Saturday, October 30, 2010

SEMA: HPP Comes up with its own Trans-Am Camaro kit

The last time we heard from Heide Performance Products (HPP), the Michigan-based tuner showcased a Daytona conversion for Dodge's Challenger. Keeping with the vintage theme, HPP is now ready to show its next pony car conversion - a Camaro-based Trans-Am kit - at this year's SEMA show in Vegas.

As with all the other Firebird body kits out there (Lingenfelter's, ASC's, etc), HPP's version does its best to bring back the good-ol' days of the screaming chicken. The results, as with any "we're selling you memories" conversion, vary.

Regarding the proposition of selling this conversion (for anything other than the collectability factor), I don't see a point. Pontiac is D-E-A-D, it's not coming back, and that means anyone's "new" Trans-Am will forever be a Chevy wearing a costume. It's similar to having a Plymouth nameplate on a modern Chrysler or Dodge; the vintage naming works for the Daytona, but not for the Superbird.

Alongside HPP's Trans-Am will be a body kit for the Camaro that helps give Chevy's kinda-sorta-dated sports coupe some extra flair. Also, HPP will have a Camaro wearing an HPP T-Top kit, too. Expect more info, including pics, pricing, and power, as it becomes available.
By Phil Alex

Source (with more pic's!);

Honda, Hyundai issue anti-used-parts memos, junkyards object

The Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) issued a formal complaint letter with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against two car manufacturers, Hyundai Motor America and American Honda. Both companies released statements that warn against the use of recycled auto parts, and indicate that their use will void vehicle warranties issued by the companies. ARA said those statements and their threatened warranty refusals could be violations of the Magnuson-Moss Act.

Use of these recycled parts, a $22-billion industry, has been widely accepted for decades and there is a long track record of their successful use, ARA said. Recycled parts are original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. They are fully functional and are in many cases identical to the original parts Hyundai Motor America and American Honda are requiring, according to ARA. Recycled parts were new OEM parts at some point, yet both Hyundai Motor America and American Honda are calling for the use of their own new parts in repairs.

“Neither manufacturer has provided any evidence that parts unaffected by an accident become inadequate once reused, which begs the question why their use is not supported by either company,” ARA’s Chief Executive Officer Michael E. Wilson states in his appeal to the FTC.
“Following the logic held by these companies, as soon as a new Hyundai, Honda or Acura drives off the lot, its parts are unsuitable for use as replacement parts in another vehicle, implying that the parts are unfit for use as soon as the car drives off the lot.”

In addition, recycled parts have several additional benefits compared to new parts:
Recycled parts allow consumers to save on costs while using parts identical to new OEM parts.

Recycled parts are better for the environment, since no additional resources or energy were used to create an unnecessary new replacement part.

Auto recyclers provide warranties on any recycled part used in a repair, indicating that recycled parts are not used in an attempt to cut corners with customers. "We believe the statements made by Hyundai Motor America and America Honda are part of a concerted effort among automobile manufacturers to limit competition in the automotive parts market to try to limit their competition,” said Wilson.

Source (via Autoblog);

Friday, October 29, 2010

NFL Picks Week Eight: In Which I Suffer the Interminable Bye Week

Good lord I hate the bye week. Seriously, it drives me nuts. I know that a week to relax and heal all wounds is a necessity for a team that plays a sport as brutal and physical as American football, but if you're a dedicated soul who spends the first six days of the week anxiously awaiting Sunday, the bye week is like getting a date with the hottest girl in school and being picked up by your parents right before you're about to make out with her.

It's totally lame.

Fortunately, this year I get some vague distraction during the bye week because that whole World Series thing is happening, but since nothing has gone right for any member of the Texas Rangers -- with the possible exception of Bengie Molina -- that may not be lasting much longer. San Francisco has toppled Texas in the first two games with a combination of deciding to actually have an offense and apparently distracting Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton with some particularly unorthodox means. That may not be the best way to throw the recovering drug addict, who claims pot was never really his thing, but he certainly isn't making it up if the local media corroborates his story and it clearly isn't prevented the local establishments from trying to do what they can for the Giants.

Of course, with the Series headed back to Texas for Game 3 on Saturday night, I hardly think the series is over, but a two-game edge with a win over Jesus impersonator Cliff Lee in their back pockets sure makes the Giants look good with five games to go. I suspect the Rangers offense can't be held down for ever, so expect a breakout in Game 3 in Arlington that extends the series into next week, but I can't fathom the Rangers winning four games if it means going through Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez twice.

