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Tag: future

Honda’s Profits Increase 6%, Sales of Accord by 36%

Like any automotive company, Honda’s profits are tied to the quality and sales of its products. Well, I guess you could say that the quality of Hondas and the number of Hondas is at a high because Honda’s profits rose by a net of 6.6 percent last quarter.

Honda posted a net profit of $760.88 million.

Of course, profit all has to do with sales and strong Honda sales were led by the 2013 Honda Accord that jumped 36 percent over the previous month forcing the Toyota Camry to second place.

According to this article, “In the U.S., Honda’s deliveries rose 5.5 percent to 337,651 units in the three  months ended March, according to industry researcher Autodata Corp. Honda saw  its best year in the U.S. in 2007 at 1.55 million vehicles and is aiming to  break that record this year, according to Tetsuo Iwamura, executive vice  president.”

In the next year, Honda expects deliveries to rise by 10 percent led by the redesigned Honda Accord and assisted by the new Honda Fit. Honda’s growth will be global and not just in sales, but also in manufacturing.

“Honda wants to grow rapidly  by focusing on emerging markets and small cars, and the automaker is  expanding capacity globally. It plans a new plant in Thailand that will open in  2015. This year, it will add an extra line at a factory in Malaysia, start  operations at Yorii in Japan and then open a new plant in Mexico in 2014.”

We are encouraged by the growth we see in Honda. After a rough couple years of sales and production because of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, it’s very heartening to hear that Honda is continuing to grow and thrive.

 

See the Future of Driving

Honda is showing people the future of driving in their windshields.

Honda has developed a ‘head up display’ that will show important information right on the windshield of the vehicle. Information like road names of passing streets so drivers do not have to turn their heads to try to find sometimes hidden street signs.

According to this article, “In Honda’s seminar, Victor Ng-Thow-Hing, principal scientist at the Honda Research Institute in Mountain View, Calif., showed head-up display technology that makes current production examples look extremely primitive. Instead of simply projecting a speed readout or turn-by-turn directions on the windshield, Ng-Thow-Hing demonstrated work in augmented reality, projecting location sensitive information useful to drivers.”

Another application of this technology is a projected grid that shows what where the driver’s vehicle is in relation to other cars immediately around it and what they are doing (ie slowing down, stopped).

“The second example projected the path of the driver’s car when waiting to make a turn through an intersection, coloring the path in red when oncoming traffic made going ahead with the turn unsafe. Ng-Thow-Hing pointed out that drivers cannot always correctly estimate the distance and speed of traffic coming through an intersection, and so make mistakes that can lead to a crash. With this system, sensors would see the oncoming traffic and the car’s processor would determine when the driver could safety make a left turn through the intersection.”

While we think this technology is definitely useful, we also wonder if this projection technology would be distracting. What do you think?

 

 

2013 Will Be a Good Year for Car, Truck Buyers

This is an encouraging article for anyone who may be in the market to be a new or used vehicle in 2013. While it starts out talking about how the industry will increase a good amount (4 percent), but not as good as 2012 (increased about 14 percent!), I think the real important stuff that applies to everyday folk is in the middle to end of the article.

Here’s what you want to know if you think you want to buy a car in 2013 (and you should):

  • Interest rates will remain low. The economy is still recovering and so the government is doing what it can to keep interest rates low. This is excellent news for anyone taking out a loan to purchase a vehicle.
  • Credit will be more widely available. Unlike a couple years ago when even people with perfect credit couldn’t get a loan, things are starting to loosen up a little and now, it appears, most people who are qualified should be able to get a loan.
  • TONS of competition. The big brands are battling for buyers. The dealerships are battling for buyers. And the vehicles are just getting better. With the Big Three getting bailed out they have trimmed the fat and realized they need to step it up. Even brands like Honda have stepped it up and we are sincerely excited about some of the Honda vehicles coming out in the next year.
  • Think about buying a used car. Edmunds.com estimates that nearly 500,000 leases will be up, which means a big influx of used cars…which means less expensive used cars.
  • Edmunds.com also predicted more consumers needing trucks as the economy picks up and more builders and contractors need them to do their jobs.

 

“Interest rates will remain low if you’re buying car, and credit is much more widely available than years ago,” said Michelle Krebs of Edmunds.com. “There will also be a lot of competition and a ton of incentives, so consumers can do a little more bargaining in the showroom,” Krebs said.

Local dealerships are looking forward to what seems like the perfect storm for consumers.

“We are excited for people who have been wanting to buy a new or used car, but were concerned about  not being able to a loan, inventory, or that it just wasn’t the best time,” said Bobby Maynard, new car manager at Sims Honda dealership in Burlington. “There are a lot of positive things working for consumers in 2013, so if you are thinking about buy a new or used car, you should really come down and check us out.”

For you opportunity to take advantage of low interest rates, available credit, awesome new and used cars, and awesome deals, head to Sims Honda, Northwest Honda or Apple Valley Honda dealerships today!

Electric Cars: Fad or Future?

Electric Cars: Fad or Future?

