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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.

Your Auto Insider!

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.

Reviews You Can Trust!

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.

The Last Word!

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…)

Feds May Recall Up to 85 Million More Takata Airbags

Cost could balloon to $3.5 billion.

by on Apr.14, 2016

17-year-old Huma Hanif was killed when the Takata airbag in her Honda malfunctioned. Courtesy: WHOU.

The number of vehicles facing recall due to potentially defective Takata airbags continues to grow – as does the possible bill for replacing the faulty safety systems.

So far, about 24 million vehicles sold in the U.S. have been recalled as a result of the problem which has been linked to 11 deaths, including a 17-year Texas girl killed in a March 31 crash. But an analysis by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns that as many as 85 million additional airbag inflators might be defective.

Safety News!

Because many vehicles use multiple Takata inflators, the exact number of cars, trucks and crossovers that would be affected is not clear. But it is likely to be significantly larger than the number of vehicles already affected by the current Takata recall.


Teen Killed by Exploding Takata Airbag

Family hadn't responded to recall of older Honda.

by on Apr.07, 2016

So far, about 24 million vehicles using Takata airbags have been recalled in the U.S.

A 17-year-old girl driving a car near Houston was killed when the airbag in her 2002 Honda Civic malfunctioned during a crash, the latest in a series of 11 deaths now linked to faulty airbag inflators provided by Japanese supplier Takata.

The defect, which has also been linked to more than 100 injuries, has triggered the largest recall in U.S. automotive history, 14 automakers now calling back 24 million vehicles to replace Takata inflators. There has been growing pressure to expand that recall to cover millions more vehicles considered potentially at risk.

Playing it Safe!

The Richmond, Texas girl’s vehicle had already been subject to recall, though repairs had been made. That is likely to escalate pressure on both Takata and the carmakers that have used its airbag systems to increase efforts to reach owners of the affected vehicles. Federal data show that only about 27% of the vehicles covered by the Takata recall have so far been fixed.


Popstars Lovato, Jonas Help Honda Pull the Wraps off a Trio of Civics

Japanese maker hopes music will link it to reluctant Millennials.

by on Mar.22, 2016

Pop stars Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato, with Honda's Nick Lee and a Civic rally car.

It was hard to tell who generated more screeches and applause during the Honda news conference scheduled a day ahead of the official media preview at this year’s 2016 New York Auto Show, but it was likely the stars more than the cars.

It helped that pop singers Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas each had “designed” customized Hondas for the tour they’ll be sharing over the summer. Lovato’s matte orange and black sedan was one of three Civics on display at the afternoon event which drew equal numbers of journalists and young pop fans snapping iPhone pics.

Generating Enthusiasm!

“I wanted it to look so fast it looked like the black was peeling away,” said Lovato before squatting down to autograph the Civic – which, like Jonas Honda motorcycle will be given to two lucky fans during the annual pop music series the Japanese maker sponsors.


Honda Rolls Out Clarity, Confirms Hydrogen Car Talks with General Motors

Project could speed up sales of fuel-cell vehicles.

by on Mar.10, 2016

Honda Chief Executive Officer Takahiro Hachigo with the maker's Clarity fuel-cell vehicle.

Honda has officially rolled out its new Clarity fuel-cell-vehicle, with sales set to begin in Japan before expanding to the United States later this year.

The Japanese automaker becomes the third to come to market with a zero-emissions hydrogen car, though it expects sales numbers to be extremely small in the near-term.

Tech Talk!

Longer-term, Honda is hoping to improve the viability of fuel-cell technology, while also lowering costs as part of a proposed manufacturing partnership with General Motors, the Japanese maker’s CEO said Thursday, confirming a prior report on GM separately acknowledged discussions are underway.