The evergreen Honda Accord has fared better than most competing sedans against the unrelenting SUV-crossover onslaught, but even it isn’t immune to industry trends.
In line with the shrinkage in the sedan segment, the new Accord hasn’t been selling as well as expected despite being a better vehicle than its predecessor in just about ever way, forcing Honda to idle production at its Marysville, Ohio, plant for up to 11 days over a four-month period. Times are definitely hard.
Production is expected to stop for two days each month, from April of 2018 through June, in addition to a five-day extension of the plant’s annual summer shutdown in July, and employees will perform non-production jobs or simply take the 11 days off when production is idled.
Honda’s dealers attribute the Accord’s slow sales to unappealing lease deals, especially when compared to its long-time rival, the Camry. Rick Case, CEO of Rick Case Automotive Group, which has Honda stores near Miami and in suburban Cleveland, :
“Where lease is heavy, like Florida, New York, Ohio and California, that’s where we’re getting hurt. When you get two cars as close as they are, it’s not that much better than the Camry that people are going to pay $50, $60 [or] $80 more a month.”
Case added that Accord sales are only at about half of what they should be and that Honda is hoping that the Accord’s accolades rather than traditional incentives will help draw buyers. With inventory increasing, some dealers are actually declining new shipments.
The Japanese automaker says that it’s listening to dealer concerns and will continue to work with them to ensure the overall value proposition with each of its models is competitive in the marketplace. It will be interesting to see how Accord sales fare in the coming years.
Honda Resurrects Long-Dead Passport SUV For 2018
Are you old enough to remember the Honda Passport? Having been dead for while, it’s now being resurrected.
The Passport dates back to the mid 1990s and was Honda’s first SUV long before the CR-V or Pilot became the household names they are. Production ended in 2002, but the Japanese automaker has reportedly revived the name for an all-new, five-passenger crossover that slots between the CR-V and Pilot, much like it did with the new Insight.
According to , the new Passport likely rides on a six-inch shorter version of the Pilot’s platform and seats only five passengers. Leaked patent photos suggest it will resemble the Honda Avancier sold in China (pictured), especially from the profile, featuring blunt proportions and a sloping roofline for a coupe-like look.
As a five-seater, the Passport competes with the likes of the Ford Edge, Nissan Murano and Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, as well as the upcoming Chevy Blazer, in a relatively uncluttered mid-size crossover segment.
It will make its world debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show before going on sale in early 2019, with production expected to take place alongside the Pilot, Ridgeline and Odyssey at Honda’s Lincoln, Alabama plant.
New Honda Insight Prototype Marks Return Of Insight Hybrid
The Honda Insight hybrid is back but not as the car you expected.
After two attempts to take on the Toyota Prius, Honda has reinvented the Insight back as a stylish hybrid sedan positioned between the Civic and Accord, featuring styling that’s a mesh of the two. It’s no longer a funky-looking hatchback and, frankly, will upset far fewer people than the rather polarizing Prius.
The new Insight debuted as a prototype, but as is typical with all Honda prototypes, the production model will be virtually identical visually and mechanically. It is powered by the Japanese automaker’s two-motor hybrid system, which consists of a 1.5L gas engine and an electric motor backed by a lithium-ion battery pack, with both motors transitioning smoothly between each other in everyday use.
You might never need to stop at a gas station because the Insight will operate mainly as an electric vehicle, with its gas engine primarily serving as a generator for the car’s battery pack. However, should you, Honda is targeting a combined city/highway EPA rating of over 50 mpg — much better than the previous Insight, which barely managed to compete against the Prius.
Essentially the hybrid version of the Civic, the Insight will offer more room, comfort and on-board tech than its gasoline-powered counterpart, including a customizable 8-inch touchscreen display that allows users to create home screen shortcuts, a 7-inch LCD gauge cluster, and WiFi-enabled over-the-air system updates.
Honda hasn’t fared well with its dedicated hybrid vehicles, having recently put the poor-selling CR-Z hybrid sports car out of its misery. Add to that the added competition from Hyundai with the Ioniq and Kia with its Niro hybrid, and we don’t think the company risked skimping on its third attempt at the segment.
The production Honda Insight is scheduled to go on sale in 2018. Would you choose it over the latest Toyota Prius?
Honda Reveals ‘3E’ Robots Called Empathy, Experience And Empower
It’s a little known fact that Honda makes more than just cars, with its expertise extending to motorcycles, aircraft, power equipment and robots. The Japanese automaker has now broadened its vision for robots.
At the 2018 Consumer Electronics Expo, Honda unveiled a series of robotic concepts termed 3E — represents ‘Empower,’ ‘Experience’ and ‘Empathy’ — that serve public, workplace and consumer purposes and can operate autonomously.
The Empathy robot is a creepy-looking bugger called 3E-A18, and it’s optimized for supporting people in their daily lives, such as serving as a guide at airports or shopping malls. Honda says the 3E-A18’s soft-touch skin “invites people to touch or hug” it.
Second up is the 3E-C18 — the Experience robot. It can supposedly learn by observing peoples’ action and features a cart-like design optimized for carrying spaces, as well as a canopy combined with a compact-sized vehicle body base with a driving function.
Last but not least are the 3E-B18 and 3E-D18, the Empower robots. The former is a chair-type mobility concept designed to help support people with baggage carts or strollers, while the latter is an autonomous off-road vehicle with AI designed to support people in a broad range of work activities.
The robots utilize Honda’s Mobile Power Pack World concept, a swappable battery system with detachable power modules that can be charged using renewable energy and then placed into a robot or vehicle for power on the go.
Honda R&D chief Yoshiyuki Matsumoto stated:
“We have entered an era when robotics will become increasingly visible and essential in our everyday lives and have the ability to unlock human potential.”
While Honda hasn’t confirmed if any of the concepts will be produced, is there any particular one you want to see?