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Honda Shows Supercharged CR-Z

Will the not-so-hot hatch finally get the performance buyers have demanded?

by on Oct.31, 2012

Honda offers some hope to those who want real performance from the little CR-Z.

Honda fans attending this week’s SEMA Show in Las Vegas are in for a treat as the maker pulls the wraps of a series of concept vehicles that includes a supercharged version of the not-so-hot hatch CR-Z.

Though the Japanese maker insists the show car is simply an “exploration of the performance potential of the CR-Z Sport Hybrid,” Honda officials have sent broad signals that they’re looking for ways to punch up the performance of the much-maligned 3-door.  And the SEMA Show has become a test ground for numerous makers to measure whether concepts will click with performance-oriented buyers.

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Formally named the HPD Supercharged CR-Z Concept, it’s the work of the Honda Performance Division – which has a number of other show cars making their debut in Sin City this week, including the Accord Sedan X-Package and the Acura ILX Performance Racer.

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Honda Punches Up Performance of 2013 CR-Z

Sport compact hybrid now gets Sport-Plus mode.

by on Sep.28, 2012

Honda hopes to kick-start sales of the CR-Z with a significant boost in performance.

Though its new Accord may be winning favorable reviews, Honda has admittedly missed the mark with a number of recent niche vehicles – especially hybrids like the Insight and CR-Z. The latter was a particular disappointment coming as the long-awaited replacement for the Japanese maker’s old CR-X sport compact.

So, there were some anticipatory celebrations when Honda revealed plans to unveil an updated version of the CR-Z in Paris designed to punch out a bit more performance than the hybrid-powered model that debuted in 2009.

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Honda came through with a royal purple update that gets a number of welcome modifications – including 13 more horsepower and a new lithium-ion battery pack that allows the 2013 Honda CR-Z to operate in S+ mode – a hybrid alternative to turbocharging – for up to 10 seconds.

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Honda Looking For Big Comeback – But Still Facing Challenges

“It’s the worst I’ve seen,” says maker’s top U.S. executive.

by on Oct.28, 2011

This year "has been the worst I've seen," laments Honda's top U.S. executive John Mendel.

As far as John Mendel is concerned New Year’s Eve can’t come soon enough.  The top American executive at Honda says this has been the worst year the Asian automaker has experienced since it first entered the U.S. market – though with its factories now back up to full capacity Mendel believes Honda is finally back on track.

Honda has spent months struggling with shortages of most of its products — notably including the all-new Civic it launched earlier in the year, just before a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan and seriously damaged that nation’s automotive infrastructure.  Production is finally back up to normal, just in time for the upcoming launch of the redesigned 2012 Honda CR-V, long the dominant model in the compact crossover segment.

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This year was “the worst I’ve seen,” said Mendel, during an interview while on the launch of the new CR-V.  “We came out strong,” at the beginning of the year, with demand the strongest it had been since the U.S. economy collapsed in 2008, “and then, boom.”

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Honda Adding New Small Car Plant in Mexico

Maker’s eighth North American assembly line.

by on Aug.15, 2011

The Honda Fit is likely to be among the first products to roll out of the maker's new Mexican plant. An EV version of the subcompact will launch in 2012.

Plagued by the threat of earthquakes, tsunamis — and lopsided exchange rates, Japanese automakers are shifting more and more manufacturing off the home islands – Honda announcing it will build its eighth North American assembly plant in Mexico.

Set to begin production in 2014, the $800 million factory will produce subcompacts – such as the Honda Fit and CR-Z — for sale in the U.S., Canadian and Mexican markets, the automaker says.  Assembling those low-priced models has become increasingly difficult in Japan, especially with the yen rising to its highest level ever, all but ensuring imports would be money-losers in the North American market.

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The factory will employ 3,200 and have an annual capacity of 200,000.  That will bring the to 1.83 million the total number of Honda and Acura cars and light trucks the carmaker will be able to produce in North America – which it estimates will be about 87% of its volume once the new assembly plant opens.`

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Honda CR-Z Unveiled in Tokyo

Thinly disguised concept will come to U.S.

by on Oct.21, 2009

Minus the small back seat, the Honda CR-Z concept unveiled in Tokyo is what American motorists will see, in production trim, at January's Detroit Auto Show.

Minus a back seat, CR-Z will be at January's North American International Auto Show.

The Tokyo Motor Show is famous for its wild and wacky concept vehicles, but perhaps it makes sense, during the year that the show al but implodes, that the few makers still displaying at Makuhari Messe reveal concepts grounded more than ever in reality.

Like the Honda CR-Z, the latest take on the stylish, sporty hybrid coupe – but this one just a thinly-disguised version of the gasoline-electric vehicle soon to go into production.  The big difference between show car and production model?

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On the Tokyo stand, the 2010 Honda CR-Z concept is featured with a small rear seat.  In the American edition, Honda confirms, it will be offered in just 2-seat trim.  The changes from the gen-1 concept are modest, notably a more upright windshield and a higher roofline, which should make it possible for American drivers to actual sit inside the hybrid coupe.  The gaping grille is one of the more sporty details held over from the original CR-Z concept, which was designed as a paean to the long-lamented Honda CR-X.

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