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Honda Previews New Hydrogen Car, Civic Type-R, Other Debuts Coming to Tokyo

Assortment of intros ranges from practical to decidedly wacky.

by on Sep.30, 2015

The new, turbo-powered Honda Type R coming to Tokyo will be the most powerful Civic ever.

Few automotive events cover more ground than the biennial Tokyo Motor Show, which has a history of introducing products ranging from the practical to the downright wacky. And if the Honda exhibit is any indication, the November gathering will live up to expectations.

Offering a few hints of what it has in store for Tokyo Motor Show-goers next month, Honda plans to pull the wraps off the next-generation Odyssey minivan, as well as a new version of its only recently launched hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle. The exhibit will include sports and track models like the new Acura NSX and quirky 2&4 Concept, and will look at alternative mobility solutions with the Wander Stand and Wander Walker Concepts.

Auto Show News!

The Tokyo show has, over the years, seen some pretty odd and exotic concepts designed to excite visitors – appropriately, in Japanese, translated into “waku waku.” That’s included past Honda models such as one that looked almost like a telephone booth on wheels.


Honda Targets Compact Luxury Buyers with New Civic

Next-gen sedan loaded with technology, safety and comfort features.

by on Sep.17, 2015

The 10th generation Honda Civic sedan is looking to take on upscale competition.

Honda took the wraps off the 10th generation Honda Civic sedan with a clear plan in mind: attract compact luxury buyers. The new sedan will go on sale “Before Thanksgiving,” John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co. Inc., said.

Mendel also said during special preview in Detroit that Honda is preparing to offer more versions of the Civic, one of the world’s most popular cars, will include a sedan, coupe, high-performance Si models, a five-door hatchback and the first-ever Civic Type-R model for the U.S. market.

Product News!

The next-generation Civic sedan will be part of the most diverse and innovative lineup in the 43-year history of the model, which remains one of the most popular passenger cars ever sold in the U.S. and a segment leader despite some very tough competition, Mendel said. (more…)

AutoNation Won’t Sell Recalled Cars

Move could pressure other retailers, lawmakers to follow.

by on Sep.09, 2015

AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson.

The nation’s largest automotive dealer network has announced it will no longer sell either new or used vehicles subject to a recall until they have been repaired.

The announcement by Ft. Lauderdale-based AutoNation comes as the number of safety-related recalls has been surging to record levels. But while the U.S. Senate recently passed a measure that would force rental companies to pull recalled vehicles out of their fleets pending repairs, dealers were not required to take similar actions before selling such vehicles. And the House has yet to take action on its own version of the bill.

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“There’s no way to expect that customers would or should know of every safety recall on every vehicle they might purchase, so we will ensure that our vehicles have all recalls completed,” said AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson. “We make it our responsibility as a retailer to identify those vehicles and remove them from the market until their safety issues have been addressed.”


More Airbag Trouble for Honda

Feds launch investigation on reports of Accord airbag failures.

by on Aug.24, 2015

The 2008 Honda Accord is subject to a preliminary investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for faulty airbags.

Already struggling to fix millions of vehicles recalled due to defective Takata airbag inflators, Honda has run into still more airbag problems.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched an investigation covering 384,000 Honda Accords after receiving reports of 19 incidents in which the vehicles’ aribags failed to deploy during a crash. The investigation could eventually lead to a recall that could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, according to some reports.

Safety News!

The problem, it appears, may be the result of a faulty Supplemental Restraint System, or SRS, control module, notes NHTSA, a statement by the agency noting that, “For vehicles with a failed SRS module, some or all of the airbags may be unavailable in a crash warranting deployment.”


Take Me to The No-Prototype Honda Pilot

Honda’s new SUV employs new manufacturing process in Alabama.

by on Aug.21, 2015

Honda implemented its No Prototype Development system when it designed and built the 2016 Pilot.

Honda is demonstrating its willingness to be a manufacturing leader with its newest SUV. The Japanese maker added the new 2016 Pilot to its portfolio of trucks and utility vehicle without building a single prototype.

Carmakers have used hand-built prototypes for decades and were long considered a key step in engineering a new vehicle. After they are fabricated, the prototype, or prototypes, are then used to set up the assembly line for building the production vehicle. But Honda R&D and Honda Manufacturing of Alabama skipped the prototype process and set up the assembly line for the new Pilot in Lincoln, Alabama, without building a single prototype – saving time and money.

