By on October 28, 2009

Forward... into the past! (courtesy:adclassix.com)

Honda has been getting flack on these pages for some time now for succumbing to size and weight bloating, a criticism that carries a special sting for an automaker that clawed its way into the mainstream by offering inexpensive, efficient models. And it seems that a little bashing may have helped. Automotive News [sub] reports that Honda has “torn up” its old product plan, and is refocusing on less expensive, more fuel-efficient offerings.Honda CEO Takanobu Ito explains:

We are taking more time to rethink the new Civic and all our models. We had to revisit our development work and planning to comply with the change in the environment

And Ito isn’t referring to changes in the polar icecap either, but rather to the post-credit crisis consumer environment. Prior to the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Ito says Honda was developing a V8, an RWD platform and a larger successor to the Civic. Now it seems that the financial crisis that has been blamed for everything from declining sales to the bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler is yielding the kind of results that a decade of plenty couldn’t.

Not that changing the focus of product development is entirely without its challenges. “The team is struggling,” admits Ito. “We are injecting more manpower to meet our target.” Especially because Honda isn’t trying to become Kia. Well, old Kia.

The easiest option would be to make products cheaper, but we have to not only cut the price but also maintain the highest quality. This applies to all models, but the biggest is the world Civic.

The Civic strategy is not likely to yield a complete return to form. After all, a true return to old-school Civic values would leave the Fit without a reason to live. Instead the plan is to increase the perception of roominess without increasing the size. And, presumably, without increasing weight. These changes should ripple down to Civic-based vehicles like the CR-V, and the (thus-far) JDM-only Stream minivan. Hybrid technology will also proliferate across a greater portion of its vehicle range, and Honda will move into electric offerings, despite early resistance to the trend. Does this mean we’ll see a real return to Honda’s roots with a new-age 600 along the lines of the EV-N? Probably not. Still, this is an indication that Honda is headed back towards the values that made it a major player.

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47 Comments on “Honda Going Back To The Basics?...”


  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    With the spectre of inflation just around the corner it’s wise for automakers to bring the price down on their products so that consumers might still buy cars when interest rates begin to climb.
    This is a time when Honda and Toyota cannot do what Detroit did, which was rely on customer loyalty to their brand.

  • avatar

    good. I hope they give Civic a steeper windshield. And I hope they resurrect the Integer. On a RWD platform.

  • avatar
    jaje

    First off – fire most of their US designers who gave us the Crosstour and pretty much hit every Acura with the fugly stick. I’m not a judge book by its cover type of guy but they have really mucked those cars – as much damage as Bangle has done to BMW’s once graceful and athletic looks (of which it is now recovering).

    I’d love to see Honda buck the bloat trend and get back to the lightweight basics. I’ve been waiting decades for composites to trickle down from supercars to everyday cars. Do less with more was Honda’s old mantra and Honda has since lost its way with heavy FWD based cars. There is little sport in this brand anymore. I still relish the fact that Honda made some of the greatest FWD sports cars to this day (the old ~ 2,000lb Civics with 4 wheel double wishbone suspension – of course US got the neutered cars with SOHC engines rather than the DOHC VTEC engines that made them the modern tuner car for a generation). Yes the MS3 is a great car but – that’s a lot of torque and weight in a FWD car. Here is where weight is the greatest enemy here RWD cars can mask it better. The front wheels can only stop, steer and accelerate the car so much.

    Honda was a sports car company that was founded on motorsports to improve the breed – this was BMW or Ferrari or Porsche’s same blueprint. Now Honda builds mass market cars that satisfy “Jennifer”. How they’ve fallen into the bigger is better mindset for each generation til the Civic today is almost listed as a mid size car and now the Accord is EPA rated a large car.

  • avatar
    geeber

    One question…given Honda’s normal model cycles, the next-generation Civic should debut next fall, as a 2011 model. Isn’t it a little late at this point to be deciding whether the new Civic will be larger or smaller than the old one? The final prototypes should be ready for real-world testing.

    I wonder what this will do to Honda’s efforts to move upmarket…the current Civic, Accord and CR-V are a step up in price and content over their predecessors. Some Civic sedans are now pushing $21,000+.

