, central Thailand. The Thai flood hampered production recovery after the Japanese earthquake last March.

          According to the Indonesian Automotive Industry Association (Gaikindo) statistics, during the January-April period, Honda sold 11,875 units, down 32.5 percent from 15,735 units in the same period last year, as supply from flood-stricken Thailand was still recovering.

          Honda had said it anticipated its sales of all models to reach 70,000 units this year, up 54.13 percent from last year, as increased supplies from Thailand of the Civic and Accord models would arrive in June and July respectively.

          Recently, HPM announced its plans to build a new automobile plant in Karawang, West Java, with an anticipated investment of Rp 3.1 trillion (US$334.8 million) to meet rising demand for vehicles in the domestic and regional market.

          The plant, slated to commence operations the first quarter of 2014, will triple the firm’s annual production capacity to 180,000 units per year and help it reach its sales target of 210,000 units by the end of 2015.

          The plant will make new models including the Brio, which is currently made in Thailand. At present the existing production facility in Karawang produces various models, including the Jazz, CR-V and Freed.

          Buoyed by the country’s economy growing at 6.5 percent in the past year and high level of domestic consumption, sales of cars — an indicator of consumption in the Southeast biggest economy — broke a new record high of 894,180 units, up 16.93 percent from 2010, according to Gaikindo data.

          Several major automobile makers, including Toyota and Daihatsu, have poured more investment in Indonesia to further tap into the local booming automotive market.



          Giant Killers: Honda Civic Si and CR-Z

          As one of the premier online-only automotive publications devoted strictly to enthusiasts, Winding Road relies on a distinctly different approach to reviewing cars. Take WR’s “Involvement Index,” which is an in-depth rating of how much any given car involves its owner in the art of driving. True, its upper echelons are populated by expensive rides like the Bugatti Veyron and Ferrari 458 Italia, but in a recent special study of “Involvement Index Giant Killers under $30,000,” it was the Honda Civic Si and Honda CR-Z that garnered the attention.

          The CR-Z Sport Hybrid—priced from $19,695—was called “one of the first truly fun-to-drive hybrids,” and WR’s editors wrote that: “With a sweet Honda six-speed manual, a small footprint, and a reasonable curb weight, the CR-Z is as much fun as cars boasting twice as many cylinders and over three times the horsepower, like the Ford Mustang GT.” Of course, unlike the Mustang, the CR-Z returns an EPA line of 31 mpg city/37 mpg highway/34 mpg combined with its manual gearbox and up to 35 mpg city/39 mpg highway/37 mpg combined with a smooth-running CVT (continuously variable transmission).

          WR also had kudos for the new Civic Si—“always a popular choice for affordable involvement”—saying that its involvement score ties it with “the turbocharged, four-cylinder BMW Z4, the 426-horsepower Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible, and the old, 550-horsepower Ford Mustang GT500.” A key benefit for the Honda? Its V-TEC engine technology, designed to provide an optimum mix of power and fuel efficiency—as well as fuel efficiency ratings of up to 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway/25 mpg combined.

          In other words, for customers who want a particularly involving driving experience with a particularly affordable price tag, the Winding Road clearly leads to local Honda dealerships.



          No Fooling: CR-V Sets April Sales Record

          Due to a fluke in the calendar, auto dealerships were open three fewer days this April than in the same month last year, meaning sales of many vehicles had trouble matching their past year’s performance—but not the new 2012 Honda CR-V. In fact, Honda’s redesigned crossover just posted its highest April sales total ever, with 23,267 deliveries. It was an increase of 9 percent over April 2011 and a 22.6 percent gain on a daily selling basis.

          It’s strong evidence of a growing Honda renaissance here in this country, where a number of the company’s products turned in sparkling April sales figures. For example, the Honda Accord posted a 25.6 percent increase in volume last month, representing 35,385 deliveries and the No. 2 spot on April’s list of best-selling cars. And remember, the Accord is at the very end of its life cycle, with the brand-new model slated to arrive this fall.

          “With double-digit sales growth in April, the Accord continues to be the retail sales leader in the mid-size segment,” said John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president of sales. “As other manufacturers resort to fleet sales, the quality and value of the Honda Accord continues to win new customers even as we prepare to launch an all-new model this fall.”

          Also attracting plenty of customers in April were the Honda Civic Hybrid, garnering a 533.1 percent sales leap on 766 deliveries, and the Honda Odyssey, which benefited from a 5.2 percent improvement and 10,476 sales.



          Honda ‘Best Values’ Include CR-Z, Civic and Fit

          The USAA is a premier financial organization founded by members of the U.S. military, for veterans and members of the U.S. military, and a chief goal is helping service personnel and their families make knowledgeable decisions about money matters. Naturally, this includes providing advice about the decision to purchase a new vehicle, via the USAA’s annual “Best Value” list—which this year includes the Honda CR-Z.

          According to the USAA: “New to the Best Value list, the Honda CR–Z hybrid is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick. The vehicle also possesses good fuel economy within its category … and reasonable maintenance costs.” And note, “its category” was “Coupes,” meaning that the CR-Z had to best the nation’s top traditionally powered two-doors to earn its recognition.

          “The CR-Z creates a whole new value category as the first true sport hybrid, offering great fuel economy, a low entry price, an available six-speed manual transmission and a feisty change of character with the push of the Sport button,” said Mike Accavitti, vice president of National Marketing Operations for American Honda. “It’s like having two cars for the price of one.”

          In addition, the USAA also created a new listing of vehicles that are particularly strong choices for younger drivers, and not only did the CR-Z make this list, too, but so did the Honda Civic and Honda Fit.

          “As a parent, I know how challenging it can be to feel confident in the car your teen drives, especially if it’s a much older model,” said USAA auto expert Lauren Fix—aka, the Car Coach. “USAA’s Top 10 for Teens list gives parents a place to start their search for a new vehicle that gets top marks in the areas they care most about—reliability, safety and reasonable insurance costs.”



          Honda Selects Zmags to Create Rich and Immersive Online Interactive Experiences

          Global automobile leader launches interactive digital brochure for Acura RDX; aims to increase brand engagement across the web, tablets, smartphones and social channels

          BOSTON, May 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

          News Facts:

          Zmags, the leading provider of rich media mobile and social merchandising, today announced that The Honda Motor Company has selected Zmags Professional to develop highly engaging interactive online brochures, incorporating rich imagery and video content.
          In partnership with Genex, Honda's interactive agency, Honda has launched its first Zmags-powered interactive brochure for the 2012 Acura RDX, with plans to launch more experiences for other models in the coming months.
          Zmags helps marketers create rich, engaging and consistently branded digital catalogs and publications for all touchpoints including tablets, Facebook, smartphones and the Web.
          Using Zmags, Honda aims to provide prospective Acura customers with a completely new kind of immersive experience as they research their next car, creating greater brand and content engagement.

          Supporting Quotes:

          "When they are considering a new car purchase, consumers are spending hours carefully researching options online prior to setting foot in a dealership," said Mark Ortiz, national interactive marketing manager, Honda Motor Company. "We want to give our customers a compelling interactive experience that showcases our brands in a dynamic way by curating an immersive experience that compels consumers to spend time with our brand online. We're thrilled with how well Zmags is already making this vision possible for us and looking forward to seeing how far we can take this versatile platform in the future."
          "Honda is a perfect example of an innovative brand that recognizes the value in recreating the look and feel of the showroom experience across all of its digital channels," said Sean Ford, COO and CMO of Zmags. "Using Zmags, Honda will forge exciting new brand experiences that not only inform customers, but also help them discover, visualize and share information about their next car."

          About The Honda Motor Company

          For more information about Honda vehicles, please visit www.automobiles.honda.com. For media inquiries please visit www.hondanews.com. For more information about Acura vehicles, please visit www.acura.com. For media inquiries please visit www.acuranews.com.

          About Zmags

          Zmags is redefining the online content and shopping experience across web, tablet, mobile, and social channels with our cloud-based rich-media marketing platform. We provide marketers and e-commerce teams from many vertical industries with a deeply engaging and fluid online presentation capability that lets them tell highly captivating stories through curated digital experiences, such as digital catalogs. With Zmags, leading brands have measurably and dramatically increased customer engagement, conversion rates, order size and brand loyalty without the burden of IT constraints. Zmags is among the fastest growing technology companies in North America, ranking #70 on the Deloitte 2011 Technology Fast 500. Zmags is headquartered in Boston, MA with European offices in London and Copenhagen. For more information about Zmags, please visit www.zmags.com.

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          • Electric Car Conversion Kit Turns Your Honda Civic Into a Zero-Emission Vehicle


            PITTSBURGH — That old Honda in your driveway — maybe it's in need of a valve job? Transform it with an electric conversion. A team at Carnegie Mellon University here in Pittsburgh has come up with an all-included kit to make your 2001-2005 Civic a zero-emission battery car. Converting an existing car instead of buying a new one is good for the planet, and the old beater will have a new lease on life.

            Your mechanic can probably install the kit in two and a half days. It’s not a difficult job, and you can sell the used engine and transmission on Craigslist. That’s the good part. Now here’s the bad part. The conversion kit costs $24,000, plus the cost of the Civic (if you don't already have one). Your total bill is likely to come in at $30,000. And you’re not eligible for the $7,500 tax credit that new EV buyers get. In fact, buying a new Nissan Leaf is actually cheaper than converting a 7-year-old used Civic.

            Conversions are likely to catch on first in the fleet market, where what matters most is the long-term cost of keeping vehicles on the road. I wish the economics of personal EV conversion worked out better because it makes sense on many levels.

            As Felix Kramer of CalCars points out, waiting for the automakers to field new EVs is going to take a long time. “There will be an insignificant impact in terms of petroleum reduction from the new plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles for more than 15 years — even if they come in at a rate 10 times faster than hybrids came into the market,” Kramer said. “That’s because we have 250 million vehicles in the United States and 900 million in the world.” Kramer also points out that the cars already on the road have a lot of “embedded energy,” and that about 15 percent of the total energy used by a car or truck in its lifetime was expended to build it.

            “We’re not manufacturers or price optimizers,” said Illah Nourbakhsh, who co-directs Carnegie Mellon’s ChargeCar project. “The cost would come down if we could buy 100 kits at a time.” Indeed they would. And that’s the central issue and Catch-22 here: The price comes down with volume, but the volume isn’t going to grow much with such a difficult cost of entry.

            H. Ben Brown, a project scientist at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute and the other co-director of ChargeCar, told me the kit is comprehensive, including the electric motor, control electronics (including an electric heater and pumps), 10.5 kilowatt-hours of lithium batteries, a computer display unit that offers information on battery health, and all the adapters you’ll need to fit the parts into a Civic. You have to supply the car and find a mechanic to install it all — or do it yourself.

            The pack isn’t huge, but it fits into the Civic’s spare tire well and costs only about $5,000, which is cheap for lithium. Charging takes 10 hours on 110-volt house current, but you could half that by installing a 240-volt garage unit. The team has converted a pair of Civics, and get approximately 40 miles of range from them.

            “It’s difficult to get the price any lower,” said Brown. “On the positive side, your impact on the planet is small compared to that of building a new vehicle.”

            Converting cars to electric could be a big business, and some companies, such as ALTe, have been trying to make it such. Michigan-based ALTe has developed a turn-key plug-in hybrid conversion for fleet and niche vehicles. For the Ford F-150, the most popular vehicle on American roads, they take out the inevitable V-8, and replace it with a four-cylinder engine, an average of 22-kilowatt-hour battery packs, and two 60-kilowatt electric motors. As with other plug-in hybrids, there is 25 to 40 miles of electric-only range. The company says there are 33 million light- and medium-duty trucks on the road, and converting them to plug-in hybrid results in an 80 to 200 percent fuel economy improvement.

            Here's what the ALTe trucks look like on the road:

            ALTe, founded by a trio of Tesla Motors refugees, focuses on converting 3- to 5-year-old Ford vehicles. The downside, as with Charge Car, is the price — an average of $30,000. The category is heating up, though, thanks to the entry of VIA Motors, which is focusing on plug-in hybrid conversions of large GM vans, trucks and SUVs. It says its price for converting a Silverado will be about $79,000 “in volume.” It really needs big orders to make it work, and it might get them, thanks to a tight relationship with GM (former Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, pictured above, is an advisor and spokesman).

            Both VIA and ALTe are focusing on the fleet market — consumers might come later. VIA says that over eight years of typical ownership, you’ll save $23,000 with one of their 100-mpg conversions, and those are the kind of numbers that hit home with fleet managers. Actually, the more you drive, the more you’ll save.



            Cars.com Family Reviews the 2012 Honda Odyssey

            The 2012 Honda Odyssey is the ultimate family mobile, says Cars.com Family contributor BreAnn Ahara. With seating for eight and enough Latch anchors to handle a small preschool, this minivan successfully combines form with function. One of BreAnn’s favorite features is the second row with three seats that slide forward and back independently; the outboard seats also slide sideways toward the doors, creating an extra 3 inches of space on the bench. The extra room makes it a breeze to install three child-safety seats in the second row.


            My automotive world has been flipped upside down by the impending arrival of my third child, and I've found myself longing for a smart, stylish way to comfortably tote around my small brood. After a week test-driving the 2012 Odyssey, I believe it could be the answer to my conundrum.

            With seating for eight and enough Latch anchors to handle a small preschool, there is no doubt the 2012 Honda Odyssey is the ultimate family mobile, and its head-turning exterior sets it apart from the ho-hum minivans.

            My family was wowed by the Odyssey's intuitive technology and versatile three rows of seats. A 3.5-liter V-6 engine supplied enough power to merge onto the freeway without feeling like I was hauling the entire neighborhood (even though at times I was). It was as fun as a minivan could get, and at this stage in my life, that's all I ask for.

            The Odyssey may be one of the pricier family vans, but its quality and features won over Cars.com's editors who crowned it the winner of the Ultimate Minivan Shootout. The Odyssey's base LX costs $29,205 (including an $830 destination charge), but my test car, the luxurious, jam-packed Touring Elite trim, cost $43,825.


