Car accessories

Honda Sneak Peek-The Fit?

Honda Sneak Peek-The Fit?

Credit Honda with not giving up easily in what will certainly become a big fight: the sub $15,000 price range category of new automobiles.

Currently, only a stripped down Civic competes in this area and I mean stripped: no a/c, basic tranny, no radio! With Toyota‘s Scion brand catching on Honda is looking to fight back.

A tiny car now on sale in Japan may soon find its way to a dealership in your neighborhood helping to turn the tide for the revered automaker.

So, why the big push in this “cheap” category? Chiefly because automakers know that if young and first time buyers have a very good

experience with their entry level cars then more than likely they will stay with the brand as their lives change, i.e., get married, start a family, make more money, etc.

This practice has been in place for years, although not as widely emphasized by all manufacturers and to their detriment.

Honda’s long time low price leader has always been the Civic. Introduced to the North American market in 1971, the Civic was the original Honda for the western hemisphere and has been a value leader in its class for some time.

However, like the Toyota Corolla, the Civic has been gradually creeping up market becoming better equipped and more expensive.

At least Toyota slipped in a new entry level car a few years back, the Echo, but Honda has been without one. In addition, Toyota launched an all new brand, Scion, in 2003 to capture a bigger chunk of the youth market. So far, Scion has been a runaway success story.

Enter the Fit. Say, what?! Yes, a tiny Scion-like car sporting a 1.5L engine is already navigating Japanese streets. Unfortunately,

the name isn’t catchy and likely will have to be changed once the car is imported to the US and Canada. Let’s just say that some of the names that rhyme with Fit are not exactly favorable. At least it isn’t as obvious as Daewoo’s Charade a car that really lived up to its name!

We don’t know a lot yet about the Fit other than to say that Honda knows that they need to respond to Toyota and soon.

Honda doesn’t appear willing to create a separate brand to take on Scion, but a car in the class of the Fit will help Honda capture a bigger chunk of the all important youth market.

With styling cues reportedly similar to the Scion xA, the “Fit” will likely be fitted into the bottom of the Honda line up. Paired with the Element, both vehicles will be perceived as true Scion fighters. At least Honda hopes that you do.

Help Me, Honda!

So, you need a new car, do you? Have you considered Honda? Not too long ago your choices were the Civic, Accord, or Prelude.

Today, Honda has expanded their line up to cover just about every segment going. Let’s take a look at their current line up and see how Honda stacks up against the competition.

Accord – Soon after the Civic entered the North American market, the Accord was introduced. The car has been so well received that it routinely battles with the Toyota Camry for the top spot in the American market.

Every few years the Accord receives a complete makeover; today’s Accord is available in three models: coupe, sedan, and hybrid

Civic – When Honda entered the US market in the early 1970s, it was the Civic that led the way. The reason? High fuel economy.

At that time, Detroit was primarily building gas guzzling behemoths and the American market was ripe for an affordable and economical compact car.

Despite being derided by some – pregnant roller skate was one of the terms given to the Civic – the car proved to be the toehold Honda needed to get established in the North American market. Today’s Civic bears no resemblance to the original and it is available in three models: coupe, sedan, and hybrid.

CR-V – Available in either FWD or 4WD, the CR-V is Honda’s compact SUV with seating for as many as five adults.

Element – The Element defies easy characterization. Some call it a bread box on wheels. Available as a FWD or 4WD vehicle, the Element is targeted to the youth set and is an alternative to Toyota’s Scion brand.

Insight – The first gasoline-electric hybrid sold in the US was the Insight. Five years later it still commands an important part of the Honda line up.

Odyssey – The new benchmark for minivans is the Honda Odyssey. In just a few short years, Honda transformed a Plain Jane people mover into a van with pizzazz. The Odyssey routinely competes with the Toyota Sienna for top honors in the North American market.

Pilot – A 7 passenger SUV, the Pilot is Honda’s first large SUV. Competing against the Ford Explorer, Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, and Toyota 4Runner, the Pilot has performed well and has gained respect in the tough, competitive American market.

Ridgeline – A four door AWD truck, the Ridgeline goes where no Honda has gone before: off the road. Sure, other Hondas come equipped with AWD or 4WD,

but the Ridgeline was built expressly to handle hill as well as highway. The unique five foot long bed has a trunk built into it; certainly the Ridgeline defies easy comparison.

S2000 Roadster – Honda’s race car capabilities are displayed with the S2000 Roadster a two seat coupe that compares favorably with the BMW Z4 Roadster.

Ranked as one of the best wanted car by consumers with several leading automobile magazines and web sites including

Honda’s top competitor is Toyota and both now have luxury brands from which motorists can purchase more upscale versions of their vehicles.

Toyota’s Lexus division and Honda’s Acura division offer to consumers vehicles that go beyond their standard brands.

Still, you can’t go wrong if you buy a Honda, an automotive line which continues to expand and grow because of high quality and consumer loyalty.

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