Honda: Supercar Sour Grapes?
After months of teases and race-car previewing, Toyota is publicly unveiling its production-spec LF-A supercar at the Tokyo Auto Show [via Automotive News [sub]]. And it’s a legitimate front-engine supercar, with a 4.8 liter V10 motivating it to 60 MPH in 3.7 seconds. It even has a true supercar pricetag: $375,000. But how does this car square with Toyota’s appliance-and-environment-driven image? “It’s our mission as automakers to offer cars that possess the ‘fun’ spirit that should be at the base of any car,” explains Akio Toyoda, who sees the supercar as a way to gain attention in developing markets. But having axed its own front-engine V-10 supercar, Honda is reacting to the LF-A by retreating into greener-than-thou sniping. “Sure, there are folks who like that ‘vroom’ of the engine out of nostalgia,” snickers Honda prez Takanobu Ito. “The era of V10 engines is gone.” And you’ll never guess what vehicle Ito offers up as Honda’s counterpoint to the LF-A.
And Ito is right. Cars, especially enthusiast-oriented cars, should be as light as possible, and an EV sportster without the battery weight does sound appealing. But an FCX Clarity? That’s like calling the Volt a sports sedan. And calling V10’s “the past” is no more accurate than calling hydrogen “the future.” Now if Ito had said that the world needs a new-age NSX that was actually true to the original concept (which, incidentally, Ito created), we’d be listening. Holding up his California-only, lease-only fuel cell experiment doesn’t make Honda look any more prescient or admirable.
[Thanks to Joesph Kaitschuck for the video tip]
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