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Honda Scared Straight? - DrivingScene

Categorized | News

Honda Scared Straight?

Posted on 04 March 2012 by Adam Kaslikowski

Recently we wrote about how Toyota and Honda have been acting a lot like GM and Chrysler did in the 70’s and 80’s. That is to say that Honda has been recently been delivering sub-par product because they believe they have a loyal customer base. Well it seems that Honda agrees with this assessment and is trying to do something to turn around the ship. Honda has recently installed two engineers with a history of deviating from the company’s collectivist culture to act as backstops and veto new car designs that don’t pass muster. This is largely in response to the backlash the new 2012 Civic has received for being “boring” and not keeping technological pace with it’s Korean and American competitors.

Honda, many say, slipped into designing cars by committee in recent years. Consumer Reports ripped into Honda and the Civic in particular for delivering a mediocre redesign and a sub-standard interior with its new Civic (Si shown above). Honda believed that consumers would accept a cheaper interior during the The Great Recession, when in reality the best selling small cars had finely detailed interiors with upmarket materials and were packed with gadgetry. This miscalculation, along with the Japanese earthquake/tsunami and the Thai flooding cost Honda a good deal of market share that other companies such as Nissan and Hyundai/Kia have been more than happy to pick up.

Will Honda be able to wake itself up before we get the Japanese equivalent to the Chrysler LeBaron? The upcoming launch of the next Accord will be the biggest test. Honda has already been warned by the reaction to the Civic, and we’ll soon see if that was enough to reignite the underdog spirit that Soichiro Honda originally instilled in his company.

-Adam Kaslikowski

Source: Automotive News

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