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Honda Commits to $372 Million Canadian Investment

Despite uncertainty posed by incoming Trump administration, Honda presses ahead.

by on Jan.17, 2017

Honda's investing $372 million into its facility north of Toronto that produces the Civic despite uncertainty generated by Donald Trump.

Despite the anxiety created by the uncertainty about the trade policies of the incoming Trump administration, Honda Motor Co. plans to move forward with a $372 million project to refurbish and expand its Canadian Assembly plant located north of Toronto.

Honda will invest $372 million in its Alliston factory, with financial support from the federal government and province of Ontario. The governments of Canada and Ontario will each contribute $30 million during three years.

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In addition to retaining 4,000 jobs in Ontario, this funding will support advanced and clean technologies and position Honda Canada Manufacturing’s Alliston plants to be globally competitive for years to come, the Ontario Ministry of Development noted in a statement. (more…)

Honda’s Takata Problems Continue with Recall of 1.29M Vehicles

Automaker has now recalled 11.4 million vehicles with faulty Takata airbags.

by on Jan.11, 2017

The 2012 Honda Accord is just one of 1.29 million vehicles the automaker is recalling due to Takata airbags.

Honda announced it is recalling 1.29 million vehicles equipped with faulty Takata passenger front airbag inflators. The total includes 772,000 additional Honda and Acura vehicles not previously recalled.

As usual, the repairs will be made at no cost to the owner. Additionally, no new driver front airbag inflators in Honda or Acura automobiles will be subject to recall in this action, as all potentially affected driver inflators are already subject to prior recalls.

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However, some vehicles previously repaired under earlier driver front inflator recalls will now require replacement of those vehicles’ passenger front inflators under this new action. Notices for this action will be mailed out in late February. (more…)

Honda to Launch New, U.S.-Made Hybrid Model

Japanese maker kicking off electric initiative.

by on Jan.10, 2017

Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo said the maker will launch an all-new hybrid sold and produced in the U.S.

Honda will launch an all-new, dedicated hybrid model that will be produced in the U.S., the carmaker’s CEO Takahiro Hachigo said during a media roundtable at the North American International Auto Show news conference Tuesday.

Hachigo declined to discuss specific details about the new model, other than saying it “will be produced in American and sales will start in America,” suggesting the vehicle may eventually be exported to other markets.

Hybrid News!

The announcement comes as Honda begins to ramp up its plans to deliver a wide range of electrified vehicles which, according to Hachigo, will account for “two-thirds of our vehicles…by 2030.” (more…)

Honda Hopes to Make Minivan Hip Again With Launch of Next-Gen Odyssey

People-mover moves passengers with new Magic Slide seats.

by on Jan.09, 2017

The new Honda Odyssey looks to keep its spot as the top selling minivan in the U.S. for the last seven years.

No other vehicle does a better job of moving a passel of passengers from Point A to Point B. But minivans have, over the last decade, become painfully un-hip, sending millions of once-loyal buyers looking for SUVs, CUVs and other alternatives.

With minivan sales sliding, manufacturers have been struggling to find ways to make these people-movers popular again, and Honda is weighing in with a complete makeover of its Odyssey model at the North American International Auto Show.

Minivan News!

The best-seller in this downsized segment for seven years running, “This new Odyssey raises the stakes for family-friendly packaging, performance and technology in the minivan segment,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co. “In all aspects of its design, the new Odyssey is made to keep every member of the family happy, no matter the seating position, no matter the destination.” (more…)

Waymo Launches Test of All-New Autonomous System

Google self-driving subsidiary starts producing its own hardware.

by on Jan.08, 2017

Waymo CEO John Krafcik with the specially modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid using the tech firm's latest autonomous technology.

Waymo, Google’s autonomous vehicle subsidiary, will start testing a fleet of specially modified Chrysler Pacifica minivans in Arizona and California later this month, moving a big step closer to reaching the point it can start moving its self-driving technology from prototype to production, CEO John Krafcik said during an appearance at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Sunday.

That was one of several big announcements made by Krafcik during his appearance at the annual NAIAS. Krafcik also noted that Waymo is now producing the various LIDAR – 3D laser – cameras, radar sensors and other hardware used for its autonomous vehicle technology. That has helped it drop costs by as much as 90% and speed up the development process.

“This future isn’t very far away,” said Krafcik, a former Hyundai Motor America chief executive, adding that Waymo’s goal is “building cars that can help millions of people every day.”