            The first time I saw the redesigned Odyssey I couldn't take my eyes off of it, which then caused me to trip on a curb in the parking lot. While its sporty lightning-bolt design may not be for everyone, it sure is for me. In fact, it's the only minivan that my childless best friend has ever complimented. "It doesn't really look like a minivan," she said. Granted, it was dark outside but I'll take it.

            My test car had many family-friendly features such as optional power-sliding doors that make loading wee ones easy-breezy and a moderate step-in height that was workable for my 3-year-old — it also kept me from straining my back when buckling the kids into their child-safety seats. When running errands with small children in tow, these features were invaluable to my exhausted arms, strained back and thin patience.

            Even with three roomy rows of seats, the Odyssey still has an impressive cargo area. There's a deep well in the rear cargo area where I fit a 66-quart storage container as well as a full size-rolling suitcase. Fitting a large stroller back there as well as groceries should be no problem.

            The Odyssey has a 248-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 that uses regular unleaded gas. This powerful minivan is also the most fuel efficient in its class. The LX, EX and EX-L trims have a five-speed automatic transmission and get an EPA-estimated 18/27 mpg city/highway; the Touring and Touring Elite have a six-speed automatic and achieve 19/28 mpg. For my week of mostly city driving, I averaged 21.5 mpg.

            SENSE AND STYLE

            Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Excellent
            Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times


            With 15 cupholders and bottleholders, a built-in flip-up trash-bag holder in the second row and a chilled storage area, the 2012 Odyssey's designers knew which features would keep a busy parent happy.

            However, the minivan's interior is home to my only complaint. While I loved the high-quality finishes and mostly intuitive technology, I was disappointed by the lack of a touch-screen for the standard navigation system on my Touring Elite test car. In its place was an 8-inch color screen that's controlled by a large knob in the middle of the center stack. It was frustrating to use, especially when inputting an address as I was forced to turn the knob to select each letter. It was cumbersome. However, my husband loved the knob and found it much easier to use than the usual touch-screen. Voice commands also can be used with the navigation system, but I normally have a car full of chatty toddlers, making this feature useless to me.

            Regardless of my disappointment, the Odyssey still is my top pick for a family hauler and that's because of its versatile, well-thought-out second row. In the EX trim levels and higher, the second-row seats not only slide forward and backward independently of each other, but the outboard seats slide outward, providing an additional 3 inches of space.

            Three inches may not seem like much, but in the world of child-safety seats, it means everything. Three inches of additional space allows parents to fit three safety seats across the second row, and what's even better is there are three sets of lower Latch anchors in the second row alone. The second row's middle seat also can slide forward more than 5 inches, putting a child within arm's reach of the front row.

            The third row also is shockingly spacious and actually usable for the adult-sized set. It also comes equipped with two sets of lower Latch anchors, and it can be folded flat into the floor.

            While the spacious three rows can hold up to eight passengers comfortably, depending on your trim level, it also can keep them entertained. My top-of-the-line Touring Elite test car had a 16.2-inch widescreen display — the screen can be split to show two images — as well as an amazing 650-watt surround-sound system with 12 speakers. If you're like me and would prefer to listen to something other than the latest Disney movie, the rear passengers can use the wireless headphones.


            Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Galore
            Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample


            The 2012 Odyssey earned an overall safety rating of five stars out of five in crash tests. It received five stars in frontal and side-impact crash tests and four stars in the rollover crash test. It's also been named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. To receive this designation, a car must earn the top score of Good in front, side, rear and roof-strength crash tests.

            In all trims but the base, the Odyssey packs an impressive five sets of Latch anchors in its rear two rows. The base LX gets four sets of Latch anchors. Thanks to the spacious interior, there's enough space for child-safety seats without compromising legroom for the adult passengers. Unfortunately some of the seat belt buckles are floppy, making it difficult for children in booster seats to buckle up independently. Find out how the Odyssey performed in Cars.com's Car Seat Check.

            Standard safety features for the Odyssey are front-wheel drive, four-wheel-disc antilock brakes with brake assist, an electronic stability system with traction control, active head restraints for the front row, a backup camera with front and rear parking sensors, and six airbags, including curtains for all rows. A blind spot warning system is standard on the Touring Elite trim, but unavailable on lower trims.

            Get more safety information about the 2012 Honda Odyssey here.


            Honda Boasts Three Of The Top Four Most-Visited New Cars On Kbb.com During Q1 2012


            IRVINE, Calif., May 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Kelley Blue Book, the leading provider of new car [1] and used car [2] information, today reveals that Honda [3] had three out of the four most-visited new cars during the first quarter of 2012 on its top-rated website, www.kbb.com [4]. The Honda CR-V [5] was the most-shopped new vehicle on Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com during Q1 2012, with the Civic [6] taking No. 2 and Accord [7] following at No. 4 during the same time period.

            "With the recent redesign of Honda's CR-V, the brand hit a home run among in-market new-car shoppers garnering more traffic than any other new car on kbb.com during the first quarter of the year," said Akshay Anand, market intelligence web analyst for Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com. "Creating popular new product supported by witty and engaging marketing efforts, Honda clearly resonates strongly with consumers."
            In-market new-car shoppers have taken a strong liking to the CR-V crossover thanks to its favorable recent redesign combined with increased visibility attributed to popular advertising, such as the 'Ferris Bueller'-themed TV spot airing during the Super Bowl in February. In addition to its most-shopped status on kbb.com, the new CR-V also captured the No. 1 spot in compact crossover [9] sales during Q1 2012.
            The fuel-sipping Civic, also redesigned for 2012, undoubtedly benefitted from a spike in gas prices during the first quarter of the year. The hot-selling compact model also has been supported by steady advertising for its sporty Si [10] version and technology-laden EX-L trim [11]. The Civic holds the top spot in Q1 2012 sales in the highly competitive compact segment, besting the also-redesigned Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Jetta by a healthy margin.

            The Accord, a perennial highly shopped stalwart, has benefitted from recent increased buzz surrounding mid-size cars. With many popular new designs hitting the mid-size class this year, including a forthcoming Accord redesign slated for fall and other hot-selling models with redesigns this year including Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima, the popular sedan segment is experiencing a renaissance. The current-generation Accord continues to show impressive sales numbers even before the debut of its redesign later this year, outselling the popular new Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima while staying close on the heels of segment leader Camry in April 2012.
            "Once the redesigned Accord arrives later this year, we could see a shakeup in the mid-size sedan category, especially as the competition heats up with the arrival of a redesigned Altima and Fusion," said Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com. "Boasting three of the top 10 best-selling cars during the first quarter of 2012 combined with mirrored interest from scores of new-car shoppers on kbb.com, Honda is poised for continued success this year."
            Other popular Honda models placing among the top 50 most-visited new cars on kbb.com during Q1 2012 include the Odyssey at No. 24, Pilot at No. 28 and Fit at No. 45.

            The redesigned Toyota Camry reached No. 2, and Hyundai's popular Sonata climbed to No. 5, to round out the top five most-visited new cars on Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com during Q1 2012.
            For more information and news from Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com, visit www.kbb.com/media/ [12], follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kelleybluebook [13] (or @kelleybluebook), or like our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kbb [14].
            About Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com [15])

            Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the industry. Each week the company provides the most market-reflective values in the industry on its top-rated website www.kbb.com [16], including its famous Blue Book® Trade-In and Suggested Retail Values and Fair Purchase Price, which reports what others are paying for new cars this week. The company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies as well as governmental agencies. Kbb.com provides consumer pricing and information on minivans [17], pickup trucks [18], sedan [19], hybrids [20], electric cars [21], and SUVs [22]. Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com ranked highest in its category for brand equity and was named Online Auto Shopping Brand of the Year by the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study.Kelley Blue Book Co. Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of AutoTrader.com.

            SOURCE Kelley Blue Book

            Last edited by tokyodream; 25-05-12, 09:11.
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            • http://www.nwcn.com/lifestyles/drivi...154201205.html

              Honda Civic Si is fun, powerful and has 'smiles-per-gallon'

              Honda began selling the Civic in 1973 with the ad slogan "It will get you where you're going". With a 50 horsepower engine they could have added “but not very quickly”.

              Since those modest beginnings Honda has sold over nine million copies in the US and Civic has developed a reputation for value, reliability and a touch of sport. Want a lot of sport? Then you want the Civic Si. It has four times the power of the original Civic, is loads of fun in the corners and is particularly good in the "smiles"-per-gallon department.

              The 9th generation Civic has received a fair amount of criticism with Consumer Reports denying it the vaunted “recommended” status for the first time. Honda owners are a loyal bunch though. According to Chris Martin at Honda, Civic has been the best selling compact car for the first four months of 2012. FYI, CR does recommend the Si model.

              If you aren’t brand loyal and are shopping for a front-wheel drive performance car you’ll be cross-shopping Volkswagen GTI, Mazdaspeed3, Nissan SE-R and the upcoming Ford Focus ST. Price? The fully loaded Si Coupe I’m driving retails for $24,475 (yes that includes destination). Pony up an extra two Hamiltons and it buys the more practical sedan model.

              What You Get For The Money

              A quick car for starters. Standard Civics make 140 horsepower. The larger 2.4-liter four-cylinder in Si pumps out 201 hp @ 7,000 rpm and 170ft-lb of torque @4,400 rpm. That’s great, though keep in mind it prefers premium gasoline. This is the motor found in the Acura TSX and compared to the outgoing 2.0-liter there’s more low-end torque (31 lb-ft) and slightly better fuel economy. It doesn’t need to be rung out to redline to extract the power now so it feels more mature.

              Don’t drive a clutch? Better learn if you want an Si, a six-speed manual is the only transmission available. With shorter throws, it feels quite nice. Clutch take up is smooth and easy.

              Si sprints to 60 miles-an-hour in 6.5 seconds and sounds good doing it. Power delivery is smooth and even right up to the 7,000 rpm redline. So yes, it will still get you where you're going.

              There are some fun driver’s toys located on the upper tier of the instrument panel. A “power meter” in the LCD display shows peak horsepower. An i-VTEC indicator light goes on when shifting from low-to high-rpm camshaft profiles. Below it are rev-limit warning LEDs.

              Si Can Handle It

              Si is very nimble, you’ll look for roads with curves and corners just because it’s fun (and who doesn’t want more fun in their lives). Civic Si isn’t as powerful as Mazdaspeed3 but what it has is very usable. Like the GTI, the overall balance goes beyond the numbers. Si feels light and flingable, not as solid and Germanic as the Volkswagen. There’s very little torque steer and as far as I know, it’s the only front-wheel drive car with a limited slip differential. Si has a summer tire option, it comes standard with all-season treads.

              Ride quality is firm though not harsh. This is not a high-strung twitchy car, it’s tolerable as a daily driver. Road noise is on the higher side of normal and it’s fun to hear the VTEC engine spool up when the pedal goes down. Fuel economy is EPA rated at 22 city, 31 highway, that’s of course less than the regular Civic. Just keep thinking smiles per gallon. Disc brakes at all wheels have very good modulation.

              Number One Out of Five

              There are five different Civic models and I find the Si’s cabin the most appealing with lighting that matches the red stitching. Other Civics have a button for “economy” driving just left of the steering wheel. Not Si. You’ll just have to show some responsibility and personal restraint.

              Door panels and seats are covered in an interesting cloth with a trapezoidal 3D quality. It’s a neat touch. Aluminum pedals look great too. The interior plastics on the other hand don’t have the same quality appearance. Si gets a black interior and while it looks best in this hue the materials are of average quality. At best.

              While the seats have deep bolsters I don’t feel as if I’m sitting in them as much as on them. You might be different, it’s why there are test drives.

              Another personal decision involves the dashboard. Similar to the previous generation’s setup, it’s polarizing. The speedometer is digital, the prominent tach is huge. Honda calls the LCD screen on the top level “i-MID” and it displays an awful lot of stuff. Start by uploading your own wallpaper then scroll through audio information, fuel economy status, and engine power. It also displays the multiple ways you can configure Civic’s lights, locking options and many other parameters that owners can set to their liking. Bluetooth and a USB port are standard.

              There are belts for three in the back seat of the coupe but if you’re trying to sell this to your significant other as a practical vehicle, go with the sedan. It’s easier to get people in and out of the four-door and there’s a couple more inches of much needed headroom. The steeply raked back of the coupe means average sized people (like me) will hit their heads on the back glass. The coupe’s rear quarters won’t be used too much so I won’t gripe about the lack a second seat pocket, power port, folding armrest and that the raised center position cuts headroom further.

              Details, Details

              Other gripes? Honda built their reputation on engineering and small touches that other brands ignored through the 80’s and 90’s. Now the Americans and Koreans are building some very compelling products. Push button start is not available on Civic Si, neither is auto climate control or heated seats. Many of these can be found on Elantra, Focus, Dart and Cruise to name a few. Many of them also offer “tap-for-three-blinks” lane change signaling. Not Civic.

              Small details, such as a rubber insert for the console tray would keep phones and coins from sliding and rattling around. The navigation system feels like it’s a generation behind and while its screen brings the expectation that it has a back up camera, it doesn’t. With the coupe’s raised aerodynamic back end it could use one. Speaking of the rear, I’d like a release button on the trunk lid. You have to use the interior lever or dig the key out of your pocket (can you tell I use the trunk a lot?).

              How Useful Is It?

              Is the coupe’s cargo hold as useful as the sedan’s? It’s close. The four-door’s trunk swallows a generous 7 packs, the coupe stops at six. Got to love standardized testing, huh? It can be expanded because of 60/40 split rear seats. Few will mind because few will want to sit back there.

              The silhouette of the coupe is very dramatic, a continuation of Generation 8’s mono-form silhouette. To my eye it’s a bit less elegant and organic looking this time around, as if it were designed digitally on a computer screen rather than drawn and sculpted freehand. And yes, this is the 9th generation Civic. Where has the time gone?

