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Trucks Carrying the Load for Honda

New Ridgeline pickups, SUVs responsible for surging sales, profits.

by on Aug.03, 2016

A scene from a new Honda Ridgeline ad.

When it first began rolling into the U.S. market nearly five decades, Honda put the emphasis on pint-sized products like the 600 minicar. The brand was barely noticed by American motorists until the twin oil shocks of the 1970s put fuel economy high on the priority list.

A new series of ads Honda is launching this week shows how much times have changed once again. Dubbed the “Power of Ridgeline,” the campaign focuses on Honda’s recently relaunched midsize pickup. While Honda continues to offer American buyers downsized models like the Fit, HR-V and Civic, it has reason to be focusing on the truck side of its line-up.

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Overall, American Honda reported a 4.4% increase in sales for July, running ahead of a U.S. market that some fear is beginning to slow down after six years of rapid growth. But that only tells a part of the story, for it was the truck side of the line-up that propelled Honda’s strong showing last month, models like the Ridgeline, CR-V and Pilot up 12.2% year-over-year.


Honda Motor Q1 Earnings Exceed Expectations

Maker shakes off stronger yen for profitable quarter.

by on Aug.03, 2016

Honda rode strong sales in the U.S. to a better-than-expected profit in its first quarter. It's counting on the Ridgeline to extend the run.

Honda Motor Co. reported consolidated income of ¥174.6 billion, or $1.7 billion, for its financial first quarter. The result was down 6.1% from the year-ago quarter, as the company grappled with quality and currency issues.

The company struggled with the impact lingering problems with the Takata airbag issue and “unfavorable currency effects” from a stronger yen. Honda said the dollar traded at about 108 yen in recent months, compared to 121 yen the same period a year ago.

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However, the result exceeded expectations. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast at 133 billion yen ($1.3 billion) quarterly profit. (more…)

Acura Abandons Hybrid Drive for NSX GT3 Racecar

Debut follows NSX victory at Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

by on Jul.07, 2016

Acura will campaign the NSX in the GT3 series.

The newly reborn Acura NSX makes use of an unusual three-motor hybrid system, but when the sports car starts campaigning in the FIA GT3 series later this year, it will adopt a more conventional driveline layout, Honda’s luxury division revealed today.

It’s not that Acura wouldn’t like to use its hybrid drivetrain to challenge the competition, but the rules currently won’t allow it, Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development, told

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So, the NSX GT3 will use a track-modified version of its 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 when it begins its racing career, and a good portion of that powertrain will be lifted right out of the street edition Acura NSX.


Honda Shows Up Silverado, F-150 with New Video

Honda touts features of new Ridgeline unmatched by Ford, Chevy.

by on Jun.13, 2016

Not wanting to be left out of the "Great Truck Bed Debate of 2016," Honda provided its own video about the durability of its composite bed.

Anything Chevy and Ford can do, Honda can do better.

That’s what the Japanese automaker appears to be telling the other two makers in a new video it released on the heels of the Chevy video questioning the durability of the aluminum bed of the Ford F-150.

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Chevy dropped 800-plus pounds of landscaping bricks into the steel bed of the Silverado and bed of the F-150. After the stones are removed, the rolled steel bed of the Chevy shows just scratches and a few dents while the F-150’s bed showed punctures and a crack. Then they allowed several “real people, not actors” to have a look. (more…)

Honda Earnings Dragged Down by Takata Airbag Problem

Carmaker set to recall another 21 million Takata-made Vehicles.

by on May.13, 2016

Honda aims for a sweet spot in the midsize pickup market with the 2017 Ridgeline. It may be a key player in Honda's rebound from Takata-impacted profits.

Honda Motor Co. earnings took another tumble as the maker was hit by both a stronger yen and the ongoing recall of faulty Takata airbags.

The third-largest of Japan’s automakers recalled about four times as many vehicles last year – largely due to the Takata problem – than it sold. And the issue, now linked to 13 deaths, isn’t about to go away. Pressed by concerns that the defect is more widespread than originally believed, Honda will recall another 21 million vehicles, Executive Vice President Tetsuo Iwamura said Friday.

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Honda net income for the fiscal year that ended March 31 fell to 344.5 billion yen, or $3.2 billion. That not only trailed the consensus estimate of industry analysts but came in 34% short of the company’s own forecast earlier in the year. (more…)

Safety, Not Profits, Come First, says DoT Sec. Foxx

Airbag recall will proceed, even if it puts Takata out of business.

by on May.11, 2016

"We've got to keep our finger on it," said Sec. Foxx.