  • avatar
    MasterOfTheJawan

    Now if only they’d remember their roots in performance as well. The prelude, crx, NSX, s2000,,, all dead now. I had a 88 Prelude si 4ws once (5 speed of course), it by far the most enjoyable car to drive. Unfortunately their marketing dept would rather go with greenie creed and leave those who enjoy driving to look elsewhere.

  • avatar
    tced2

    I would just like to see a new model that is similar in size to the outgoing model but weighs less. Weight has a lot to do with the mileage. And you can get better performance with lower weight. Unfortunately to reduce weight, often more advanced (expensive) materials need to be used. But that’s the place for engineering ingenuity.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    geeber, Lehman collapsed in Sept. ’08. That’s when they changed their strategy with the new Civic.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    You could say that the next gen Civic is already here. Take the Insight, put in a trunk instead of hatch, rip out the batteries, and voila…

    Off topic: I rarely care about commercials, but I am getting really sick of hearing Howie Long talk about how Chevies get better mileage than Hondas.

    Honda needs to fix this fast, even if it means coming out with an equivalent to the XFE models.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Thank you, Paul. From quotes highlighted in the article, I got the impression that Honda is still seeking a direction for the next Civic.

  • avatar
    Joseph

    Honda’s older strategy of less is more is, in my opinion, what really set them apart from other car makers and won my loyalty. I have been disapointed with many of their more recent moves in the industry. I would welcome a return to the older strategy and more light, efficient and great handling cars with open arms.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    Honda can’t change and won’t change.They are unaware of their own failings yet strive to mask them. Acura’s lineup is a mess and getting worse, and the new Insight is far from innovative. The whole Honda hybrid systems screams cheaper is better , yet the buying public seems not as impressed as Honda would like to believe. Their string of misfires keep growing and it’s not just in their automotive offerings. The people at the top of Honda either don’t know what they are doing or don’t care.Whatever the issues are , it’s very clear they are not taking any path to correct them. Cancelling a rumored V8 is not going to cure what ills Honda.Meanwhile , they still are making money and telling themselves they are doing all right.Sounds a lot GM circa 1975.

  • avatar
    Porsche986

    I hope they make this happen, and fire all of their current designers.

    My dad has the current body 06 Civic EX Coupe. It has been a VERY good car, and at 70K miles is still rattle free. BUT… that wild windshield angle and dashboard have GOT to go… not only is it distracting, but the windshield pillars are so thick that you could hide a Hummer in them.

    Go for it Honda… remember your roots. Let’s get back to Accords like the 89-93 generation… light, frugal, nicely styled without looking “styled”, handle like a dream, low dashboards, thin pillars, and built to withstand a huge amount of miles… if there is any company that can do it Honda can.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Benchmark the 92-94 Accords…then “enhance” them with modern tech, modern materials, etc.

  • avatar

    Thanks for writing this up, Edward. I’ve been very critical of Honda’s direction the last few years, recently suggesting that of all auto makers they’ve strayed farthest from what made them successful in the first place.

    I hope we see a return to the clean, logical designs that made the mid-1980s Hondas so hot.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Positive news, although the hybrid/electric angle does not sound like “going back to basics” to me. It sounds like more pandering to 2008.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Ceipower,
    I’m confused by your remarks. The buying public is not impressed with Honda? Then why have they been gaining market share in the US so consistently?

    Their hybrid system is inexpensive and that’s a bad thing — people want to pay $10K premiums for hybrids?

    The people running Honda don’t know what they are doing or don’t care? Really, then why is Honda just about the only carmaker focused on the American market that is actually making money?

    And because Honda is making money they are in trouble? I have to think that GM, Toyota, Chrysler, Ford, Nissan, etc. would want that kind of trouble.

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    @MasteroftheJawan

    “Now if only they’d remember their roots in performance as well. The prelude, crx, NSX, s2000,,, all dead now. I had a 88 Prelude si 4ws once (5 speed of course), it by far the most enjoyable car to drive.”

    EX-FRIGGIN-ACTLY!!! Civic 1300’s and Accord DX’s with manual windows sold because they were better than everything else out there, as most other cars were basically CRAP! Now, the game is much tougher, as competitors have some pretty compelling product on the market. Boring-ass but decently reliable econoboxes can be assembled anywhere, by almost anyone.