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Jeff Tomko, president of Honda Manufacturing Alabama, said during a presentation in Detroit that the new Honda Pilot was the Honda vehicle designed and engineered in the U.S., using only “virtual” systems and tools to set up the assembly line.  The “No Prototype Development,” or NDP, eliminated the need for creating the prototypes, Tomko said. (more…)

Millions More Vehicles Could Be Added to Takata Recall

Potential problem list expands in wake of VW crash.

by on Aug.21, 2015

The latest Takata incident involved the side-image airbag in a 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan

The failure of an airbag in a new Volkswagen Tiguan could lead to a huge expansion of the ongoing Takata recall – something that has already impacted more than 33 million vehicles sold around the world.

Two U.S. senators are demanding that the Japanese supplier recall all vehicles using its airbags. Such a move could add millions, and likely tens of millions, of vehicles to the ongoing recall that has, until now, focused on older products using Takata airbags.

Safety News!

The latest twist in the story follows word that Volkswagen alerted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the faulty deployment of a Takata airbag on a 2015 model Tiguan sport-utility vehicle. During the June 7th incident, a collision with a deer caused a side-impact airbag to deploy with too much force.


Toyota Expecting Only Modest Growth for 1st New Tacoma Pickup in Decade

Capacity limits could see loss of share in growing midsize truck market.

by on Aug.06, 2015

Toyota is hoping the next-gen Tacoma will keep the good times rolling sales-wise in the U.S. in 2015.

When the 2016 Toyota Tacoma rolls into U.S. showrooms next month it will mark the first major update of the midsize pickup in a decade, an eternity by today’s automotive standards.

Considering the long somnambulant segment has suddenly roared back to life in recent months, one might expect to see Toyota prepping for a major surge in sales for the 2016 Tacoma. But it’s not. The Japanese maker is looking for modest growth, at best, for the new pickup next year.

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The reason is simple, according to Toyota division General Manager Bill Fay: “We’re very close to maxxed out on our production capabilities right now,” despite adding more capacity at a plant in Baja, Mexico.


Toyota Readies Robot to Help Healthcare Workers

Honda continues development of ASIMO.

by on Jul.31, 2015

Toyota will begin using its Human Service Robot in trials with healthcare workers to see if they are viable.

And now we all know where the real-life version of the movie iRobot begins … with the introduction of Toyota’s Human Service Robot or HSR.

In the aforementioned film, humans become reliant upon robots to handle life’s mundane responsibilities. The end result is that the robots view humans as a problem begin to implement a plan to rid the planet of them. That’s when Will Smith comes in, sans DJ Jazzy Jeff, and saves the world.

The Last Word!

Toyota’s HSR isn’t anywhere near that level of ability or pervasiveness, with its highly maneuverable, compact, and lightweight cylindrical body and folding arm, the HSR can pick objects up off the floor, retrieve objects from shelves, and perform a variety of other tasks. (more…)

Despite Safety Woes, Honda Earnings Climb 20%

Weak yen offsets cost of airbag recall.

by on Jul.31, 2015

Honda's automotive unit helped the company to strong first-quarter profits despite setbacks from Takata's faulty airbags.

Despite being slammed by the ongoing recall of Takata airbags, Honda Motor Co. was able to deliver a 20% jump in earnings for the first quarter of its 2015 fiscal year.

The cheap yen – which has dropped almost 20% against the dollar over the past year – helped drive Honda’s April-June net income to 186 billion yen, or $1.5 billion. A year ago, the maker reported 155.6 billion yen in net income, or about $1.3 billion.

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On a per share basis, Honda handily outperformed the 65 cent average forecast of the Zacks Consensus Estimate with an 84-cent, or 103.22-yen, per share number. (more…)

Honda Moves West with Innovation Xcelerator

Japanese maker joins competitors in Silicon Valley.

by on Jul.28, 2015

Honda's new Silicon Valley R&D facility is focusing on harnessing game-changing technologies through open innovation initiatives.

Honda, following the lead of rival automakers such as Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Nissan-Renault, is expanding it presence in Silicon Valley.

The Japanese automaker marked the opening of its new research and development center in Mountain View, California, near the heart of the tech corridor that stretches south from San Francisco and is the home of tech giants such Apple, Google, Facebook, Oracle, Intel and HP.

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“As an industry, we are on the verge of some major transformational changes brought on by the convergence of what have been, to this point, largely disparate technology disciplines,” said Honda R&D Americas President Frank Paluch. (more…)