Are electric cars just a passing fad like bell bottoms, lower-back tattoos and big hair? Honestly, I hadn’t even thought to ask this question because it seemed easy to see that electric cars will be a big part of the automobile industry, but the writer of this article had been asked the question enough times that he felt he needed to answer it.

His answer to the above question is a resounding “No” and here are some of his reasons why EVs are here to stay:

Honda FCX Clarity

“Among other things, 1) electrics cars run dead quiet, 2) electric cars have instant torque and terrific acceleration at low RPMs, performance which cannot be matched by gasoline engines, 3) electric cars have platform flexibility, turn radius/handling that can be amazing, since you can use distributed motors, all electric control etc, the same promise that fuel cell cars had, but couldn’t deliver, and 4) maintenance goes WAY down, virtually no fluids fewer moving parts.

Bottom line, once an EV or PHEV comes close on range and cost, it’s a better car than a gasoline car.”

 

As we, the consumer, get used to the EV idea, the technology will perform the way we demand and the price will come down. It will take time, but EVs are definitely a thing of the future (especially with gas prices as high as they are and no sign of coming down).

 

It is true, the mainstream consumer feels uneasy about aspects of owning an EV: range (how far can the car travel on a single charge), charge time (how long it takes to charge the battery), and maintenance (if you’re like me, you assume the new technology will be more costly to maintain and repair. Read on).

The range of EVs of today (and the future) is not like the EVs of yester-decade. Most EVs in the industry will easily get you to and from work if you have an average commute. I, however, have had a very un-average commute (100 miles per day) and what’s the point in not having to pay for gas if you can’t take your car on a long road trip? There are a couple EVs today that could handle that and as far as the future, the writer of the article predicts “by 2015 the average EV/PHEV range will approach 200 mi, and range anxiety will be a thing of the past.” Good news for all.

 

So, let’s say we want to go on that long-range road trip and we find a several charging stations along the way; am I going to have to spend half the day waiting for my EVs battery to charge? The not-so-short answer is no, but it depends on your cars battery. Here’s what the writer said: “charging is not a huge limitation, it’s a technology and cost choice.  Charge time is effectively a function of battery size, onboard charger size, and volts.  Let’s start out by saying we’re not going to be charging EVs at 110.  Too slow.  But charging at 220 is very doable.  220V home chargers today are in the 1-2K range. They will not stay that high for long.   Onboard charging The Leaf chose a 3.3Kw onboard charger.  Big mistake, done to skim $2K off the price of the car and keep it inline with the conventional Camry price point after tax credit.  They should have offered multiple options.  The Focus and Volt noticed this went with a 6.6 kw job, the Tesla Model S comes with a 10 – 20 kw.  Faster charging is pretty much an ask and you shall receive issue.”

As someone who put a lot of miles on her new 2009 Honda Accord (remember the 100 mile per day commute?) and someone who previously owned a very costly used foreign car (every six months we’d have to put $1,200 into a car we paid bought for $10,000…thus the new Accord), maintenance and repair costs are very important to me. The writer touched briefly on the fact that EVs have “virtually no fluids fewer moving parts” which brings costs way down. Winning.

So here’s what we know about EVs:

  • While they currently cost $8-$35,000 more than a gas vehicle, prices will continue to go down and demand and supply go up
  • They will cost less to fuel (electrically charging vs gasoline that is currently around $3.50 per gallon)
  • They will cost less to maintain and repair because they are simpler
  • They will drive better and perform better as the technology catches up with the potential of not having a big, heavy engine in the front
  • Many manufacturers will be producing cars that will alleviate concerns about range and charge time by 2015.

Yeah, I’d say EVs are here to stay.

 

http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2012/1126/Electric-cars-niche-technology-or-the-auto-industry-s-future

Hurricane Sandy Will Not Affect Honda Sales Much

The United States is Honda’s biggest market and the northeast is the populated part of the U.S., so you would think the devastation of Hurricane Sandy would deeply affect their year-end sales projections. Well, you’d be wrong.

Honda still expects sales to exceed last year’s by about 25 percent, meaning about 1.46 million Hondas will be delivered. Honda sales for the month of October were about half of what they were expected to be because Hurricane Sandy hit during the busiest time of the month, but Honda expects to make up for that in November.

“November will be a pretty good month for us — I see nothing different in November and December that will change the course of where we’ve been this year,” Mendel said. Honda brand sales for the year should be “within 10,000 or 12,000 units” of 1.3 million, with the Acura luxury brand at “160,000, maybe a little bit more,” he said.

The demand for the redesigned CR-V, blockbuster 2013 Honda Accord and sports Honda Civic will keep people coming to Honda dealerships in droves.

I think this article skips over an important part of the affect Hurricane Sandy could have on the automotive industry in the Northeast. It points out that some dealerships lost inventory that will have to be replaced, so that should help a little with sales. But what about the thousands of people who lost their cars to flooding and wind damage? According to the article, “As many as 200,000 new and used vehicles may eventually be replaced in the region as a result of the storm, the National Automobile Dealers Association estimated this month.”