              The Si coupe starts at $23,145 and that base model has everything a driver needs for a good time. It will get you where you want to know with a smile on your face. Yes, the competition has become much better but some of them, Cruze and Elantra for example, don’t have a performance model. That means fun hogs have their choices cut considerably. Civic Si remains affordable, powerful and a kick in the corners. Honda does a neat trick by spelling fun with just two letters.



              Honda Announces Pricing On Sleek New Civic Hatch

              TULLAMARINE, AUSTRALIA – May 25, 2012: Honda Australia has today announced highly competitive pricing for the new European-styled Civic Hatch that goes on sale next month.

              Offering outstanding value-for-money, the VTi-S variant will be offered at $22,650 plus on-road and dealer costs (manual, flat paint) and the VTi-L at $29,990 (automatic, flat paint).

              Honda Australia Director and General Manager of Sales and Marketing, Stephen Collins, said; “The Civic Hatch is great value for money, with a sleek new European design, improved aerodynamics and greater fuel efficiency.”

              The Honda Civic Hatch is one of the most stylish cars in its segment, with a sleek, sporty design and sophisticated touches like the rear brake-light cluster. It prioritises safety and functionality with a five-star ANCAP safety rating and clever features including the unique to Honda, magic seat system.”

              The aerodynamic Civic Hatch achieves a combined urban/extra urban fuel consumption figure of 6.1l/100km for the manual transmission and 6.5l/100km for the automatic transmission*. Honda’s fuel efficient technology, the Eco Assist system and Econ Mode are also included.

              The new Civic Hatch is sure to surprise and delight. It is a stylish and practical offering in the small car segment and embodies style as well as substance. With flowing character lines, improved aerodynamics, dynamic ride and handling along with clever packaging, customers have a great value package to look forward to.

              It is available in two variants, the VTi-S and the VTi-L. Both variants are equipped with 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 side 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 all-new Civic Hatch has a bold 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.

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              • INDYCAR: Franchitti, Honda Wins Thrilling Indy 500
                Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dario Franchitti won his third Indy 500 in thrilling fashion today when Takuma Sato dove and spun under him on Lap 200.

                3 pagini de articol => http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/artic...ling-indy-500/



                Honda roadshow at Seria bowling centre

                Happy Motoring Co Sdn Bhd, the exclusive distributor of Honda vehicles in Brunei, is hosting a two-day roadshow at the Seria bowling centre beginning yesterday, offering promotional prices on Honda vehicles.

                The car models on display during the event are the Honda Odyssey, Honda Civic, Honda Stream, Honda CRV, Honda Jazz, including the Honda CRZ Sports Hybrid.

                Showroom Manager Dyg Johrinah binte Mohamad said the roadshow allows Belait residents to look at the innovative design and functions of Honda cars, as well as giving them the opportunity to test drive the car.

                In addition to that, existing Honda owners are also invited to the roadshow and were given free and exclusive 'Honda' bags.

                The roadshow at the centre's parking area will end today.

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                • http://www.simcoe.com/news/article/1...o-cancel-shift

                  Rail strike forces Honda to cancel shift

                  ALLISTON - Honda of Canada Manufacturing (HCM) in Alliston was forced to cancel one of its production shifts on Saturday (May 26) in an effort to limit the amount of completed vehicles currently being stockpiled on site due to the ongoing CP Rail strike, which is now in its sixth day.

                  The overtime shift will be rescheduled to a future date once the strike has been resolved and normal outbound freight shipments resume, according to HCM spokesperson Lisa Timpf.

                  “We can confirm that we have adjusted some scheduled overtime to control our inventory levels,” Timpf said in an email reply. “This is production we will plan to make up at a later date, when the strike situation has been resolved. The driver for rescheduling the production overtime was to balance our storage of completed vehicles with our rate of production.”

                  She added the company hasn’t been forced to cutback on its weekday shifts and at this time has no further production adjustments to announce.

                  HCM relies on CP Rail for the majority of its outbound vehicle shipments. Rail shipments usually take place twice daily at the plant. A portion are also shipped by truck. Since the strike started last Wednesday (May 23), Timpf said the company has increased its truck shipments to help compensate. However, she said truck shipments alone wouldn’t be able to meet HCM’s output demands.

                  With no other shipping options available, HCM was forced to start storing its completed vehicles on site. Timpf said there is still room at the plants for more vehicles, but its unclear how long it will take for the company to reach capacity.
                  “We have several onsite locations that are still available,” Timpf said. “As well, although shipping by truck does not move the same volume of vehicles as shipping by rail, there are still vehicles leaving the plant.”

                  Last week, Labour Minister Lisa Raitt said the federal government would bring in back-to-work legislation if the union representing 4,800 workers was unable to reach a deal. The union represents locomotive engineers, conductors and other workers. As of today (Monday, May 28) talks between CP Rail and the union have broken off.
                  Rait estimated the strike could end up costing the country’s economy $540 million per week in lost activity.



                  Honda Siel to launch diesel cars in India by 2013

                  Japanese carmaker Honda is planning to launch its first diesel car in India during the first half of 2013 with rising petrol prices pushing sales of these cars down in the country.

                  The company said that it had earlier plannned to launch the diesel versions by 2014, but the hike in petrol prices has pushed the company to launch the diesel cars ahead its plans.

                  According to the plan, Honda Siel Cars India is anticipated to bring in diesel models of its Brio and a Brio sedan, powered by either 1.2-litre or 1.5-litre engines during the first half of 2013, followed by City diesel in October the same year.

                  Honda Siel is also planning to launch the new Jazz hatchback with a diesel powertrain.

                  The carmaker has sold 54,427 cars during 2011-12, reporting 8.46% decline when compared to the 2010-11, while has sold 28,731 units during January-April 2012, marking

                  Honda sold 28,731 units during January-April 2012, 71% more than a year earlier, mainly on the success of the Brio.

                  Further, by 2015, the company is also planning to launch six new cars, including re-launches.



                  Honda, not Chevy, dominates in clutch

                  INDIANAPOLIS — Chevrolet crushed the competition during the Indianapolis 500 time trials. But Honda was dominant when it mattered.

                  The four Dallara-Honda cars of Chip Ganassi Racing spent much of Sunday’s 200-lap race running in the top 10. Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon swept the first two positions, as Honda had four of the top eight places.

                  Some of Chevy’s top entrants: Points leader Will Power (28th) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (27th) didn’t finish; pole-winner Ryan Briscoe was fifth, and three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves was 10th.

                  Tony Kanaan’s third-place finish was Chevrolet’s best effort. Marco Andretti (24th) led a race-high 59 laps and ran up front most of the day but was dogged by poor fuel strategy and handling problems before crashing on Lap 188.

                  Honoring Wheldon

                  The crowd saluted the late Dan Wheldon on Lap 98. Wheldon, who died in a crash during the 2011 season finale, piloted the No. 98 Honda to his second Indianapolis 500 victory last year.

                  Fans wore white sunglasses — Wheldon’s signature eyewear — in remembrance.

                  Frustrating day for Rahal

                  Graham Rahal, who finished 13th, encountered a problem with his fuel monitor just eight laps into the race, but his crew settled him down, saying, “Ignore it. Don’t worry about it.”

                  “We just didn’t have quite enough,” Rahal said. “I’m glad it’s in one piece.”

                  Tire wars?

                  Chip Ganassi, owner of Franchitti’s winning Honda, was so impressed with how the tires handled in the corners at 220 mph that he told a gathering of Firestone employees, “I wish I had Firestones on all my cars.”

                  That, of course, might get the attention of Goodyear, which supplies Ganassi’s NASCAR tires for Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray.

                  Low point for Lotus

                  It was a disappointing debut for Lotus, as both Simona De Silvestro and Jean Alesi were black-flagged and sent back to Gasoline Alley.

                  Neither driver could reached the prerequisite minimum speed. Alesi qualified last in the 33-car field with a speed of 210.094.

                  Odds and ends

                  Ana Beatriz, the only driver to sit out Carburetion Day on Friday, exited the race on the 90th lap after spinning in Turn 1. Beatriz, running for only the second time this year, was 21st in both 2010 and ’11. ... Temperatures here reached 91 degrees yesterday. The hottest race on record was in 1937, when the National Weather Service reported the temperature at 92 degrees. ... There were a record 35 lead changes among 10 different drivers and eight cautions covering 39 laps, breaking the 1960 record of 29 lead changes.

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                  • http://www.livemint.com/2012/05/2921....html?atype=tp

                    As sales skid, Honda may delay production at Rajasthan plant

                    Honda Siel Cars India Ltd’s plan to start production at its second facility in Tapukara, Rajasthan, may get delayed further as half of the capacity of its only operational car factory near Delhi is still idle and demand for its City, Civic and Jazz models has been tepid.

                    The Indian unit of Japan’s Honda Motor Co. Ltd, which started operations in 1997, has to sell 500,000 cars over the next three years to reach its target of selling one million units in the nation by 2015-16.

                    The company had inaugurated the plant in 2008 but didn’t start production because of the global financial crisis in that year.

                    “All of these units will be manufactured at our Greater Noida plant,” said the company’s new president and managing director Hironori Kanayama. “As far as starting operations from Tapukara plant is concerned, it depends upon the market conditions and today that situation has not come.”

                    Mint in August 2010 reported that the company will start assembly operations at the Rajasthan plant once the full capacity is utilized at its facility in Greater Noida, on the outskirts of Delhi.

                    The Greater Noida plant can produce 120,000 cars a year. More than 50% of the plant’s capacity is idle because the company sold less than anticipated owing to a shortage of components following last year’s tsunami in Japan and floods in Thailand, the two countries where it sources parts from.

                    In addition, demand for diesel cars has surged in India because the fuel is at least 40% cheaper than petrol. Honda does not make diesel-run cars in India.

                    Honda Siel’s car sales have improved with the Brio hatchback selling an average of 3,500 units a month after normal production in India resumed in February.

                    Honda Siel’s sales fell 8.5% to 54,427 units in 2011-12 even as the overall car sales in India gained 2.19%.

                    The company’s facility in Tapukara is spread over 600 acres and will have an initial production capacity of 60,000 units a year.

                    The second plant has a state-of-the-art press shop and power train facility to make body panels and engine components for Brio, Jazz and City. The company continues to spend on the maintenance of the plant.

                    Kanayama, however, said the company has ambitious plans for India.

                    “We will see significant changes over the next two years. The vision is to make Honda the best car brand in India in the next five years. We will re-orient our strategies,” Kanayama told reporters on Monday. “We will face challenges on the way. The Indian economy is going through challenging times due to various reasons, that’s having an impact on the auto industry.”

                    Kanayama said that the company’s focus will be on Brio and City. “There are more models in the pipeline, but I can’t talk about them right now.”

                    To achieve the one million units target, the company would need to speed up plans to introduce diesel variants, apart from expanding Honda’s portfolio in the mass car segment beyond the Brio, said Deepesh Rathore, managing director of IHS Automotive India, a consultancy.

                    “Once that happens, there will be an explosion in demand for Honda cars,” said Rathore. “In that case, the company will need fresh capacity for Brio, which is likely to have a diesel variant and they might as well start operations in Rajasthan.”

                    Rathore said Honda Siel may like to bring in an entry-level sedan that will compete with the likes of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd’s Dzire, Hyundai Motor India Ltd’s Accent and Tata Motors Ltd’s Indigo. “It may also look at the MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) segment and bring in a competition to Maruti’s Ertiga,” Rathore said.



                    Honda closes in on half a million trees funded

                    Honda staff and customers will unite on Friday (8 June) to help 'green up' Duder Regional Park, officially marking the start of the 2012 Honda TreeFund planting season.

                    Around 50 staff and customers will adorn gumboots and gloves to plant between 2,000 and 3,000 native New Zealand trees on the south coast of Duder Regional Park in South East Auckland.

                    The team will be joined by a special celebrity volunteer, Almighty Johnsons star, Jared Turner. Jared, who is a big environmental supporter and host of the 'Energy Spot' energy saving commercials, will work alongside the group for the afternoon.

                    The day is significant as it takes Honda a step closer to realising a significant TreeFund milestone. Through TreeFund, Honda is now officially responsible for the accumulated funding of 487,175 native trees.

                    During the day the team will plant a mix of New Zealand native species including tea tree, cabbage tree and flax, which are all pioneer species good at establishing bush coverage in open pasture.

                    This is the fourth year that Honda New Zealand has facilitated a dedicated planting day at Duder Regional Park and staff at all levels, from technicians to the managing director, will roll their sleeves up to help enhance the park's natural environment.

                    Graeme Meyer, Head of Marketing for Honda New Zealand, says the annual planting day is a highlight for staff and customers alike.

                    "Duder Regional Park has become a particular favourite planting site for staff and customers, with its tranquil seaside outlook. It's our fourth visit and we're keen to get our hands dirty to help restore local bio-diversity and enhance the park's natural beauty," says Graeme.

                    The planting day is a result of Honda's unique TreeFund initiative. Passionate about restoring bio-diversity, Honda developed TreeFund as an opportunity for customers to become involved in the greening of their own local community and to encourage the planting of native flora. With 13 native trees planted for every new car sold, Honda has been funding tree plantings nationally since 2004.



                    Are the high-mpg versions of the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, and Honda Civic worth the money?

