The Truth About Cars » Honda http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:34:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Honda http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Capsule Review: 2015 Honda CR-V Touring http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/capsule-review-2015-honda-cr-v-touring/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/capsule-review-2015-honda-cr-v-touring/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:20:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988578 The Honda CR-V was America’s best-selling SUV in 2014, just as it was in six of the seven previous years. (We’re using the term “SUV” loosely here in order to avoid constant delineation.) CR-V volume increased to previously unseen levels in 2014. Honda reported 335,019 CR-V sales last year, 28,807 more than Ford managed with […]

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2015 Honda CR-V TouringThe Honda CR-V was America’s best-selling SUV in 2014, just as it was in six of the seven previous years. (We’re using the term “SUV” loosely here in order to avoid constant delineation.) CR-V volume increased to previously unseen levels in 2014. Honda reported 335,019 CR-V sales last year, 28,807 more than Ford managed with its second-best-selling Escape; 31,115 more than Honda achieved with the CR-V one year earlier.


• USD As-Tested Price: $33,775

• Horsepower: 185 @ 6400 rpm

• Torque: 181 @ 3900 rpm

• Observed Fuel Economy: 23.8 mpg


American consumers look favourably upon Honda’s reliability reputation. The CR-V is also a long-established nameplate in a relatively fresh category. But there must be numerous other reasons for the CR-V’s wild success.

More specifically, there must have been numerous other reasons at the tail end of 2014, as a refreshed 2015 CR-V like the one Honda Canada sent to our driveway began to outsell not only all other SUVs with increasingly large margins but also all passenger cars, as well.

2015 Honda CR-V TouringClearly tens of thousands of consumers are willing to overlook the CR-V’s faults, few though there may be. The CR-V’s new continuously variable transmission, implemented surprisingly well alongside the a 185-horsepower 2.4L four-cylinder, periodically allows revs to fall so low that an unnecessary amount of vibration enters the cabin. This Touring-trim CR-V is the full meal deal, but it lacks any form of power adjustment for the passenger seat. The interior, particularly at this lofty USD $33,775 price tag, is mostly inoffensive but offers luxury only in terms of equipment, not in its materials or design flair. And the interior can certainly offend, with Lilliputian buttons accompanying a touchscreen which failed on all but one occasion to come to life before the five-minute mark of a morning drive. Speaking subjectively, the CR-V is not the prettiest girl next door – Paris’s Place de l’Étoile doesn’t have as many intersecting lines as the CR-V’s front end. We’re also left to wonder why Honda hires wheel designers whose efforts wouldn’t be good enough for Pontiac circa 2001.

However, the CR-V is near perfect where it counts. It’s less than 180 inches long but packs 101 cubic feet of completely usable passenger volume into the tidy package. Rear seat passengers enjoy a flat floor that makes three-across trips a distinct possibility. Rear seats up, the CR-V provides 37 cubic feet of cargo capacity. The Ford Escape is one inch shorter than the CR-V, bumper to bumper, but offers 8% less cargo volume, 3% less passenger space, and 4% less rear legroom. It feels like the dimensional differences are more distinguishable than those figures suggest, especially aft of the rear seat.

2015 Honda CR-V interiorFor young families who might have sought out an Accord in a previous era, the 2015 CR-V’s space efficiency, easily accessed seat-folding levers, low load floor, and semi-lofty ride height form a winning ticket.

Fortunately, it drives nicely, as well. There is nothing sporty here, although the steering is well weighted and the brake pedal is nicely modulated. The CR-V accelerates more swiftly than you might expect for a 3642-pound high-rider: Car & Driver says 0-60 mph takes 8.2 seconds. Especially as revs rise to a more Honda-like level, the CR-V doesn’t require more power, but don’t take that as an indication that the CR-V will adequately satisfy your urge to scoot up off-ramps like your fellow hockey parents in their Santa Fe Sport 2.0Ts and Forester XTs. It won’t.

The CR-V may not ride quite as sweetly for MY2015 as it did before the refresh, but overall refinement is still the name of its game. Of greater consequence is the fact that the 2015 CR-V continues to marry subdued ride quality to a nimble chassis. Honda engineers crafted an SUV that feels decidedly compact in routine driving and one which remains rather level-headed through corners, seemingly treading the middle ground between the mature Nissan Rogue and the enthusiastic Mazda CX-5.

2015 CR-V Tourings include most of the features from Honda’s storehouse: all-wheel-drive, navigation, LaneWatch (right side only, of course), keyless access, perforated leather seating, power tailgate, sunroof, and a bevy of safety abbreviations from ABS, EBD, and VSE to CMBS, ACC, LDW, and LKAS, the final being a semi-autonomous steering function that helps to reduce driver fatigue on long highway stints.

CR-V touchscreenCR-Vs start at $24,325 in LX trim. All-wheel-drive adds $1250 to the price of any equipment level: LX, the $26,425 EX, $29,025 EX-L, $30,525 EX-L Navi, or the $32,525 Touring. We averaged 23.8 mpg over the course of a week with the CR-V Touring AWD, which tips the scales with 145 extra pounds compared with the base all-wheel-drive CR-V. Cold temperatures, winter tires, frequent snow coverage, and a disproportionate amount of time spent in the city caused the CR-V’s observed fuel economy to come up short of both the official combined rating of 28 mpg and the 26 mpg city rating.

The CR-V is certainly not the most exciting small utility vehicle on the market today, nor is it the only one capable of cramming a shocking amount of humankind and stuff into a small space. But it does most things better than most of its potential competitors. There are a couple of niggling issues Honda could quickly resolve, but clearly no issues Honda needs to resolve in order to keep the CR-V at the top of the sales leaderboard.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Next-Gen Honda Accord Foregoing Takata Airbags http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/next-gen-honda-accord-foregoing-takata-airbags/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/next-gen-honda-accord-foregoing-takata-airbags/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988450 When the next-gen Honda Accord arrives in U.S. showrooms in August 2017, no Takata airbags will be used in the sedan’s safety system. Reuters reports the automaker has chosen competitor Toyoda Gosei to supply driver-side, knee and curtain airbags for the North American version of the Accord. Additionally, Toyoda Gosei will supply units for the […]

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2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Exterior-012

When the next-gen Honda Accord arrives in U.S. showrooms in August 2017, no Takata airbags will be used in the sedan’s safety system.

Reuters reports the automaker has chosen competitor Toyoda Gosei to supply driver-side, knee and curtain airbags for the North American version of the Accord. Additionally, Toyoda Gosei will supply units for the CR-V and Odyssey starting in 2016.