And that should be fine by everyone. After all, the Rangers have started to give us reasons to root against them, and a parade in San Francisco for the Giants would be pretty groovy. Man.

And by the time the World Series is done I'll actually have the New York Football Giants' Nov. 7 showdown with Seattle to look forward to. Everybody wins. And by then maybe the Devils will have started to crawl out of that cozy 2-7-1 hole they've given themselves to start the season. On the downside, the Knicks, who have a winning record for the first time in more than 23 months may have regressed back to the mean by that time, too, but beggars can't be choosers.

They can embarrass themselves with awful football predictions however. and that's where we're headed right now.

Last week: 7-7-0
Season: 48-51-5

Miami (+2) over CINCINNATI
DALLAS (-7) over Jacksonville
DETROIT (-3) over Washington
KANSAS CITY (-8) over Buffalo
ST. LOUIS (-3) over Carolina
NY JETS (-6) over Green Bay
SAN FRANCISCO (even) over Denver
SAN DIEGO (-4) over Tennessee
Seattle (+4) over OAKLAND
Minnesota (+6) over NEW ENGLAND
Tampa Bay (+3) over ARIZONA
NEW ORLEANS (-1) over Pittsburgh
INDIANAPOLIS (-6) over Houston

That's the games, and a special note to all of you watching Sunday night's once-assumed Super Bowl preview in New Orleans, keep an eye out for Kim Partrick and her Guinness World Records partisans who will be tracking what could be the world's largest Halloween party.

Give it a look-see if you aren't on too much of a sugar high Sunday night.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Honda Insight Gets Tweaked Stop-Start System, Revised MPG Numbers

All this is confirmed for the UK markets, not sure why it wouldn't come here in North America....
Honda has made some improvements to the stop-start system on their Insight hybrid car, allowing drivers to keep the engine off for up to 3 times as long as previous years.

Insights before 2011 could keep the engine stopped for up to 30 seconds, but new improvements for this coming model year allow for the engine to be stopped for as long as 90 seconds. The initial figure was based on a “worst case scenario” of extreme humidity, a car full of passengers and poor weather, but Honda has now revised the rating.

The 90 second engine-off feature will help improve mileage in town by a noticeable amount.

Unfortunately, we’re not sure just how significant the improvement will be, as no official figures have been released yet.


CarScoop: Sneak Preview: Fortune Motorsports' SEMA-Bound Honda CR-Z

It's time for the tuning aficionados over at Fortune Motorsports to give us our first look at their customized Honda CR-Z that will be officially revealed at next week's SEMA Show. Even though this here picture is a computer generated rendering, the tuner claims its "almost 100% accurate" to what we'll see displayed on the floors of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The build incorporates a bodykit with front and rear spoilers, side skirts and race-like mirrors, as well as a carbon fiber hood and larger alloy wheels shod in low profile tires. The photo also reveals a lowered suspension and a pair of body-hugging bucket seats from Zeal.
Still no word if the tuner has fiddled around with the CR-Z's gasoline-electric hybrid system.

Image credits: Fortune Motorsports


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

L.A. auto show: Honda to reveal electric concept

Honda will unveil an electric-vehicle concept on Nov. 17 at the Los Angeles auto show. It will be accompanied by a new platform that shows off Honda's latest plug-in developments.

Honda Motor Co. Ltd. president and CEO Takanobu Ito will be at the press conference, marking the first time the company's global CEO has made a product reveal in Los Angeles.

The show is expected to feature about 20 global reveals, organizers said on Wednesday.


Consumer Reports: Honda, Toyota vehicles most trouble-free

Sorry about the small pic, it's as big as I could find....
DETROIT — The most problem-free cars and trucks are made by Honda and Toyota, but U.S. automakers Ford and General Motors are closing the gap in quality, according to an annual survey by Consumer Reports magazine.

Ford and GM continue to narrow the disparity that once separated Asia-based automakers from their Detroit rivals. Large overhauls of American car companies in the last few years have resulted in fewer brands and better vehicles from Detroit.

For the third year in a row, Toyota's Scion had the fewest problems of any brand in the survey.

