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Honda Has Broader Plans for New Hydrogen Car Platform

Along with new fuel-cell model, battery-car, plug-in hybrid models to follow.

by on Nov.19, 2015

The new Honda Clarity will soon offer a plug-in hybrid and pure battery option, along with the hydrogen-powered version soon going on sale.

Honda has become the latest automaker to launch a fuel-cell vehicle on the U.S. retail market, unveiling the production version of the Clarity hydrogen car at the L.A. Auto Show on Wednesday.

But the project is creating a bit of confusion because Clarity is more than just a hydrogen car. It is actually a flexible platform that will eventually be used for a wide variety of alternative-power vehicles, including a plug-in and a pure battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, American Honda chief John Mendel told TheDetroitBureau.com.

Plug-In!

Clarity “will be the platform for at least two” other clean models, Mendel explained during an L.A. interview, adding “It will be another pillar for us,” allowing Honda to expand its alternative offerings “in a more mainstream way.”

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Honda Aims to Pull a Coup with Civic Coupe

Wider, roomier, sportier than the outgoing two-door.

by on Nov.17, 2015

The 2016 Honda Civic Coupe makes its debut in LA with development leader John Hwang and designer Guy Melville Brown.

Saying “Honda Civic” is something of a misnomer. There’s actually a big family of Civic models, and that line-up is about to get bigger over the next 18 months with the addition of new versions like the first-ever U.S. version of the Civic Type-R.

The roll-up got underway in earnest this week, Honda rolling out the completely redesigned 2016 Civic Coupe. The two door model picks up on the design theme launched with the all-new Honda Civic Sedan earlier this year, adding some of its own sporty cues.

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“I think our customers are going to be utterly surprised by what this new Coupe delivers in terms of refinement, safety, efficiency and fun-to-drive performance,” said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president of American Honda, during a media preview of the 2016 Honda Civic Coupe a day before its formal unveiling at the L.A. Auto Show.

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Honda Set to Reveal Civic Coupe in L.A.

Clarity fuel-cell vehicle to make U.S. debut.

by on Nov.11, 2015

The Honda Civic Concept made a surprise debut at the 2015 New York Auto Show last April.

Honda has a lot coming for Civic fans, with a wide range of body and performance variants set to join the sedan version of the 2016 Honda Civic that officials begins rolling into U.S. showrooms on November 12th.

And the next variant on tap, the 2016 Civic Coupe, will make its debut a week from now at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It will be joined on stage by the next-generation fuel-cell vehicle, the Honda Clarity, which got its global send-off at the Tokyo Motor Show barely two weeks ago.

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“The second in a line of new 10th-generation Civic models that will be launching over the next 18 months,” the maker boasts that the 2016 Honda Civic Coupe “elevates sporty styling and dynamic performance.”

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Honda Unveils Updated 2013 Civic

Maker also details plans for new plug-in hybrid Accord.

by on Nov.30, 2012

Honda hopes to set off some fireworks with the 2013 refresh of the Civic line.

After absorbing some stinging criticism of the 2012 remake of the Honda Civic, the Japanese maker has turned around with unprecedented speed to roll out an “emergency refresh” of the long-popular compact it hopes will win over critics.

In particular, Honda hopes the new 2013 Civic line will get the subcompact line back on the “Recommended Buy” list at Consumer Reports – which leveled unusually stinging criticism at the 2012 model, going so far as to withdraw its long-standing endorsement.

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Honda’s news conference at the 2012 LA Auto Show seemed, in many ways, aimed at addressing recent criticism of the company and showing that it is aggressively moving forward on a number of fronts.  Among other things, the media preview included some news about the maker’s new hybrid strategy – which will get a kick-off with the upcoming launch of an all-new Accord Plug-in model due to U.S. showrooms next year.

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“Emergency” Update of Honda Civic to Debut in LA

Maker hopes to “hone” its image after embarrassing mistakes.

by on Nov.12, 2012

Honda will unveil a major update of the much-panned Civic compact at the upcoming LA Auto Show.

Stung by a series of embarrassing mistakes that saw even import-friendly Consumer Reports magazine turn thumbs down, Honda will unveil what insiders have dubbed an “emergency refresh” of the maker’s long-popular Civic model at the upcoming LA Auto Show.

Putting a positive spin on the launch of a mid-cycle Civic update that comes several years earlier than would normally have been planned, Honda officials insist the compact model’s styling has been “honed to make the segment’s best-selling car even better.”

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Curiously, despite getting panned by most critics after its mid-2011 debut – and being dropped from the influential Consumer Reports “Recommended” list, the Civic has remained the compact segment’s leader. But it has clearly been losing momentum, something that forced Honda to make some fast tweaks to the Civic’s styling – as well as “enhancements” meant to address criticism of the vehicle’s interior and handling.

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Honda Looks Beyond New Fit EV

Maker isn’t plugging all eggs into one electric basket.

by on Nov.18, 2011

Honda will begin leasing the Fit EV for $399 a month next summer, in California and Oregon.

Honda took the wraps off its first battery-electric vehicle, the2013 Honda  Fit EV, which will roll into showrooms in select markets next summer.

But the Japanese maker, an early pioneer in hybrid technology, is clearly not ready to plug all its eggs into one electric basket.  While it will expand its battery car efforts, company officials stress they’re not walking away from other alternative powertrain solutions – which range from natural gas to hydrogen, as well as even cleaner gasoline engines.

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“We don’t know if the answer is electric or hydrogen or natural gas,” cautioned Mike Accavitti, the maker’s U.S. marketing chief, “so, at Honda, we’re working on all of them.”

Honda has opted for a lease-only approach for the Fit EV, the base car planned to carry a $399 monthly charge based on an estimated $36,625 MSRP.

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First Drive: 2012 Honda CR-V

Aiming to gain the advantage.

by on Nov.16, 2011

Honda weighs in with the fourth-generation CR-V getting its official launch at the L.A. Auto Show.

The folks with the fancy MBAs like to call it the “first-mover advantage.”  Discover a need or niche and fill it before the competition does.  If your product resonates with consumers you’ll likely get a lock on the market.

And that’s precisely what happened when Honda introduced the original CR-V, 15 years ago, creating what is now one of the fastest-growing niches in the automotive market: the compact crossover.  The Honda CR-V has been the perennial favorite among American shoppers – though the king has tumbled down the hill in recent months as the result of production shortages caused by the earthquake and tsunami that struck northeast Japan last March.

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Now, as its plants slowly get back to normal, the Japanese maker is ready to roll out a fourth-generation of its compact CUV, but whether the 2012 Honda CR-V can regain its lead remains to be seen.  It has a lot going for it, like an easy-to-use, 1-touch system for folding down the rear seats. But the crossover also suffers from a few glaring flaws — notably a numb new steering system — that could provide an opening for the next-generation 2012 Ford Escape, the outgoing domestic model already outselling the CR-V.

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