As for the airbags currently in play, Honda signed an agreement with another airbag competitor, Autoliv, to start production of replacement units for the 13 million-plus vehicles recalled by the automaker due to Takata-supplied airbags since 2008. Honda is also in discussions with Daicel Corporation for more replacement parts, as well.

The move toward Toyoda Gosei from Takata follows a request from General Motors for the supplier to share specs with both TRW Automotive and Autoliv in the event the automaker needs to replace airbags in its own vehicles. Over 21 million vehicles from 10 different manufacturers around the world have been recalled due to the potential for catastrophic failure of airbags made by Takata, resulting in five fatalities and several dozen injuries thus far.

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Redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot Arriving In US Showrooms After HR-V http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/redesigned-2016-honda-pilot-arriving-us-showrooms-hr-v/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/redesigned-2016-honda-pilot-arriving-us-showrooms-hr-v/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=986690 Soon after the 2016 Honda HR-V hits the showroom this spring, the redesigned 2016 Pilot will follow. Edmunds reports the new SUV “will redefine what is possible with an eight-passenger midsize SUV,” according to Honda’s U.S. automotive division vice president John Mendel. Power will likely remain the 3.5-liter V6 found in the current Pilot. Competitors […]

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Soon after the 2016 Honda HR-V hits the showroom this spring, the redesigned 2016 Pilot will follow.

Edmunds reports the new SUV “will redefine what is possible with an eight-passenger midsize SUV,” according to Honda’s U.S. automotive division vice president John Mendel. Power will likely remain the 3.5-liter V6 found in the current Pilot. Competitors include the Ford Explorer and Toyota 4Runner.

Further down the road, Mendel says “a completely reengineered” Ridgeline will turn up, either as a 2016 or 2017 model. The Ridgeline will be doing battle against the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins, as well as the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma.

Finally, Honda will have a turbocharged model by the end of 2015 that has one of the automaker’s forthcoming new VTEC turbo-four family of engines under the hood, while the FCV Concept’s production-ready version will hit U.S. showrooms next year, followed by a PHEV and EV by 2018.

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EPA: 2016 Honda HR-V Nets 31 MPG Combined http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/epa-2016-honda-hr-v-nets-31-mpg-combined/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/epa-2016-honda-hr-v-nets-31-mpg-combined/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 12:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=985450 Those shopping for a small, fuel-efficient crossover can now add the 2016 Honda HR-V to the list, thanks to its EPA-certified 31 mpg combined rating. Autoblog reports the HR-V also delivers 28 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, but only if one opts for the FWD model with CVT. Adding power […]

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2016 Honda HR-V

Those shopping for a small, fuel-efficient crossover can now add the 2016 Honda HR-V to the list, thanks to its EPA-certified 31 mpg combined rating.

Autoblog reports the HR-V also delivers 28 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, but only if one opts for the FWD model with CVT. Adding power to the back brings the rating down to 27 city/32 highway/29 combined, while swapping the CVT for a six-speed manual in the FWD variant pushes the savings down to 25 city/34 highway/28 combined.

The FWD HR-V’s figures best those from competitors like the Nissan Juke, Kia Soul and Chevrolet Trax at the pump, while Mazda’s CX-5 can keep up on the highway figure; the CX-3, which awaits EPA-certification, may do better than the HR-V, however. Its platform-mate, the Fit, outperforms the crossover at 33 city/41 highway/36 combined.

The 2016 HR-V is due in U.S. showrooms this spring.

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Honda Investing $340M For Increased Fuel-Efficient Engine Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/honda-investing-340m-increased-fuel-efficient-engine-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/honda-investing-340m-increased-fuel-efficient-engine-production/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 14:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=983825 Honda announced Tuesday it would invest $340 million into its Anna, Ohio engine plant to help increase production of its family of fuel-efficient engines. Bloomberg reports the automaker added a new assembly line at the plant for production of its new VTEC turbo-four engine family. The engines, which increase efficiency with variable valve technology, are […]

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Honda announced Tuesday it would invest $340 million into its Anna, Ohio engine plant to help increase production of its family of fuel-efficient engines.

Bloomberg reports the automaker added a new assembly line at the plant for production of its new VTEC turbo-four engine family. The engines, which increase efficiency with variable valve technology, are set to arrive in vehicles later this year.

Other clean-vehicle projects in the works by Honda include the production version of the FCV Concept seen at this year’s Detroit Auto Show for 2016, the Acura NSX hybrid exotic car due later in 2015, and both a PHEV and an EV by 2018.

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NAIAS 2015: Honda Debuts FCV Concept In North America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-honda-debuts-fcv-concept-north-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-honda-debuts-fcv-concept-north-america/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 16:30:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=980441 After making its global debut in Tokyo last year, the Honda FCV Concept bowed in Detroit for its North American unveiling. Power for the concept comes from a fuel-cell stack yielding over 100 kW of output, with density at 3.1 kW/L. The result is a 60 percent improvement in power over the previous FCX Clarity’s […]

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After making its global debut in Tokyo last year, the Honda FCV Concept bowed in Detroit for its North American unveiling.

Power for the concept comes from a fuel-cell stack yielding over 100 kW of output, with density at 3.1 kW/L. The result is a 60 percent improvement in power over the previous FCX Clarity’s stack; the FCV Concept’s stack is 33 percent smaller than the former’s powerplant, as well.

Driving range is expected to be north of 300 miles per tank, with refueling to take between three to five minutes at a pressure rate of 70 MPa.

The entire stack sits under the hood when compared to the Clarity’s fuel-storage tunnel. As a result, the Concept can seat five instead of four occupants.

Sales of the production-ready FCV will begin March 2016 in Honda’s home market, with the United States and Europe receiving theirs sometime thereafter.

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Piston Slap: Feelin’ Rotten sans Seam Sealer? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/piston-slap-feelin-rotten-sans-seam-sealer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/piston-slap-feelin-rotten-sans-seam-sealer/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 13:22:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=975809   TTAC Commentator Calgarytek writes: Hey Sajeev, I enjoy reading your posts on TTAC. This one is a chassis related question and concerns rear quarter panel rust issues on old school Hondas. I’ve got a 2000 Civic SiR and I’ve poked around the rear wheel wells to figure out why that may be. It seems […]

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rusty quarter panel

(photo courtesy: www.tamparacing.com)

TTAC Commentator Calgarytek writes:

Hey Sajeev,

I enjoy reading your posts on TTAC. This one is a chassis related question and concerns rear quarter panel rust issues on old school Hondas.

I’ve got a 2000 Civic SiR and I’ve poked around the rear wheel wells to figure out why that may be. It seems that Honda didn’t seal the rear quarters well enough. There is no sealant present on the inner skin of the outer portion of wheel well. The outer skin just tends to ‘fold’ into the inner well and just ‘sit there’ as exposed metal.