It was followed by Porsche, Acura, Honda, and Nissan's Infiniti luxury brand. The Toyota brand ranked sixth, down from third last year. It was followed by Subaru and Volvo. Lexus, which had been a top finisher in past years, fell to ninth. Ford was 10th, but rose from 16th the previous year.

Consumer Reports rankings, released Tuesday, are widely used by buyers shopping for cars and trucks. The magazine ranks No. 3 on the list of information sources used by Americans to pick vehicles, topped only by brand loyalty and recommendations from friends and family.

Scion, Toyota's youth brand, was tops because it sells just three models, the xD hatchback, xB wagon and tC coupe. Those models haven't been revamped recently. As a result, they have fewer reliability problems, said David Champion, senior director of auto testing for Consumer Reports.

Toyota generally fared well in the survey despite recalling more than 10 million vehicles worldwide for safety problems including sticky gas pedals, floor mats that can trap accelerators and brake fluid leaks.

"Toyota's taken a slight knock from the issues with their recalls," Champion said.

He said the magazine's survey asks owners to ignore recalls unless they have experienced a problem, easing the impact. Toyota's luxury brand, Lexus, has expanded its model lineup and the quality has slipped, he said.

The survey of about 960,000 of the magazine's subscribers also restored recommended ratings for eight recalled Toyota brand models.

Toyota in January recalled 2.3 million vehicles in the U.S. due to sticky gas pedals, including the 2009-10 RAV4 crossover, 2009-10 Corolla, the 2009-10 Matrix hatchback, the 2005-10 Avalon, the 2007-10 Camry, the 2010 Highlander crossover, the 2007-10 Tundra pickup and the 2008-10 Sequoia SUV models.

It stopped selling the models until the vehicles on dealer lots were fixed. When sales were halted, Consumer Reports yanked the recommended ratings.

Champion said Honda is the top manufacturer for reliability, with the Honda and Acura brands consistently at the top of the survey due to a continued emphasis on quality.

Champion said the Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford has several individual models that have better quality than Toyotas. Ford's quality resurgence was led by the Fusion midsize sedan, which outranked Honda's Accord and Toyota's Camry, two of the most reliable cars on the road.

Ford's improvements began five years ago and have continued, Champion said.

General Motors showed the most improvement. GM had 69 models with average or better reliability, up from only 21 last year. GM's top-ranked brand was Chevrolet at 17, up from 25 last year.

GM shed some poor-quality models when it got rid of Saturn, Hummer and Pontiac, Champion said, and its new models like the Chevrolet Equinox crossover and Buick LaCrosse sedan are performing well.

The Chrysler brand was ranked last of 27 brands shown in the survey, the magazine said, while Jeep ranked 20th and Dodge was 24th. No Chrysler vehicles scored above average in reliability.

Champion said the company under its previous owners cut costs, and it is showing in the quality rankings. The company's in the process of updating its entire model lineup. New models like the Jeep Grand Cherokee are showing promise.

The most reliable vehicle in the survey was the Porsche Boxster sports car, while the least reliable was the Jaguar XF luxury car.

Complete rankings and recommendations will be revealed in the magazine's December issue.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Honda Short Film on Sunday Nov 07, 2010

TORRANCE, Calif., Oct 26, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- As part of the "DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE" Documentary Series, Honda will debut its seventh short-film documentary, "Into the Unknown," at on Sunday, Nov. 7. That evening, a 90-second trailer for the new short-film documentary will air during the premiere of National Geographic Channel's "Great Migrations," an epic miniseries event that takes viewers around the world on the arduous journeys millions of animals undertake to ensure the survival of their species. Today Honda's more than 599,000 Facebook fans, as well as its YouTube channel viewers, will get a sneak peek of "Into the Unknown."

"Honda's 'Power of Dreams' marketing spotlights human stories of perseverance, including our long-standing engineering commitment to develop cleaner forms of mobility," said Barbara Ponce, manager of corporate advertising for American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "Our corporate film series naturally aligns with the compelling 'Great Migrations'' themes of resolve and ingenuity. The inspiring content and cutting-edge caliber of 'Great Migrations' parallels the uplifting stories and cinematic quality of our 'DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE' Documentary Series."
Directed by Ondi Timoner, the only filmmaker to twice win the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, with producers, "Into the Unknown" celebrates those who challenge the impossible and are motivated to solve problems and make a difference in society. The film features perspectives from a professional diver, a professional mountain climber, a retired NASA astronaut, Honda associates and engineers, and others who tell personal stories of exhilarating accomplishments. For example, Tatsuya Okabe, Ph.D., Honda chief engineer of brain-machine interface, describes how his research of the brain helps advance science to improve mobility for people who are physically challenged.