                    The price of gasoline seems as unpredictable as the weather. It goes up, it goes down, and it often changes with the seasons. Just as rain can boost umbrella sales, gas price spikes can drive many consumers to look for models that can stretch a gallon further than their old ride. And the number many car shoppers are shooting for these days is 40, as in 40 mpg on the highway.
                    We tested three cars that carry this claim: the Chevrolet Cruze Eco, Ford Focus SE SFE, and Honda Civic HF. We also set out to see how much more fuel efficient these specialized small cars were compared with their standard trim lines. These economy-minded models cost between $500 and $800 more than the basic models, so we wanted to know what kind of return you'd get for the extra cash. Are they worth the money? We put them all through our extensive fuel economy tests to find out.
                    Automakers need high mpg models to help them meet their corporate average fuel economy (CAFE). Currently, vehicles from each automaker must average 27.3 mpg to avoid hefty fines, but that requirement is scheduled to rise to 35.5 mpg by 2016. Clearly, the pressure is on not only from the government, but also pump-weary consumers.
                    Comparing these high-efficiency models to the standard versions produced mixed results.
                    • The Focus SFE added a 3-mpg bump in overall and city fuel economy, to 31 and 21, respectively. The highway mileage in our tests stayed the same at 43 mpg.
                    • The Civic HF saw a 3-mpg gain in overall fuel economy over our previously tested and similarly equipped Civic LX, to 33 mpg. City and highway mileage improved to 21 and 49 mpg, respectively. The Civic was our highway fuel economy champ of this group.
                    • The Cruze Eco didn't increase overall fuel economy by much over the LS and LT versions we also tested. The Eco only added 1 mpg overall. It gained 1 mpg in the city and 4 mpg on the highway, for an unremarkable 27 mpg overall.

                    Cost-wise, assuming $4.00 gallon for fuel, the Cruze Eco saves only $20 per year; the Focus SFE and Civic HF save $145 and $135, respectively. And you'd need to own them between three and 38 years, depending on the model, for the fuel savings to offset the higher price.
                    But you don't have to spend extra on special models to get good fuel economy. For example, the larger Hyundai Sonata family sedan equals the price of our tested Cruze Eco and gets the same 27 mpg overall. And the Mazda3 i SkyActiv and Toyota Corolla cost less and get 32 mpg overall.
                    Take a look at our video for more details, and read our complete road tests for more detailed information.



                    Honda Motors to launch Mini MPV by 2014 in India

                    Honda Motors is all set to launch the Honda Mini MPV, which promises to accommodate your whole family along withyour entire luggage. Suzuki has reason to worry as this company till recently had been dominating this segment with the Suzuki Ertiga. There was absolutely no competition for Suzuki in this inventive segment, but Honda has gone ahead and has succeeded in putting a spanner in the “works” of Suzuki.
                    It would be noteworthy mention here that Suzuki managed a whopping 32,000 bookings within the first month of the launch of its Ertiga MPV. The Maruti Suzuki Ertiga is modeled on the lines of the Swift. Incidentally the Suzuki Ertiga is exclusively for Indian markets only.

                    The Honda Mini MPV which has been designed on a platform akin to the Concept S, displayed at the recently concluded Beijing Auto Show, will first be launched in China first and then make its way to India for a grand launch.Cars like the Honda Mini MPV are ideally suited for countries like China and India due to the huge population factor and hence the manufacturing decision of a global platform. Honda will also be introducing a 1.6 liter diesel engine for its sedan class of cars which include the Honda Civic and City. The new Honda Mini MPV will have an extra seating row with a much spacious boot space. The car is expected to be launched in India by 2014.



                    2011 Honda Odyssey Long-Term Update 8

                    A couple of months ago, I mentioned that the Honda Odyssey's sliding doors were acting up. Any time I was parked on an incline, the doors would not close all the way. I have had to either turn off the power mechanism and close the sliding doors manually or simply give the door an extra push to help it through the point at which it seems to catch. Either way, it was becoming an annoyance.

                    Before I was able to take it in, an issue with the Battery Monitoring System surfaced. I received a Technical Service Bulletin in the mail from Honda, stating that the BMS needed a software update. Additionally, the Maintenance Minder system alerted me that the minivan was in need of an A123 service. All these issues certainly added up to a much needed visit to the dealership!
                    When our Odyssey finally made it in to the local Honda dealership for a check-up, I brought to the mechanic's attention all the issues I have been experiencing. Thankfully, I was able to replicate the problem with the power doors in the dealership's driveway and they suspected the door tracks were in need of lubrication. As for the technical bulletin, they simply asked to see the paperwork I received in the mail. These two items would be covered under warranty with no cost to us. On the other hand, the A123 service, which consists of replacing the engine oil, air cleaner element, dust and pollen filter, and transmission fluid, rotating tires, and inspecting the drive belt, would require a somewhat hefty charge.

                    I left the Odyssey with the folks at the Honda dealership in the morning, and received a call from them mid-afternoon saying the minivan was ready to be picked up. They had lubricated the side doors, which alleviated the problem I was experiencing. (I was able to test the power opening and closing on site before leaving the dealership). The total charge for the A123 service visit was $314.49, half of which was labor costs. As stated before, we were not charged for the BMS update or the power door fix, as they were covered under warranty.

                    Since the service visit, I have double-checked the power sliding doors while parked on the hills around my house and they seem to be working flawlessly. I have yet to test out the Battery Monitoring System and don't foresee an opportunity anytime soon to leave the van parked with its doors open for hours at a time. Besides, at this point, I've developed the habit of turning off all the interior lights anytime I leave the doors open. If I want to run the radio while the van is parked, I leave the engine running, but it never hurts to keep a set of jumper cables with you, no matter what you're driving.

                    Our Car:
                    Service life 12 months/26,932 miles
                    Average fuel economy
                    21.6 mpg
                    CO2 emissions
                    0.90 lb/mi
                    Energy consumption
                    156 kW-hr/100mi
                    Unresolved problems
                    Maintenance cost
                    $502.31 (3 x oil change, tire rotation, inspection; 1 x cabin air filter, transmission fluid change, engine air filter) Normal-wear cost $0

                    Last edited by tokyodream; 30-05-12, 08:45.
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                    • http://businesstoday.intoday.in/story/petrol-price-hike-honda-advances-launch-of-diesel-brio/1/184948.html

                      Petrol price hike: Honda advances launch of diesel Brio to Diwali 2012

                      With petrol prices
                      touching an all-time high and no diesel models to support sales, Honda is planning to advance the launch of its diesel variant of small car Brio around Diwali.

                      "The company was initially planning to launch the diesel model by 2013. However, with the increasing demand for diesel cars and the hike in petrol prices, the company is advancing the launch of Honda Brio by Diwali this year," a company source told MAIL TODAY on condition of anonymity.

                      "The company has already asked the R& D department to speed up the work, and if required, it may also go for a third party arrangement," the source said.

                      In the last one year, the price of petrol has gone up considerably fuelling the demand for diesel cars, which account for more than 60 per cent sales at present.

                      Honda has no diesel variant in its stable, which is becoming a big disadvantage for the company. Honda Brio will become the first car to have the diesel engine followed by City and Jazz.

                      "With the huge surge in the price of petrol, there is a massive demand for the diesel model. We are already giving discount on our cars but it is not possible beyond a point," a marketing official from Honda said.

                      Honda is not the only company to advance launch of diesel cars . Renault has also advanced the unveiling of its diesel model. Even Volkswagen is looking for models that run on other fuels like CNG. Others are trying to sweeten the deal with various discounts and offers.

                      Sale of diesel vehicles in the country jumped by 35 per cent last fiscal while that of petrol variants dropped by 15 per cent. The sale of petrol cars will see further decline with the latest hike of ` 7.50 per litre.

                      A day after the increase, Hyundai announced a "petrol price lock assurance programme" that will insulate its customers from the new fuel price rise for the next seven months. The programme covers people who will buy petrol models of Eon, Santro, i10, i20, Accent and Verna till May 31.

                      "The hike of this magnitude is neither good for the industry nor customers," Arvind Saxena, director, marketing and sales, Hyundai Motor India, said.

                      Other automobile manufacturers have already started giving discounts and freebies on petrol models and could introduce more such offers following the hike of petrol . According to automobile body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), there is a need for the government to reconsider its proposal for such a steep increase in the price of petrol.

                      "There is a need to seriously consider the option of a moderate increase in the price of diesel before it impacts the growth of the industry," SIAM said.

                      In a statement, Siam said that there is a requirement to look at the petroleum product pricing policy in a comprehensive manner and remove distortions so that downstream products market do not get disturbed.

                      "The need of the hour is to bite the bullet by reducing the price hike on petrol and revising the price of diesel, which will bring in more revenue for the government as well as some level of parity between the two competing fuels for the industry," SIAM said.



                      Honda Motor Upgraded to Outperform

                      We have upgraded our long-term recommendation on Honda Motor Co. (HMC - Analyst Report) to Outperform from Neutral. The automaker expects a revival in sales and profits in fiscal 2013, based on higher revenues, favorable model mix and effective cost reduction measures. The company also expects to benefit from stricter environment regulations given its long-term focus on hybrid vehicles.
                      Honda continues to focus on hybrid vehicles technology considering the government environmental regulations. To fullfill the demand of the consumer, the company is improving the fuel efficiency of its vehicles. In 2012, the company plans to launch plug in hybrid car models in Japan as well as in U.S. The several models based on existing hybrid technologies includes third generation of Honda Civic Hybrids subcompact car and a hybrid version of the B-segment Honda Fit subcompact car.
                      Honda expects to boost in sales in U.S. in the near future. The company plans to offer improved lineups, including revamped Civic and redesigned CR-V and Accord to the customers, which will enhance the sales of the company. It will build its new Acura NSX supercar in Ohio. This is expected to improve sales by more than 20% in 2012.
                      Honda anticipates that there would be a 30% growth in revenues to ¥10.3 trillion for fiscal 2012. Operating profit will be up 168% to ¥620 billion and profits are expected to surge 122% to ¥470 billion or ¥260.78 per share. The company believes higher revenues, favorable model mix and effective cost reduction measures will contribute to the increase in profits during the year.
                      However, appreciation of Japanese Yen against most of the foreign currencies will put pressure on the company. Further, it continues to face difficulties in obtaining parts from suppliers due to disasters in Japan as well as flooding in Thailand.
                      Honda witnessed significant improvement in profits of 61% to ¥71.6 billion ($871 million) in the fourth quarter of the fiscal 2012 ended March 31, 2012 from ¥44.6 billion in the same quarter of prior fiscal year. On a per share basis, profits were ¥39.72 ($0.48) in the quarter versus ¥24.72 in the prior year. However, it missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 62 cents per share.
                      Revenues escalated 9% to ¥2.4 trillion ($29.3 billion). The increase in revenues was driven by higher revenues from motorcycle and automobile businesses.
                      Honda Motor Company is a leading manufacturer of automobiles and the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the world. The automaker is recognized internationally for its expertise and leadership in developing and manufacturing a wide variety of products that incorporate its efficient internal combustion engine technologies ranging from small general-purpose engines to specialty sports cars. It is the second largest automaker in Japan, following Toyota Motor Corp. (TM - Analyst Report).
                      Our long-term recommendation is backed by Zacks #1 Rank on the stock, which translates into a short-term (1 to 3 months) Strong Buy rating.

                      Read the full analyst report on HMC

                      Read the full analyst report on TM



                      Honda Australia Welcomes First Thai-Built Vehicles Since Floods

                      TULLAMARINE, AUSTRALIA – May 30, 2012: Honda Australia yesterday welcomed the first delivery of Thai-built Hondas from its plant in Ayutthaya since devastating floods suspended operations in October last year.

                      Honda Australia’s Director and General Manager Sales and Marketing, Mr. Stephen Collins, said the delivery was significant for Honda’s operations in Australia, strengthening its aggressive strategy to achieve 40,000 sales this year.

                      “The Ayutthaya factory in Thailand is vital to the success of Honda Australia, with 80 percent of stock sourced from this factory. This is our first shipment of vehicles in many months and includes Jazz, Civic, CR-V and new-look City models.

                      “Product from this factory benefits our customers in two ways. They receive high-quality products built to Honda’s stringent global standards as well as competitive pricing as a result of the Australia-Thai Free Trade Agreement,” Mr. Collins said.

                      Honda facilities around the world adhere to the same strict manufacturing standards, with quality assured from every factory no matter where it is located. Honda Australia imports vehicles from Japan, Thailand and the United Kingdom.

                      In 2011, Honda faced several challenges. An earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan affected Honda’s research and development facility and some production; and flooding in Thailand impacted supply of stock and subsequently, world-wide sales.

                      Honda Australia has been resilient in the face of these natural disasters, re-sourcing product from Japan while continuing with plans to launch new cars in Australia; the all-new ninth-generation Honda Civic, launched in February this year which was re-sourced from Japan along with the limited edition Jazz Vibe. These products are usually sourced from the Ayutthaya factory.

                      Honda Australia also forged ahead with other launches, including the 2011 Drive Car of the Year ‘Best People Mover’ the Honda Odyssey and the 2011 Wheels Car of the Year, the sporty Honda CR-Z Hybrid, launched in November last year.

                      This year, Honda Australia plans to win back market share by achieving 40,000 sales. Mr. Collins said: “To date, Honda has been tracking on target, with 2,485 units sold in April and excellent sales of the all-new Civic sedan [1,804 sales since March 2012], Jazz Vibe [2,617 sales YTD] and Accord Euro [2,637 YTD].”

                      Supply will return to normal from July, just after Honda releases the all-new, European-built Civic Hatch to take up the fight in the small hatch market. In the final quarter, Honda will launch the all-new CR-V.

                      Honda is the world’s biggest engine manufacturer, a leader in automotive research and development and consistently rated a top performer in customer satisfaction. There are more than 400,000 Hondas on the road in Australia and millions of happy customers world-wide.

                      Last edited by tokyodream; 31-05-12, 06:38. Reason: completare
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                      • http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...159589532.html

                        Honda Pins Revival on U.S. Auto Sales

                        TOKYO—Honda Motor Co. 7267.TO -1.47% is looking to its U.S. operations to pull it back from a deep sales slump, but with a spotty model lineup it has been resorting to dealer incentives to reverse a market share slide.

                        Honda's U.S. market share dropped to 9% last year—down from 10.6% in 2010 and 11% in 2009—as its unit sales fell 7.1% to 1.15 million vehicles, the fewest since 1999. The declines come even as the overall American market is rebounding strongly, including a 10% rise last year to 12.8 million vehicles.