    What MADE Honda was that their cars were more fun to drive, with better shifters, zippier engines, and a quality, well-assembled feel to them. A Honda may have cost more than a comparable Ford, Chevy, or even Japenese competitor, but it felt like it was worth every extra penny in the driving experience and the quality of the product!

    They are headed down a dangerous, delusional path if they forget that it was the quality of the driving experience that truly differentiated them in the marketplace. Listen up Honda, or slide into irrelevancy.

    New S2000, new Prelude, new NSX NOW!

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    I agree that a return to Honda’s roots would serve them well. The current Accord is so far removed from its’ origins the only common thread is the name. Surely Honda is still capable of producing the same types of cars that originally won them a large devoted following. They can start by putting an ICE in the upcoming CRX. I believe if they did that and priced the car in the $15-17k range they could sell as many of them as they wanted to vs. a substantially more expensive hybrid version being a niche model. That seems like such an obvious move to me I am amazed Honda is insisting the car will only be offered as a hybrid. If they offered both ICE and hybrid drivetrains I’m guessing 95%+ of the sales would be the ICE version. Hybrid technology is fine as it continues to evolve but until it reaches the point where it is comparably priced to ICE offerings it will not garner mainstream sales numbers.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Hope Honda escapes the “BMW Ugly” look and gets back to attractive cars like that first Accord (I had both the hatchback and the 4-door.) Sweet.

  • avatar
    nate1897

    I bought a new ACURA RSX – S in 2003 after owning a used ’93 Integra. I love small, sporty coupes. I had hoped that my next car would be an Integra/RSX based RWD 6 cylinder coupe.

    I never thought that ACURA would provide such poor choices for new cars. They are all heavy, FWD, over complicated, chick-tified plasticky road whales.

    I bought into the Acura values of precision, economy and sportiness in the ’90s. I remain hopeful that they will return to those values, but my next car will not be an Acura.

  • avatar
    alfred p. sloan

    Good news.

    The sub-compact growth has murdered what once were fun, tossable and economical Civics.

    Maybe one day manual windows and optional Power Steering will once again be available in a base model car. Maybe.

    as an owner of a 92 accord wagon and a 93 accord sedan I am so glad to see that those cars appreciated by you guys as much as I appreciate them.

  • avatar
    Axel

    So, I’m guessing there’ll be no BOF platform in Honda’s future :).

    Seriously, the next Civic should:

    1. Go from 0-60 in under 9 seconds
    2. Weigh under 2600 lbs
    3. Get 27+ city, 37+ hwy MPG (EPA. 42 or 43 in real cruising) with a pure gas drivetrain
    4. Be fun to drive
    5. Look refined (7th gen) yet futuristic and hip (8th gen)
    6. Cost around $16,000 (2009 dollars) in LX trim, manual.

    I think they can achieve that. The Civic should be the first and last car that a young college grad considers when buying his or her first new car. It should blow away the Mazda 3.

    It doesn’t need to be refined, or quiet (it’s a HONDA, after all), or extremely comfortable or spacious. They’re not after sedate Corolla customers. It does need to be frugal, fast, and fun.

    Really, we’re talking about a Fit sedan here. Just rename the Fit to be the “Civic hatchback,” or even better, the “Honda Civic Fit.”

    There might be a place for a small mid-size “Elantra/Corolla fighter” in between that and the Accord. That, or just downsize the Accord. An Accord should be smaller, lighter, and more nimble than most mid-sizes, not a really, really, nice Chevy Impala, which is what it is right now.

  • avatar
    Axel

    Mark MacInnis :
    Benchmark the 92-94 Accords…then “enhance” them with modern tech, modern materials, etc.

    I’d bite. You can “modernize” the styling, but please keep that nice, low belt line. I love the tall windows on cars of that vintage in general (even GM W cars had a nice greenhouse).

    The problem with Accords of that era is that while the overall car is considerably longer than a current-body Civic, the wheelbase, and therefore the interior, is about the same size. They would have to do some serious bumping out of the wheels, a-la the current Malibu or Altima.

  • avatar
    rtt108

    I must be the only one who is really impressed with the Honda IMA system.

    I don’t think of it as a complex full hybrid system like in the Prius, but rather a small displacement ICE car with an electric turbo charger!

    Insight 1 was capable of astounding highway mileage (which is what I look for, more than local or mixed driving).