"Our latest 'DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE' film explores some of Honda's most amazing R&D ventures--brain-machine interface, robotics, advanced safety technology--but at the heart of the film is the idea that society has made its greatest advances thanks to the efforts of a few pioneering explorers, inventors and thinkers who were brave enough to make the leap into the unknown," said writer and producer Todd Carey of RPA, Honda's longstanding advertising agency of record.

As a presenting sponsor, Honda worked with National Geographic Channel to develop a custom cross-platform marketing campaign specifically designed to align Honda's corporate "Power of Dreams" campaign with the spirit of "Great Migrations'" epic tale of life on the move.
The robust on- and off-air campaign will reach millions nationwide and will include significant exposure through National Geographic Channel's many brand extensions, including web and mobile, VOD, home video, licensed products, educational outreach, consumer events and more.
During the month leading up to the premiere of "Into the Unknown," Honda worked with social media agency bigMETHOD to ignite dialogue about six existing films in the "DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE" Documentary Series. The social media program linked the documentary series' themes to original perspectives of consumers, thought leaders, and other organizations through digital communication channels. Participating contributors offered their unique insights and perspectives independent of Honda's viewpoint. The official Honda Facebook page serves as the hub for discussion (

Racing Against Time Week brought together thought leaders and bloggers in the green, energy and automotive spaces. During Dreams vs. Nightmares Week, Honda partnered with to create a custom environment and explore the impact of dreams. Kick Out the Ladder Week featured written and video contributions discussing how corporate philosophies allow for innovation and lead to success. Mobility 2088 Week will ask the Honda community to submit their thoughts on what transportation will look like in the year 2088. And, Failure: The Secret to Success Week will ask thought leaders to provide personal stories on past experiences they've had with failure that ultimately led them to success.

Launched in January 2009, the "DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE" Documentary Series is intended to speak to both the hearts and minds of consumers by revealing stories of Honda's corporate philosophy at work through an intimate multimedia, interactive website. The campaign strategy was developed by RPA.

The campaign targets 18- to 49-year-old adults who are comfortable with technology, who value authenticity, and who are drawn to brands they can relate to, connect with, or admire.

Film Chief Creative Officer: David Smith Writers: Todd Carey, Curt Johnson Agency Producer: Isadora Chesler Executive Producers: Barbara Ponce, Jon Kamen, Frank Scherma, Frank Stiefel, Justin Wilkes Production Company: Producer: Liz Bradley, Todd Carey, Curt Johnson Director: Ondi Timoner DP/Lighting/Cameraman: Andrij Parekh Editor: Ron Patane/Outpost Digital Original Soundtrack: Q Department. Post Production: Outpost Digital Graphic Designer: Dave Dimeola Photographer: Davi Russo

Interactive Chief Creative Officer: David Smith Executive Producer, Content: Gary Paticoff Creative Director/Art: Curt Johnson Associate Creative Director/Copy: Todd Carey Senior Art Director/Art: David Mesfin Senior Copywriter: Brenna Hajek User Experience Lead: Alex Yra Technology Director: Scott Westerfield Technologist/Flash: Jeff Siegal

Inside Line: 2012 Honda Fit Hybrid First Drive

No immediate plans for this coming to North America....
The Honda Hybrid We've Been Waiting for
By Peter Nunn, Contributor

There's little doubt that Honda has a mixed record with hybrids. The original Civic Hybrid was well received, but its successor never achieved Prius-like mpg, while more recent entries like the Insight and CR-Z have garnered complaints for their dynamics and styling alike. However, with the launch of the new 2012 Honda Fit Hybrid in Japan, Honda may have at last found the right formula for green car success.

We get our turn behind the wheel of Honda's new eco warrior on the streets of Tokyo, but this car would make a lot of sense in the U.S., too. Cheaper and nicer to drive than the Insight — with all the space and practicality of the regular Fit — the Fit Hybrid exudes a sophisticated all-round feel. And it backs that all up with some pretty tidy fuel economy and CO2 emissions numbers.
Too bad, then, that Honda says the Fit Hybrid won't come to the U.S.

