Re: Honda better tell Porsche they can't do that...
(Score: 1, Normal)
owequitit wrote: 1) You still haven't answered my question. Why can Ford, Toyota and Subaru do it, but Honda can't, when they all three have the EXACT same rule set and Ford, Subaru and Toyota are all at a disadvantage to Honda relative to their target? Are you going to actually answer the question, or are you going to continue to pretend it doesn't exist?
2) You assume that because I don't agree with your assessment of Honda's decisions that I must be "irrational." The logic in that is still flawed to the core.
I can sit here all day long and name off businesses that were at the top of the market and made "rational" business decisions that cost them their existance. Hell, I can name at least 10 in the car manufacturing business, and I can probably name 5 since Honda has been successful. "Rational" decisions are not automatically prudent ones.
3) I can also make the case that if Honda had provided an Insight and CR-Z that people actually wanted, then they would have sold more of them and then Honda would have more resources to build a true low priced sports car in the US. The problem with your product centric viewpoint is that shitty product doesn't sell, no matter how hard you cram it down their throats.
I could also make the strong case that if Honda hadn't invested in the CR-Z, Insight, Element, Ridgeline, ZDX, 1st gen RDX, RL, Crosstour, none of which has met expectations, that they could have taken that several billion and invested it in a true low cost sports car to sell. And they might not have made money either way, but at least one would have kept a hard core group of Honda fans happy. It is mildly entertaining that you try to call me out for speculating, but then brush the existing 8 products that have NOT met expectations under the rug. To top it off, you take the stance that the consumer is to blame for the product being shitty. A fine day indeed. Here is an even better solution: Honda could have not invested the billions in the above product, and not even built a pure sports car. Instead, they could have kept a worthwhile and Si worthy powertrain in the Si, increased interior quality across their entire product line, improved sound isolation and then still have hundreds of millions, if not billions left over to weather the rainy day. Call me stupid, but I am pretty sure that spending billions of dollars on product that nobody wants (and which anyone with an semblance of common sense could see was undesirable in the market) isn't exactly "rational" from a business standpoint.
P.S. For every one CR-Z owner you can find that thinks the CR-Z is a great little car, I can find roughly 10-20 (if not more) 8th gen Si owners that think their car is also a great little car. So how can you legitimately attempt to sit there and tell me that 100-150K Honda owners don't matter, but 15,000 do; while simultaneously preaching to me about "rational" business decisions? In fact, to put it in even better perspective, you could combine nearly every single product in the above list's total sales, and still not equal the number of 8th gen Si owners. But they don't matter because they might not like what Honda is selling.
1). Where are the CO2 reduction commitments from Ford, Toyota and Subaru? Of the high-revving engines produced by those companies what are the deltas in the redlines of those engines compared to Honda's engines? What are the specific outputs of those engines? What are the real world MPG returns of those engines when tested under the same conditions? Where are their fuel cell cars, sensible and inexpensive hybrids, and gasoline engines offering comparable power from smaller displacements?
2.) I've never claimed any one posting in this thread is irrational. I've been pointing out that no one gets to pick and choose the specs to complain about without taking them in the proper perspective of all of the factors. CAFE numbers for the companies do vary because of conditions outside the control of the companies.
3.) So what products do Americans want? If you ask any buyer in the US what cars should be produced the common answer is the Prius or some such enviro-friendly product. Americans are all in favor of the other guy doing the right thing. The best selling car in the US this year will probably be the F150 again so we know where that goes. Americans want to reduce oil imports. Americans want to save the environment. Americans want to be ready since we've seen "peak oil" and that inconvenient truth blather. Is it good business sense to ignore all of those factors or are the other companies just following their five-year plans which they update every year hoping the legislation and markets will change?