    I have not read any real world numbers on Insight 2 yet, but would expect (hope) it would do very well. (Not those bogus EPA numbers, but what a real adult driver can get if the car is driven carefully)

    edit … for example:
    http://www.hybridcars.com/gas-mileage/honda-60-mpg-surprise-25564.html

    The only thing I think they screwed up on was dropping the MT option.

  • avatar
    jaje

    I don’t understand the bashing of Honda’s IMA hybrid system? It costs 1/2 what Toyota’s system does but gives your > 50% of the fuel efficiency. To me that balances out the fact that you can’t get 50mpg city. But Why have hybrids when we can have efficient, clean diesel engines with start/stop technology so you don’t idle at lights? That would be even cheaper, give you comparable city mpg and diesel gets similar hwy miles with better power delivery to boot (and Honda did create a diesel cat converter that doesn’t need urea tank refills like all other diesels sold by VW/Audi/BMW, etc.). Honda could have created a unique niche if it brought us the 2.2CDI diesel that has won so many awards in Europe (where diesel competition is high).

  • avatar
    jmo

    Really, we’re talking about a Fit sedan here. Just rename the Fit to be the “Civic hatchback,” or even better, the “Honda Civic Fit.”</i.

    No, what Honda needs to do is rename the Fit the Civic, rename the Civic the Accord and rename the Accord the Honda Legend. Then people can stop complaing about the bloat.

  • avatar
    Axel

    No, what Honda needs to do is rename the Fit the Civic, rename the Civic the Accord and rename the Accord the Honda Legend. Then people can stop complaing about the bloat.

    Fine by me, but the Fitvic needs to come in sedan and coupe form as well as a hatch.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Axel: It doesn’t need to be refined, or quiet (it’s a HONDA, after all), or extremely comfortable or spacious. They’re not after sedate Corolla customers. It does need to be frugal, fast, and fun.

    What Honda is after is about 300,000 Civic customers who annually buy one without much in the way of incentives. And those people DO want cars that are reasonably refined, quiet, comfortable and spacious. (Incidentally, Hondas have been noted for offering a large amount of interior space in relation to exterior dimensions since the days of the original Civic.)

    In some respects, the genie is out of the bottle. Honda is used to selling 300,000 Civics and 400,000 Accords annually. If it remade the Civic and the Accord into the type of cars that posters on this site want, sales would nosedive to half of their current level (and that’s if Honda is lucky).

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Honda is selling 400,000/yr of the current Accord?

    If that’s true then don’t change a thing.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    If it remade the Civic and the Accord into the type of cars that posters on this site want, sales would nosedive to half of their current level (and that’s if Honda is lucky).

    Folks, we have a winner.

    Enthusiasts are usually wrong about the market. Despite the complaints among posters here, Accord retail sales are high enough to show that enough people like it to vote for it with their money. Other car makers should be as fortunate.

  • avatar
    bigbadbill

    Those old Hondas were terrible “rustbuckets” in the “rosd salt” states. They literally fell apart after a few winters. Doesn’t anybody remember?

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    PCH101-agreed, enthusiasts seem to think the sun rises and sets on our opinions but the fact is we a market share freaks.

    IMO the current Accord gets a bum rap from the enthusiasts. While it is a large car inside it weigh less than many midsizers (and weight is the real enemy) and its dimensions are within the midsize norm.

    We shoudl be praising this car for its excellent space efficiency.

    As for the Civic what, besides the Maz3 which is not near as fuel efficient (which I think is the point of an economy car), handles better and delivers a better package? I really don’t see anything on the US market.

    Honda has not drifted near so far as many seem to think.

    And they should offer an enthusiast suspension package for both those cars (without Si expenses) and bring the Stream over.

    So there. ;^D

    Bunter

  • avatar
    T2

    I, too, appreciate that a raked windshield angle improves aerodynamics and cabin noise figures but, like a lot of drivers who have tested out the Civic, I would have preferred the trade off that would allow a steeper windshield angle to reduce some steering “anxiety” when having to manouver in a limited space. Also adopting that 1.8L engine to compete with the Corolla in the horsepower wars while it comes at the expense of mileage was another step backwards in my way of thinking.

