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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.
Plenty of automakers have backgrounds in aircraft manufacturing. BMW, Bristol, Mitsubishi, Saab and Spyker all started out in the airplane business. But Honda is going the opposite direction, expanding its automotive (not to mention motorcycle, ATV, marine engine and power equipment) business with the launch of the HondaJet. And that project has just taken a big step forward.
After starting production a year and a half ago, the Japanese industrial giant recently completed its first customer HondaJet, and has now taken that initial production aircraft to the skies for its landmark first flight. The aircraft left the production facility in Greensboro and took off on Friday morning from Piedmont Triad International Airport in North Carolina - the same state where the Wright Brothers undertook their first flight over a century ago.
The HondaJet undertook an 84-minute test flight, climbing to 15,500 feet and reaching a speed of 348 knots. That works out to 400 miles per hour - assuredly faster than any Honda (save for maybe a prototype for the same aircraft) has traveled before. The aircraft is designed to cruise at a maximum of 420 knots (483 mph) and reach a maximum altitude of 43,000 feet.
The recall bug could strike Honda again as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened another investigation concerning the Odyssey minivan. Honda has already recalled 59,000 Odysseys from the 2012 and 2013 model years due to a shift interlock issue, and another 320,000 of the minivans from 2003-04 are being investigated for faulty airbags. Now, TheDetroitBureau.com is reporting that NHTSA is taking a look at the 2007-08 Odyssey for a problem associated with the brakes.
This investigation reportedly includes 343,000 Odysseys that could be suffering from an unexpected application of the brakes. According to the article, at least 22 people have reported such an issue, and in five cases, dealers found a trouble code associated with the steering angle sensor - part of the anti-lock brake and stability control systems. There is still no indication as to whether or not this will become a recall, but Honda has already recalled more than 1.8 million units this year.