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Honda Launches Another Green Joint Venture

Japanese maker ties up with Hitachi to produce and sell EV motors.

by on Feb.08, 2017

The new motors could find a wide range of uses in vehicles such as this Acura NSX.

Barely a week after announcing a tie-up with General Motors, Honda Motor Co. says it is launching a joint venture with Hitachi Ltd., one of the world’s largest producers of motors for use in battery-electric vehicles.

Hitachi already counts a number of other automakers among its clients, including the Renault-Nissan Alliance – which produces such models as the Nissan Leaf – as well as Toyota, Ford and Volkswagen. Honda hopes to use the new joint venture not only to supply its own, growing needs but to potentially sell motors to other automakers entering the EV space.

Electrifying News!

“In pairing up with Hitachi, we’re hoping to tap into its expertise in volume production,” Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo said during a news media briefing in Japan. “Producing motors is capital intensive,” he added, “so rather than just manufacturing them for our own purposes, we would like to produce in large volumes with the possibility of supplying a variety of customers.”

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Honda Earnings Jump Sharply

Japanese automaker boosts guidance despite Trump trade concerns.

by on Feb.03, 2017

Honda sales and earnings have benefited from the launch of new products like the Pilot.

Honda scored a 36% jump in earnings for the latest quarter, overcoming a variety of challenges, including a weakened yen and the cost of the ongoing Takata aitbag recall.

Cost cutting also helped overcome a slight downturn in global sales for the quarter, the third-largest Japanese automaker reporting a 168.8 billion yen, or $1.5 billion, profit for the October-December quarter, the third in its fiscal year. Honda earning 124.1 billion yen during the same period a year ago.

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The automaker said it is expecting to see sales rebound slightly during the fiscal year’s final quarter, which ends on March 31. It also boost earnings guidance for the full year, though some observers question whether the automaker – like its Japanese rivals – could get caught up in a trade fracas as new U.S. Pres. Donald Trump presses the industry to move more jobs to the U.S.

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GM and Honda Teaming Up on U.S.-based Fuel Cell Manufacturing

Plant will provide hydrogen tech for new products from both companies.

by on Jan.30, 2017

GM Global Product Development Director Mark Reuss and Honda North America CEO Toshiaki Nikishiba celebrate the debut of their new fuel-cell stack.

This story has been updated to reflect additional details and comments by both companies. New pics also have been added.

General Motors and Honda will set up a new plant in Michigan to mass produce next-generation fuel-cell technology that both companies plan to use in upcoming products, the automakers jointly announced Monday.

Honda is currently one of three automakers selling hydrogen-powered vehicles in the U.S., though GM was an early pioneer of the emissions-free technology and had been signaling plans to bring a fuel-cell vehicle, or FCV, of its own to market in the near future.

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The two companies established a research joint venture three years ago,” with each company providing know-how from its unique expertise to create a compact and low-cost next-generation fuel cell system,” said Toshiaki Mikoshiba, chief operating officer of the North American Region for Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and president of Honda North America, Inc. “This foundation of outstanding teamwork will now take us to the stage of joint mass production.” (more…)

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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