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Honda Cuts Executives’ Pay after Fit Recall

CEO stands to lose $70K due to fifth action on new subcompact.

by on Oct.24, 2014

The new Honda Fit cost the maker's CEO $70,000.

Many executives have incentives tied to the performance of the company they work for, but in Honda’s case, senior executives are being docked some pay after the maker’s subcompact Fit was recalled for the fifth time.

The recall involves 425,825 Fit hybrid vehicles and other models in Japan. Honda said in addition to a noise-related issue there is a problem with the ignition coil or power-supply circuit could cause the engine to stop in the Fit and Vezel hybrids as well as some gasoline-powered Fit and N-WGN models.

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The move comes as Honda is facing lawsuits due to accidents involving airbags supplied by Takata Corp. The airbags have been linked to four deaths, which were all in Honda vehicles. (more…)

Green Car Finalists Announced

Battery power vies with diesel, CNG and advanced gas options.

by on Oct.21, 2014

The BMW i3 is one of five cars up for the 2015 Green Car of the Year award at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

There’s been plenty of attention paid to electric vehicles over the last several years, but not all green machines have a battery under the hood.

To underscore that point, just check out the five finalists for the 2015 Green Car of the Year. The nominees for the annual award, which will be presented at the Los Angeles Motor Show next month, present a mix of alternatives that include not only the requisite EVs, but also a diesel, a bi-fuel package and a conventional gasoline-powered model. The list is dominated by three European models with one each from Japan and the U.S.

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“These five exceptional vehicles reflect an expanding ‘green’ car field that embraces diverse fuels and technologies as answers to a more efficient and low carbon future,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and “Each offers a distinctly different approach to driving ‘green’ that appeals to buyers with varying needs and perspectives on how best to lessen environmental impact, while maintaining the joy of driving.” (more…)

Honda HR-V Making U.S. Debut at L.A. Auto Show

Slotting below CR-V as new entry-level crossover.

by on Oct.20, 2014

Honda's new compact CUV, the HR-V, was shown during the Paris Motor Show recently and will hit U.S. shores later this year.

We were offered a sneak peek at the Honda HR-V earlier this year, and got a first look at it in Paris, a few weeks back. But if it strikes your fancy and you live in the U.S., you’ll have to wait another month for a look at the actual sheet metal. The good news is that Honda is providing a teaser image of the compact crossover that will become the new entry point into its growing CUV line-up.

Original hinted at with the 2013 Urban SUV Concept, Honda plans to put the new HR-V on sale shortly after its official debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

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The new crossover utility vehicle will be positioned below the CR-V both in price and overall size, but if the Fit is any indication, the new crossover may deliver nearly as much cargo and passenger space. (more…)

Honda Rides Strong Asian Sales to $1.94 Billion Profit

US sales drop 6% during most recent quarter.

by on Jul.29, 2014

Honda's North American sales were down 6% in the most recent quarter due, in part, to a sluggish start to Fit production in Mexico.

Despite a sales decline in its largest market, North America, Honda posted a $1.94 billion (198 billion yen) operating profit last quarter by cutting costs and expanding sales in other markets, particularly Asia.

The company’s net income jumped 20% while its sales rose just 5%, the company reported. Honda benefitted from the final push of vehicles on back order due to a rush of sales that came before a sales tax hike on April 1.

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Sales in North America, which accounts for about half of Honda’s revenue, fell nearly 1% through the first six months of the year and 6% for the second quarter of the calendar year, which is the maker’s first quarter. (more…)

Small Car Shoot-Out Heats Up with Updated Toyota Yaris

Subcompact hatchback gets a “new attitude.”

by on Jul.24, 2014

The 2015 Toyota Yaris goes for a more aggressive design to compete in a crowded segment.

There’s a big battle underway in the small car market, and Toyota has rearmed with a new version of the Yaris subcompact.

Coming to market in both three- and five-door hatchback versions, the 2015 Toyota Yaris is the Japanese giant’s newest model to opt for a more aggressive design than Toyota has traditionally been known for, the maker declaring the hatchbacks now have “a new attitude.”

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They’ll need it considering the increasing competition in the small car market from the likes of the recently restyled Nissan Versa and Honda Fit, never mind the domestic small cars that have begun gaining traction in a market long controlled by the Japanese, such as the Chevrolet Sonic and Ford Fiesta.


Honda Reveals Plans for New HR-V Compact SUV

Will share platform with 2015 Honda Fit subcompact.

by on Apr.18, 2014

Honda confirmed today that it will build its new HR-V crossover alongside the 2015 Honda Fit at its plant in Celaya, Mexico.