Safety is the top priority, said Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, and the expanding recall of potentially defective Takata airbags will proceed, even if that means putting the Japanese supplier out of business.

Takata produced the airbag inflators involved in the recall of about 24 million vehicles in the U.S. alone, devices so far linked to 13 fatalities worldwide. NHTSA last week announced it would add another 35 million to 40 million more Takata airbags on the recall list.

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There have been growing concerns that the expanded recall could put Takata out of business, but Foxx said that “can’t be the top concern we face,” during a Wednesday roundtable with reporters. “The airbags need to be recalled, and we have a responsibility to recall them.”


First Drive: 2017 Honda Ridgeline

Honda strikes an impressive balance between car and truck.

by on May.09, 2016

Honda aims for a sweet spot in the midsize pickup market with the reborn, 2017 Ridgeline.

For a part of the market long written off for dead, there’s been a lot of action in the midsize pickup segment lately, and that’s great news for consumers who aren’t ready or willing to make the jump to a full-size truck.

We’ve seen General Motors return to market with two midsize models, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, while Toyota recently upgraded the Tacoma. Now comes Honda, returning to market after a two year absence with an all-new version of the midsize Ridgeline.

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The original Honda Ridgeline generated plenty of buzz, opting for a car-like unibody platform rather than the traditional body-on-frame design. Despite initially solid reviews and strong sales following its 2005 debut, demand for the Ridgeline soon fell into a black hole leading the Japanese maker to pull it off the market in 2014. Now, Honda officials insist, they have “listened, learned and responded,” with a new truck that addresses the original Ridgeline’s weaknesses.


Honda Punches Up Ridgeline Fuel Economy by 5 MPG

Automakers finding way to get car-like mileage out of trucks.

by on Apr.29, 2016

The 2017 Honda Ridgeline made its debut at this year's Detroit Auto Show.

Honda expects to get as much as five miles per gallon better mileage out of its reborn Ridgeline pickup when it goes on sale over the summer.

That’s in keeping with a general trend that’s seen a big boost of the fuel economy of next-generation trucks and SUVs. And, industry leaders are betting, it will mean that American motorists will be far less likely to flee back to conventional sedans and coupes if – or, more likely, when – fuel prices start rising again.

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According to figures filed with the Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees mileage testing, the front-wheel-drive version of the 2017 Honda Ridgeline will deliver 19 mpg in the city, 26 on the highway. The all-wheel-drive model will trim a single mpg off those numbers, to 18 and 25.


Honda Expanding Clarity Platform to EVs

Two-thirds of line-up will be electrified by 2030.

by on Apr.21, 2016

Honda plans to expand the Clarity platform into a trio of highly efficient vehicles by the end of 2017.

Honda plans to expand the Clarity platform into a trio of highly efficient vehicles by the end of 2017.

With relatively little fanfare, Honda unveiled a new platform for a family of vehicles with alternative powertrains the company plans to introduce by the end of 2017, including a new fuel cell vehicle that utilizes the new Clarity platform.

John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president, said during a press conference in Detroit the Clarity platform will also be used for battery electric vehicle that will debut next year and plug-in hybrid vehicle that will roll out towards the end of 2017 as a 2018.

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“It’s a very flexible platform,” he said, adding the Clarity was designed specifically to accommodate Honda’s electrification strategy. (more…)

Honda Ready to Roll Farther with 2017 Accord Hybrid

New model uses second-gen, two-motor powertrain.

by on Apr.21, 2016

John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president, said the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid will be the mileage leader in its class.

Honda is adding a hybrid version of the popular Accord to its model line this spring, which when it arrives will give it the highest EPA fuel economy ratings of any midsize hybrid sedan in the U.S., said Honda officials.

The 2017 model is equipped with a second-generation two-motor hybrid powertrain giving it that class-leading mileage, said John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president as he showed off the vehicle at a press conference in the Detroit.

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Mendel said with improved production methods and supplies of hybrid components, Honda is anticipating significant growth in sales of Accord Hybrid and is targeting annual sales to be more than double its previous best of just under 14,000 vehicles in 2014, Mendel said, who is generally reluctant to offer any kind of sales forecasts. (more…)