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Sunday, January 08, 2006


Detroit Auto Show Observations

Day 1 Highlights

My strategy? Walk around the floor and take in the sights and report on developments of interest to me. If you want exhaustive, complete coverage, I highly recommend the official site, MSNAuto.

Honda Sweeps North American Car and Truck of the Year

The show gets off to a start with the announcement that the Civic and Ridgeline win the respective car and truck of the year, the first automaker to sweep in the 13 year history of the award. Last year’s winners were the Chrysler 300/300C and the Ford Escape Hybrid.

The Civic, Honda’s perennial small car champion, has been the entry point in Honda’s successful brand move-up strategy. Get consumers with a first rate, high quality small car and keep moving them up through the company into their other offerings (Accord mid-size, Odyssey Minivan, Honda Pilot SUV, Acura, etc.) The combination of one of the best powertrains in the business plus first class ergonomics and quality were probably they keys to winning the votes of 49 journalists that are in the voting panel. The Civic beat the second placed Ford Fusion by 40 points.

The Ridgeline is Honda’s foray into the pickup market. An unusual execution, it has not sold well, perhaps due to its high base price ($27,000) and unusual styling. The Ridgeline finished ahead of the Nissan Xterra and Ford Explorer.

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