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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Honda Pulls a GM

Honda arguably makes the most reliable cars on the road giving consumers possibly the best bang for the buck. So why are sales down dramatically?

Like I said before when grading Honda, you can't let a calendar year go by without having a major all newly designed vehicle brought to market. 2004 saw no new Civic, Accord, RSX, NSX, S2000, nothing. Certainly there were additional hybrid trim levels that were available, but Honda has taken a unique poorly selling route by marketing their hybrids as not a separate vehicle, but rather a vehicle option.

Honda demonstrates even more than GM that all that really matters in the end is design, specifically design that is updated regularly and keeps with current fashion. If reliability mattered above all, or value, every European manufacturer would be bankrupt. What matters is design. Certainly reliability plays a role, which is why Jaguar is no longer an independent company and constant money loser. But people want to buy the latest fad when they are in the mood to buy a car, and Honda is not it.

One of the biggest markets being untapped right now is the high quality compact car. There are only, get this, TWO cars that sell for under 20k, that have DVD navigation as an option. Two. They are the Mini and the Mazda 3. Both sell extremely well, with the 3 being the best selling car in Canada.

As fuel dwindles and goes up in price, car manufacturers who sell in America should look at the Canadian market for a glimpse at the future. Canadian auto tastes are virtually identical to the United States, and the exact same manufacturers sell there for the most part. And what are the best selling vehicles? Small, fuel sipping, high quality cars. In the coming months, expect Mazda to do extremely well in America.

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