                        Behind its weak results: Honda has been slower than other Japanese auto makers to recover from 2011's natural disasters, only returning to full production in April—months after rivals Toyota Motor Corp. TM +0.72% and Nissan Motor Co. 7201.TO -1.98% It also has struggling financially from the dollar's plunge to record lows over the past year against the yen, which has eroded earnings on vehicles it exports from Japan, such as its Fit subcompact.

                        "We couldn't sell what we didn't have on hand, so a lot of car buyers have been waiting for the product to arrive," Chief Financial Officer Fumihiko Ike said earlier this month. "The competition has gotten tougher but our loyal customer base has breadth and depth, especially for vehicles like the Accord."

                        But critics see a company that has lost it sure-footed ways. Honda's U.S. sales fell 2% in April, the second straight monthly drop in a market on the upswing, even as the company ramped up production to make up for shortfalls last year. To put the brakes on that decline,

                        Honda has ladled out sales incentives to drum up demand. Auto information website Edmunds.com forecasts the auto maker's May U.S. sales on Friday will show a 50% increase from a year ago. That gain reflects, in large part, severe inventory shortages at this time last year.

                        Once known for pioneering innovative—and lucrative—models such as the CR-V and Acura MDX compact SUVs, Honda increasingly has fallen back on its perennial favorites for U.S. sales as newer vehicles have fizzled.

                        "Recently, Honda is playing more defense than offense with its lineup," said Masataka Kunugimoto, an analyst at Nomura Securities in Tokyo. "They are losing younger buyers to KiaMotors Corp.] and Hyundai Motor Co. KR -1.52% ], which puts them at risk long-term of [becoming] something like Buick."

                        Over the past three years, Honda has launched a trio of models that failed to catch on with many car buyers: the Crosstour Accord hatchback in 2009 and the CR-Z hybrid coupe and Insight hybrid hatchback in 2010.

                        The Ridgeline pickup truck, which Honda debuted to great fanfare in 2005, has languished, triggering speculation—which Honda denies—that it may be discontinued.

                        Sales of the popular Fit subcompact also have stalled in recent months, plummeting 61% in April from a year earlier. Rival vehicles from Fiat SpA F -0.94% and Kia, have overtaken the low-price Fit in recent sales. Honda is hamstrung on responding to challengers because the vehicle barely breaks even at current exchange rates. Honda officials say half-jokingly they're trying not to sell them until a cost-competitive Fit can be built in Mexico beginning in 2014.

                        Honda still had three of the 10 best-selling U.S. cars in April, including the Accord, Civic and CR-V sport utility. Its executives expect demand to pick up later this year when the Accord undergoes a full model changeover and tweaks are made to the new Civic, which was panned by some critics.

                        Above all, Honda is betting its baby boomer customers who grew up with the brand will stay loyal. With a customer retention rate of 60%, Honda is well above the industry average loyalty of 49% and second only to Hyundai's 64% repeater ratio, according to a January survey by researcher J.D. Power and Associates.

                        Even with fresh styling, the vaunted Accord faces an increasingly crowded full-size sedan arena with competition from Hyundai's Sonata, Volkswagen AG's VOW.XE -0.16% Passat and a revitalized General Motors Co.'s GM -0.76% Chevrolet Malibu, along with the recently retooled Toyota Camry and 2013 Nissan Altima.

                        "The big motivator is the deal," said Rick Case, owner of a chain of Honda, Hyundai and other dealerships from Ohio to Florida. He says his sales last weekend were the best in five years. "People aren't as loyal to brands as they used to be. A Honda shopper is [also] a Hyundai shopper, a Kia shopper, a Toyota shopper and a Nissan shopper."

                        Honda has kept mum about the new Accord's attributes other than hinting that improved fuel economy will be an important selling point. But the company's projected rebound this year counts on that top seller, and revisions to the Civic—which was bruised by a poor review from Consumer Reports magazine—to claw back market share and shore up its profit margins. For now, Honda has plied car dealers with generous incentives to stoke demand and pump up volumes. But that practice threatens to erode profits per vehicle in the U.S., which historically supplies more than half the company's operating income—and nearly all of it last fiscal year. For the year ended March 31, Honda overall reported operating income of ¥231.3 billion ($2.9 billion) with ¥223.2 billion coming from North America.

                        Industry observers point to April's 26% surge in sales of the outgoing Accord as an example of a model likely getting a boost from incentives. In recent months, Honda dealers say the company has turned to controversial "stair-step" incentives to capture more price-sensitive buyers. But critics say that practice results in low-margin—sometimes even unprofitable—sales as dealers chase sales bonuses tied to volume-based targets.

                        "The stair-step [volume inducements] program has driven dealers to push the Accord by advertising it more and offering more deals," Mr. Case said.

                        Analysts say Honda needs to phase out those generous incentives to meet a bullish goal of achieving an operating profit of 6% of sales for the current year, up from a paltry 2.9% of sales last year but still down from a high of 9.1% in 2002. That falls between new fiscal year estimates by Nissan and Toyota for operating profits of 6.8% and 4.5% of sales, respectively.

                        Honda has been running television ads for its popular CR-V that encourages drivers to complete a must-do list of activities "before you make a big leap in life." Its tongue-in-cheek suggestions: Go to rodeo clown school. Survive a week in the wild. Swim with sharks.

                        But as that tagline implies, those objectives may be easier said than done. The same is true for Honda's U.S. revival.



                        'Eco' models aren't worth the money, study shows

                        Hoping to squeeze every last mile out of a gallon of gas? Automakers have been launching a flood of new “eco” models designed to do just that. But a new report warns that the minimal extra mileage isn’t worth the hefty price tag – which in some cases would require as much as 38 years of driving to recover in terms of lower fuel costs.

                        The new study by Consumer Reports raises questions about a variety of conventionally powered Eco models, such as Ford Focus SFE, Chevrolet Cruze Eco and Honda Civic HF. But it was also skeptical of the benefits promised by some hybrid models, such as the new Toyota Prius C which, it declares, “is fuel efficient, but not a deal.”
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                        The problem is that the savings are offset by hefty initial premiums averaging between $500 and $800 above standard models. But in some cases, the savings on fuel may be as little as $20 per year. And, in some cases, consumers wind up sacrificing further in terms of cheaper interiors and poor road dynamics.

                        The Chevy Cruze Eco is a prime example, according to CR researchers. The special model undergoes some aerodynamic “tweaks,” and gets low rolling resistance tires – which add $800 to the price tag when compared to the similar Cruze LT. But even then, fuel economy increases just 1 mile per gallon, to a mid-pack 27 mpg in the City. Highway mileage jumps 4 mpg, to 40.

                        It’s Driving Season. Why are Gas Prices Tumbling?

                        For the typical owner, that would yield just $20 a year in savings for the typical driver clocking 12,000 miles a year and paying $4 a gallon – and require a 38-year “payback” to recover the Cruze Eco’s added cost. Savings would be a little better, the non-profit publication added, for those who do a lot of highway driving.

                        The Honda Civic HF also tacks on another $800 to cover the low rolling resistance tires, rear spoiler and sealed underbody that reduces aerodynamic turbulence. That results in a 3 mpg jump in the compact model’s mileage, to a combined 33 mpg. But even then, annual mileage savings are a modest $135, meaning a 6-year payback period – which is longer than most Americans keep a new car.

                        And the magazine gave the overall driving dynamics of the Civic HF a poor review, which “places it near the bottom” of all small sedans.

                        The magazine was much more upbeat about the “solid feel” of the Ford Focus SFE – short for Super Fuel Economy – which gets flush hubcaps, a rear spoiler and those higher-mileage tires. The SFE package gets a 3 mpg bump, to 31 mpg Combined, which Consumer Reports estimates would save $145 annually. The package only costs $495, so payback is a shorter 3.5 years.

                        VW Beetle: Mini 911 or a Big Mistake?

                        While CR has often praised Toyota’s original Prius hybrid model, the magazine’s report is far less kind to the new Prius C, the compact addition to the expanding Prius “family.” While the new model’s City mileage rating of 37 mpg is “stellar,” the trade-off is significant in terms of the overall look and feel of the vehicle.

                        At a list price of just $20,850, the magazine declared, “drivers will get what they pay for. This subcompact hatchback, which is related to the lackluster Toyota Yaris, suffers from a stiff ride, very noisy cabin, slow acceleration, and cheap-looking interior trim.”

                        Overall, the Prius C’s test score, said Consumer Reports, puts it slightly under its chief competitor, the mediocre Honda Insight, and is too low for us to recommend the model.”



                        CR Finds that Fuel Efficient Versions of Focus, Cruze and Civic May Not be Worth the Extra Cash

                        When is it worth paying extra money for a more fuel-efficient version of the same model? The answer to that question depends on the price of gas, how much more fuel-efficient is said car and how long it will take to recoup the added cost. Consumer Reports (CR) set out to see if buyers would benefit in the long run by choosing the fuel-economy variants of the Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze and Honda Civic. While each of these models returns better mileage than their standard counterparts, they also cost between $500 and $800 more.
                        The following calculations were based on driving 12,000 miles (~19,300 kilometers) annually with an average gas price of $4 per gallon (€0.85/lt).
                        Starting with the Ford Focus, CR found that the $495 SFE (Super Fuel Economy) package, which adds flush hubcaps, a rear spoiler, and low rolling resistance tires, provides a 3-mpg improvement in overall and city fuel economy, to 31 and 21mpg, respectively.
                        After doing the math, CR found that the package would save Ford's drivers about $145 in annual fuel costs, meaning it would take three years to offset the price difference.
                        The Chevrolet Cruze ECO model adds aerodynamic tweaks and low rolling resistance tires, which increase its price by about $800 over a similarly equipped Cruze LT. According to CR's tests, the Eco model beats the LT by 1mpg combined at 27mpg, and by 4mpg on the highway at 40mpg.
                        Therefore, drivers would save only $20 per year, taking almost four decades to compensate for the higher base price! However, CR does note that Eco Drivers who mostly drive on the highway will save more.
                        The third and final model tested by CR is the Civic HF that uses low-rolling-resistance tires, a rear spoiler, underbody panels and flush alloy wheels to better its fuel economy numbers by 3mpg overall to 33mpg over the LX. On the highway, the HF returned an impressive 49mpg.
                        The Civic HF costs $800 more than a similarly equipped Civic LX sedan, with CR calculating that its better fuel economy would save buyers around $135, which means they'd need six years to recoup the price difference.

                        Last edited by tokyodream; 01-06-12, 08:39. Reason: completare
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                        • Why Honda Is In Even More Trouble Than You Think [Deep Thoughts]


                          To many observers, Honda appears to be going through the corporate equivalent of a mid-life crisis. Supply problems from the effects of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and flooding in Thailand, along with less-than-complimentary write-ups on the new Civic by Car and Driver, Consumer Reports, and others, are bearing the brunt of the blame for the slump in calendar-year 2011 sales. Further issues: Acura’s inability to attain tier-one luxury-car consideration or status among consumers, Honda’s attempt to build a pickup truck, and the firm’s precipitous sales decline in its home market of Japan.

                          But even though it will raise the ire of Honda executives and brand loyalists alike, the company’s problems aren’t simply the aftereffects of the world’s climate gone mad or a substandard take on a bestselling vehicle.

                          It’s worse than that.

                          There is good reason to consider Honda to be in a similar place as General Motors was in, say, January of 1981. We need to preface this by saying the business and product environment of 31 years ago couldn’t be more different from the climate in which the Japanese company seems to be struggling today, but the parallels with what is happening to Honda now are all too familiar to students of The General’s decline.

                          In May of 2009, Jim Collins, an author who contributes to the Harvard Business Review and other business journals, published How the Mighty Fall. In the book, Collins describes the five stages of demise in the world of modern business. They are:

                          Stage 1: Hubris Born of Success

                          Stage 2: Undisciplined Pursuit of More

                          Stage 3: Denial of Risk and Peril

                          Stage 4: Grasping for Salvation

                          Stage 5: Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death

                          Looking back at General Motors from mid-1945 up to the fateful day in June of 2009 when it declared bankruptcy, the stages and their effects can easily be identified. It’s tougher with Honda, mainly because it’s going through the end of Stage 2, the shank of Stage 3, and the early part of Stage 4 all at the same time right now.

                          1) Hubris Born of Success

                          GM’s Stage 1 period saw the company release highly engineered but woefully underdeveloped products like the Vega’s liner-less aluminum-cylinder-block/iron-head engine and front-drive X-cars, the doomed-from-the-start development of the RC2-206 rotary engine, and the cylinder-deactivating Cadillac V-8-6-4. In the case of our subject Japanese automaker, Stage 1 was highlighted in 1973 by the company displaying a Chevrolet small-block V-8 with a revised induction system and CVCC heads to show that Honda’s combustion technology obviated the need for a catalytic converter to meet the stringent 1975 emissions regulations. Honda, an engine builder par excellence, developed a mechanical solution to a chemical problem: controlling exhaust emissions from an engine running on unleaded fuel. This was akin to developing a machine to cure a headache so you don’t have to take an aspirin. And then Honda stuck with CVCC long after the system’s sell-by date before moving to catalysts like everybody else.

                          In the 1987–1988 timeframe, Honda had its dealers and buyers all but begging for a six-cylinder engine in the Accord, but refused to accommodate the requests. The company’s argument was that a V-6 was unnecessary since the company could make an inline-four with as much power as a contemporary six. And while that last part was true, the company believed it was smarter than the market. This is a treacherous train of thought for any business. At the most elemental level, no company is smarter than its customers. It is the customer who knows what he will spend his money on, and American businesses spend billions annually to determine what motivates the consumer and what it takes to get him/her to shell out their dead presidents. (Fast forward to today, when many automakers are abandoning V-6s in their family sedans in favor of four-cylinder-only lineups, often using turbos to deliver six-cylinder power. The next Accord will offer a V-6.)

