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Auto blogThu, 21 Aug 2014 17:28:00 EST
Is there a point in the US auto industry where companies should start considering the welfare of their customers ahead of selling more cars? American Honda Executive Vice President of Sales John Mendel thinks that level exists, and we may be getting very close to it.
According to Automotive News, Mendel believes that finding more customers in the market could require pursuing subprime buyers and offering longer-term loans. However, he refuses to use those tactics. While selling models this way can improve things briefly, the strategies hurt resale prices and lower vehicle profits over time. The company won't do "stupid things in the short-term that damage the person who bought yesterday," he said to Automotive News. "It's a very, very short-term tactic especially in the subprime area."
American Honda, which combines the Acura and Honda brands, has seen market share decline from 9.7 percent to 9.1 percent through July 2014, according to Automotive News, and Autoblog's By the Numbers stats showed it posted falling sales in five of the seven months with data this year. Though, Mendel claims that was partially because the company focused on retail sales over fleets. The delays of the launches for the Honda Fit and Acura TLX likely didn't help either.
Although we hadn't heard of this issue before, Automotive News reports that Honda has agreed to settle a massive class-action lawsuit brought against it for engine trouble potentially affecting nearly 1.6 million vehicles. The lawsuit includes Accord (2008-12), Odyssey (2008-13), Pilot (2009-13) and Crosstour (2010-13) models equipped with the 3.5-liter V6 with Variable Cylinder Management, which might experience engine misfire, excessive oil burning and premature spark plug fouling issues.
As part of the settlement, Honda will extend the powertrain warranty on these models for eight years (from time of purchase or lease) with no mileage limitation, and it will also reimburse customers who had to pay out-of-pocket expenses for related repairs such as spark plugs, pistons or, in some cases, apparently, an entirely new engine. (Of course, the repairs had to be related to certain trouble codes.) Lawyers will get no more than $800,000 from Honda and the guy who originally started the case, Vince Eagen, will get $1,000 for his "time and effort."
The final ruling on the matter will take place on March 21, 2014, and if you want to see if you're affected and what options you have in the settlement, check out this .pdf document with all the details.
We generally take certain principals for granted. The more water you drink, for example, the healthier you'll be. The more time you spend reading car news on Autoblog, the better informed you'll be. And the more airbags your car has, the safer you'll be. Because airbags equal safety. But that's not what some unfortunate drivers of vehicles equipped with Takata airbags are finding, and tragically finding out the hard way.
In what could be the most startling incident resulting from the airbag debacle so far, a woman named Hien Tran of Orlando, FL, was killed by what looked at first like stab wounds on her neck. It later emerged that the fatal injuries could have been inflicted by the faulty airbag on her Honda Accord. Tran bought her Honda secondhand, and may not have been aware that the airbag issue had not been addressed by its previous owner in a previous recall in 2009.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department is investigating the death, but it wouldn't be the only injury resulting from the malfunctioning Takata airbags. The units, employed particularly by Japanese automakers like Honda (which owns part of Takata) and Toyota, are the subject of a massive recall involving some 14 million vehicles from 11 different automakers.