About a year ago we posted a story expressing concern that Honda was losing its way. Our writer jgoods commented that the company was drifting on several fronts, saying,
This won’t be news to you car gurus who follow such things, but for a company that’s been on top so long to be sagging in product development, engineering, marketing, and sales—while losing market share to Ford, Hyundai, and Kia—signifies big trouble.
He was absolutely right at the time. The monstrosity that is the Accord CrossTour was newly introduced, the disappointing Insight sales numbers were becoming clear, and the hotly anticipated CR-Z was underpowered and uninspired.
Just over a year later, things seem back on track.
The first thing a company can do to improve its standing in the view of consumers isn’t to release a new product, but to do something that portrays a positive image. In the wake of the horrible Japan earthquake and ensuing production slowdown, Honda vehicles were (and still are) in short supply. At the same time, the company has needed to offer discounts to help increase sales numbers.
In a move rarely seen from automakers, Honda has announced it will extend those discounts to out-of-stock vehicles.
Honda spokesman Gary Robinson told Automotive News,
We know we’re going to have low inventories on some models — Civic is the perfect example. What we don’t want to do is just send those people on their way without taking care of them.
Brilliant. That’s how a company wins back customers! Of course, great product doesn’t hurt either.
MotorTrend recently compared the new minivan offerings from Honda, Toyota and Dodge, with the newly redesigned Odyssey easily taking the top spot. Winning! (Is that still cool, or has the Charlie Sheen ship sailed?)
On the green side of things, Honda has announced that its natural-gas-powered Civic GX will be sold nationwide to the public beginning in the fall of this year. The car has routinely been named the “Greenest Vehicle of the Year” by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and is built in the U.S. alongside the standard Civic. Good news, for sure, though no word on how buyers will regularly fill their tanks with the compressed gas.
With the new Civic set to debut and said to achieve around 40 mpg in regular gas-powered trims, I think it’s safe to say the Honda we’ve always loved is coming back.
Would you buy a natural-gas-powered vehicle over an electric one? I know I would!