Why I think Honda's marketing

division is run by idiots!

Originally written; September 4, 2007

To start off;

For the most part, I like the products that Honda makes. If I didn't like what they make, I wouldn't have one of their cars. ( for the record, I own an 1989 Civic hatchback with 1994 GSR engine and transmission) That's most likely the reason that the policies of their Marketing division pisses me off.

The reason that Toyota recently sold the most cars in the world (bypassing G.M.) is by knowing how to market their products. Think about this; they manage to sell that stupid Xb due to how it was marketed.

It's painfully obvious that all Honda wants to do is sell new cars. Once you sign on the bottom line, they don't want to see you again.

They were not always idiots!

Back in the early 60's, Honda's marketing department was brilliant!

The motorcycle market in America was a wreck. The problem was the image that motorcyclists put forward. If you rode a motorcycle, you were a thug!

What Honda did was to create the "you meet the nicest people on a Honda" campaign. They made and sold motorcycles that fit a "family" image. Looking back at it, the duck tail fenders on a Honda Hawk are kind of silly, but they sold.

Honda managed to change the whole image of motorcycle riders and created a market for Japanese motorcycles.

Totally brilliant!!!

They don't realize that there is a major market for parts!

All they want to sell is what is federally required. What that means is that after 15 years, they are not required to make parts available.

What that means to us is that when you go into the dealer looking for a front hub for a 91 EX, they just look at you funny and say that they no-longer stock parts for cars that "old".

I talked to a friend of mine who is an editor at a major domestic car magazine and he estimated the domestic automotive manufactures sell about 20 thousand "crate" motors a year (that's both "stock" and "performance" motors). So, why can't Honda realize that there is a market for crate motors?

They have no idea on how "brand loyalty" can lead to new car sales!

The concept of "brand loyalty" isn't that hard to figure out! But, I'll explain it so that if any of those Honda idiots read this, they will know what I'm talking about.

The idea is that if you have a car and you are happy with it, they you will most likely buy another from that manufacturer.

It's not that hard to figure out. Kind of like that old saying; "race on sunday, buy on monday".

There are a lot of individuals, that are just starting their car buying life, that chose to go with a Honda due to reasonable price (think college students). I'd bet they are left with a sour taste in their mouths when they want to buy repair parts, only to hear; "we no longer have parts available for cars that old, you have to go to a junk yard to find that".

Here in the US, 15 years is not that old for a car!

I don't know all the specifics about car costs in Japan, but as I understand it, as a car gets older the cost of government required maintenance and registration goes through the roof. It's just not cost effective to keep an old car in Japan. That's how JDM importers can purchase a car in Japan, cut it up, ship the parts to the other side of the world, and then sell them here for a profit. 

Here in the United States, it's not uncommon to see cars well past 15 years in age.

Industry standard mileage per year is something like 12000 miles. That means that a 15 year old car would have about 180,000 miles on it. That may sound like a lot, but my last 89 Civic Si hatchback had 300,000 miles before it blew a head gasket. The rest of the car was still sound and in stock condition.

So; is Honda using a Japanese mind-set as to what is old and not worth maintaining?

"Honda Performance Parts" is a joke!

Try going into a Honda dealer and buy a factory "performance" part. How about asking for a catalog showing what performance parts are available.

Well, they are willing to sell you a baseball cap with HPP on it.

Compare that catalog (or lack of it) with the Chevy Power book that you can get at any G.M. dealer. Or if you are old enough, the catalog of stuff that was sold through Datsun Comp (back in the 70's)

"Helpful Honda Dealers" is an insult!

Currently here in Los Angeles there is a marketing program where Honda is touting it's "helpful honda dealers". There are all sorts of TV commercials showing how the salesman (or saleswoman) really is a great person that wants to help you out with the purchase of your new Honda. Low stress, just here to help.

Now it may be true that they are trying to make the purchasing aspect of buying a Honda agreeable, but after that sale, you are on your own.

I went to their web site in hopes that I could e-mail them questions and there is no link or e-mail address for questions. Just a link to an address where you can get on their mailing list (I'm assuming so that they can send me advertisements about new Honda's).

Closing comments;

I'll never build another Honda. My next project is a BMW!


It's due to the fact that you can go into a BMW dealer and buy a new grill for a 1970 BMW. This may sound like a funny example, but I can't buy a new steering wheel for my 1989 Honda (The original steering wheels of that vintage have a manufacturing flaw that leads to de-laminating of the rubber skin from the steel framework. This is a safety related design error!).

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Wes Vann