General Farewell Honda of Old?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by qc2, Monday 15th Feb, 2016.

  1. qc2 Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

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    I’ve just grabbed myself what I feel is a brilliant deal on an FR-V so added to my current Accord it astounds me that my vehicle choices seem to have no place in Honda’s plans. There are brands out there better equipped at grabbing new customers than Honda and I feel they are giving even the most loyal followers no choice but consider other marques. How can this be any sort of strategy? If dropping their MPV option wasn’t bad enough dropping the saloon too? Insane in my eyes.

    First and foremost Honda will always be known for the development of VTEC; small N/A engines with an element of economy that can compete with forced induction and much larger engines from their counterparts. Secondary to that, for me the FR-V encompasses everything else Honda has stood for in the past and should stand for; original and borderline wacky Japanese design not trying to fit in with the ‘cool’ Euro gang. There was a market for it and I believe there still is. The FR-V if anything was ahead of its time. You need only look to the crossover market now since the Nissan movement. Honda at long last now have the brilliant HR-V but they did have something equally if not more brilliant in the FR-V years before any of their competitors.

    I can perhaps understand why Honda feel there may bold decisions to be made. Different manufacturers are also doing different things. Should Honda follow one, follow the another or attempt to pioneer? Mazda decided to drop the Mazda 5 but at least have a 7 seater CX-5 pencilled in for the future. BMW recently decided to enter the ‘Zafira’ type 3 row market with the 2 series grand tourer having only ever had 7 seats as an option on the X5. Who is right? I have no idea! But it seems fairly obvious that having a 7 or at least 6 seat option seems to be the right decision.

    If reaching the masses is the strategy, bearing in mind Nissan dropped the Primera in favour of the crossovers, Renault the same with the Laguna and add to that the VAG issues over the past year; I feel there was a genuine opportunity for Honda to fly the flag for Japanese engineering and market a fabulous saloon to capture the hearts of the masses. They haven’t. The new Mondeo is getting rave reviews. Mazda 6 sales are going through the roof, particularly through their commercial channel. Mondeos and Mazda 6s are being touted as the credible alternatives to BMW, Mercedes and Audi!

    10 years ago had someone suggested that in 2016 Honda would have no saloon, no coupe, no MPV and that the Type-R would be forced induction I would’ve rolled over laughing.
     
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  2. SpeedyGee Administrator Staff Team

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    You are right @qc2 Hondas approach just seems absolutely bonkers. Cutting key models, not marketing enough, they do seem to have lost the plot of late.
     
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  3. exec Premium Member Club Supporter

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    They haven't put much effort into Europe for a while now, but this is supposed to be changing.

    I don't blame them for stopping production of certain models to UK, some barely sold, the FR-V for example never sold in big numbers so never made sense to keep it in the lineup, the D segment and MPV segment are very low selling in Europe, and most people with D segment cars rather spend extra 1-2k and buy a German badge, whilst an MPV will be undercut massively on price by your Zafira's and Meriva's.
     
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  4. ArcticFire-Account Closed Banned Getting Started

    Scotland Graham Scotland
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    Acura and a shed load of marketing cash is the answer in my head if they want to take on the Germans.

    Although the other real problem is the huge discounts BMW etc give on leasing deals and Honda would have to jump in this game properly to compete. My 330D X-Drive M-Sport is £315+VAT per month, so regardless of hatred towards the fatherland it's a car which performs whilst also returning good figures for BIK purposes. Basically, it's quite a lot of car for the money (although certainly not if buying) and as it's always under warranty and there's no MOTs to worry about, then reliability isn't really a huge issue.
     
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  5. exec Premium Member Club Supporter

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    I'm not sure even that would work, Lexus have been around for 25 years and they havent made any inroads and they accept that they aren't so play as the left field individualists choice, same with Jaguar to a certain extent, and even Infiniti know they won't be able to take on the Germans in volumes. It's just the way it is in Europe, and in general the Germans will always be seen as proper premium and fashionable, lets face it, if you were given the choice of buying a Japanese designer brand clothing and an Italian one, everyone go for the Italian brand name, even if the Japanese clothes looked better and was better in quality.
     
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  6. qc2 Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

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    Back in 2002 I'm sure Zafira base model on the road price was around £15.5k-£16k. Fast forward to 2004 and the FR-V was available from £16.5k to £17k something for the Sport model. Price wise not miles away so pricewise they weren't being undercut massively. Zafiras however are everywhere. I'd personally point the finger at poor marketing.

    I agree about the Accord vs Germans. In Europe that's just the way it is. But with VAG brands taking a huge dent in confidence coupled with other manufacturers dropping their equivalents now would've been the perfect time to be the time to make some headway in closing the gap. Honda haven't helped themselves with some of their pricing and the lack of negotiation room. Better deals are to be had on BMW, Audi and Mercedes

    As above. Poor pricing, poor marketing and lack of flexibility

    So Honda won't do the volume in Europe, yet what they have in their line-up is in direct competition with volume drivers from other marques. Nothing they have is original and sets Honda apart from the rest. The HR-V as good as it is has come 5 years too late with the roads already flooded with Qashqais. The slice of the Civic pie is unlikely to get any bigger, likewise the CR-V. Honda have so much more to offer in terms of models in other markets but in the UK seem intent on supplying variations of what is already available from other manufacturers.
     