4.) I disagree 100% about the mix of cars and trucks sold by Honda today not being worthwhile. The problem is execution. The number one lesson of the 1990's, especially with the near death of the Porsche firm you started this discussion with, was one of product diversification being required for survival as an independent company and I'll bet no one here wanted to see Honda bought out by Mitsubishi or Fuji. If every last one of those Hondas which disappoint you and others on TOV had been a sales hit right out the door TOV would be overflowing with "hey, Honda has the coolest pickup for the regular homeowner" or "look at the Germans copying that Acura luxury cross-over".
Finally, I've never said anything of the sort that any Honda owner, or more correctly, any Honda buyer doesn't matter. The important part here is Honda must focus on the people who will buy its new products now and every last brainiac market study in the media in the US says it's fewer young people, fewer males, fewer automobile enthusiasts and more women, more professionals, more middled-aged customers. None of us on TOV made that up.
I see Honda today as a company that made a strong stand on the environment and is now facing pressures from all sides in the form of buyers who don't really want intelligent products but rather cool cars, people who never buy Honda products but believe their opinions still count such as the folks in the media, a performance enthusiast base here on TOV which is at odds with its new focus on economical cars for the average customer, and governmental forces which seem like good ideas that are almost never executed in rational ways.
Grace, you still have not answered the question, and now you are merely attempting to divert the topic.
1) The original question still stands without an answer. How is it that Honda is seemingly unable to provide high-revving engines (and per your own defense, not able to even maintain revs), and yet Ford, Toyota and Subaru can not only eclipse Honda's rev numbers, but can still meet the very same regulations that Honda must meet? Further, they must meet the same regulations while being at a larger disadvantage relative to the targets created by those regs...
You are attempting to add a corporate CHOICE to an equation that didn't include it in the first place. Any voluntary CO2 reduction targets that Honda has implemented over Ford, Toyota or Subaru do NOT factor into CAFE, EPA, CARB or any of the various other government entities with which you have attempted to place the blame for Honda's poor performance. Now that Honda has committed to that course of action, and it has become clear that it is hampering the competitiveness of many of their products, I would argue it is proving to be a bad decision. IMO, it is a mistake for Honda to put greenness above all other characteristics of their product.
You can not exempt Honda relative to the competition for making choices that aren't necessarily mandated. You certainly can't attempt to add it to a defense based on what is required.
2) Let's take a look at the Mustang versus the Civic Si. The Civic Si has a 2.4L with 201HP and 170 lb-ft. That works out to just shy of 84 HP/L (a 16% reduction from the K20). The Mustang GT has 420HP from a 5.0L, which gives them exactly 84 HP/L. So the 5.0 in the Mustang GT matches the Honda's specific output, and redlines only 300 RPM less despite being over twice the size. For torque, the Si musters 70 lb-ft per liter (pretty much identical to the K20's output), but the Mustang delivers 390 from 5.0, soundly trumping the K-series with 78 lb-ft/L (an 11% improvement). So realistically, the delta in redline is 4%, they are even matched in HP/L and the Mustang clobbers the K24 in torque/Liter. I would say that puts the Mustang pretty on par with the K24 in terms of specific output metrics. To be fair to the K series, the 5.0 does get more power strokes per crank rotation, which naturally bolsters torque. However, it is clear that through increased technology, Ford has taken an engine format that has traditionally trailed Honda's high outputs and made it better Honda's results. And, I can step into one for about $7K over the Si, so Ford has also unquestionably done it at an affordable price point. In the case of the Boss 302, those figures are slightly higher in HP and lower in torque. HP/L is just shy of 90 HP/L and torque is slightly lower than the regular version at 76 lb-ft/liter. Clearly, the regular GT is tuned slightly more for cost and torque, while the relatively lightly breathed upon 5.0 in the Boss is well stomping the K24 in both measures, while still providing a 6% increase in redline. Somehow, Ford manages to produce both cars (and the regular GT in fairly significant quantities of 40-60K per year), while working to meet the same mandate and deadline Honda has. How do they do that? More technology, not less. Pulling technology out of engines as a means to contain cost at the expense of all else was the domain of the domestics 10 years ago. Now, Ford and GM are literally stuffing their engines with technology that SHOULD have been commonplace on Honda's engines a decade ago, had they maintained their previous trajectory. Now, we have Honda PULLING technology out of their engines in chase of some bogus CO2 claim based on a mathematical paper excercise. It is a sad day when Ford builds a stonking torquing pony car that obliterates Honda's forte of high revs, and high specific output. Note that Ford did this without using DI. Also, if the logic of removing technology to improve emissions hold true, then why don't old engines meet current standards? It is just a ridiculous premise.