Simple Hybrid Solution
Already on sale in Japan (and slated for select European markets in early 2011), the subcompact 2012 Honda Fit Hybrid borrows the Insight's 1.3-liter IMA gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain. The Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system drives the hatchback's front wheels and stows its compact battery pack and power control unit neatly beneath the cargo floor. This packaging has allowed Honda to preserve the Fit's signature million-way-folding rear seats on the hybrid model.

Once again, it's a simple, efficient engineering solution from Honda, one that sees the Fit Hybrid turn in a high of 30 km per liter (equivalent to about 71 mpg) on Japan's generous 10.15-mode fuel cycle, coupled with CO2 emissions of just 77.4 g/km.

Not bad, but here's some perspective: The Toyota Prius is a heavier car with a larger-displacement 1.8-liter gas engine, yet it actually turns in the equivalent of 89 mpg under the same test conditions and earns an even cleaner emissions rating of 61 g/km. Ouch.
So, the Fit Hybrid isn't going to be the car that knocks the Prius off its perch — not with Honda's current level of IMA technology, at any rate. The hybrid conversion also adds about 220 pounds to the Fit, not to mention the equivalent of over $4,000 to its price tag.

Would you pay over $20,000 for a Fit Hybrid? The American side of Honda doesn't think so, at least not in great enough quantities to justify bringing it over.

More Refined Than the Insight
All these thoughts flash through your mind as you pull open the door and slide behind the wheel for the first time. The regular Honda Fit is already an excellent small car. Is the more highbrow hybrid model really worth it?

In cutthroat Tokyo traffic, the 2012 Honda Fit Hybrid is not without appeal. It feels sharp and lively. It steers well at speed. And it has the kind of body control and low NVH levels that you can only dream of in the Insight.

The basic platform architecture and front strut/rear torsion-beam suspension is the same on the Fit Hybrid and Insight, but Honda has resolved spring and damper rates far more successfully this time. The Fit Hybrid has a supple, well-controlled ride that wouldn't shame an Accord.

That said, the Honda Fit Hybrid is by no means a sporty car. Its electric-assist power steering is low on feedback as we round a corner in Tokyo's bustling Shibuya district. And, of course, if you push the little front-driver too hard, it understeers and feels soggy. Encouraging for a Honda, though, the hybrid Fit's brakes feel powerful, with a strong initial bite and an easily modulated pedal.

Respectably Quick
As on the Insight, the hybrid Fit's 1.3-liter gasoline four-cylinder develops 88 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 88 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. And as ever, the engine is peerlessly smooth, free-revving and well matched to Honda's continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The hatchback's small, front-drive electric motor is good for 13 hp at 1,500 rpm and 58 lb-ft of torque at 1,000 rpm. It lurks in the background, ever ready to provide an extra slug of power when needed or charge the nickel-metal hydride hybrid battery pack as required. Honda rates the IMA system's combined output at 98 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque.

The gas engine shuts down when you come to a halt to save fuel and emissions, but you still can't travel any meaningful distance in pure EV mode, as you can with the Prius. Then again, the Prius often feels numb, even sterile, while the Honda Fit Hybrid drives pretty much like a conventional car.

Honda won't offer up a 0-60-mph estimate, but the Fit feels respectably quick, helped along by useful low-range torque courtesy of the electric motor.

If you're feeling pious, you can press the green Eco button, which softens throttle response, amps up the regenerative braking and reduces air-conditioner oomph to promote more fuel-efficient driving. As you drive, there's a small hybrid flow meter in front of you, showing the direction of the current and, as in the Insight, the speedometer groovily changes color (blue to green) to match your eco driving.

Even using Eco mode, we don't get anywhere near that carefully orchestrated 70.6-mpg test bed figure during our tour of Tokyo. Still, if this hatchback comes to the U.S. as the 2012 Honda Fit Hybrid, we expect it to do much better than the current gasoline Fit's ho-hum 28 city/35 highway mpg rating.

We Want a 2012 Fit Hybrid
Honda has been wily with its pricing strategy for the Fit Hybrid in Japan. The hybrid Fit starts at 1.6 million yen, which by today's exchange rates, comes out to the equivalent of $19,500. In contrast, the third-generation Prius costs Japanese customers 2.1 million yen (about $25,000), while Honda's own Insight runs you 1.9 million (about $23,000). You shouldn't read too much into those prices, but they give you an idea how 2012 Honda Fit Hybrid prices might shape out in the United States.

