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A Real Gas: First Drive of the 2017 Honda Clarity FCV

Hydrogen-powered sedan is no lightweight.

by on Mar.20, 2017

A bit late, but ready to roll. The new Honda Clarity FCV is the latest fuel-cell powered vehicle to hit the U.S. market.

During a visit to Detroit last week, President Donald Trump all but promised the auto industry his administration will roll back the tough 54.5 mpg federal mileage standard set to go into effect in 2025.

Yet while some manufacturers, especially Detroit’s Big Three, issued a collective sigh of relief, others insisted such a move wouldn’t make much, if any, difference in their long-term plans. That includes Honda, whose CEO recently emphasized his commitment to generating two-thirds of the maker’s sales from electrified powertrains by 2030.

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“Electric” doesn’t necessarily mean “battery,” however, and Honda has become one of the biggest proponents of fuel-cell technology, the Japanese maker recently becoming the third manufacturer to start marketing a hydrogen-powered car in the U.S. market. This past week, it gave TheDetroitBureau.com a chance to put the new Honda Clarity FCV through its paces traversing the mountainous terrain east of Santa Barbara, California. (more…)

Honda Set to Unveil All-Electric, Plug-in Versions of Clarity at NY Auto Show

New models complement Clarity fuel-cell model.

by on Mar.09, 2017

Honda teases the three versions of the Clarity model it will show off at the 2017 NYIAS.

The first version of the new Honda Clarity has only just gone on sale but Honda is already rolling out two other variants.

With the Clarity FCV, Honda became the third automaker to launch a fuel-cell vehicle in the U.S. market last year. Now, it says, it will debut both the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid and the Clarity Electric at the 2017 New York International Auto Show. All three models are based off the same, unique midsize platform, and all are equipped to carry five passengers.

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Honda boasts Clarity will be “the first vehicle series to offer customers an expanded array of electrified vehicle choices with fuel cell, battery electric and plug-in hybrid powertrains.” But other makers are also working up multi-use platforms, including both Hyundai and its Korean sibling Kia.

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Honda Muscles Up With Civic Type R

Most powerful version yet for compact mainstay.

by on Mar.08, 2017

After a long wait, U.S. buyers will soon be able to order the latest Honda Civic Type R makeover.

The Honda Civic Type R, the long-awaited capper to the automaker’s ever-popular compact model range, has finally made its debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.

Honda has been rolling out a procession of new Civic variants over the last two years, the hatchback version making its first appearance in Geneva a year ago. But no model has generated more of a buzz than the Type R, which will finally make it to the U.S. market come late spring 2017.

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The five-door model, equipped with a 306-hp turbocharged four, will become the fastest version of the Honda Civic ever to reach U.S. shores, and Honda hopes it will help it challenge such serious competitors as the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen Golf R.

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Honda’s Top American Exec, John Mendel Stepping Down

Jeff Conrad to take his place.

by on Feb.21, 2017

Honda's John Mendel accepted the North American Truck of the Year award this year. Mendel is being replaced by Jeff Conrad.

As part of a series of management changes announced Tuesday, 62-year-old John Mendel will step down as the executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co.’s automotive divisions.

A one-time Ford executive who joined Honda in 2004, Mendel was the highest-ranking U.S. member of the Honda team and given credit for not only delivering a series of record sales for the automaker but also for helping guide it through some potentially serious problems, including the recall of millions of vehicles equipped with faulty Takata airbags.

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Mendel, well-regarded not only within the company but also by franchised dealers and the automotive media, will be replaced by Jeff Conrad, currently the general manager of the Honda division. In his new role he will, among other things, oversee the high-line Acura division. (more…)

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…)