The question is – would applying seam sealer to the above mentioned locations protect the quarters? If so, can you recommend a brand?

If you’re wondering, I’m helping my younger cousin buy a non-rust-belt-based 2000 Acura EL. We’re planning to winterize the vehicle during the summer time when he eventually gets it.

Sajeev answers:

Thank you for your note, and for reminding us Americans that cooler Hondas are available outside of our borders.

Before answering, one point of clarification: what you see isn’t “exposed metal” waiting to rust.  As part of the assembly line process (all?) manufacturers dunk their cars into a rustproofing bath to minimize corrosion.  Peep this vid:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Also note how BMW’s machine applies seam sealer after the rustproof dunk. But in the case of Honda rear wheel arches…well, I wonder if any manufacturer uses seam sealer there. It’s gotta be a messy proposition.

On to your question: if you are positive you’re applying seam sealer to a rust free, dirt free, dry and solid meeting of two panels, by all means go ahead! My big concern is trapping dirt, water or anything else that can cause the panel to rust under the seam sealer.  Hence why the rustproofing “dunk” at the factory is so cool.

A company called POR-15 makes a host of products for the pre-seal, I do not know of an alternative that works as well. OTOH, seam sealer is available from a host of manufacturers sold by even more vendors. Not being a body man by hobby or trade, I’m offering this as a guide instead of making a recommendation.

There you go, Best and Brightest.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Honda Heritage Center Captures Triumphs, Challenges http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/honda-heritage-center-captures-triumphs-challenges/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/honda-heritage-center-captures-triumphs-challenges/#comments Sat, 10 Jan 2015 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=974505 Honda’s brand-new, $35 million dollar Heritage Center opened across the street from its Marysville auto factory on January 5th. A recent return to Ohio let me reunite with my mentor, a man recently known for his acquisition of an Accord Coupe, to test Honda’s curatorial abilities. How many company rarities and wall placards filled with […]

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Honda’s brand-new, $35 million dollar Heritage Center opened across the street from its Marysville auto factory on January 5th. A recent return to Ohio let me reunite with my mentor, a man recently known for his acquisition of an Accord Coupe, to test Honda’s curatorial abilities. How many company rarities and wall placards filled with corporate agitprop can one get for eight figures these days? Hit the jump to find out.

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            We had an appropriate steed for this jaunt, still rock solid after 18,000 miles in ten months. That layer of salt didn’t do it any favors, but it still looked appropriately aero-modern next to the Heritage Center’s steel and glass façade. The building itself isn’t terribly adventurous in its design, but it is eminently practical. The gallery area is flooded with natural light, thus avoiding one of my biggest pet peeves as a historian: dimly lit museums. I’d venture so far as to say that it captures a little bit of the design ethos of the company that funded it.

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            The Center is free to attend, but currently requires that you phone ahead and make a reservation. Exactly why is unclear. On the phone, the company rep indicated that we could take a guided tour at nine or noon, so I signed us up for a noon timeslot. Upon arrival, however, we were told to show ourselves around. I asked the polite front-desk worker if there were brochures available, and was informed that there weren’t any yet. No matter, as everything in the museum is presented alongside an abundance of information.

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            Before entering the gallery proper, you can peruse a couple landmark bikes and cars. There’s an example of the scooters that first brought the Honda corporate name to the States, as well as one of the dirt bikes that became the first Honda product manufactured in America. The two cars in the forecourt echo the same idea: the diminutive N600, followed by the historic 1983 Accord. The first provided the consumer beachhead, and the other put Marysville on the map as the new headquarters of American automotive manufacturing excellence.

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            That Accord is worth ruminating over a little more; that unassuming, three box sedan that changed everything. This was the make-it-or-break-it product for Honda’s American manufacturing operation. If the U.S.-built Accord had tanked, Marysville would have gone the way of Volkswagen Westmoreland. To that end, it’s easy to understand why Honda played it safe with the exterior. Accord customers in 1983 got a few straight-line body creases, and that’s it. The lack of embellishment one-ups even the unrelenting blandness of the Fox platform Ford sedans of the era. But the blandness was part of the sublime genius of it. It was an economy car in a positive sense: it was economical in size and weight, economical in consumption, economical in price (minus the dealer mark-ups) and economical in style. The second-generation Accord wouldn’t make sense in today’s market, but it was the right product at the right time in a way that few other models have matched.

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            The main gallery area is a big, airy room centered on an engine display. In the middle, there’s an exploded V6 of the type found in Jack’s Accord. Other powertrains can be found in a ring around the edge of the exhibit, including many built in Anna. The rest of the exhibits are organized in a loose chronological format. There’s a copious display dedicated to bikes, as well as a memorial to the end of motorcycle production in 2009. Sadly, there was no Rune on display- my favorite 2-wheeled Marysville product. Even so, there was plenty for Honda motorcycle enthusiasts to appreciate, with a lot of handy background information included.

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            The car selection is eclectic, with a number of Marysville-built products on display. There’s an ’88 Accord Coupe, the milestone car that became the first Honda product exported from the United States to Japan. There’s a gift to wagon fans, in the form of a fifth-generation Accord AeroDeck in right-hand-drive with a manual transmission. Other highlights include a CRX Si, a Civic CVCC, a first-generation Legend, a first-generation CL, the One Lap of America Odyssey, and NSX Rolex Cup car, and the new NSX prototype. Those hoping for oodles of rare Hondas are going to be disappointed; there’s the single first-generation NSX and no Type R’s or other factory specials. The large display on Hondajet is a reminder that ambition is not always an asset. There’s an exhibit with an Asimo robot prototype that is supposed to be able to mimic human movements, but he was broken when we visited. In general, the historical parts of the exhibit are far more interesting than the contemporary ones; those feel more like platitudinous corporate sloganeering than the promise of a great tomorrow.

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            It’s not a large space, and one gets the feel that it’s meant to be more of an educational experience than a warehouse of exotic treasures. In the end, that’s what this museum does best: provide a nice narrative of the Honda story in America, with some neat cars and interactive exhibits thrown in for good measure. It’s certainly worth a visit, if not  necessarily a pilgrimage. As it stands, the Heritage Center is just fine for its intended purpose; much like that ’83 Accord in the forecourt.