2) Let's look at the FR-S/BRZ. It has a 2.0L 4 banger that produces 200HP and 151 lb-ft. That essentially matches the K20 in HP, but beats it by 5 lb-ft per liter in torque. It also produces both peak values at a lower RPM, but still manages to rev to 7500, which again is 6% better than the K24. So here is Subaru and Toyota, whose traditional forte is turbo fours/sixes stomping the crap out Honda in their traditional area of strength. According to fuel economy.gov, this engine is able to match all of the metrics of the Si. There aren't a published results yet on the EPA site for emissions.
Also, this "Honda has no choice because of EPA/CAFE." crap is getting old, so we are going to blow that open right now. I had read enough articles over the years to suspect this excuse was bunk, but I just read a whole bunch more, and there really is no merit to your argument, especially in the short term, and especially with relation to the K24 vs the K20 argument.
1) In order to meet the ULEV-II tier of the 2012 Si, the 2009 Si would need the following improvements:
NOx - 0%
CO - 50%
NMOG - 40%
PM - 0%
HCHO - 37%
So while it is convenient to pretend that the K20Z3 is some disgusting pile of environmentl destruction, we are talking very small total amounts of pollutant (2g/mile CO vs 355g/mile CO2), and relatively large % in several areas. However, the K24Z7 is able to meet those standards with relatively small changes compared to older versions, so logic stands to dictate that not only could the K20Z3 also be made to match, but probably stands a better chance based on smaller displacement. Shawn might be able to better elaborate on what technologies would help which areas, as that is not my area of expertise, nor do I care to read about it at this time.
As for greenhouse gasses, the K24 manages a 4% reduction vs the K20Z3 hardly ground shattering. Since GHG is completely the result of burning fuel, and smaller engines burn less fuel per combustion event, there is no logical reason to believe that a smaller engine with higher power density couldn't somehow be made to produce less GHG emissions in their testing cycle. Of course, this has been proven by Honda for the last 30-40 years, and call me crazy, but I don't buy that the laws of the universe have suddenly shifted just because Obama was elected (even though he would probably like you to think so).
According to the cars.com article, Honda already cleared their 2016 CAFE target by 2011, so to argue that in the short term Honda has to have the K24 in the Si (which accounts for a minuscule percentage of Honda's total score anyway) is just wrong.
To top it off, Hyundai passed them despite adding MORE performance cars, more V8 models, and more sporty versions of existing cars since 2009. Considering Hyundai has lower total sales (even including Kia, they are about even with Honda), telling me that Honda can't do one fun engine is still bullshit.
3) If Honda were producing hybrid cars that people actually WANTED to buy, then they wouldn't even have to worry about it, because the much higher average MPG over the much higher number of total sales would bolster their CAFE score even more, not to mention the effect axing all of the big heavy fuel inefficient crap would have. If they cut the ZDX, Crosstour, Ridgeline and RL, their score would most certainly also rise more than what the Si would drag it down (assuming it couldn't be improved, which we know is false). That doesn't count all of the altering footprints they could do, or the fact that CAFE apparently isn't completely mandated either.