    Finally as ceipower wrote –
    The whole Honda hybrid systems screams cheaper is better , yet the buying public seems not as impressed as Honda would like to believe.

    I agree, comparing the IMA with the HSD. Sales figures don’t lie. People want a full hybrid which means a dual electrical machine setup in place of a less robust system that relies on a mechanical CVT.

    Sure, a properly maintained CVT is expected to reach 100k miles or more. Feedback from Nissan dealers may reveal otherwise.

    In any event, a CVT is unlikely to reach the 200k milestone of which the Prius HSD and conventional transmissions are deemed capable. That particular perception is a lot more real to prospective buyers now that the likelihood of an expensive battery pack failure is on the horizon no longer.

    And did jaje mention why stop at hybrids, what about diesels ?

    Uh Oh, I see that old diesel train pulling in again. (sigh)
    It’s never late.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Honda is selling 400,000/yr of the current Accord? If that’s true then don’t change a thing.

    In 2008 Honda sold 372,789 Accords.

  • avatar
    dolorean23

    Now if only they’d remember their roots in performance as well. The prelude, crx, NSX, s2000,,, all dead now. I had a 88 Prelude si 4ws once (5 speed of course), it by far the most enjoyable car to drive. Unfortunately their marketing dept would rather go with greenie creed and leave those who enjoy driving to look elsewhere.

    The 2000 Prelude Si with AWS was probably one of the greatest cars I ever got the chance to drive and drooled stupidly everytime I got the chance to take her out again. So disappointed in Honda when they dropped the 2+2 Prelude for the 2 seater S2000. Also massively disappointed with the Del Sol. However, I won’t say I’m not impressed with their Greenie cars. If thats what the customer wants, make it the best one for the best price. Simple.

    Really, we’re talking about a Fit sedan here. Just rename the Fit to be the “Civic hatchback,” or even better, the “Honda Civic Fit.”</i.

    You got me here, I kept waiting for another car company to counter with their Fit fighter, such as; the Nissan Spasm, the Ford Seizure, and the Toyota Convulsion. Oh well.

    And did jaje mention why stop at hybrids, what about diesels ?

    Absolutely. Honda has a nice line of diesels in Europe. Why not offer at least one?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Let’s get back to Accords like the 89-93 generation…

    Why? They already have such a car. It’s called the 2010 Civic.

    People are far too hung up on nameplates. Honda is not GM: they offer a portfolio of very good cars in small (Fit), medium (Civic) and large (Accord) and extra-large (Odyssey/Pilot) sizes. Instead of getting your nose out of joint about the Accord’s size, just eat your pride and buy the Civic instead.

    And, for goodness, say, realize that as nice as that Accord from the eighties seemed, it was probably also cramped, slow, and not all that safe. Honda could go back to making cars that are cramped, slow and unsafe compared to the competition. I’m sure that would work out spectacularly for them.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Sure, a properly maintained CVT is expected to reach 100k miles or more. Feedback from Nissan dealers may reveal otherwise.

    Nissan’s CVTs are doing very well, by and large.

    Remember fuel injection’s debut? Remember how much the domestic’s implementation sucked, or how finicky the Europeans were? Remember how everyone said that EFI was too complicated and that we should stick to carbuerators?

    CVTs are like that.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The sub-compact growth has murdered what once were fun, tossable and economical Civics.

    Again. Honda makes the perfect car for you: it’s called the Fit.

    Seriously, the next Civic should:

    1. Go from 0-60 in under 9 seconds
    2. Weigh under 2600 lbs
    3. Get 27+ city, 37+ hwy MPG (EPA. 42 or 43 in real cruising) with a pure gas drivetrain
    4. Be fun to drive
    5. Look refined (7th gen) yet futuristic and hip (8th gen)
    6. Cost around $16,000 (2009 dollars) in LX trim, manual.

    Other than the highway figure—fixable with a lower final drive and/or a sixth gear—you are describing the current Honda Fit.

    Why should Honda shrink the Civic when they already sell this car? And if it’s “just what we need”, why aren’t Fit sales eclipsing Civics?

    I don’t think people who post here are aware of exactly how a) how far out of touch enthusiasts are with how the market actually works, or b) how much enthusiasts don’t want what they say they want.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I don’t understand the bashing of Honda’s IMA hybrid system? It costs 1/2 what Toyota’s system does but gives your > 50% of the fuel efficiency. To me that balances out the fact that you can’t get 50mpg city.