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Honda Fined $70M By NHTSA For Data Reporting Failures http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/honda-fined-70m-nhtsa-data-reporting-failures/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/honda-fined-70m-nhtsa-data-reporting-failures/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 13:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=974330 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Thursday that it would fine Honda $70 million “for failing to report death and injury data in a timely manner.” Autoblog reports the fine is based on 1,729 incidents over 11 years that were not brought to the attention of the NHTSA via the agency’s Early Warning Reporting […]

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Thursday that it would fine Honda $70 million “for failing to report death and injury data in a timely manner.”

Autoblog reports the fine is based on 1,729 incidents over 11 years that were not brought to the attention of the NHTSA via the agency’s Early Warning Reporting system. Further, some of the incidences have still yet to be reported, prompting new administrator Mark Rosekind to send investigators to Honda to retrieve the missing information.

The fine, the largest ever delivered by the agency to an automaker, is composed of two separate $35 million fines, one for the death and injury data, the other for missing warranty claims. The U.S. Department of Justice is considering a criminal investigation into the matter, though nothing has been confirmed thus far.

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Honda Civic Hangs On To Canada’s Best-Selling Car Title http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/honda-civic-hangs-canadas-best-selling-car-title/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/honda-civic-hangs-canadas-best-selling-car-title/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 14:47:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=972322 On the back of a record year for auto sales, the Honda Civic hung on to its Canadian sales crown for the 17th straight year. Honda sold roughly 66,000 Civics in Canada, a 3.1 percent gain, as the Canadian auto market soared 6.1 percent to 1.85 million vehicles. The Ford F-Series topped the overall sales […]

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On the back of a record year for auto sales, the Honda Civic hung on to its Canadian sales crown for the 17th straight year.

Honda sold roughly 66,000 Civics in Canada, a 3.1 percent gain, as the Canadian auto market soared 6.1 percent to 1.85 million vehicles. The Ford F-Series topped the overall sales charts, with 126,277 units sold. The Ram pickup was the only other vehicle to outsell the Civic, with 88,521 units sold, a nearly 10 percent gain.

The Civic’s top rank among passenger car sales and the Ram’s #2 spot in trucks represent a couple of key differences for the Canadian market. Compact cars, like the Civic, the Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Corolla and Mazda3, are the dominant segment. The Elantra in particular has been a key challenger to the Civic, with the Mazda3 holding roughly double the market share in Canada as it does in the United States. On the other hand, the best-selling mid-size car, the Ford Fusion, ranked #25 as of December 1st, 2014.

And unlike the United States, the Ram pickups are firmly entrenched in the #2 spot for pickup trucks. The Ford Escape, the #2 crossover in the USA, is #1 in Canada, with the Honda CR-V sitting below the Escape and RAV4, as well as the Dodge Grand Caravan, in light truck sales. Check back later for in-depth analysis from our own Tim Cain.

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Autoleaks: Production-Ready Honda S660 Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/autoleaks-production-ready-honda-s660-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/autoleaks-production-ready-honda-s660-revealed/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 12:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=971201   Thanks to the Internet and a scan of a Japanese market brochure, the whole world now has an idea as to what the production-ready Honda S660 will look like when it hits showrooms later in 2015. Leftlane reports the 660cc engine — thus, S660 — will deliver 63 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, while the […]

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Thanks to the Internet and a scan of a Japanese market brochure, the whole world now has an idea as to what the production-ready Honda S660 will look like when it hits showrooms later in 2015.

Leftlane reports the 660cc engine — thus, S660 — will deliver 63 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, while the peak torque of 77 lb-ft will arrive earlier at 2,600 rpm. CVT or six-speed manual will help direct that power to the back.

Curb weight for the tiny roadster and heir apparent to the throne abdicated by the Honda Beat following the 1996 model year starts at 1,830 lbs, with available options pushing the scale to a top figure of 2,116; the Lotus Elise falls in the same weight class, but delivers more power and a larger price tag in comparison.

Alas, no word still on whether this kei roadster will board a container ship bound for the United States when it leaves the same factory that once assembled its predecessor. Should that happen, however, the S660 may gain a 1-liter unit to better deal with the different driving environment, as first reported when the roadster bowed at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show.

Below is the spec sheet for those who can read kanji, hiragana or katakana:

honda-s660-leak-3_1200

honda-s660-leak-1_1200 honda-s660-leak-2_1200 honda-s660-leak-3_1200 honda-s660-leak-4_1200

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Piston Slap: Divorced Sleeper Flew The Coupe? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/piston-slap-divorced-sleeper-flew-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/piston-slap-divorced-sleeper-flew-coupe/#comments Mon, 29 Dec 2014 13:21:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=963722   TTAC Commentator raresleeper writes: Hello, Sajeev! I need your wisdom and sound advice, Kind Sir. After what could be called a much needed separation from my wife (undoubtedly the beginning of a very long divorce proceeding), I purchased myself a vehicle. A 2006 Accord Coupe v6 6-Speed. On cold mornings, I have noticed that […]

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TTAC Commentator raresleeper writes:

Hello, Sajeev!

I need your wisdom and sound advice, Kind Sir. After what could be called a much needed separation from my wife (undoubtedly the beginning of a very long divorce proceeding), I purchased myself a vehicle. A 2006 Accord Coupe v6 6-Speed.

On cold mornings, I have noticed that the steering is hard to turn if the car isn’t moving. Once the car revs just slightly, anything other than idle, the steering effort gets “normal” again. I also hear a whine under the hood on cold mornings, so I am fairly certain that is the power steering pump showing its weakness. Every once in a great while, there is a slight intrusion upon shifting into 3rd. It rarely affects my shifting, but there is a slight notch (best way I can describe it) that I sometimes need to put the extra effort to guide the shifter into while grabbing third.

I paid $9K. The car is the EX model, it has everything besides navigation and the “sport” appearance package (spoiler, etc.). 120k miles. I love this stinkin’ car. I went right to a car which I love and the fact that my estranged wife would hate everything about it makes me smile a little more. It’s a quick little machine.

Is there anything else I need to have checked maintenance-wise (other than timing belt) before getting too comfortable tossing it about during my morning commute?

As always, thank you kindly. Your assistance here is certainly appreciated.

Sajeev answers:

That’s not a bad machine to celebrate your newfound singlehood!  Congrats on this next step in your life.

“I also hear a whine under the hood on cold mornings, so I am fairly certain that is the power steering pump showing its weakness.”

I am certain that’s normal, most vehicles are less than thrilled with molasses-cold fluids.  These parts are designed to spin warmer liquids, hence the need for a proper warm up routine.

Regarding the transmission and the current mileage, perhaps its time for a fluid swap with fresh Honda fluid or maybe–MAYBE–aftermarket fluids compatible with your transmission.  Or perhaps it’s totally normal with cold fluid, if that’s a valid correlation in your case.