Honda is about to become the newest entrant into the rapidly growing compact crossover segment.

The maker confirmed the new model will be called the Honda HR-V during a news conference at the 2014 NY Auto Show. The crossover will share the same platform as the all-new 2015 Honda Fit and will be assembled at the company’s new assembly plant in Celaya, Mexico, alongside the small car.

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“Both Fit and HR-V demonstrate how great things can come in small packages, and no one does this better than Honda,” said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of the Honda automobile division for American Honda. “Together these models also represent Honda’s step-by-step expansion of our production in the region, which has been key to our success in America for more than 30 years.” (more…)

Honda Doubles Earnings

Maker gets big boost from weakened yen.

by on Jan.31, 2014

Strong demand for products like the Honda Civic Coupe combined with a weak yen to double quarterly earnings.

Honda more than doubled its quarterly earnings, much of that gain driven by the weak yen, while also picking up momentum in key markets including North America.

The maker reports it earned 160.7 billion yen, or $1.58 billion for the October-December period – its fiscal third quarter – compared with a 77.4 billion net profit during the same period a year ago.

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Honda has been steadily expanding its global manufacturing operations – it now produces about nine of every ten vehicles sold in North America in the region – but favorable exchange rates nonetheless helped the third-largest Japanese maker deliver such a strong quarter, the weak yen credited with adding $4.2 billion, or 425 billion yen, to its revenues for the quarter.


Consumer Reports Yanks Honda Fit Recommendation

Move follows bottom-ranked performance in IIHS front crash test.

by on Jan.22, 2014

The Honda Fit -- along with the Fiat 500 -- had the worst scores in the IIHS small-overlap crash test.

Consumer Reports magazine has taken the rare step of yanking its “Recommended” rating for the Honda Fit minicar, a move that follows announcement that the Fit was one of 10 out of the 11 vehicles that failed a critical new crash test.

The current Fit model was, in fact, tied for the worst performance in the so-called small-overlap front crash test run by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a test designed to replicate what happens when two approaching cars clip one another on the highway, or when a vehicle strikes a pole or tree. Of the 11 vehicles tested by the IIHS, only the Chevrolet Spark received an Acceptable rating. The Fit was the only model – prior to the IIHS test – on the influential Consumer Reports Recommended list, however.

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“Based on these findings, the Honda Fit lost its Recommended status,” the non-profit magazine announced. But the magazine also said it has hopes the Japanese minicar could soon earn its way back on the list, noting that, “A redesigned Honda Fit is due out this spring, which we would expect to pass the test based on the newness of its design and Honda’s recent accomplishments with this stringent test.” (more…)

Honda Fit-ting in Among New Sub-Compacts

Maker’s 2015 model ups the ante in the segment.

by on Jan.13, 2014

The 2015 Honda Fit got a significant makeover aimed at improving handling and response while ensuring it has all the gadgets young buyers want.

With gas prices remaining above $3 a gallon, the competition for small car buyers remains intense. Makers have been plowing significant resources into the development of their small cars.

The Nissan Versa, Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic and Fiat 500L have pushed the boundaries in the expanding subcompact segment and now Honda’s introduced its revamped version of its subcompact, the 2015 Honda Fit, to add one more option to field that is only getting more crowded.

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Set to go on sale in the U.S. this spring, the new Fit offers more style, interior space, better performance and fuel efficiency plus leading-edge safety and vehicle connectivity, according to the automaker. (more…)

Honda, Acura to Make Major Debuts in Detroit

2015 Honda Fit, new Acura TLX on tap – and Civic Type R could follow.

by on Dec.19, 2013

A teaser image of the 2015 Honda Fit.

Honda and its upscale Acura division will make at least two significant bits of news during the North American International Auto Show next month.

On the Honda side, the maker will introduce its completely redesigned Fit subcompact, while Acura will pull the wraps off an all-new sedan, the TLX. There may be a few surprises in store, as well, a senior Honda official all but confirming that the maker is getting ready to announce plans to bring the Civic Type R to the U.S. market.

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The new 2015 Honda Fit will be larger yet lighter, more powerful, more fuel-efficient – and boast a more flexible interior than the outgoing hatchback, according to Mike Accavitti, the maker’s senior vice president for U.S. automotive operations.  It will, he explained during a Detroit background session, be “perfect for the next generation of buyers who don’t want to sacrifice space, performance or features.”