The CEO of Honda Motor Co., Takanobu Ito, is intent on focusing on fuel efficiency. Honda's top position North America is being threatened by Ford Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Co. It can be recalled that Ito had become known at Honda Motor Co. for his work on the NSX sports car, Honda's most powerful model.
The most efficient fleet in the US market is Honda but in comparison, Ford's Fiesta subcompact gets up to 33 miles per gallon in combined city/highway driving, compared with 31 mpg for Honda's rival Fit hatchback.
Meanwhile, Hyundai's Sonata sedan does better than Honda's top-selling Accord in economy and hp. The revamped Elantra compact pledges to use less fuel than Honda's Civic.
Tadashi Usui, an analyst at Moody's K.K. in Tokyo, said that the gap between the Japanese carmakers is narrowing as Ford is bouncing back, and Hyundai is gaining market share.
After ending the run of its V-10 NSX supercar project in 2008, the company is redoubling efforts to improve fuel efficiency to prevent other carmakers from gaining market share.
Tomohiko Kawanabe, president of Honda's research and development unit, said that the factors that affect the delayed release of a revamped Civic compact are issues with the size and the fuel economy.