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Honda NeuV Concept Could Earn You Money on the Side

Onboard digital assistant can read, respond to driver’s mood.

by on Jan.06, 2017

The Honda NeuV, with its unusual, scissor-like doors open, making its debut at CES.

Millions of people are already using ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, and the numbers are expected to grow exponentially over the coming decade.

Drivers currently use their own vehicles, though General Motors and several other companies are pushing to get specific models, like the new Chevrolet Bolt EV into these ride-sharing fleets. Now, Honda is going a step further. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, it’s showing off a pint-sized battery-electric vehicle designed primarily to serve as a ride-sharing vehicle.

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Dubbed NeuV – pronounced noo-VEE, and short for New Urban Electric Vehicle – this autonomous two-seater is targeted for those living in dense urban environments who typically don’t drive great distances and likely leave their vehicles parked much of the day.

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Seat Latches Prone to Fail, Honda Recalling Nearly 650,000 Minivans

New Honda Ridgeline pickup also targeted for wire harness problem.

by on Dec.29, 2016

The 2016 Honda Odyssey.

Honda seems well positioned to end the year, yet again, as the leader in the U.S. minivan market – even as it gets ready to reveal an all-new version of the popular Odyssey people-mover at next month’s North American International Auto Show.

But the Japanese maker is facing a big recall of the outgoing Odyssey. Make that recalls, plural. All told, nearly 650,000 of the vehicles are being targeted for safety-related problems. Meanwhile, Honda also says it will recall nearly 10,000 of its new 2017 Ridgeline pickup to repair another defect.

Safety News!

The biggest problem involves Honda Odyssey minivans sold during the 2011 to 2016 model years because the outboard seat latches can fail. That could lead to serious injuries if the seats fail to lock in place during a crash.

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Automakers Accelerate Plant Closures, Production Cuts

Ford idling Kansas City, GM dropping shift in Detroit.

by on Dec.21, 2016

GM will drop a shift at the Detroit plant producing its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid.

The year is ending on a tenuous note for the U.S. auto industry. Even as sales records are set to fall for the third year in a row, bulging inventories are leading manufacturers to schedule production cuts, some short-term, others indefinite.

Thousands of workers are being impacted by the cuts at a time when the incoming Trump Administration has promised to boost U.S. manufacturing. The question for the near-term is whether further cuts are coming, something likely to depend on just how much the country’s car market slips in the months ahead.

Industry News!

The latest cuts come in Kansas City, where Ford Motor Co. will idle its pickup and van plant for a week early next month, and in Detroit, where General Motors says it will cut the second shift at a plant producing three sedans, as well as the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt.

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Honda Delivers First U.S. Fuel-Cell Vehicle – a Year Late

Sales limited to select regions in California.

by on Dec.20, 2016

Honda's new Clarity fuel-cell vehicle is part of an onslaught of the vehicles that have hit U.S. roads in the last 18 months.

Honda delivered the first of its new fuel-cell vehicles to U.S. customers on Monday, becoming the third automaker to enter the hydrogen car market.

But as with Toyota and Hyundai, sales of the new Honda Clarity Fuel-Cell Vehicle will be limited to select portions of California, including Orange County, San Francisco and Sacramento, where a public supply of hydrogen is readily available.

Technology News!

The lack of a production and distribution network is considered the single-largest obstacle to widespread adoption of fuel-cell technology. But California and several other states are taking steps aimed at expanding availability of the clean fuel during the next decade. (more…)

Honda Plans Debut of 2018 Odyssey at Detroit Auto Show

After years of decline, minivan market heating up again.

by on Dec.19, 2016

Honda will unveil its 2018 Honda Odyssey at the Detroit Auto Show next month, but gave a tease of what we might be in for.

Could soccer mom-mobiles become hip again? Well, they’re not likely to displace the SUV, but after years of decline, there’s some new momentum in the minivan market.

Hoping to respond to the successful launch of the new Chrysler Pacifica, Honda will roll out its next-generation Odyssey minivan at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month, the maker hinting it will add more connectivity, entertainment and safety features, along with new powertrains.

Auto Show News!

FCA designers attempted to create a new look that broke from the traditional minivan shape with the new Pacifica. Exactly what Honda has in store isn’t clear. But the maker revealed a series of sketches, including several created by the children of its Odyssey development team. (more…)