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Old 08-11-2003, 12:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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More Fried Rice?

Honda studying possibility of creating third, youth-themed brand


By YUZO YAMAGUCHI | Automotive News

TOKYO -- With one eye on Toyota's new Scion sales channel, Honda Motor Co. is considering the need for a third brand to appeal to the coveted youth market.

In an interview here last week, Honda CEO Takeo Fukui said without elaborating that the automaker has been studying the possibility of creating a new brand aimed at the Generation Y market, defined as those born from 1977 to 1994.

Although used Civics have a huge following among the youthful "Fast and Furious" tuner crowd, the Honda and Acura brands appeal to more mainstream, middle-aged buyers. Honda developed the boxy Element sport wagon with the youth market in mind, but it has been attracting forty-something buyers.

"We need the study," Fukui said. "But I haven't heard the progress of the study, so it's hard to say if we should keep working on it."

American Honda Motor Co. CEO Koichi Amemiya disclosed the company's interest in Toyota's Scion experiment in an earlier interview. Toyota launched the Scion channel in California last month with two vehicles, the xA hatch and boxy xB sport wagon.

"I'm not saying we're studying a franchise," he said. "We're studying (the market for) young customers. I'm wondering if they are simply looking for compact cars."

Tatsuo Yoshida, analyst at Deutsche Securities Ltd. in Tokyo, says Honda has no option but to create a youth brand. According to a study by J.D. Power and Associates, vehicle sales to Gen Y household heads will rise to 3.5 million units by 2010, or 20 percent of total industry sales, and to 5 million new-vehicle sales annually by 2020.

"They can't let these young buyers go to rivals," Yoshida says. "They should be OK for now, but in 10 years the current baby boomers will be getting old."

A decision on whether Honda will follow Toyota is just part of Fukui's agenda for renovating Honda's model lineup. "We had focused on the social acceptance" of cars, Fukui said. "But now I personally hope to revive the fun-to-drive concept."

That means Honda will come to market with more technological breakthroughs to distinguish itself from the competition, he said.

Two light trucks scheduled for the U.S. market in the next three years could showcase Fukui's fun-to-drive approach. One, to be badged a Honda, is based on the MDX sport wagon.

"It will be a new genre, a new niche," Fukui said, refusing to comment on reports that the vehicle will be a short-bed SUV-type compact pickup.

The second vehicle will be badged as an Acura and will be about the size of the Honda CR-V.

Shoring up the U.S. lineup of light trucks is one of Fukui's top priorities. While light trucks accounted for half of U.S. sales last year, they accounted for only one-third of Honda's volume.

Honda aims to boost light-truck sales almost to match sales of passenger cars in several years to come. "We should respond to demand," Fukui said.

Even so, Fukui isn't about to gamble. He said he has no plans to develop a full-sized pickup or to expand production capacity by building more plants in North America.

http://www.autoweek.com/cat_content...._code=04220469



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Old 08-11-2003, 02:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If these are the best 'youth oriented' cars 'Scion' can come up with, I can see one brand dying out.
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Old 08-11-2003, 03:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Those are some ugly shiets!
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Old 08-11-2003, 05:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If they're going to make a third brand, I'd say to bring back the classic sports cars, or at the very least make more Type R models and ship them to the US. Those would get snapped up pretty damned fast.

The Civic is pretty much sold straight to 20-somethings and younger, as well as those looking for sporty cars, while the Accord goes to families, by and large. (Yes, there are exceptions, but that's just what I've seen for the most part).

I can't possibly imagine what market they'd go after with a third line of cars, except possibly to make even sportier cars (maybe something more affordable than NSXs, but along those lines?).

Sounds pretty sketchy to me. And the Toyoto prototypes look like pure arse.
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Old 08-11-2003, 09:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The Scion xA looks like it would be in the same class as the Matrix/Vibe.

I think when they say they're targetting the younger crowd, I think they're targetting highschool kids that like fast cars, but also like functionality.

No kid really wants to own a two-seater, because they want to be able to pick up and go out with a group of their friends.

The age group they listed (77-94) would also be the group that is either A) just broke into the work force and can't afford a nice sports car or B) still have to have parents OK to buy the car.

Either way, the parents or the young adult would want something that would be reasonable to drive on a daily basis, but would be fun for the driver.

I don't understand how these cars quality as "fried rice" though. That's a very ignorant statement to make which seems to be based on nothing more then the fact that they are import cars and the article mentioned "the fast and the furious". (and obviously those scion's would never be in a fast and furious movie)
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Old 08-11-2003, 09:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
defined as those born from 1977 to 1994
Aw, crap! Born in '79, I thought I was Gen X. I feel...so...dirty.
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Old 08-12-2003, 04:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by mystic511

No kid really wants to own a two-seater
Au' contraire!



Pardon my French... not as it's bad, but I don't know how to spell in that language!
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Old 08-15-2003, 02:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm noticing a lot of Scion xB's around the place. I laugh and think "My car costs twice as much as that" they have only 130hp and look like lowriding Honda Elements. They are tiny and don't look very sturdy. I guess the best association would be with the 60's VW minibus.
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