We’ve discussed the basics of used car upkeep before, and I focus on neglected rubber bits: tires, belts and hoses. And new shocks might be a worthwhile upgrade at this age, if a like-new ride (or better than new, with performance parts) matters. Always RFTM for the basics and do a comprehensive visual inspection to make sure nothing else is wrong. (i.e. physical damage from the last owner’s mistake)

Don’t be afraid to get that visual inspection from a mechanic if you have any doubts, especially since they can put it on a lift.

Off to you, Best and Brightest!

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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113th US Congress Leaves $8K Hydrogen Credit On The Table http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/113th-us-congress-leaves-8k-hydrogen-credit-table/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/113th-us-congress-leaves-8k-hydrogen-credit-table/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 11:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=964370 For the few who will be purchasing a Toyota Mirai in 2015, you may be out of luck as far as tax savings are concerned. For now, anyway. Autoblog reports the 113th U.S. Congress has called it a day without renewing an $8,000 tax credit for hydrogen vehicles entered into service after December 31, 2005, […]

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For the few who will be purchasing a Toyota Mirai in 2015, you may be out of luck as far as tax savings are concerned. For now, anyway.

Autoblog reports the 113th U.S. Congress has called it a day without renewing an $8,000 tax credit for hydrogen vehicles entered into service after December 31, 2005, and purchased before the same date in 2014. The credit is among other credits that didn’t get the once-over from Congress, who were busy looking over — and renewing a few of — credits from 2013.

That said, Honda wants the credit brought back in time for its FCV’s U.S. showroom arrival in 2016, the next concept version of which is set to bow at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show January. Robert Beinefeld, assistant vice president of the automaker’s Environment and Energy Policy, says his employer is working with “many partners on the legislative front to address this situation,” in the belief that legisators don’t intentionally pick “winners and losers by providing tax credits to some technologies and not others.”

As for Hyundai, whose Tucson Fuel Cell entered Californian showrooms earlier this summer, a representative didn’t give any further comment on the hydrogen credit as of this writing.

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Detroit 2015: Honda FCV Concept Ready For North American Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/detroit-2015-honda-fcv-concept-ready-north-american-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/detroit-2015-honda-fcv-concept-ready-north-american-debut/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962370 With the FCX Clarity now out of the picture, Honda is looking forward to the FCV’s replacement, a preview of which is set to bow at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. The Honda FCV Concept will be making its North American debut under the lights of Cobo Hall in January, having made its world debut […]

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Honda_FCV_CONCEPT(1)

With the FCX Clarity now out of the picture, Honda is looking forward to the FCV’s replacement, a preview of which is set to bow at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

The Honda FCV Concept will be making its North American debut under the lights of Cobo Hall in January, having made its world debut last month in Japan. The concept is meant to show the evolution of the automaker’s plans for a new FCV, first seen with the FCEV Concept that bowed during the 2013 LA Auto Show.

As for when the production version of Honda’s next hydrogen vehicle will enter showrooms, the FCV will arrive in Japan March 2016, then land in the United States later on.

Once across the Pacific, the FCV will have quite a few locations to refuel, thanks to a $13.8 million investment deal between Honda and FirstElement Fuel to build more hydrogen refueling stations in California.

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Honda Civic Sales Are Steadily Declining; Corolla’s Rising http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/honda-civic-sales-steadily-declining-corollas-rising/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/honda-civic-sales-steadily-declining-corollas-rising/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 12:42:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961385 American Honda’s Civic posted decreased sales volume in each of the last five months. After claiming the title of America’s best-selling small car in two consecutive years, it’s highly unlikely that the Civic will be able to catch the Toyota Corolla with just one month of sales reporting remaining in calendar year 2014. U.S. Civic […]

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2015 Honda Civic American Honda’s Civic posted decreased sales volume in each of the last five months. After claiming the title of America’s best-selling small car in two consecutive years, it’s highly unlikely that the Civic will be able to catch the Toyota Corolla with just one month of sales reporting remaining in calendar year 2014.

U.S. Civic sales through the first six months of 2014 increased 5% compared with the same period one year earlier. While the Civic trailed the Corolla at the halfway point in 2014, that second-place status was actually in keeping with the results from 2013, a year in which Honda’s compact sedan and coupe ended 34,000 sales ahead of the venerable Toyota compact. (Note: Corolla sales reported by Toyota USA always include the Matrix.)

But from July 2014 onward, the Civic did not prove capable of matching 2013’s impressive second-half sales rate, a period which saw Honda generate 53% of its 2013 Civic volume, sufficient for Honda to post the highest level of Civic sales since 2008.

July volume in 2014 slid 7% before August’s 14% plunge, September’s 3% dip, and 12% declines in both October and November. In the July-November period of 2013, Honda sold 148,476 Civics in the United States, but that figure dropped by nearly 15,000 units to 133,547 in 2014.

We can’t deny the impact of outside forces. The traditional top-selling car in America, the Corolla, was redesigned more recently than the Civic. (Corolla volume has increased in seven of the last eight months.) Manufacturers are always working to strike the right balance between chasing volume (with incentives, for example) and protecting long-term profits (by linking OTD prices more closely with MSRPs.) Honda is also well-known for generating the lion’s share of its volume from retail customers.

Honda Civic sales chartYet any dismay over the Civic’s recent decline can cause us to forget the fact that it’s still a wildly popular car, just not as popular as it was a year ago. Through the end of November, Honda topped the 300,000-unit barrier for the third consecutive year and for the seventh time in the last decade. It’s America’s second-best-selling small car by a wide margin, leading the Chevrolet Cruze by more than 45,000 units.

Meanwhile, north of the border, the Civic has secured a 17th consecutive victory as Canada’s best-selling car overall and will report in 2014 the nameplate’s best year since 2008. Back in the U.S., Honda’s good news is plentiful, though it’s not necessarily Civic-related. The CR-V outsold all utility vehicles and all cars in November 2014. The Accord, up 7% through the first eleven months of 2014, was America’s best-selling car in August and September.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Takata Lost Value Suits On Hold Pending Judicial Panel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-lost-value-suits-hold-pending-judicial-panel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-lost-value-suits-hold-pending-judicial-panel/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957905 Consumers looking to file a lawsuit against Takata over its defective airbags may be waiting a little while longer to do so. Bloomberg reports U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King issued a stay on a proposed class action filed in Miami, where a panel of federal judges will decide after January 29, 2015 whether said […]

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Takata Sign

Consumers looking to file a lawsuit against Takata over its defective airbags may be waiting a little while longer to do so.

Bloomberg reports U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King issued a stay on a proposed class action filed in Miami, where a panel of federal judges will decide after January 29, 2015 whether said case will be combined with over 50 others, and who will be the judge to preside over them.