    Well, for one, Honda’s system may be cheaper, but they’re not selling it for any less. Two is that it isn’t actually more reliable.

    Then there’s packaging: The Civic Hybrid and Prius are about the same price. The Prius gets better mileage, fits more people and has a trunk that’s actually very useful, where the Civic’s trunk is only slightly more useful than the Pontiac Solstice’s.

    But Why have hybrids when we can have efficient, clean diesel engines with start/stop technology so you don’t idle at lights?

    Many reasons:
    Number one: because North Americans don’t want diesels en masse. Toyota sells more Priuses than all diesel passenger cars combined.

    Number two: because diesels aren’t any better. They’re no faster than a hybrid, nor much simpler (seriously: the modern TDI is a complex, high-precision machine). Adding a small version of the IMA system to a diesel would push the price well past what Toyota’s HSD costs.

    Number three: diesels don’t do the stop/start thing very well, and are not well-suited to idle-stop.

  • avatar
    mtypex

    bigbadbill: No one is talking about bringing back 1970s/1980s metal. We want the designs/shapes of the era back.

  • avatar
    Via Nocturna

    I was about ready to wave the flag for a leaner, meaner, smaller Honda, but Pch101 definitely has a point. In spite of the much-maligned bloat of the current generation of Accord, I’m not seeing similar objections from the mainstream either subjectively (I’ve seen plenty of new Accords in my area) or objectively (sales figures). In fact, SUV refugees via C4C or rising gas prices probably love the increased interior space and, as long as it doesn’t affect the fuel economy, could care less about how the bloat affects the dynamics.

  • avatar
    tparkit

    Honda’s list of sins is long, and growing:

    – the new Accord is a pastiche, a mess of uncoorinated styling cues cribbed from other cars. That’s why it looked stale, even in its first year. This act of surrender reflects a company no longer confident it can do better than other manufactures. It is also a sure sign play-it-safe organizational types have driven out the trailblazers, original thinkers, and risk-takers.

    – the re-styled Pilot disappeared into a sea of me-too SUVs. (Compare this lack of impact to an Odyssey, which can be identified at a glance at 200 yds.)

    – the Insight is the rolling incarnation of “nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

    – the front ends of the Acuras reflect an insular, self-networking culture. No group looking past its own navel could have contrived such a screwup.

    – the Element is a wonderful concept plagued with shortcomings and flaws Honda refuses to fix. Element customers don’t even deserve bumper strips on the doors.

    – Honda’s on-demand 4WD amounts to “too-late 4WD”. I’d guess the folks at Subaru have for 15 years been thanking their lucky stars for the entrenched dopes over at Honda.

    Will Honda smarten up? That would involve internal groups (like whichever gang is responsible for the on-demand 4WD) admitting they were wrong. That’s a tall order in any corporaton, and doubly so in a Japanese one. Maybe that’s why Toyota is making noises like it is going to clean house.

    Full disclosure: I own a cherry 1991 Accord EXR. No, it is not for sale.

  • avatar
    bigbadbill

    mtypex:
    I understand your point.
    I just wanted to remind people that Honda made some crappy cars too. It wasn’t only GM, et al.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    tparkit +1

    Given how many 2009 Civics I see now (thank you C4C), I have this feeling that if Honda were to delay the new 2011 Civic to 2012, buyers probably won’t care. With a little prodding in 2010, sales numbers should stay high or at least enough to keep Marysville humming.

    RIGHT NOW, an automaker (any automaker) should grow a set and make changes to every upcoming model to insure they get better mileage. Why? Gas prices are starting to move upward again. There are signs the global economy is starting to wake back up. If what was predicted actually happens, the summer of 2010 might welcome us back to $4+/gal gas. We watched the guzzlers and their companies that built them just get destroyed and all of that put the final nail (one of many) into their coffin.

    Honda also needs to realize that if they spent just a few minutes on a variety of auto blogs and sites like this one, they have a legion of hard core and loyal fans for both Honda and Acura. People replace Hondas with Hondas and the same for Acura. I could have been in that camp though but when the RSX was shelved, so was any future Acura purchase to replace mine.