                          2) The Undisciplined Pursuit of More

                          During Stage 2, General Motors demonstrated conclusively that it was, in fact, impossible to turn an Oldsmobile gasoline-fueled V-8 into a viable diesel engine. Another example of the company’s total lack of discipline was the “Transatlantic-assembled” Cadillac Allanté, whose Pininfarina-built bodies were flown to Detroit from Italy to be mated with the chassis. When Honda was in the core of its Stage-2 thinking, the company pursued a partnership with BL Limited (later The Rover Group) to prop up the British manufacturer’s failing passenger-car business using Honda platforms. (Remember Sterlings?) Understanding the precarious position of its U.K. partner, Honda saw the arrangement as a way to potentially quick-start European production. It didn’t work out for Honda when BMW flew in and picked up Rover before the Japanese could act, and the company had to develop its European manufacturing base the old-fashioned way.

                          In the United States, the company experienced the ultimate excess of success when a couple dozen of its managers, some dealers, and some vendors were indicted in a bribery scandal involving preferential distribution of its hottest cars to retailers. The event shook the company’s North American operation to its foundation. Also during this stage, Honda acquired 100 percent of British American Racing to create its own Formula 1 program. We all know how well that turned out.

                          3) Denial of Risk and Peril

                          Stage 3 was the toughest for General Motors to come to grips with, and that appears to be the case for Honda. Going back to January 1981, GM was at the top of its game. The company had launched the then-radical X-car platform (Chevrolet Citation, Buick Skylark, et al.) at all four volume divisions and sales were astronomical. The J-car (Chevrolet Cavalier, Cadillac Cimarron, Pontiac Sunbird, et al.) was in the pipeline for launch in April, and the company’s downsized large and mid-size cars were selling well. However, all of these cars were more cheaply made, had worse assembly quality, and, in some cases, were styling failures compared to the vehicles they replaced. They sold only on the strength of the nameplates attached to them, and it was inertial marketing at its best. But GM management didn’t see it that way. After all, sales were up and only coastal loons bought crappy Datsuns, Toyotas, and Hondas.

                          Discuss the shortfalls of some newer Honda products with that company’s management types and they’ll talk about how well the models are selling or how well they would be selling if only they could make enough of them. Historically, Honda was one of those automakers where generation-to-generation product improvement was both blatant and a given. Recently, that hasn’t been the case.

                          Grok the Crosstour. It’s not ugly. Really! Honda said so on its Facebook page. Facebook proclamations or not, there are some in the automotive design community that refer to the misshapen five-door as the “Medusian Ambassador.” Honda’s stubborn insistence on keeping the course for this vehicle can be seen in the latest Crosstour “concept,” which previews a second-gen production model that looks basically the same as the current one.

                          Other than the excellent Fit, recent succeeding versions of existing Honda models have tended to be fussier, cheaper, and generally less interesting than the cars they superseded. Nowhere is this better illustrated than with the Civic. Park a new one next to the last version and do a walk-around. Pretty much every aspect of the 2012 Civic is cheaper than its predecessor. Inside, the story is the same with materials cheapened and fits worse. If Honda “pulled a Jetta” with the Civic, it could be excused. While the current Jetta doesn’t compare well with its immediate predecessor, at least VW dropped the base sticker. With the new Civic’s MSRP, it’s as though Honda was saying, “If you’re stupid enough to pay this, we’ll take the money and run.” Harsh words, and we haven’t even gotten to Stage 4. (At least Honda has admitted some errors with the Civic, and is said to be rushing improvements into production. Whether this will substantively improve the car is yet to be seen.)

                          4) Grasping for Salvation

                          At this point in the process, General Motors made weird acquisitions in the belief that they would make the company more profitable. As it turned out, a lot of capital was spent on a myriad of companies, none of them essential to GM’s core business: Hughes Electronics, EDS, Saab. The list goes on.

                          Other than the Formula 1 team, Honda hasn’t gone on a drunken buying spree, but it has made investments as mind-bogglingly irrelevant as the General’s purchasing pandemonium. Do any of you really believe anthropomorphic robots are part and parcel of Honda’s future viability? And the less said about the HondaJet, the better. If you believe that ASIMO and the HA-420 are vital to the future of Honda Motor Company, you should think again. They are both just more noise in the system that further distracts Honda from its significant problems at hand.

                          This is the stage when things get really messy and the downturn in core business steepens. When a new venture (the design and manufacture of air-interceptor missiles, development of a nascent human-style robot, or whatever) doesn’t provide the expected corporate uplift, the best minds are transferred from their actual fields of expertise to the new, high-profile operations. This further weakens a company’s core business and makes recovery even more difficult. Over the past decade, this has manifested itself at Honda within the planning department. Populated with individuals who have little real understanding of, sensitivity to, or connection with product, the department concocts customer abstracts so interchangeable business drones can comprehend the intent of a new vehicle. In the case of the first-generation RDX, this abstract was “Jason,” a young, upwardly mobile, urban-residing male that needed a turbocharged engine, “Super Handling All-Wheel Drive,” and room to transport all his lifestyle accouterments. Yeah, okay. As it turned out, there weren’t many “Jasons” buying the RDX. Planning got that part wrong—really wrong. The idea that product knowledge, sensitivity, and a comprehension of the new-vehicle market can be abstracted into the form of bullet-pointed nonexistent customers is, frankly, insane. The methodology is doubly destructive as it rewards the ability to devise synthetic buyers while purging real car or truck knowledge and insight from the planning function. The damage from this kind of product generation continues up through the organization by allowing management, with no more awareness of the market than a grapefruit, to make billion-dollar product decisions with minimal deleterious career consequences. At GM, this kind of planning gave us the 1997 Chevrolet Malibu. At Honda, it explains many of the new Civic’s shortcomings.

                          5) Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death

                          While General Motors never was able to pull out of its economic tailspin, Honda doesn’t have to experience Stage 5. In How the Mighty Fall, author Collins writes, “Decline can be avoided. Decline can be detected. Decline can be reversed.” But the company has to understand—no, believe—that its viability is on the line, and what might seem to be a minor issue could turn out to be a make-or-break turning point for its continued operation.

                          Honda’s problems ultimately aren’t engineering problems. They aren’t manufacturing problems or product problems, either. Those are just manifestations of the real issue. Honda’s problems are management problems. The past two decades have seen Honda devolve into an American car company headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. Drunk on North American profits, the company has performed horribly in the troubled Japanese domestic market, it has been unable to get any significant traction in Europe, and is a non-player in much of South America.

                          Let there be no doubt, Honda still is a viable business. But every new product that doesn’t match up to its predecessor siphons off a bit of the company’s strength. Each wrong move places the firm one step farther down the same path walked by GM from January 1981 until June 2009.



                          Honda Siel cars sales soar over four-fold in May

                          Car-maker Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI) on Friday reported an over four-fold increase in its sales for May at 10,334 units.

                          The company, which is a joint venture between Japanese auto major Honda and the Siel Group, had sold 2,334 units in the same month last year, HSCI said in a statement.

                          "We are extremely delighted with the response to Brio and City as both the models have been consistently posting great numbers. We are confident that we will grow positively this year," HSCI Senior Vice-President (Sales and Marketing) Jnaneswar Sen said.

                          During the month, the company sold 3,753 units of its flagship sedan City and 4,512 units of its small car Brio. It also sold 1,948 units of the premium hatchback Jazz and 62 units of sedan Civic.

                          Besides, HSCI sold 38 units of the premium sedan Accord and 21 units of sports utility vehicle CR-V in May 2012.



                          Toyota, Honda Soar in May Comeback; Chrysler Extends Gains

                          Chrysler Group posted a 30 percent increase in sales last month and General Motors and Ford rebounded from April declines as the U.S. auto industry showed signs of a sharp recovery from weak results a year ago.

                          Toyota Motor Corp. said its sales rose 87 percent to 202,973 from a year earlier, when Japanese automakers began to reel from that country's March 2011 earthquake.

                          American Honda's U.S. sales jumped 48 percent to 133,997 in May. The automaker said deliveries at the Honda division advanced 46 percent to 119,411 while Acura volume rose 62 percent to 14,586.

                          "Honda's return to strength is in full swing," John Mendel, head of American Honda's U.S. sales operations, said in a statement. "Any time Honda Civic sales surpass 33,000 units in a month, it shows real demand in the marketplace."

                          Nissan Motor Co.'s May sales rose 21 percent for their biggest gain of the year. The Volkswagen brand advanced 28 percent. At Hyundai, sales rose 13 percent last month to 67,019 cars and light trucks. Kia said its sales rose 7 percent to 51,771 last month.

                          Total U.S. auto sales for last month are forecast to climb about 30 percent from a year earlier, aided by rising incentives and consumers that continue to shrug off economic uncertainty.

                          In May 2011, the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate dropped to 11.7 million units -- the year's second-weakest month -- largely because of shortages at Japanese automakers.

                          "In spite of a tremendous amount of global economic uncertainty, the U.S. vehicle sales industry continues to power ahead," Reid Bigland, the head of Chrysler's U.S. sales operations, said in a statement.

                          At Subaru, sales rose 48 percent, while Jaguar-Land Rover posted an eight percent increase in volume last month.

                          Overall light-vehicle sales in May could climb 31 percent to 1.39 million units, based on the average estimate of nine analysts tracked by Bloomberg.

                          And industry sales are expected to run at a 14.4 million seasonally adjusted annualized rate, based on the average of 14 estimates from analysts polled by Bloomberg.

                          That sales pace would keep the U.S. auto industry on track for its best showing since 2007, when sales totaled 16.15 million.

                          Chrysler on Friday estimated the annualized sales rate will total 14.2 million units in May.

                          Chrysler brand sales surged 81 percent, while Jeep sales rose 24 percent and Ram truck demand jumped 23 percent, the automaker said.

                          Fiat 500 deliveries jumped 128 percent to 4,003, and sales of the Chrysler 200 mid-sized sedan rose 87 percent to 13,250.

                          It was the 26th consecutive month Chrysler's sales have advanced, and the 12th straight month the gain has been 20 percent or more.

                          "In spite of a tremendous amount of global economic uncertainty, the U.S. vehicle sales industry continues to power ahead," Reid Bigland, the head of Chrysler's U.S. sales operations, said in a statement.

                          Chrysler's U.S. sales have increased 33 percent this year to 689,257 units.

                          The automaker has been aided by a revamped large and mid-sized car lineup, a redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV, as well as fleet orders and some of the industry's highest retail discounts. Chrysler also offered a sales promotion late last month that delayed the start of payments for 90 days on certain models.

                          "The Japanese competitors are now back fully in the marketplace," Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters on May 24. "It's something that we have not had to deal with, effectively, over the last 12 months."

                          Industry sales started strongly early in May, softened during the middle of the month "and then came back again over the Memorial weekend," Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, said this week.

                          Light vehicle demand--a bright spot in the U.S. economy--has climbed 10 percent this year through April and the annualized sales pace has topped 14 million units each month.

                          "Pent up demand continues to fuel auto sales at a steady and sustainable level," said Jesse Toprak, head of market intelligence at TrueCar.com.

                          Easing credit conditions, fleet deliveries and a steady but sometimes choppy rebound in the U.S. economy are also driving industry sales. Analysts say automakers have also caught a break with the recent drop in gasoline prices nationwide.

                          The rise in sales is prompting automakers to boost output by adding overtime and production shifts. Ford said today it will increase third-quarter production across North America by 5 percent to 690,000 units.

                          Among the biggest automakers, GM, Ford and Honda have lost market share this year, while Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan and the Hyundai-Kia Group have gained ground.

                          Some automakers were also forced to hike incentives to coax buyers into showrooms last month.

                          Suzuki, after posting a 17 percent drop in April sales, introduced 0 percent financing on 72-month loans across its U.S. lineup. Ford said it raised incentives in May after falling short of sales targets in April, when its deliveries dropped 5 percent.

                          "Incentives are expected to play a larger role in May than in the past few months when pent-up demand drove consumers back to the market," Jeffries analyst Peter Nesvold said in a research report on Thursday.

                          GM offered "substantial" increases in rebates for pickups and SUVs, while Ford boosted discounts on models such as the Fiesta and Focus cars, Escape SUV and F-series pickups, Nesvold said.

                          Edmunds estimates automakers spent an average of $2,135 on incentives per vehicle in May, up 3.9 percent from April, and up 0.6 percent compared with May 2011.

                          TrueCar.com said average incentive spending per new vehicle totaled $2,392 last month, an increase of 4 percent from May 2011 but a drop of 2 percent from April 2012.

                          Other automakers will release May sales results later today.

                          14.4 MILLION RUN RATE

                          Overall light-vehicle sales in May could climb 31 percent to 1.39 million units, based on the average estimate of nine analysts tracked by Bloomberg.

                          May's sales are expected to run at a 14.4 million seasonally adjusted annualized rate, based on the average of 14 estimates from analysts polled by Bloomberg.

                          That sales pace would keep the U.S. auto industry on track for its best showing since 2007, when sales totaled 16.15 million.

                          After a 5 percent decline in April, GM's sales rose 11 percent last month, with deliveries at Chevrolet up 10 percent, GMC demand up 19 percent and Buick volume rising 19 percent. Cadillac's slump continued with sales off 15 percent.

                          At Ford, sales rose 13 percent, with deliveries at the Ford division advancing 13 percent and offsetting a 2 percent drop at Lincoln. Ford was off 5 percent in April.

                          Chrysler today estimated the annualized sales rate will total 14.2 million units in May. GM expects the May SAAR to come in at around 14 million.

                          CHRYSLER'S HOT STREAK

                          Chrysler brand sales surged 81 percent, while Jeep sales rose 24 percent and Ram truck demand jumped 23 percent.

                          Fiat 500 deliveries jumped 128 percent to 4,003, and sales of the Chrysler 200 mid-sized sedan rose 87 percent to 13,250.

                          It was the 26th consecutive month Chrysler's sales have advanced, and the 12th straight month the gain has been 20 percent or more.

                          "In spite of a tremendous amount of global economic uncertainty, the U.S. vehicle sales industry continues to power ahead," Reid Bigland, the head of Chrysler's U.S. sales operations, said in a statement.

                          Chrysler's U.S. sales have increased 33 percent this year to 689,257 units.

