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Honda Offers Closer Look at 2016 Pilot

Maker promises “beauty, brains and brawn.”

by on Apr.10, 2015

The 2016 Honda Pilot.

When Honda revealed the new 2016 Pilot at the Chicago Auto Show it promised a “dramatic shift,” and backed that up with a new, more modern design. But what was under the skin? Well, the automaker is finally ready to reveal more of the details as the three-row SUV finally gets ready to roll into showrooms.

The Honda Pilot, the maker boasts, packs in “beauty, brains and brawn.” We’ve already gotten a look at the new design, so, as for the rest, the 2016 remake is powered by a 280-horsepower V-6 and delivers power to the pavement through a new Intelligent Traction Management system that allows a motorist to instantly optimize a variety of vehicle settings for the road conditions they’re facing, whether dry pavement or snow and ice.

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The new crossover also gets some major updates to its digital infotainment and safety systems which offer features such as Forward Collision Warning and Collision Brake Mitigation.

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Honda Kills Unloved Crosstour

Maker moves Accord hybrid line back to Japan.

by on Apr.09, 2015

Honda's Crosstour is getting the ziggy in favor of the new HR-V. Production at the maker's East Liberty, Ohio, plant will end this Spring.

Honda is killing off the Crosstour version of its Accord line, a model so unpopular most motorists thought it was gone already. The death of the hatch version does have a plus side for Honda which can now squeeze out more of its hot-selling models at its plant in East Liberty, Ohio.

John Mendel, executive vice president, American Honda Co., said the company is also moving production of the Accord Hybrid from the Marysville (Ohio) Auto Plant to the Sayama Plant in Japan. The Crosstour was one of the rare recent missteps by Honda, which has some of the hottest selling products in America, including the sedan version of the Accord.

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“This move will allow the East Liberty Plant to focus on meeting demand for the CR-V and a refreshed 2016 Acura RDX and, as announced last month, expand light truck production in early 2017 with the Acura MDX,” Mendel said in a statement. (more…)

Nissan and Honda Trade Potshots – and Warn of Troubles Ahead

Keeping incentives under control key to success.

by on Apr.07, 2015

Honda's John Mendel dismissed any notion that Nissan was gaining sales ground on Honda, pointing out that Nissan relies on fleet sales.

Two of the top Japanese automakers have been trading punches in recent days and, in the process, warning of potential problems to come, especially if the U.S. automotive market continues to slow down.

Sales took an unexpected dip in March after five years of generally steady growth coming out of the Great Recession. That has led a number of industry observers to worry that manufacturers might make some risky moves to shore up their sales and market share.

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“As we see the industry flatten, nobody is flattening production volumes,” said Honda of America Executive Vice President John Mendel. As a result, he warned, “You’ll see some bloody battles out there.” (more…)

Honda’s Mendel Hypes Civic Models Coming Soon

Aside from all-new Civic, Type R finally coming to U.S.

by on Apr.03, 2015

American Honda Executive Vice President John Mendel unveiled a new Civic in New York. He discussed some of the maker's other plans.

Honda delivered one of the big surprises of the NY Auto Show this week with the debut of a Civic concept vehicle and the unexpected news that it would launch an all-new version of the compact car line later this year.

The new model will reach showrooms barely four years after the launch of the last Civic generation, something “probably close” to a record for a manufacturer coming up with a “clean sheet of paper” version of a major product line, said Honda’s John Mendel during a small media roundtable following the Civic Concept unveiling.

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But that reflects the increasingly competitive realities of today’s auto industry and Honda’s determination to maintain the appeal of the Civic, long one of the best-selling vehicles in the U.S. It has also been one of the top two models for young buyers, boasted Mendel, along with the bigger Honda Civic. (more…)

Honda Drops Triple Surprise as it Debuts All-New Civic

Maker also confirms plans to bring European 5-door Civic Type R to US.

by on Apr.01, 2015

The new Honda Civic Concept debuting in NY.

There was widespread speculation Honda would serve up some surprises during its New York Auto Show news conference, but the Japanese maker handily outdid expectations.

Perhaps the biggest news – and the biggest surprise – was the announcement that Honda would launch an all-new version of its long-popular Civic model later this year, with its American design and engineering team taking the lead in the project. The new model also will be the first U.S. product line to offer a new turbocharged engine developed as part of Honda’s Earth Dreams powertrain program.

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Honda also confirmed widespread rumors that it would introduce the European-made Civic Type-R, a five-door “hot hatchback” that, only a few months ago had indicated was not coming to the American market.