It is often said that natural disasters provide opportunity and I think that as people try to resume their normal lives, they will buy new cars…and of course, stop at their local Honda dealerships first. Hurricane Sandy a small negative impact on the month of October, but perhaps it will actually help their year-end sales as people replace damaged vehicles.

Honda Creates a Computer You Can Drive

Honda announced that next year it will begin tests of a new micro commuter car prototype that “uses a driver’s tablet for displaying dashboard readings, audio, navigation and images from its rearview camera…” That’s right, your personal tablet will fit into a designated place on the dash and communicates with you all car and driving vitals. The tablet can be charged with the solar panels that will be located on top of the car.

How “micro” of a car are we talking? According to the article, “The prototype is an electric vehicle that seats a single driver and can reach speeds of 80 kilometers per hour, with a range of about 60 kilometers. It is 2.5 meters long, 1.25 meters wide and about 1.4 meters tall.

Honda did say the car can fit very small children in the backseat, but really this car is designed for city commuting because, let’s face it, very small children do not stay very small for very long.

“Honda’s prototype can also be used with its home energy system, which can charge its electric vehicles efficiently but also allows them to function as batteries for home use when they are plugged into a home power grid.”

Honda continues to push the technological and automotive envelope and we can’t wait to see this micro-commuter-computer-car.

Self-Driving Cars Overcome the Dangers of Technology

Much has been written about the self-driving cars that have recently been made legal in the state of California and, unbeknownst to me, have logged more than 250,000 driving miles…without a single incident.

That’s right; a perfect record.

I have thought a lot about the self-driving car and while I was wary at first, I was convinced of their inherent good and benefit to society when someone pointed out how they can give independence to people with disabilities and the elderly.

This article points out how the self-driving car can save those of us who willingly disable ourselves while we drive…with technology. We all know we do it: text, talk on the phone, check our emails on our phone, etc. If it’s not you, then it’s someone in a car around you, which could easily make you a statistic.

Imagine being able to tell your self-driving car to drive you home while you typed away at all those emails you didn’t get sent while in the office? Or telling your car to take you home after you’ve had one too many drinks? Self-driving cars are convenient and life-saving.

This paragraph from the article sums up the issue nicely:

“Pioneers in the field estimate that driverless cars could save a substantial number of lives each year. These cars are immune to distractions caused by talking on cell phones, texting and checking emails, eating and drinki

ng, grooming and shaving, reading and writing, watching TV or a video, adjusting the radio or CD player, checking the navigation system, watching the scenery, putting on make-up, fighting with passengers and disciplining children. They are also not impaired by alcohol, drugs, sleep deprivation and anger. They can react instantaneously and accurately. They always maintain the lane, use turn signals and never tailgate. They always respect red lights or stop signs. They keep detailed logs. They always remind you way before the time for refueling and maintenance service.”

What do you think? Are these arguments enough for you to jump behind the wheel of a self-driving car? What would it take to get you there?

Read the original article here.

 

Five Things to Look Forward to From Honda

This is a really interesting article that Automobilemag.com did based on a sit-down that Honda CEO Takanobu Ito had with American journalists.

 

  1. Honda wants more sporty cars some time in the future. While Ito didn’t give any specifics or lay out any plans for sportier cars, he did say that he wants them in Honda’s future. This leads me to the next point (which is actually point number five in the original article, but I think my way makes more sense).
  2. Honda wants to appeal to younger buyers. It seems like this goes hand-in-hand with wanting sportier cars.  Ito points out that young people buy cars that are interesting and that perhaps Honda had gotten a little complacent in design. My solution: start offering sportier cars and the younger buyers will line up because, while young buyers want sporty and interesting, they also have high expectation of dependability (probably because most young people don’t even know how to check their oil anymore, but that’s a different topic entirely).
  3. Honda will use dual-clutch and continuously variable transmissions. “Honda maintains that CVTs are generally the better solution for all-out fuel economy, but recognizes that dual-clutch transmissions are much more fun to drive and sporty. Cars that are designed only with fuel economy in mind will continue to use CVTs, but premium and sportier vehicles will get dual-clutch setups.”
  4. The driver is still in charge. I loved this point by Ito. We are getting into a car-driving age where our cars can tell us a lot of stuff and can do a lot of stuff for us (ie parallel park, keep a consistent speed, etc), but Ito wants driver’s to see all these features as “assists” and not “controls” because, he said, the car needs to “respect
  5.  the driver’s will as much as possible.” Amen to that.
  6. Downsized turbocharged engines are on the way. Here’s what the article said: “Honda has already confirmed that the next Civic Type R will use a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine based on that of the Civic WTCC race car. After that, Honda will begin offering more downsized turbocharged engines in future products. The move comes a fair bit after most other automakers switched from V-6 engines to turbo four-cylinders, due to the fact that Honda is only just starting to tinker with direct fuel injection. First of all, the main key is that we are successful in developing direct injection engines,” said Ito. “By adopting turbocharging systems, we get can have an engine with better fuel efficiency as well as better performance.

 

Check out the whole article here.

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