Green Update: Two Interesting Hondas at Beijing

Honda Concept S minivan

Beijing is right now the most important auto show in the world, because it links carmakers and the buying public to the most important auto market in the world. GM plans to open 600 dealerships in China this year.

The show is also significant for giving companies like Honda, whose fortunes have declined, a chance to show off concepts that may lead the way back.

The company brought an interesting Concept S hybrid minivan (above), whose name signifies, Honda says, “stylish,” “smart” and “surprise.” I guess that’s better than “slow,” “stinky” and “shoddy.”

This is a sharp-looking minivan design in which Honda finally seems to have gotten a good basic shape without screwing up the details (except for the front driving lights and some kind of jet-exhaust rear reflector things under the well-designed taillights). The car will debut in China next year, then go global.

I think it is designed to give the Prius V some real competition. Good pix can be found here.

Honda Concept S minivan, rear quarterThen Honda pulled out all the stops for the Concept C (below right, and meaning “cool,” “challenge” and “China”). They might have also used “confused,” as this thing is a hodge-podge of design mistakes, though I think the basic body treatment is good.

Honda Concept C sedan, frontThe Chinese may like that baroque, grinning front end; such outrageous design bling, however, will never be popular in the U.S. or Europe. (Well, I’m not so sure about the U.S.) The car will fit somewhere between the Accord and Civic, perhaps as a new model. Production starts next year.

The Chinese will get this car first, and there is some speculation that it may be a replacement for Acura’s TSX and TL cars, due to be updated next year, maybe as a new TLX model.

The Chinese are welcome to the Concept C, however it turns out. But the S might just be Honda’s way back into the U.S. market for a neat hybrid minivan.

Does Honda’s new styling show signs of progress? Could either of these cars be a success in the U.S.?


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  1. I guess Honda styling just leaves me cold, and has for years now. There have been very few Honda or Acura cars that have caught my attention. Even something exotic like the NSX looks like a Porsche back end grafted on a Corvette front end.

  2. They need to smooth out that hood and replace the grill with some chrome instead of the messy looking stuff. Then I’d buy it. I do like Jim Redd’s idea of RWD too. Nothing like laying some rear tire from a hot Honda!

  3. You know, take off those Sebring-esque hood rakes and make it RWD and that’s a bitchin’ little car. Would take it over that hybrid van thing any time.

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