                          The automaker has been aided by a revamped large and mid-sized car lineup, a redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV, as well as fleet orders and some of the industry's highest retail discounts. Chrysler also offered a sales promotion late last month that delayed the start of payments for 90 days on certain models.

                          "The Japanese competitors are now back fully in the marketplace," Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters on May 24. "It's something that we have not had to deal with, effectively, over the last 12 months."

                          STRONG FINISH TO MONTH

                          Industry sales started strongly early in May, softened during the middle of the month "and then came back again over the Memorial weekend," Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, said this week.

                          Light vehicle demand -- a bright spot in the U.S. economy -- has climbed 10 percent this year through April and the annualized sales pace has topped 14 million units each month.

                          "Pent up demand continues to fuel auto sales at a steady and sustainable level," said Jesse Toprak, head of market intelligence at TrueCar.com.

                          Easing credit conditions, fleet deliveries and a steady but sometimes choppy rebound in the U.S. economy are also driving industry sales.

                          GM's closely watched retail sales -- roughly 70 percent of overall deliveries -- rose 14 percent while fleet sales inched up 3 percent last month, the automaker said.

                          Analysts say automakers have also caught a break with the recent drop in gasoline prices nationwide.

                          Sales of big pickups also surged last month, with demand for the Chevrolet Silverado rising 22 percent; GMC Sierra volume up 23 percent, Ford F series sales up 29 percent, Dodge Ram deliveries climbing 29 percent and the Nissan Titan rising 86 percent.

                          The rise in sales is prompting automakers to boost output by adding overtime and production shifts. Ford said today it will increase third-quarter production across North America by 5 percent to 690,000 units.

                          WINNERS, LOSERS

                          Among the biggest automakers, GM, Ford and Honda have lost market share this year, while Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan and the Hyundai-Kia Group have gained ground.

                          Some automakers have been forced to hike incentives to coax buyers into showrooms last month.

                          Suzuki, after posting a 17 percent drop in April sales, introduced 0 percent financing on 72-month loans across its U.S. lineup. Ford said it raised incentives in May after falling short of sales targets in April.

                          "Incentives are expected to play a larger role in May than in the past few months when pent-up demand drove consumers back to the market," Jeffries analyst Peter Nesvold said in a research report on Thursday.

                          GM offered "substantial" increases in rebates for pickups and SUVs, while Ford boosted discounts on models such as the Fiesta and Focus cars, Escape SUV and F-Series pickups, Nesvold said.

                          Edmunds estimates automakers spent an average of $2,135 on incentives per vehicle in May, up 3.9 percent from April, and up 0.6 percent compared with May 2011.

                          TrueCar.com said average incentive spending per new vehicle totaled $2,392 last month, an increase of 4 percent from May 2011 but a drop of 2 percent from April 2012.



                          Toyota Sales Boom in May; Honda and Nissan Also See Increases

                          Toyota took the sales lead once again in May, selling 202,973 units for an 87.3-percent gain over the 108,387 units sold last year. In second place was Honda, with 133,997 units sold – an increase of 47.6 percent over its performance last year. Nissan trailed behind in a distant third place, with sales of 91,794 units for a 20.5-percent gain.

                          Honda’s Hots:

                          Accord: Though it didn’t see the sales volume it enjoyed last month, the Accord was still strong in May, posting sales of 29,737 units for a gain of 74.7 percent over the same month last year. Though Camry sales continue to outpace Accord, Honda is preparing a next-gen model that can hopefully keep it in the midsize game.

                          Civic: The C-segment Civic was Honda’s volume leader in May, with sales of 33,490 units in May – up 82.6 percent over the 18,341 units sold in May 2011. Strong sales of the Civic hybrid contributed to that number, totaling 708 units for a 164.2-percent gain over the 268 units sold a year prior.

                          CR-V: The CR-V set a record for May at 25,186 units sold, up 54.4 percent over the 16,307 units sold the same month in 2011. As Honda’s third best-selling model this month, the compact crossover continues to be a bright spot in the brand’s lineup.

                          Honda’s Not-So-Hots:

                          Fit: The B-segment Fit was again slow-selling in May, dropping 34.5 percent from the 5921 units sold in May 2011 to 3879 units sold this month.

                          Insight/CR-Z: The two dedicated hybrid models from Honda continue to slip in sales. The compact Insight sold 512 units in May, a 64.3-percent decrease from the 1435 units sold the same month in 2011. The CR-Z hatchback dipped even further, selling just 296 units for a decrease of 81.0 percent from the 1557 units sold in May last year.

                          Acura’s Hots:

                          RDX: The recently updated RDX crossover saw its best sales month ever, with 3301 units sold – an increase of 216.8 percent over the 1042 units sold in May 2011.

                          Toyota’s Hots:

                          Camry: The Camry once again led Toyota sales, and was also the best-selling Japanese midsize sedan in May at 39,571 units sold. That’s more than double the 18,830 units sold the same month last year, when Toyota’s production abilities were still crippled by the earthquake that hit Japan in March.

                          RAV4: Toyota’s compact crossover RAV4 led truck division sales in May, with 19,248 units sold – a gain of 123.2 percent over the 8624 units sold the same month in 2011. Though sales were relatively strong, the aging RAV4 still trailed behind Honda’s new CR-V.

                          Prius: The Prius was another model that was still hurting from the earthquake in May 2011, when it sold 6924 units. This past month, however, Prius sales were strong at 21,477 units. But earthquake troubles aren’t the only reason behind the model’s 210.2-percent gain, as the Prius family has grown to include two more body styles since then.

                          Toyota’s Not-So-Hots:

                          Scion tC: Sales of the front-drive Scion tC coupe dropped again in May, decreasing 17.8 percent from the 2664 units sold last year, to 2190 units. The model’s performance may continue to slide, now that the sporty, rear-drive Scion FR-S has gone on sale. That car sold exactly 86 units in May, as part of Scion’s “First 86” pre-sale program.

                          Lexus’ Hots:

                          GS: The new Lexus GS carried its sales momentum from April into last month, posting sales of 1996 units for a huge gain over the 306 units sold in May 2011. The CT hybrid also saw a big increase in May.

                          Lexus’ Not-So-Hots:

                          HS: Slow sales have finally forced Lexus to discontinue the HS hybrid, which ended production in January. The now-defunct model posted sales of 21 units in May, a decrease of 90.5 percent compared to the 220 units sold the same month last year.

                          Nissan’s Hots:

                          Rogue: The Rogue continues to be Nissan’s best-selling CUV, and second-best seller overall. Nissan sold 11,977 Rogues last month, a 72.0-percent gain year-over-year.

                          Titan: Nissan’s truck lineup showed strong gains in May with its full-size Titan leading the charge. Nissan sold 2166 Titans last month, a 15.4-percent increase year-to-date.

                          Versa: The redesigned subcompact Versa posted the biggest gains of Nissan’s car lineup. Now with a decent supply of vehicles, the Versa sold 8643 units in May.

                          Nissan’s Not-So-Hots:

                          Altima: The Altima was Nissan’s best-seller in May with 22,690 sold but that number may decrease in June as Nissan prepares for the 2013 Altima, which goes on sale toward the end of the month. Altima sales were down 11.1 percent for the month of May.

                          Cube and Leaf: The quirky Cube and all-electric Leaf were each down more than 50 percent in May but still far above the GT-R, which was flat in May with 135 units sold.

                          Infiniti’s Hots:

                          G Sedan: The long-running G Sedan continues to be Infiniti’s best seller at 3758 units. G Sedan sales were up 40.0 percent last month, also making it the luxury brand’s biggest gainer.

                          JX: The new seven-seat JX crossover is selling well. It’s already become Infiniti’s second best-seller of the month, with 2678 sold.

                          Infiniti’s Not-So-Hots:

                          EX: The compact EX crossover was Infiniti’s worst performer last month with 298 sold, marking a 32.4 percent loss year-over-year.

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                          • http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topic...6&parent_id=16

                            Financing package for Honda products

                            Domasco Honda, exclusive distributors of Honda vehicles, motorcycles, marine engines, power products and parts, yesterday announced the launch of a new motor finance package called “Honda Advantages” in Qatar.
                            The new vehicle finance solution, based on a purchase model called “Personal Contract Purchase”, is designed to offer a range of individually-tailored finance packages.
                            Honda Advantages offers real tangible benefits to customers such as lower monthly commitments, shorter loan agreement, guaranteed future trade-in value and option to upgrade to a new Honda after two or three years as per the customer’s choice.
                            Sales and marketing (Honda) manager Greig Roffey said: “The new finance solution from Domasco Honda offers customers a low-cost alternative to traditional forms of funding.
                            “You can even upgrade to a new Honda every two years because we guarantee the future trade-in value of your car, ensuring complete peace of mind. The Honda Advantages solution means you can afford a higher specification vehicle than perhaps you initially envisaged.”
                            “We are confident Honda Advantages will be the popular mode of motor financing due to its flexibility, low monthly installments and guaranteed future value for the vehicle at the end of the agreement,” he added.
                            “This type of finance is ideal for customers intending to change their vehicles at the end of the contract period and we believe it will become the preferred way of buying a Honda from now on,” Roffey said.
                            Honda Advantages is valid across the Honda range, including the Honda City, Jazz, Civic, Accord, CRV, Pilot, Crosstour, and Odyssey.



                            Honda delivers great value as well as style in the latest Civic; ROAD TEST Honda has been ringing the changes to the Civic and the new model is put through its paces

                            IT didn't take long for Honda's latest British-built Civic hatchback to pick up its first accolade.

                            The 1.4i VTEC version, produced in Swindon, was recognized as representing the best value for money in the Parkers Cost of Motoring New Car Awards.

                            It came out on top in the medium hatchback category, on the basis that it offered better value than any of its competitors over a three-year period. It was also named as the overall awards winner.

                            That's good news as British drivers are more than ever looking for better value.

                            Equally satisfying is that the Civic remains one of the best-looking cars in its class while also being a fine car to drive.

                            In its ninth-generation form, the firm has adopted an evolutionary approach with the car looking a lot like its predecessor while having more efficient engines, suspension changes bringing a more comfortable ride and an improvement in quality in the cabin.

                            It retains the striking, coupe-like exterior styling but now the lines are smoother and the vehicle is more aerodynamic. In the cabin there's a more simplified digital display and a soft-touch dashboard. A fullcolour screen in the centre of the upper display incorporates an eco driving aid and presents trip computer information accessed at the touch of a button on the car's redesigned, multi-function steering wheel, which is finished in extra smooth leather. Above all, the new Civic feels a higher quality car.

                            The new engines have brought more economical motoring with lower emissions, while ride quality has improved enormously.

                            Honda has responded to criticism regarding the poor rear visibility in the last car by lowering the split in the two-piece back window bringing a better view of what's behind. The top section is larger and now fitted with a wiper while the bottom section is now heated.

                            Honda is claiming up to 67.3mpg average economy in Civics with the firm's outstanding 2.2-litre diesel and sub 100 g/km emissions when a new 1.6-litre diesel is introduced later in the year. Should petrol power be preferred, expect to achieve up to 50mpg with the 1.4-litre engine or 40mpg-plus when the larger 1.8-litre power plant is chosen. Honda quotes combined fuel economy of 52.3 and 48.7mpg respectively.

                            ECO Assist, an ECON Mode and idle stop technology reduce emissions while at the same time improving fuel economy. Running costs are down because the new Civics stable and composed driving experience.

                            The cinema-style Magic Seats that make the car so versatile have been retained.

                            These both flip-up and fold down as well as reclining and you can transform the interior at the lift of a lever or push of a button.

                            The car's flat floor also means good legroom for those taking a back seat. What a pity, however, that headroom suffers because of the coupelike tapering roofline. That said, the Civic continues to offer class-leading space for passengers as well as the greatest boot capacity in its sector of 401-litres, increased by 76-litres thanks to an under-floor compartment.

                            With improved interior quality as well, there's a lot to be said for checking out the ninth-generation Civic.

                            HONDA CIVIC ES 1.8 AUTOMATIC AT A GLANCE MODEL ASSESSED: Honda Civic ES 1.8-litre automatic. PRICE: £20,780 in standard form. Other versions from £16,955 (1.4 i-VTEC SE).

                            ENGINE: Four-cylinder, 17898cc iVTEC petrol power plant producing 142PS at 6,500rpm. Mated to five-speed automatic transmission.

                            PERFORMANCE: 130mph (134mph with manual gearbox). Rest to 62mph in 10.9 seconds (manual, 9.1 seconds). FUEL CONSUMPTION: 44.8mpg (52.3mpg manual). Test average, 37 mpg. Fuel tank capacity, 50 litres. CO2 EMISSIONS: 148g/km (143g/km, manual) putting the car in tax band F. As for benefit in kind, a 20% tax payer pays from £54 a month.

                            INSURANCE: Group 16E, five groups lower than in case of outgoing 1.8-litre Civic ES.. DIMENSIONS: Length 4,300 mm; width 1,770mm excluding folding door mirrors; height 1,470mm.

                            STANDARD FEATURES: dual zone climate control air conditioning, cruise control with speed limiter, hill start assist, rear parking camera, front fog lights, category 1 alarm, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, key fob operated windows and power folding mirrors, leatherwrapped steering wheel, rear armrest, auto up/down electric rear windows, ambient lighting, sixspeaker audio system with USB port/iPod connectivity, shark fin radio antenna, Bluetooth handsfree telephone, alloy pedals, climate control auto air conditioning, ECO Assist, Econ mode switch, 16-inch alloy wheels, i-MID information display, LED Daytime running lights.

                            are in insurance groups four to five groups lower than the outgoing models.

                            The cars come in SE, ES, EX and EX GT trim levels and are priced from £16,955 to £26,850 on the road, with the option of an automatic transmission in 1.8-litre engine cars.

                            The Civic ES I drove had the five-speed auto box and it proved a real delight by delivering seamless changes. There's a Sport mode when a more enthusiastic driving approach is sought and paddles on the steering wheel to change up or down manually.