As for where, the defendants — Honda and the other automakers with ties to Takata — want Pittsburgh, Penn. — where they and two Takata subsidiaries have facilities — as the venue for the multi-district litigation proceedings, while the plaintiffs want Miami, Detroit, New Orleans, Houston or Los Angeles.

The cases against Takata and its clients were filed by consumers seeking damages for lost vehicle value as a result of the plaintiffs’ vehicles being equipped with the supplier’s airbags, which are linked to a number of fatalities and injuries due to catastrophic failure upon deployment. Nine others were filed in order to claim damages related to said fatalities and injuries, some of which could be combined for evidence-gathering prior to the panel.

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Takata Refuses NHTSA Call For Nationwide Airbag Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-refuses-nhtsa-call-nationwide-airbag-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-refuses-nhtsa-call-nationwide-airbag-recall/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955057 Takata won’t be conducting a nationwide recall of its defective airbags anytime soon, but did hire three former U.S. Transportation Secretaries to help the supplier manage the crisis. Meanwhile, an airbag in an non-recalled model explodes in a Japanese junkyard; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration won’t push for a nationwide passenger airbag recall; and […]

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Toyota WiLL Cypha

Takata won’t be conducting a nationwide recall of its defective airbags anytime soon, but did hire three former U.S. Transportation Secretaries to help the supplier manage the crisis. Meanwhile, an airbag in an non-recalled model explodes in a Japanese junkyard; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration won’t push for a nationwide passenger airbag recall; and Toyota and Honda both call for an industry review of Takata’s wares.

The Detroit News reports the supplier informed the NHTSA Wednesday morning that it will not conduct a nationwide recall of vehicles in the United States equipped with driver-side airbags, as requested by the agency in a special order made last week, and whose deadline was December 2. Deputy administrator David Friedman expressed the agency’s disappointment in a statement, lamenting Takata is failing to live up to its responsibility toward keeping drivers safe. Chair and CEO Shigehisa Takada proclaimed in his own statement that his company “remains committed to cooperating closely with our customers and NHTSA to address the potential for inflator rupturing.” An initial decision and public hearing demanding the supplier to recall is the next step for the NHTSA.

Detroit Free Press says Takata called upon former Transportation Secretaries Sam Skinner (George H.W. Bush), Rodney Slater (Bill Clinton) and Norman Mineta (Clinton, George W. Bush) to help guide it through the crisis. Skinner is slated to lead a quality assurance panel to help the supplier better design its airbags, while Slater and Mineta will provide counsel to help it “regain the public’s trust.”

Though the NHTSA is pushing for Takata to recall every driver-side airbag possibly affected by the quality issues at the center of the current regional recall, Automotive News says the agency isn’t in a hurry to do the same for passenger-side airbags. Friedman informed the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade in a written statement that such a recall “is not supported by the data as we now understand it. At this point, a national recall of all Takata air bags would divert replacement air bags from areas where they are clearly needed, putting lives at risk.” That said, if the supplier’s test data proves otherwise, the agency may demand a recall for those airbags, as well.

Over in Japan, a Takata airbag exploded in a 2003 Toyota WiLL Cypha at the Chikamatsu Shokai Co. scrapyard in the Gifu prefecture. Manager Akihiro Wakayama was caught off-guard by the explosion, as the car in question was not among the models already under recall:

I was surprised once again because the unusual explosion occurred in a vehicle that we were told to be safe. That made me think we really don’t know what we can trust to do our work safely.

The WiLL Cypha’s airbag detonation marks the seventh occurrence of junkyard detonations in Japan since June 2012, with the first six occurring among four Honda Fit and two Toyota Corolla models in July of that year. The incidences prior to the Cypha’s — all occurring during detonation procedures as prescribed by the nation’s Automotive Recycling Law prior to scrapping — led to an additional 3 million units being recalled globally.

Speaking of Toyota and Honda, The Detroit News says the two Japanese automakers are calling for a coordinated effort among the entire industry to independently test Takata’s airbags for defects. Both companies issued separate statements to Takata and eight other manufacturers — including Ford, Chrysler and General Motors — asking them to commit to the effort. Ford said it would heed Toyota’s call, with Chrysler Group proclaiming it would “remain committed to identifying the root cause” of the malfunctions, and GM taking the call “under NHTSA guidance.”

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NHTSA Orders Takata To Recall Airbags By December 2 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-orders-takata-recall-airbags-december-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-orders-takata-recall-airbags-december-2/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951985 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ordering Takata to conduct a nationwide recall of its airbags, while Honda was found to have issued Takata-related recalls as early as 2002. Reuters learned the automaker called back 2,686 vehicles — including the 2000 Honda Accord and Acura TL — in March of 2002, citing a November […]

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2000 Acura TL

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ordering Takata to conduct a nationwide recall of its airbags, while Honda was found to have issued Takata-related recalls as early as 2002.

Reuters learned the automaker called back 2,686 vehicles — including the 2000 Honda Accord and Acura TL — in March of 2002, citing a November 2001 report from a dealer who witnessed an “improper deployment” of a Takata airbag in an Accord. The incident prompted both the automaker and the supplier to investigate, leading to the recall months later.

The recall, which focused on passenger airbags deploying due to improper welds, could further plunge Honda into hot water with federal regulators, especially since Honda North America executive vice president Rick Schostek testified before Congress that the first time his employer had known of an airbag failure was in 2004. The NHTSA is “actively investigating” the automaker presently, using information going back to 1998 in so doing.

The agency also formally issued an order to Takata to declare a nationwide recall by December 2 of the driver-side airbags at-fault for a number of injuries and fatalities due to catastrophic failure upon deployment. Per Bloomberg, should the supplier fail to meet the deadline, the NHTSA will force the recall, and fine the company $7,000 for every violation found. Takata representative Toyohiro Hishikawa said the company’s execs were discussing how best to respond to the letter.

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Takata, Honda Under Government Spotlight At Home http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-honda-government-spotlight-home/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-honda-government-spotlight-home/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951465 Takata and Honda are both coming under the gun at home, on order of Japan Transport Minister Akihiro Ota. Bloomberg reports the transport minister ordered the formation of a special task force to oversee the 2.54 million vehicles under recall in Japan over the Takata airbags onboard. The ministry also announced that it would probe […]

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Takata and Honda are both coming under the gun at home, on order of Japan Transport Minister Akihiro Ota.

Bloomberg reports the transport minister ordered the formation of a special task force to oversee the 2.54 million vehicles under recall in Japan over the Takata airbags onboard. The ministry also announced that it would probe Honda’s reporting errors in the United States, where 1,729 injury and/or death claims weren’t reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration between 2003 and 2014.