“We’re adding an exclamation point” to the news, said the maker’s top U.S. executive, John Mendel, during a media briefing at the Jacob Javits convention center.

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European Honda Civic Hatch and Type R Could be US-Bound

Hot hatch buyers could benefit from strong dollar, weak European sales.

by on Mar.20, 2015

Honda introduced the Civic Type R in Geneva.

Honda generated plenty of buzz when it unveiled the new Civic Type R in Geneva earlier this month – though it was more like a chorus of groans here in the U.S. when the maker said it had no plans to bring the hot hatch to the States.

Well, that might be about to change. According to a report out of Japan, Honda apparently is rethinking its decision. It appears quite likely American buyers will soon have the opportunity to buy the standard-issue hatchback which would be imported from a plant in England. And the Civic Type R could also be U.S.-bound.

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“We’ve made no announcements,” stressed Steve Kinkade, a Detroit-based Honda spokesman. But he also would not discuss the Japanese maker’s plans for its news conference at the upcoming New York Auto Show.

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Honda Expands Takata Airbag Recall Campaign

Maker adds 100,000 vehicles to list.

by on Mar.20, 2015

Honda added nearly 89,000 2008 Pilot SUVs to its recall of vehicles with Takata's faulty airbags.

Honda continues getting ahead of the Takata airbag recall as it announced recently it’s expanding its national safety campaign by more than 100,000 vehicles. The move comes shortly after the Japanese maker launched an advertising campaign aimed at raising awareness among owners of these vehicles.

The automaker used the faulty Takata airbags in millions of its vehicles during the course of a decade. The airbags in question, which can explode with such force during operation they eject shrapnel into the cabin, have caused the recall of approximately 20 million vehicles globally. With these additional vehicles added, Honda is recalling about 5.5 million vehicles in the U.S.

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Honda is adding 88,549 Pilot vehicles from the 2008 model year, 10,868 specific 2004 Civic vehicles and 5,454 specific 2001 Accord vehicles. While certain 2001 Accord and 2004 Civic vehicles were previously included the initial action, no 2008 Pilot models were included before this addition. (more…)

Honda Launches National Ad Campaign Urging Drivers to Get Airbags Replaced

Program aims to increase repair rate for bags linked to five deaths.

by on Mar.12, 2015

A Takata airbag after a crash.

Honda is launching a major national advertising effort to convince buyers to repair millions of vehicles equipped with potentially deadly airbags produced by beleaguered Japanese supplier Takata.

So far, at least five deaths – all in Honda vehicles – have been linked to the problem in which the airbags may inflate too aggressively during a crash, sending shrapnel flying into the passenger compartment.

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The campaign is meant to “to save lives and prevent injuries,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of the automobile division of American Honda Motor Co.

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Steering, Other Problems Lead to New Toyota Recalls

Bigger issue could leave Camry sedan with “complete loss” of power steering.

by on Mar.12, 2015

The Toyota Camry got a major update for 2015.

Toyota has ordered up several new recalls for a variety of issues, the most serious potentially leading to a “complete loss” of power steering in several of its most popular models, including the recently redesigned Camry sedan.

Though it would still allow a driver to muscle through turns, the maker warned, the problem “increases the risk of a crash.”

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The second problem could cause some of Toyota’s RAV4 EV battery cars to unexpectedly shift into neutral making it impossible to move out of the way were the issue to occur while on a freeway or in a traffic jam.

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Best Family Cars for 2015

GM tops the chart, but Honda sets a record.

by on Mar.11, 2015

The Honda Odyssey has been the top pick for family minivan every year since the awards began.

If your idea of a “family car” is an old wagon with a passel of kids tucked in the back, or perhaps a grimy minivan overflowing with soccer gear, you may be in for a surprise when you see the mix of models that topped the charts in the U.S. News Best Cars for Families annual awards.

The magazine took a close look at 259 different vehicles in 19 different categories looking to “highlight vehicles that make family life easier,” explains Jamie Page Deaton, who oversees new car rankings. “These are sedans, SUVs and minivans that have good space and good safety,” but also offer lots of “family-friendly features.”

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Those include such niceties rear-seat video entertainment systems, WiFi hot spots, and back-up cameras, as well as safety and security systems like GM’s OnStar that can help parents keep track of teen drivers.

General Motors, in fact, led in more of those categories – four, in all — topping every any other manufacturer. GM has “changed quite a bit,” said Page Deaton, adding that recent models have delivered better features, quality and performance.”

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