                            A major challenge for the engineers was to improve the handling of the car and this has been achieved through the introduction of a very stiff new torsion beam and retuned electronic stability programme to create a more accurate.



                            Honda Canada reports May sales results

                            Honda CRV and Pilot record best ever May sales
                            Acura RDX records best sales month ever
                            MARKHAM, ON, June 1, 2012 /CNW/ - Combined May sales of 13,683 units by the Honda and Acura divisions of Honda Canada Inc. represented a 39% increase over last year's sales. The Honda Automobile Division reported May sales of 12,017 units, up 38% from last year, led by record sales of Honda CR-V (up 43%) and Pilot (up 51%). The Acura Division reported May sales of 1,666 units, up 53% over last year, with record sales of Acura RDX (up 176%).
                            "We are pleased that customers have more choices of our products compared with last year when we experienced a severe supply shortage due to the natural disaster in Japan," said Jerry Chenkin, Executive Vice president, Honda Canada Inc. "As a result of our normal supply levels, we are seeing very strong sales results especially for the Honda CR-V compact SUV, Pilot intermediate SUV and the all new Acura RDX, luxury compact SUV. All three models achieved record month sales."
                            "Canadians continue to embrace Civic which remains the number one selling passenger car in Canada," added Chenkin.
                            Honda Canada has sold approximately 3.5 million Honda and Acura passenger cars and light-duty trucks in Canada since 1973. Of all Honda and Acura vehicles sold in Canada in May, 96% were produced at the company's assembly plants in North America, up 2% from same month last year.

                            For further information: Maki Inoue (905) 888-4416
                            Laura Heasman (905) 888-4586



                            Honda concept C will be made in China from 2014

                            The Honda Concept C debuted at the Beijing Auto Show in April, previewing a new mid-size sedan for the Chinese car market. Chinese media report today that production of the Honda concept C will start in 2014 at the Guangzhou-Honda joint venture.
                            The joint venture is adding its third production line in the Zhengcheng factory which will be operational in 2014. Initial capacity is 120.000 cars annually which will gradually be expanded to 240.000. The joint venture is also building a new engine factory that will make small-displacement engines under 2.0 liter.
                            The Honda Concept S will be made in the new line and will use engines from the new factory. The Concept C will slot somewhere under the Guangzhou-Honda Accord but other details are scarce at this moment. Honda very much need a new and modern medium sized car to drive sales up in China, sales have been declining the last few years because Chinese car buyers consider Honda cars as too old fashioned.
                            Last edited by tokyodream; 02-06-12, 07:32.
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                            • http://www.vtec.net/news/news-item?news_item_id=1068303

                              American Honda Reports May Auto Sales

                              Civic, CR-V and Accord Fuel Honda Double-Digit Sales Gain; New Acura RDX Sets All-Time Monthly Sales Record

                              Honda division sales up 46 percent, Acura sales up 62 percent

                              06/01/2012 - TORRANCE, Calif
                              American Honda today reported May 2012 U.S. sales of 133,997 units, an increase of 47.6 percent compared to May 2011 (an increase of 36.3 percent based on the daily selling rate*). The Honda Division posted May 2012 sales of 119,411 units, an increase of 46.0 percent compared to May 2011. Acura’s U.S. May sales of 14,586 units increased 62.1 percent compared to May 2011.

                              - Civic sales up more than 80 percent compared to May 2011; an exceptional sales figure for any month, Honda sold 33,490 Civics in May

                              - CR-V sets a May sales record (25,186 units), besting previous record by 5,226 units, leading Honda to a May record for light truck sales

                              - Accord sales (29,737 units) continue to show strength in the tough mid-size segment, up more than 70 percent from May 2011

                              "With our best May sales performance since before the financial crisis it’s obvious Honda’s return to strength is in full swing,, and our May sales are impressive irrespective of last year’s production supply problems,” said John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president of sales. “Any time Honda Civic sales surpass 33,000 units in a month, it shows real demand in the marketplace."

                              - Total Acura sales of 14,586 units were up 62.1 percent, making this Acura’s best month since December of 2010

                              - The RDX had its best sales month ever (3,301 units), with May 2012 sales up 216.8 percent. The RDX is expected to be at the top of the compact luxury SUV segment

                              - Overall, Acura light trucks posted a best-ever May result of 8,226 units, up 64.7 percent

                              - The all-new ILX compact luxury sedan went on sale May 22. As dealer inventory builds, the ILX marketing campaign launches with national TV advertising beginning in early June with the NBA conference finals on ESPN

                              “With the new RDX setting an all-time sales record this month, Acura went well beyond recovering from last year’s supply issues,” said Jeff Conrad, vice president of Acura sales. “Now, with the new ILX reaching dealerships across America, Acura is just beginning a great new hot streak.”

                              *The daily selling rate (DSR) is calculated with 26 days for May 2012 and 24 days for May 2011. Year-to-date, the DSR is calculated with 127 days for 2012 and 126 days for 2011. All other percentages in release are unadjusted; see table for adjusted DSR figures.



                              May sales: Volume up across the board; Chrysler, Toyota post largest gains

                              While below what some industry analysts had predicted, auto sales in May were still strong, with nearly all brands posting gains.
                              Many Japanese automakers enjoyed huge volume increases, with the largest gainer being Toyota at 92 percent. However, much of that eye-popping growth was due to the automakers’ particularly weak May last year, when production cuts and inventory shortages caused by the tsunami in Japan were first felt.
                              Chrysler built on its strong performance in the first four months of the year with the biggest percentage improvement of any domestic automaker, though Ford and Chevrolet still led the field in terms of overall sales volume.
                              Note: Look for an in-depth sales report to follow early next week.

                              May’s Numbers
                              Chevrolet – Up 10 percent to 177,943
                              Chrysler – Up 81 percent to 29,674
                              Dodge – Up 14 percent to 45,793
                              Ford – Up 13 percent to 208,425
                              GMC – Up 19 percent to 38,877
                              Honda – Up 46 percent to 119,411
                              Hyundai – Up 13 percent to 67,019
                              Jeep – Up 24 percent to 44,198
                              Kia – Up 7 percent to 51,771
                              Mazda – Up 14 percent to 20,357
                              Mitsubishi – Down 26 percent to 5575
                              Nissan – Up 16 percent to 81,202
                              Ram – Up 23 percent to 26,373
                              Scion – Up 29 percent to 6047
                              Subaru – Up 48 percent to 29,724
                              Toyota – Up 92 percent to 175,465
                              Volkswagen – Up 28 percent to 38,657
                              Chrysler Group – Up 30 percent to 150,041
                              Ford Motor Company – Up 13 percent to 215,699
                              General Motors – Up 11 percent to 245,256
                              American Honda – Up 48 percent to 133,997
                              Hyundai Group – Up 7 percent to 51,771
                              Nissan North America – Up 21 percent to 91,794
                              Toyota USA – Up 87 percent to 202,973
                              2012 YTD Numbers
                              Chevrolet – Up 5 percent to 781,564
                              Chrysler – Up 77 percent to 140,891
                              Dodge – Up 17 percent to 217,263
                              Ford – Up 7 percent to 898,761
                              GMC – Up 6 percent to 163,364
                              Honda – Up 10 percent to 518,608
                              Hyundai – Up 11 percent to 292,856
                              Jeep – Up 29 percent to 197,028
                              Kia – Up 19 percent to 237,381
                              Mazda – Up 20 percent to 123,886
                              Mitsubishi – Down 23 percent to 27,462
                              Nissan – Up 13 percent to 441,543
                              Ram – Up 20 percent to 117,373
                              Scion – Up 14 percent to 26,721
                              Subaru – Up 22 percent to 136,602
                              Toyota – Up 25 percent to 753,470
                              Volkswagen – Up 36 percent to 170,555
                              Chrysler Group – Up 33 percent to 689,257
                              Ford Motor Company – Up 7 percent to 933,179
                              General Motors – Up 2 percent to 1,066,963
                              American Honda – Up 10 percent 576,174
                              Hyundai Group – Up 19 percent to 237,381
                              Nissan North America – Up 13 percent to 441,543
                              Toyota USA – Up 24 percent to 868,300

                              The Domestics

                              Ford saw strong growth for its core models, with its bread-and-butter F-Series improving 29 percent, the Edge climbing 24 percent and even the soon-to-be-replaced Fusion posting a 9 percent increase. The Blue Oval’s negative models were mainly discontinued vehicles like the Crown Victoria and the Ranger, although the Fiesta did dip by nearly 15 percent.

                              The picture was generally a positive one for GM as well, with the automaker reporting its highest sales volume since August 2009. While the usual suspects – the Chevrolet Silverado, Malibu and Equinox – all enjoyed double digit gains, the largest percentage improvement came from the Volt, which increased 249 percent to a still-small 1680 units.
                              It was the Chrysler Group, though, that saw the largest gains amongst the Big Three, with the Chrysler division itself posting an 80 percent jump. Strong-performing individual models were numerous, with highlights including the 300, up 140 percent, and the 200 and Dodge Avenger twins, up 87 and 93 percent, respectively.

                              The Asians

                              The tragic tsunami in Japan really began to adversely affect many Asian automakers in May of 2011. Though that period was an incredibly challenging time, it did set the stage for enormous year-over-year sales gains last month.

                              Toyota’s overall numbers were up the most, and its trucks and crossovers increased by 59 percent. The automaker’s cars, however, had the largest improvements, with the Camry up 94 percent and the Prius family – which benefitted from the addition of the new Prius c – up by 186 percent.
                              Buoyed by demand for the Civic and Accord, Honda output was up 46 percent, with the CR-V also recording a record sales month. Nissan, which was relatively unaffected by the natural disaster, posted more modest (but still strong) growth of 21 percent.
                              Check back with Leftlane next week for a complete set of May sales figures and more analysis.



                              May's Top 10 best-selling vehicles: Toyota, Ram score

                              Toyota dominated the sales landscape in May, with sales up 87%. That's versus a weak May 2011, when Japan's tsunami had shoppers thinking Toyota, Lexus and Scion showrooms would have few cars in stock.It actually wasn't the case, noted Toyota spokeswoman Carly Shaffner; Automotive News data show Toyota maintained higher inventory in May 2011 then it did in the month just ended May, but the perception dried up demand and the automaker lost a third of its sales.
                              Last month, it more than made them back: Camry and RAV4 sales more than doubled, Corolla/Matrix sales jumped 87.5% and Prius sales tripled. Even sales for the Lexus RX gained 82.1%.
                              But Toyota wasn't the only mover. The top seven automakers all posted double-digit sales gains, and Honda, Nissan and Chrysler clocked sales gains beyond 20%.
                              The seasonally adjusted annual rate in May amounted to just 13.8 million cars — the lowest rate since November 2011 — but discounts were at their lowest rate in 2012.
                              Automaker and dealer incentives combined for just 12.9% off the average new-car sticker price, according to CNW Marketing Research. That's the same as a year ago, and snaps months of higher discounts vs. year-ago levels.
                              Meanwhile, rising sticker prices drove transaction prices up. The average shopper paid $32,382 for a car in the first half of May, up from just less than $30,000 a year ago. They were able to do that in part because of easier credit. Average interest rates and loan terms have improved from year-ago levels, according to Experian Automotive.

                              By Toyota

                              The rising tide lifted all of May's top 10 sellers, but it did little change their order. The Prius may have tripled sales, but that was versus a dismal May 2011 — when sales collapsed 51.4% — and it wasn't enough to retain a Top 10 spot for Toyota's popular hybrid.Chrysler's Ram pickup truck, which hasn't been a Top 10 player since February, returned to the list, fueled by increasing demand on both the light- and heavy-duty side. Chrysler said the regular cab had the largest percentage sales gains, though the quad cab remains the Ram's most popular configuration.
                              Higher Ram sales Ram were emblematic of all pickups, as gas prices fell nearly 20 cents per gallon in May: Combined sales for the Ram, Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra increased 26.5% in May and 14.1% for the year.
                              The battle of family cars in their final year -- cars with redesigns due for 2013 -- played out through May. The Nissan Altima, which beat Honda Accord and Ford Fusion for the first three months of 2012, remains off the Top 10 for a second month despite an uptick in incentives. The Accord and Fusion, meanwhile, actually have gained in popularity in their last year.
                              Honda has done particularly well in the last two months, and seems to validate Honda's strategy to keep the new Accord under wraps until just before it launches this fall in order to keep up interest in the outgoing car.

                              Last edited by tokyodream; 03-06-12, 08:27. Reason: completare
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                              • http://business.manilastandardtoday....-us-made-cars/

                                Honda to bring in US-made cars

                                Honda Cars Philippines Inc. will beef up its fleet of vehicles in the Philippines by introducing models made in the United States.

                                A company source told Manila Standard over the weekend the US-made Odyssey and Pilot models would be officially unveiled in the local market this week. The source, however, did not give additional details.

                                The Honda Web site showed the Odyssey mini-van produced in Lincoln, Alabama is a much- larger model compared to the Odyssey model made in Sayama, Japan.

                                Pilot, meanwhile, is a mid-size crossover sports utility vehicle also produced in Lincoln, Alabama, although other Pilot models are produced in Canada.

                                The entry of these two models is expected to heat up the competition in each vehicle segment.

                                HCPI had been importing the CR-V, Accord and Jazz from Thailand while the City and Civic models were produced at the Santa Rosa, Laguna plant, prior to the Thailand floods last year.

                                Local production of City and Civic models was stopped in November due to parts supply disruption caused by the floods. The Japanese firm also ceased importing the CR-V, Accord and Jazz from Thailand.

                                HCPI resumed the distribution of the Jazz 1.3-liter variant in the local market in May this year, following the recovery of supply from Honda’s manufacturing plant in Thailand.

                                The plants in Thailand resumed production of automobiles on March 26, 2012.

                                Data from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturer of the Philippines Inc. showed Honda accounted for just 15.8 percent of the market in the first quarter of 2012, behind Toyota’s 34.2-percent market share, followed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. with 17 percent.

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