Toyota to cut domestic production by 20%

July 23rd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota and Honda have been making hay while the sun shines on their hybrid vehicles in Japan. But that is set to change as the Japanese government’s incentives for eco cars, which has been running for the past two years is about to end. The Toyota Prius has been the top-selling vehicle in Japan for more than a year and even the mixed-reviewed Honda Insight has sold beyond expectations. The eco car incentives end in October and with the expected drop in sales, Toyota is now planning on a sizeable cut to domestic production.

News agencies in Japan have been reporting that Toyota will slash production from its current 14,000 vehicles a day to fewer than 12,000 for the final quarter of the year. The automaker does expect sales to recover again later in the year and has kept its same production targets for the full fiscal year.

Honda to cease diesel engine development

July 19th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

It’s no secret how far diesel engines have come in the last few years. Old issues like rough running, nasty smells, loud operation and narrow power bands have all been ironed out. But after all that hard work, many automakers are now turning much of their focus on to electric and hybrid vehicles.

According to sources in Japan, Honda is joining the list of global automakers that have abandoned plans to move further into diesel power development. Instead, Honda will continue to focus entirely on hybrid basket, developing a new system for use in larger vehicles. Currently, Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist technology is used in the Civic Hybrid and the Insight.

Honda’s next hybrid system should further improve its current IMA tech, which has fallen short of the fuel efficiency and performance of rival Toyota, but is able to operate on the electric motor alone for longer stretches.

In addition to stopping development of clean diesel tech, Honda has also put the brakes on the new microcar plant in Japan that was to build future Kei cars for the domestic market.

Honda Impossible Dream

June 25th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Honda Impossible Dream commercial shot in New Zealand

Honda remakes Impossible Dream ad with more NZ scenery (+video)

May 3rd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Honda has brought back its once popular Impossible Dream TV commercial. The original ad was shot mostly here in NZ and aired in many countries a few years back. The first ad featured a range of models from the Japanese company’s past. From lowly scooters to the company’s early racing bikes and F1 cars, the ad was a highlight reel of successful products new and old.

Since the Impossible Dream ad first aired things have changed for Honda. It’s abandoned its F1 efforts, discontinued the S2000 and moved it’s focus to boring passenger vehicles. But the new updated The Impossible Dream II clip shows no boring stuff. Honda has removed any reference to Formula One and ha now removed the old hot-air balloon at the end of the ad in favor of products like the new Honda Jet, CR-Z hybrid and the FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle. Even Asimo, Honda’s much teased robot makes a cameo and the end features a hot tub powered by a Honda generator to help display a full range of products.

Check out the new Impossible Dream II ad by clicking on the link below and see if you can recognise any NZ spots featured.

Continue reading “Honda remakes Impossible Dream ad with more NZ scenery (+video)” »

Honda posts 28% increase in profits

April 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Honda has now joined automakers like Kia and Ford by posting solid profits during the fourth quarter of the company’s fiscal year. Now successfully weathering the economic recession storm, Honda has managed to see profits rise by 28 percent over the same period last year. This announcement marks the fourth-straight quarter of profits for the company a operating loss at the end of March, 2009. The reason behind the recent profits could be put down to hybrid sales.

In the Japanese domestic market, sales have been bolstered by the incredibly popular CR-Z Hybrid (pictured). Honda has already received over 7,000 orders for the two-door hatchback, which accounted for more than half of the vehicles the company had planned on selling in its home market.

Honda also claims its quick recovery is helped by having a range comprised mostly of fuel-efficient vehicles, something buyers in a global recession appreciate. After this good news, Honda expects to see growth continue through the rest of 2010.

Mugen releases details on Honda CR-Z upgrades

March 1st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Honda claims its new CR-Z hybrid hatchback will mark a return to the days of the sporty little CR-X. With that in mind Honda specialist tuner Mugen, is now showing off its package of accessories for the CR-Z ahead of its official sale date. Unfortunately, none of the new kit will make the car any faster, but it should make the CR-Z look meaner.

Included in the upgrade are a reworked front and rear fascias, side skirts and a very prominent roof-mounted rear spoiler. A new grille with optional LED lamps can be include, triangular rear exhaust tips could sit out back, and there’s at least five different alloy wheel options. There are also some finer details like a unnecessary carbon fibre license plate holder.

Interior upgrades include an aluminum gearshift knob, a three-gauge central cluster, new floor mats etc etc. Luckily, there are a few extras that will improve the car’s driving dynamics, including a sportier exhaust system, upgraded springs and shocks and upgraded brake pads. Will those pieces be enough to offset the added weight of the body kit? Possibly, but they sure make it look cool.

Honda UK reveals Civic Type-R Mugen 200

February 17th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Late last year Mugen’s UK-based tuning arm got stuck into the Euro Civic Type-R, the result was a 220-hp, stripped down hot hatch with only 20 produced. Riding on thel success of that limited-edition model, Honda UK is now offering another Mugen-fettled Civic Type-R this March, but it can’t quite match the gusto of its track-spec predecessor.

Included in the package is a set of front and rear Mugen bumper skirts, lightweight ‘Lightning” 19-inch wheels, limited slip differential and a Championship White exterior, the most recent Type-R to receive the famous hue. Unfortunately, the engine hasn’t been worked not even the exhaust or ECU, so output remains unchanged at 200 horsepower.

An assortment of badges and plaques are included on the 200 limited-edition models, which are being released to celebrate Honda’s return to the British Touring Car Championship this April. The BTCC team will compete in two Civics which will feature a similar white and black colour scheme to the Mugen 200 cars.

Honda CR-Z Concept Tokyo 2009 Promo

February 15th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The world’s first hybrid vehicle equipped with a six-speed manual transmission

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