    I’m part of the generation that started driving in the (very) early 90’s and looked at the CRX and Prelude as “cool cars” that someone that age would give anything to drive. Bring that feeling back with the current crop of new drivers.

    Honda should take the lead and go back to their roots. Start with the 2011/12 Civic. Dump maybe 200 lbs, try to bring back the huge greenhouse look that so many of us loved back in the day, and give us a simple but attractive interior filled with the soft touch plastics the Civic used to have. Hell, I’d be happy if their trick suspension returned.

    Next, maybe in limited numbers, but bring back the Prelude and CRX. The press will drool all over these classic nameplates and with Honda’s edge in economy and technology, it should be a hit.

    Also, and I wish Honda would get the hint…cheap speed is still selling. Auto buffs and buyers alike still worship the Mazdaspeed3. The first Sentra SE-R is still talked about. Dodge sells decent numbers of their SRT models. I see more than a few of the Cobalt SS coupes, Civic Si sedans and coupes, lower priced Evos and WRXs. Honda can OWN that type of car class.

    Next, ditch the Ridgeline. Reintroduce a Miata-fighter (in price) S2000 replacement.

    Let Toyota become a new General Motors. If that happens, there will a death watch 20 years from now. Honda must play to their strengths, and there are many, to bring us back and to give us the light, fun, average priced, and technology filled cars we want.

    …and then save Acura by bringing back the RSX. An entry level car is critical especially when they don’t have “an image” to worry about going downmarket.

  • avatar
    George B

    I like the current interior size of the 2006-2010 Civic and the weight is ok for the size. The rear seats now have enough legroom for adults. The problem is the windshield angle and dash layout are too extreme.

    I prefer the lower hood of the 2003-2007 Accord over the current pedestrian friendly big nose model. The lower hood and swept back front help hide the FWD front overhang. I think the 2004-2008 Acura TL does an even better job with this basic FWD wedge shape with angled tail lights and side character lines to help hide the big rear end. 2010 Mustang uses the same visual technique. The 2009+ Honda Accord wears the car styling equivalent of mom jeans on its trunk, giving it a fat look when viewed from the rear. In addition to looking fat, the extra width isn’t enough to make the 5th person comfortable, so why not shoot for real world 4 people and the previous size instead?

  • avatar
    obbop

    My little 1975 Civic CVCC bought used in 1980 was a decent squirt around the town and down the freeway critter.

    Reliable but the cold damp winters in California’s central valley caused carburetor icing problems that led to rough running and stalling I was nevr able to cure.

    The 5-speed was groovy and it was the first car i ever lived in for awhile.

    Remove the passenger seat back, lower the rear seat back until it touched the seat bottom then cut a 3/4-inch sheet of plywood that ran from the firewall to below the bottom of the rear hatchback.

    Was almost able to stretch out full length… close enough to allow sleeping.

    Two sheets shoved into the space that accepted the headliner and leading downwards and towards the outer perimeter of the interior where it was tucked in here and there kept prying eyes, if they happened to pass by the out-of-the-way spots I parked to sleep, completed the preparations for a night’s snooze.

    If forced to resort to that living arrangement again my long-bed Silvarado with its camper shell (curtains already installed to ease a transition) will be so much more comfortable and allow storage for more possessions and even a camping style porta-potty and a propane cooking stove so let the economy collapse.

    I’m ready.

    Wondering how many Americans could handle the transition?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    IMO the current Accord gets a bum rap from the enthusiasts. While it is a large car inside it weigh less than many midsizers (and weight is the real enemy) and its dimensions are within the midsize norm

    The Honda mindset is to do less with more. Whereas most of its competitors compete in the mid-size and large sedan segment with two offerings each (Camry and Avalon, Altima and Maxima, Fusion and Taurus, Jetta and Passat, etc.), Honda tries to make do with just one.

    If Honda behaved like its rivals, it would make a smaller Accord, but then accompany it with a larger model. That would raise its costs per unit, and since it probably wouldn’t provide substantially, if any, more revenue, that would be a net loser.

    One can quibble about the specific size, but it generally makes sense for Honda to avoid building two cars where one will suffice. That helps with earnings, cost management and inventory management. I don’t see the problem here; they aren’t following the norm, and in Honda’s case, that’s a good idea.


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