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  7. FirstHonda Premium Member Club Supporter

    We've discussed this many times @qc2 and we are all as baffled as you are!

    The unfortunate fact of the matter is that Honda vehicles are relatively expensive, but aren't seen as competitors to the German brands. So, with falling sales in Europe they have (successfully) prioritised the United States. Very little budget or thought seems to have gone into UK marketing to tell potential customers why they might want a Honda either.

    Very sad. Look at KIA and Hyundai with representation in every niche and it shows what Honda could achieve.

    Prices need to fall slightly - as regardless of whether it is fair Honda isn't seen by most as a BMW / Audi competitor - and warranties increase to 5 years to match Toyota and the Korean manufacturers. They need a city car, a 7 seat SUV or MPV and a sports car ideally to add to the Jazz, HR-V, CR-V and Civic.
     
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  8. exec Premium Member Club Supporter

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    I agree it's partly to do with marketing, but with the Zafira's and Vauxhall's in general that might be the list price, but they heavily discount their cars and throw in extra things, you get can get couple of grand knocked off to buy one.

    Clearly there is some sort of big management and strategy issue here, and Honda HQ don't seem bothered by it either, probably because Europe is a small market for them, or there lack of vision made it go that way.
     
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  9. qc2 Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

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    It feels like digging up old ground and perhaps a little self absorbed but having picked up my FR-V and parked beside my Accord, it struck me that Honda effectively want nothing to do with me.

    I started toying with an economical EG Civic vei in my teens, moved on to high revving B16 vti Civics & H22 Preludes and back to EJ and EK Civics when I needed daily beaters. I drove my first born home from hospital in an FK3 Civic, opted for the CL9 Accord as a family of 4 and now an FR-V to make our family of 4 a bit more comfortable and allowing the grannies to travel with us without being in different cars.

    That said, I'm pleased with my current cars and have promised my wife no changes for a long long time...
     
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  10. Heckler Top Contributor ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

    Considering that the UK market is right hand drive like the Japanese market is, along with the Australian markets... it's completely bonkers that they're not pushing their range across the UK and rest of europe. The Mondeo is based upon the Mazda 6 chassis as it has been for the last 15yrs, even before then the Mazda 626 chassis was modified to make the MX6 and then a few years later the Ford Probe. The Focus and Mazda 3 share a base chassis too. Likewise Nissan and Renault share chassis designs across their ranges.

    I feel like Honda have missed an opportunity to tie in with a major european manufacture to help bring their expertise to a larger market share... their last attempt was back in the 80's and early 90's but all the brought about was some dreadful mistakes by sticking with UK designed engines with massive flaws stuck in a Japanese chassis... It's almost as bad as when you had the Italian/Japanese car... designed by japan with electrics by italy... a recipe for distaster.

    Honda need a hybrid Saloon/Tourer and a coupe based on the same chassi. A small 1lt petrol/diesel that only recharges batteries and electric drive... a car that could give you 100+MPG whilst carrying a family of four, and a coupe that is a little smaller, lighter and quicker for the people who want something a little sportier, but can still carry 4 adults comfortably... A proper GT cruiser like the old Soarer, MX6 and so forth.
     
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  11. qc2 Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

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    When the Civic was launched in 2001 you felt they had turned a corner in adapting to the UK market. For the first time the 3 and 5 door were based on the same chassis and in the EP3 Type-R they still had something to keep 'most' purists happy (though a UK DC5 would have been nice). The new Civic was the best car in its class at the time. I don't believe aligning with a European manufacturer would be more favourable, certainly didn't need to be the case in 2001. For me personally Nissan's relationship with Renault alone would be enough to put me off owning one. Ignorant I know, particularly not knowing the ins and outs of the arrangement, but that's how I imagine most car buyers are when it comes to brands.

    I think we all agree the model line-up in the UK is far too limited. I believe Honda could do more, they just quite simply won't
     
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  12. exec Premium Member Club Supporter

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    Mazda's are no longer shared platforms with Ford anymore, the new 3 and 6 is all independent as Mazda bought themselves out of Ford. It's probably why the new Mazda's models are far better in quality than predecessors from Ford era.

    The Honda-Rover era was actually a very successful partnership, Rover got Honda engineering and their cars were flying off the showroom, and Honda was able to gain mainstream marketshare in UK and get into UK manufacturing, this was the best and most successful era for Honda in Europe. Then BMW came in and put an end to it all and killed of Rover in the process too.
     
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  13. qc2 Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

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    Mazdas over here are also mostly being built out of their Japanese plants which is a potential deal maker for many
     
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  14. exec Premium Member Club Supporter

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    There all made in Japan and imported over, but that doesn't necessarily mean you will get a top quality car, some of the previous generation Mazda's feel cheap with scratchy cheap plastics etc, but the build is solid, my cousin brother has a previous gen Mazda 6 and the build in general felt solid. The new models have gone upmarket and supposed to be a lot better.
     
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  15. qc2 Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

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    I never paid Mazda any real attention until quite recently when I replaced my Mum's Zafira with a Mazda 5. Having looked at various models recently I was quite impressed with the trim levels and build, certainly better than the Nissan alternatives. Also the models on offer seem to cover a lot of bases. They even offer a 4 door Mazda 3... who would have thought?
     
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  16. exec Premium Member Club Supporter

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    ^ Yep and they are a tiny company compared to Honda, yet they are able to do that, they have also upped their sales figures over last few years so growth is there too.
     
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