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Honda Struggles With Latest Lineup, Three Little Pigs

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On: Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 3:15PM | By: Chris Salamone

Honda Struggles With Latest Lineup, Three Little Pigs

After earthquakes and Thai flooding, Japanese automakers have certainly faced an array challenges for one year. So much so that the damage caused by those events can still be seen today in lackluster 2012 model updates and limited supply offerings, a fact which Honda readily admits. However, with Honda’s latest sales report, devout followers may begin to question yet another aspect of sales operations: the model lineup.

What could be wrong with a lineup marked by year-after-year of Car and Driver 10Best Awards, widely recognized as the most reliable and efficient set of cars around? Considering those awards only went to Honda’s traditional fan favorites – Accord, Civic, Fit, Prelude, and so on – the issue rests squarely on the shoulders of Honda’s latest niche additions, aka the three little pigs.

Don’t get the wrong idea. Honda is an amazing company which currently produces some of the best vehicles on the road. But, the Ridgeline, CR-Z and Crosstour are not helping the company’s fiscal bottom line or reputation.

Of the three mentioned above, only the CR-Z has increased sales in 2011 – and at a staggering 143.5%. But sales have fallen drastically short of Honda’s intended goal of 40,000 to 50,000 units. So far, for 2011 the CR-Z has sold a mere 10,766 vehicles.

Then comes the dreaded Crosstour. Honda has all sorts of explanations for the Crosstour’s failure to attract throngs of buyers, but in reality the simple fact that the vehicle is hideously ugly would be enough to justify sales figures which dropped 35.9% under last year’s already disappointing figures. Honda initially projected annual sales of 40,000 units. In 2011 the company has managed to push 16,679.

At this point the Ridgeline is something like a running joke in the truck market – where F150s sometimes sell at a volume of over 125,000 per month, the Ridgeline managed 935 units in November. This is a ‘truck’ which suffers from a severe identity crisis, part Chevy Avalanche and part refrigerator. Although Honda insists that the Ridgeline “is here to stay” a reduction in 44.7% of units sold this year makes a strong case for the chopping block. The Element, a vehicle in its last year of production, has sold more units than the Ridgeline in 2011 at 11,518 to 8,291. Enough said.

So what’s the takeaway? Honda is suffering, not just from earthquakes or flooding, but from three additions to the company’s lineup which have failed to meet sales expectations continuously. Nevermind the fact that almost every Honda vehicle is selling more poorly than usual, nevermind natural catastrophes, and forget failing advertising gimmicks like Mr. Opportunity. Honda’s biggest issue for 2012 and beyond is the restoration of a brand with fun, attractive, and practical cars – traits which the CR-Z, Crosstour, and Ridgeline currently lack.

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Stephy21 | 8:48AM (Fri, Dec 9, 2011)

wow i hope Honda gets back on there feet cause they sure do make some really good vehicles.


DipStick | 1:38PM (Fri, Dec 9, 2011)

good cars...but ugly

  • DipStick

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