I never said anything about niche proliferation being a bad thing. Some of Honda's greatest cars where "niche" vehicles. But you are denying my point that if Honda had avoided niche vehicles that make absolutely no sense, they would have had more than enough cash to build an Si that actually gave more performance, and they could have put more money into the areas they have been under attack for lately (like interiors) and still come out in the same relative financial position. In fact, you could even say a BETTER financial position because the improvement in reviews, perception and feedback would have removed a lot of the headwind they have had lately. There is a large difference between producing niche vehicles and horrible niche vehicles. I knew right off that the Crosstour and ZDX weren't going to sell. I thought the Element was a stupid idea in 2001. Why would you build a vehicle for 21 year old males with no job? I hoped the CR-Z was going to do better, but with the severely lacking power, and very mediocre MPG, I knew it wouldn't deep down. Once denial was peeled away, I learned to deal with it. I also new the Insight wasn't going to work. Too cheap, to unrefined, to slow, to mediocre in the MPG department. Again, denial was there for a spell, but eventually sales took care of that.
Honda has essentially invested literally BILLIONS of dollars in vehicles that will NEVER come close to breaking even. And yet, you are haranguing me about wanting a few modifications to a K20Z3 in the Si. Even a small displacement bump for the moar torks guys would have been fine by me (2.2L on the K20Z3 head would just shut up "the K24Z7 has more usable torque" guys. You attempt to further invalidate my point by pointing to all of the happy CR-Z and Insight owners (as if that justifies screwing the Si owners), and when you get called on it, you try to pretend you didn't discount a group of owners.
4) I don't presume to know what Americans want, but they have made it quite clear they don't want green crap stuffed down their throats on the false illusion it is going to save the planet and save them money. Hybrids still have no reasonable pay-off horizon which is why there is not a lot of repeat hybrid owners. We also have a fire in the state here that has pumped out enough CO2 to probably offset what the cars will produce for a year, so MMGW is still total bullshit, and more people are figuring it out.
5) The same "brainiacs" telling Honda what to build, are the same ones that said the 2013 Civic cheapness was a good idea, the CR-Z would sell, the Insight was perfect and the ZDX would be a halo. They are the ones that told Honda the Crosstour looked good and would increase sales by 20-30K and that building a plastic trucklet thing for unemployed 21 year-olds with no job was a good idea. You'll have to forgive me for not agreeing with Honda's marketing department, especially when other companies more traditional products are chipping away at Honda's lunch by being more like Honda's old conventional products. All the college grads in the world don't replace common sense.
Finally, being more or less a Gen Y'er, there are several HUGE flaws to your logic on gen Y. First, they do like technology, but they also like quality. For them, technology is not necessarily just iPods and Bluetooth. They aren't buying because they have no jobs. Thus Honda either has to plan for them in the future and cater to their existing customers now, or lose more billions. I can assure you that when the time comes, Gen Y people will mirror previous generations closely in a lot of ways. They want build quality, value, and high levels of technology as a means to improve an outcome. Sounds a lot like Honda did 20 years ago, doesn't it? They aren't necessarily against gas engines, but they aren't necessarily for them either. Gen Y will be much more value conscious. The days of loose credit and speculation will be largely gone, as will living beyond their means. That lifestyle is what has them where they are now, and they already show signs of behaving differently. They save, they pay cash, they do not trust the financial industry. Look to the depression generation if you want to figure out Gen Y. We are much more likely to save and pay cash vs running up the charge card. That said, we often will go for the smaller when we could have the larger. Take me and the Si. I didn't NEED an Acura, or a fully loaded Accord, or a V6 6MT. I wanted a fun car that was still practical, but was well built, reliable, good looking and had a lot of unique character. The same thing I have wanted in all of our Hondas. My sisters (both solidly Gen Y) are much the same way, as are their friends. Boomers and Gen X can't figure out Gen Y because they don't get why people wouldn't want to continue their ways. They think they need a new form of "bling" (in the form of gizmos) rather than solid, sensible product. Again, an area Honda used to excel (and where Hyundai is increasingly going). Honda needs to go backward to move forward. That doesn't mean solely gas engines, tin boxes or plebian features. It means products that make sense, and actually produce results. A 120HP hyrbid that only gets 37MPG is NOT the kind of crap Honda needs.