Regarding the errors, Honda President Takanobu Ito reiterated that his company misunderstood the the responsibility it was supposed to take in reporting said claims to the agency, that management made several mistakes in filing procedure.

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Honda Admits Underreporting US Death, Injury Claims Since 2003 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-admits-underreporting-us-death-injury-claims-since-2003/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-admits-underreporting-us-death-injury-claims-since-2003/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 14:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950929 Due to its narrow interpretation of the TREAD Act, Honda admitted to underreporting the number of claims linked to injuries and/or deaths caused by safety issues in its products since 2003. Automotive News reports 1,729 claims — including eight related to the Takata airbag recall crisis — went unreported thanks to a combination of said […]

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Due to its narrow interpretation of the TREAD Act, Honda admitted to underreporting the number of claims linked to injuries and/or deaths caused by safety issues in its products since 2003.

Automotive News reports 1,729 claims — including eight related to the Takata airbag recall crisis — went unreported thanks to a combination of said interpretation and data entry and computer programming errors when a report was made.

The admission of guilt comes from a third-party investigation’s findings in September of this year, conducted after the Center for Auto Safety accused Honda of failing to report two Takata-related incidences of death and/or injury. The results were handed over to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in compliance with a special order regarding the lapse.

Honda is already making adjustments to its reporting system, adding oral and written claims to the standard reports, and will make changes to its organization methods and staffing. In the meantime, the automaker will likely face a fine of $35 million, as well as a $7,000/day fine for every day it was in violation of the TREAD Act since 2003, a fine that could exceed the NHTSA’s maximum.

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Honda Calls For Compliance From Consumers Regarding Recalls http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-calls-compliance-consumers-regarding-recalls/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-calls-compliance-consumers-regarding-recalls/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 12:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949969 Just as the federal government wants Honda and Takata to fix the airbags in the former’s vehicles, Honda would like consumers to bring in said vehicles for repair. Even if it means involving the government. Bloomberg reports Honda is asking for “some support on the state level” to make consumers comply with recall orders, per […]

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Honda-Accord-USA-2001

Just as the federal government wants Honda and Takata to fix the airbags in the former’s vehicles, Honda would like consumers to bring in said vehicles for repair.

Even if it means involving the government.

Bloomberg reports Honda is asking for “some support on the state level” to make consumers comply with recall orders, per Honda North America executive vice president Rick Schostek in testimony before Congress last week. One of his suggestions would be to decline registration of a vehicle under recall until the defects were repaired, in a manner similar to emissions testing.

Schostek’s suggestions have found support from the likes of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the Center for Auto Safety, with Nissan stating it was too early to comment, and General Motors, Toyota and Ford remaining silent thus far.

At present, automakers are required to notify the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of any problems a model may be experiencing, while owners aren’t required to do anything.

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NHTSA, USDOT Demand National Recall Action From Takata, Automakers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-usdot-demand-national-recall-action-takata-automakers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-usdot-demand-national-recall-action-takata-automakers/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949217 While we were looking over the latest and greatest from the 2014 LA Auto Show, the Takata band played on. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation are both calling for a national recall of all vehicles with Takata’s airbags, citing a catastrophic failure of a module outside the high-humidity […]

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While we were looking over the latest and greatest from the 2014 LA Auto Show, the Takata band played on.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation are both calling for a national recall of all vehicles with Takata’s airbags, citing a catastrophic failure of a module outside the high-humidity zone previously established in an earlier recall.

The NHTSA also issued a General Order to the airbag supplier and 10 automakers — BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota — requiring all to submit documents regarding “completed, ongoing or planned testing” of the supplier’s inflators outside of the current recall zone, with the goal of having all involved come correct with the agency and the American public about what they all plan to do about the airbags. Takata alone received a Special Order, regarding the propellent used in its airbags.

Responses to both orders are due by December 5.

Three of the 10 automakers involved with the General Order — Ford, GM and Honda — may likely have the hardest time replacing Takata completely. Per Bloomberg, the trio worked closely with the supplier to develop special features for their vehicles — Ford’s Adaptive Steering system, GM’s front center airbags — features that would take a while to work out with a new supplier if a deeper relationship were to take hold.

Meanwhile, only 6 percent of the 8 million vehicles equipped with Takata’s airbags have been repaired thus far, a rate critics of the supplier and its client base find appalling. The pace isn’t likely to quicken, however; Toyota says it would take a year at minimum to test and replace its units with those from other suppliers, while Nissan said doing the same for itself wasn’t feasible.

Returning to the Beltway, Reuters reports Takata had presented documents to the NHTSA linked to a 2009 accident involving its airbags, only for the agency to decline, as it had closed its investigation on the supplier and Honda, whose vehicle was involved in said accident. The NHTSA informed the news agency that the documents “would not have added to the agency’s understanding of the issues involved in that particular investigation.”

Speaking of Honda, senior executive Rick Schostek admitted before Congress that his company failed to notify the NHTSA or its customer base about the issues with Takata’s airbags, promising to offer consumers a loaner if their affected vehicles are repaired quickly due to supply shortages. As for Takata’s Hiroshi Shimizu, Automotive News says he went on the defensive, going so far as to claim that it was “hard” for him to “answer yes or no” to several questions asked by the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, much to the dismay and bemusement of the committee members.

Prior to the call for a nationwide recall, the regional-specific actions, as well as the NHTSA’s order to consumers to have their airbags replaced immediately, contributed to public anxiety over whether or not the airbag before them would disfigure or kill in an accident. According to Bloomberg, Takata itself believes a national recall would only further exacerbate those fears, potentially diverting resources “from where they’re needed, putting lives at risk.”

Meanwhile, Reuters reports the Monclova, Mexico facility where the defective units were assembled had issues from the moment it opened its doors in 2000. Aside from the units made in 2001, 2002 and 2012, an explosion in 2006 — one some workers claim was fueled by the same ammonium nitrate used in Takata’s airbags as a propellent — jump-started a production run where quality slipped against hourly quotas. Whether the top brass knew of the problems, however, is a different story, as it never sent permanent staff to Mexico from its headquarters in Japan.

Over in Germany, BMW is working with the supplier to have its airbags made closer to home in Freiberg, transferring production from Mexico. The move only applies to BMW, who expects additional production to come online by mid-December. Alternative arrangements would take two years and “divert attention from current recall efforts,” per the automaker.

