Building cars is a very serious business, but that doesn’t mean those involved can’t also be permitted to have fun every now and again. How else do you think we’d have ended up being able to buy machines as bizarre as the Renault Clio V6 or BMW M4 GTS, the purpose of which is inevitably as much to generate headlines as to boost profits.
Japan took the American car industry by storm when it started making and selling cars in the United States. During the 1960s and ’70s, Japanese carmakers Honda and Toyota developed a reputation for quality, reliability, and efficiency and forced the American Big Three to take note. Today, South Korean Hyundai and Kia are doing the same. Continue reading >>>
Since they began flooding the U.S. market in the mid-1970s, Japanese cars have always enjoyed a reputation for reliability American companies could seem to only covet. So, naturally, it comes as no surprise that Lexus and Toyota continue their best Jimmie Johnson and Sebastian Vettel impressions, respectively landing the top two spots of Consumer Reports’ Annual Brand Reliability Survey for the 4th straight year. Instead, this year shoppers will need to scroll down to the 3rd place finisher if they’re looking for a shock. Buick, of all brands, has brought an American nameplate to Consumer Reports’ podium for the first time in over three decades. Continue reading >>>
You’re probably aware that Japanese companies often have diverse product lines. Among other things, Sony makes televisions, speakers, and video-game consoles. Yamaha goes further, making everything from pianos to golf carts. While we recognize companies like BMW, Tesla, and Volkswagen specifically for their cars, many automakers carry on side projects, too.
Honda, once a formidable force in the auto industry and a maker of bulletproof cars to which consumers flocked, has fallen from its mighty throne.
The carmaker used to be known for leading the way in innovation and blowing away the competition when it came to research and development. Today, the company admits it has pursued growth over quality and is now in need of a fundamental transformation.
Quality problems have plagued Honda vehicles in recent years, while competing cars have caught up, or even surpassed, the once invincible automaker. What does Honda need to do to get back on track?
It’s really quite simple.
Remember the 2012 Honda Civic? Of course not. It was the most disappointing Civic in modern history.
With the latest Civic, Honda has gambled that moving away from sportiness and towards quiet comfort will suit its buyers. Honda hasn’t hedged its bets into the boring realm of the Toyota Corolla, but it’s certainly an unadventurous effort. Aside from being quieter and more efficient, the new Civic doesn’t represent improvement as we define it. The Civic lacks the passion, soul, and entertaining driving dynamics of its predecessor. Mainstream buyers may not care, but enthusiasts surely will.
Honda, once known for sporty and fun-to-drive cars that provided reliability and fuel efficiency, had morphed into the latter while forgetting about the former.
Honda had lost its mojo.
Driving a luxury car for the price of a Honda is an appealing proposition.
The benefits make it seem like a no-brainer. For the same money you get more luxury, more brand panache, better performance, and an all-around cooler vehicle. Everything’s great, up until your new luxury car needs some basic maintenance and repairs.
I’d like to share my personal story, so you might avoid the fate that has fallen upon me.
“Whoa, what the heck was that!?”
The Nissan 370Z flew by us with only a flash of its grille, then the quickly disappearing rear tail lights.
“It’s not a Porsche. It’s not a BMW. What is that? It’s beautiful. Go faster so we can see the front again.”
I obeyed, stepped on the gas and waited as my wife discovered for herself that the object of her desire was a Nissan.
When you think of electric cars, the first maker to come to mind is probably Tesla. The company has done an amazing job branding itself as the leader in vehicles powered by electrons. With sexy car designs, lots of media coverage and a personable-yet-eccentric CEO, Tesla has become the gold standard in electric vehicles.
That doesn’t mean Tesla is alone, though.
Other carmakers build and sell vehicles that use alternative fuels, and there’s no way the legacy automakers are going to sit down and watch Tesla silently drive into the sunset with all the cash.
From the big boys to some small guys with big ideas, it seems EVs are here to stay. Keep reading for some interesting competitors Tesla may face.