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Honda Civic, Mazda Protege5, Coupe, Hatchback, Sedan
Aug 20, 2003 (11:04 am)
> The fact is, Honda dropped the ball on this one. If they suddenly decide to enter this market by bringing a 5-door Civic over here they WILL have to play catch-up. The hatch market is growing evidenced by larger cars getting 3/5-door variants a la the Malibu and M6. Those who don't get in early will be left behind.
Why would they have to play catch-up? Lord knows they have the name recognition, and the reputation. Believe it or not, Honda's American market is the only thing keeping the company afloat at this point. If they brought a 5-door over here with the Civic name, it'd do great. But it would probably also cut into their CR-V sales.
You forget that by the time these cars get here (to the North American market), they're already mature products. They're not unproven at all; they've been around as long as the sedan variants have, just not in the US. The P5, the Civic 5-door--these are all proven models. Hatches are big business in other markets, especially in Europe, where sedans are seen as an impractical body style, especially as an only family car. In the UK market, the sales figures are reversed: the hatches are the primary market, the sedans the niche. (The Jetta wagon is known as the Golf wagon in the UK. The Golf brand name is more marketable than the sedan version (known as the Bora) and enjoys more name recognition.) Either they're just marketed poorly here, or SUVs are overhyped here, or a bit of both. (I still think SUVs make terrible everyday vehicles except for a small minority of buyers. The only reason they're pushed here is because of the huge profit margin for automakers. IMO the worst trends in the 1990s US auto market was the proliferation of SUVs and the sedanification of small cars. But that's a subject for a different thread.)
I'm interested to see if VW brings over its Touran MPV; that'd be a great alternative to the Matrix/Vibe/PT Cruiser. And a subject for a different thread....
#99 of 130 Leasing and ZX3
Aug 20, 2003 (11:17 am)
Leasing is not an option for me. It may work for people who base their life on monthly payments. I can understand losing money on depreciation alone, but to add extra profit for the leasing company is an insult to the injury. Like said before, leasing works if you can wirte it off, I can't.
Leasing: You have to have some sort pf downpayment, usually $2000, security, and such. After paying payments for 3 years, you have nothing to show for it. A 12-24 month lease rates are ridiculously high. Money factors, when converted to APR are much higher than Finance rates.
Financing: All I paid out of pocket was sales taxes and registration, everything else was financed at 1.9%. After 8 months I have a $12.8K payoff and $14K trade in value. I am already $1200 on the positive. That number is for trade in, if I were to sell it privately, I can possibly fetch $15K, putting me at $2200 in the positive.
I am anxious to see what I can get in 3 years. I will owe $5500 (according to payment schdule at honda owners link).
#100 of 130 slalom
Aug 20, 2003 (11:20 am)
Edmunds 2003 slalom numbers are bogus (opinion here). How on earth could the Corolla come out on top with 63.3 seconds. Was the same person driving both cars (or all the cars for that matter)? From what I remember, in the auto mags, the P5 could always pull more G's and had the maximum cornering speed. I'm guessing they were using a protege ES, but that should handle about the same as the P5.
#101 of 130 Leasing, continued
Aug 20, 2003 (11:24 am)
Don't forget the 'lease acquisition fee', usually $300 - $500 on the front end. Money down the terlet. You'd have to have an incredible marginal tax rate to get past the costs, even if you can write off the lease.
Aug 20, 2003 (11:30 am)
A Corolla cannot pull more Gs or out-slalom a PRO ES - I have the ES and drove a friend's 2003 Corolla many times - that car feels like it's ready to tip over when you put it on a ramp at above the posted limit. Neve had this issue with the PRO. So much for that comparo...
#103 of 130 Leasing does work
Aug 20, 2003 (11:39 am)
if you must have a new car every 3 years AND you like brands that have high resale AND you want low monthly payments AND you dont mind paying to drive without owning AND dont drive a lot.
Does not fit me but it does work for lots of people. Some people feel better if they have the latest and greatest and leasing is one way to get this.
To me it would feel like I was living beyond my means but not everyone feels that way.
#104 of 130 smasher
Aug 20, 2003 (12:45 pm)
You've gotta admit, Honda dropped the ball on the Civic Si. It doesn't come close to what those of us who've owned them in the past expected.
The engine is great but the overall set-up is a step down from the previous Si.
Aug 20, 2003 (12:55 pm)
"If they brought a 5-door over here with the Civic name, it'd do great. But it would probably also cut into their CR-V sales."
You just explained why a Civic hatch would have to play catch-up. The CR-V and Element. Both are priced right in line with a well equipped Civic. Why would you buy an underpowered small car when you can have something much larger with near identical driving dynamics for about the same price? It would be a big risk that the other models mentioned didn't have to venture into.
Honda is not afraid of a risk though. Look at the Element. The people they are marketing it to are not buying it. Fortunately for them older folks (who apparently are losing their vision at a rapid pace) are picking up the slack (Or is that slackers )?
"You forget that by the time these cars get here (to the North American market), they're already mature products. They're not unproven at all; they've been around as long as the sedan variants have, just not in the US."
I'm aware of that but it is irrelevant. If Honda doesn't think people will want to buy it they probably won't bring it over. They must have their reasons.
Looks are important over here. I don't know anyone who looks at the Si and says "Wow, what a great looking car!" If the thing looks like a small Aztec, well you know the rest.
Aug 20, 2003 (1:11 pm)
Yes, they did drop the ball with the Si. Great engine and shifter, good body packaging, but disappointing handling and some nits with build quality.
I was thinking more about the packaging/body style/body integrity than its Si-ness. I think that was an error more of marketing than anything else. They just didn't spec it right. The engineering and overall design are there, and it can't be mistaken for anything but a Honda--unlike the Civic coupe/sedan and the new Accords, which are getting more boring and unrecognisible as time goes on. But again, the only thing which failed the Si was the way it was spec'ed (blame the bean counters and the marketing people for that), not its basic design.
It goes to show you can have a great engineering and design team, but still ruin a car's prospects if you misread its market (as Honda did with the Si), or screw up on quality control (as VW has with the Golf/Jetta/Beetle).
Have you seen the 5-door? It's a much more attractive package (looks a lot less like a Festiva), and would make a great sporty hatch/wagon/whatever. And it has that Honda family look.
But would it sell in the North American market? Would they want it to? Baggs, you bring up a good point: Honda has already saturated that market with small SUVs. I think it's such a bummer that the only way to sell a practical car in the US is to truckify it: make it less space-efficient and give it a high center of gravity (like the CR-V), or give it plastic cladding, suicide doors, the rubber floor from a VW bus and a bunch of blind spots (like the Element). Arrrrgh!
Funny (yet somewhat sad) story: when I was test driving cars, I tried out a 3-year-old Civic hatch. During the drive I got sideswiped by a Honda Element; the guy was pulling out of an office park and just didn't see me coming.
Aug 20, 2003 (1:34 pm)
Why would you buy an underpowered small car when you can have something much larger with near identical driving dynamics for about the same price?
Wellllll... if they included the engine from the current Si it wouldn't be under powered. Seeing as the CR-V and the Si have the same engine. I know the CR-V is underpowered for your tastes but, I love ours.
I don't see a 5 door playing much of a part in Element/CR-V sales. My P5 can't even come close to doing what our CR-V can. It wouldn't hurt the CR-V/Element anymore than the Trib/Escape are hurt by the Focus Wagon.
I love my P5. Love it. Love it. Love it. (This from a long-time Honda guy.)