Finally, U.S. Air Force First Lieutenant Stephanie Erdman gave her testimony before Congress, detailing what had happened to her when a vehicle turned in front of her 2002 Honda Civic in September 2013. According to The Detroit News, the resulting injuries and ongoing surgeries led to a lawsuit against Honda, whose certified dealership in Destin, Fla. failed to notify Erdman of the February 2010 driver’s side airbag recall or what would happen if the airbag deployed in the wrong conditions, nor did the dealership replace the unit in question. She also feared that once the spotlight subsides on Takata et al, the problems would still be there, and urged Congress to continue to hold all accountable for their actions.

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Versa Still Rules Roost As Fit Sales Reach 42-Month High In October http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/versa-still-rules-roost-fit-sales-reach-42-month-high-october/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/versa-still-rules-roost-fit-sales-reach-42-month-high-october/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:21:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947057 American Honda reported the Fit’s best October ever last month. At 6851 U.S. sales, Fit volume was up 83% year-over-year to the highest total since April 2011, when Fit sales shot up 73% to 8116. The new Fit, the third version of Honda’s sub-Civic car for North America has certainly been well-received early on in […]

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Honda Fit EXLAmerican Honda reported the Fit’s best October ever last month. At 6851 U.S. sales, Fit volume was up 83% year-over-year to the highest total since April 2011, when Fit sales shot up 73% to 8116.

The new Fit, the third version of Honda’s sub-Civic car for North America has certainly been well-received early on in its tenure. With Honda sales rising to the highest October level ever and a new Mexican-built version of the brand’s least costly car finally readily available, seeing the Fit rise to new heights was not an unexpected occurrence.

It’s no E-Type on the outside, but the Fit’s purposeful design pays dividends inside for owners and even passengers. It is in some ways a mini-MPV with a very monobox shape. It’s not conventional, but its flexibility makes it strangely desirable as a result. Honda’s share of the subcompact category grew to 17.8% in October 2014, up from 10.8% a year ago and 10.6% in calendar year 2013 as a whole. It’s worth noting, as well, that the Fit is available only as a hatchback, while the four other members of the subcompact category’s October top five are sold as hatchbacks and sedans.

It’s also worth noting that the category continues to be controlled in large part by the cheap-and-roomy Nissan Versa, sales of which improved 29% in October 2014 to 11,097 units, 28.8% of the segment’s total.

With a higher price tag and fewer build options, it’s hard to see the Fit unseating the Versa any time soon, even on a semi-long-term basis.

Added competition may pose the greater danger to the Fit over the next few years, however. And we don’t mean competition from more subcompact hatchbacks. While Nissan Canada has seen Versa sales tumble 43% over the last three months as the Micra slotted in below and stole sales (and added many more), Honda will challenge their own Fit and Civic with the new HR-V, set to be displayed in detail at the Los Angeles auto show this week.

It’s a long-running theme. America’s new vehicle market is expanding at a 5.5% clip in 2014, and while subcompact sales shot up 11.5% in the month of October, specifically, subcompact volume is up just 3.4% this year. That outpaces the overall passenger car market, which is up just 1.2%. But combined sales of the Buick Encore, Mini Countryman and Paceman, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Nissan Juke, and Subaru XV Crosstrek are up 28.2% to a combined 181,370 units. Sure, as a group they’re not as popular as subcompact cars – they’re certainly more costly, too. Yet their growth does represent a real turning of the tide.

Nissan Versa NoteBack in the here and now, Detroit subcompacts, in the form of the Chevrolet Sonic and Ford Fiesta, have earned 31% market share in 2014. Sales of the Hyundai Accent rose 34% to 4839 in October and are up 5% this year; Kia Rio volume was down 12% both in October and through the first ten months. Combined Prius C/Yaris sales are down 19% in Toyota showrooms in 2014. Mazda 2 sales have increased 34% in advance of the next 2’s arrival, but October volume plunged 38% to just 457 units.

Meanwhile, America’s four top-selling compacts – Corolla, Civic, Cruze, Focus – combine to outsell the whole subcompact category by more than two-to-one.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Los Angeles 2014: Honda HR-V Gets A Manual http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-honda-hr-v-gets-manual/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-honda-hr-v-gets-manual/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 21:14:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947665 While Mazda isn’t offering a manual gearbox on their CX-3 mini-CUV, Honda will be offering one on 2WD versions of the HR-V [UPDATE – 7:50 p.m. Pacific, 11/19/2014: Live photos from the LA Auto Show now available – CA]. Powered by the Civic’s 1.8L 4-cylinder engine making 138 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque. For those […]

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While Mazda isn’t offering a manual gearbox on their CX-3 mini-CUV, Honda will be offering one on 2WD versions of the HR-V [UPDATE – 7:50 p.m. Pacific, 11/19/2014: Live photos from the LA Auto Show now available – CA].

Powered by the Civic’s 1.8L 4-cylinder engine making 138 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque. For those that don’t want to row their own (or want Honda’s Real-Time 4WD system), a CVT is the only other option.

The big draw for the HR-V is the Fit’s “Magic Seat” second row, which can fold in all number of ways to accommodate people and objects. Honda is touting up to 100 cubic feet of passenger volume and 58.8 cubic feet with the seats down (24.3 with the seats up)

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Honda To Replace Takata Airbags Nationwide If Consumers Complain http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-replace-takata-airbags-nationwide-consumers-complain/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-replace-takata-airbags-nationwide-consumers-complain/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 14:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946634 Worried that the airbag in your Honda may shred your face instead of saving it? Complain loud enough, and the automaker will replace the unit in question. In a statement made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier this month, The Detroit News reports Honda will replace units nationwide if its customer base complains, […]

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Worried that the airbag in your Honda may shred your face instead of saving it? Complain loud enough, and the automaker will replace the unit in question.

In a statement made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier this month, The Detroit News reports Honda will replace units nationwide if its customer base complains, despite being limited at the moment to the 2.8 million under recall in high-humidity states, whose Takata airbag modules are at-risk for catastrophic failure:

It is our practice to repair these vehicles outside of these regions at the request of concerned customers. Additionally, we have a customer service procedure that addresses our individual customer needs and concerns and encompasses, as appropriate, the replacement of air bag inflators and the provision of or reimbursement for temporary alternative transportation.

Representative Chris Martin explained the move wasn’t made to bring in vehicles that were “secretly included” in the recall, but give peace of mind to those who own vehicles outside the recall effort. He added that a similar statement was posted on the automaker’s owner’s website, explaining to consumers of “certain” vehicles could bring in their cars for new airbags “as appropriate,” along with reimbursement for temporary transportation needs. Martin closed by stating Honda had “no reason to believe that there is a concern” for similar issues with the airbags outside of the recall area.

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