The risk, of course, is that Honda might cannibalize its own sales with this new, value-priced Fit Hybrid — both in Japan and the U.S. The automaker already has three hybrids in this price territory, and the trump card, a Civic Hybrid reportedly capable of beating the Prius in the mpg race, is headed our way in late 2011.

We're not sure how much room this leaves for a U.S.-spec 2012 Honda Fit Hybrid. What we do know is that Honda has delivered on a cool, effective new hybrid with a lot more utility than either the Insight or CR-Z. As far as we're concerned, it's Honda's most appealing hybrid to date.


Monday, October 25, 2010

The Curious Case of Bengie Molina

When the always interesting Brian Wilson struck out Ryan Howard looking to end Game 6 of the 2010 NLCS, several noteworthy things were accomplished. Perhaps most importantly, the Philadelphia Phillies were stopped in their hunt for a third consecutive National League pennant, which means that a measure of sanity and justice has been restored to the world, and that I can watch the World Series again without contemplating if I'm a masochist.

All good things.

This will also provide us the chance to see a new and interesting World Series champion, either the Texas Rangers, who were previously one of three franchises -- along with Seattle and Washington -- to never appear in the World Series, or the San Francisco Giants, who have not won a championship in 56 years and not once since moving to San Francisco.

But perhaps most interestingly, this matchup is providing us with the perplexing situation of those always ubiquitous Molina brothers. Bengie and Jose Molina already have World Series rings from their years in Anaheim and Jose's season in New York last year, while Yadier Molina won a title with St. Louis in 2006. Interestingly, the three always tend to wind up with a big hit, or at least as good as a .274, .236 and .268 career light-hitting catcher can, and this time Bengie didn't disappoint, whopping a massive three-run homer in Game 4 of the ALCS that woudl eventually help to topple the mighty Yankees and send the Rangers to their first ever World Series. And perhaps his biggest reward is that he gets to see his old teammates and is guaranteed a Championship ring in what might be his final season.

Wait, what? Doesn't he still have to win four more games to do that? Apparently, the answer is, no, not really.

See, Bengie's Texas teammates will have to scratch and claw their way towards a ring, but for the last three seasons he was helping to groom a young pair of pitchers named Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain while playing behind the plate for San Francisco. And in January, the career defensive wiz ponied up for one more go-around with San Francisco at the bargain rate of $4.5 million. But that Giants bullpen needed some help, so with Buster Posey needing no more seasoning at the minor league level, Bengie Molina was shipped off to Arlington in exchange for reliever Chris Ray and a player to be named later, and the paths of Bengie Molina and the San Francisco Giants were never to cross again.

Right? Right.

Well, that isn't exactly how it turned out, and this most unusual of World Series matchups has now pitted the elder Molina against his old mates, which should add an interesting wrinkle considering that few people are probably more capable of breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of San Francisco's tremendous pitching rotation than the almost defensively legendary Molina.

I don't know about you, but that certainly seems like quite the edge to me. But then again, Lincecum and Cain are pretty nasty when they want to be, so the fact that Texas will still have to, you know, swing the bat, could give the edge back to Gigantes.

Either way, I think this will be a great series because it is two older franchises with relatively little to claim in the way of championships in the past 50 years that happen to be playing extremely well right now. I'm also pretty sure I'm the only person in the city of New York who cares.

But regardless, the most interesting thing to me is Molina, who aside from being, potentially, an extremely valuable X-Factor, also seems to be guaranteed a ring no matter what, considering he was on both of these teams for significant chunks of the season. Molina is only the sixth to turn the trick in baseball history, and the first in 12 years since journeyman reliever Jim Bruske spent parts of 1998 with both the Yankees and Padres -- though not on a World Series roster.

In case you're wondering, the immortal Jack Kramer, Johnny Schmitz, Sid Monge and Lonnie Smith are the other four.

While Molina might have some complex emotional feelings regarding the Series since he is certainly friendly with most of the players in the Giants' locker room, as a professional he'll certainly be trying his best. And frankly, knowing that he essentially can do no wrong doesn't hurt either, though one might think the Giants could be wary of being so friendly to Molina considering their last World Series appearance.

So what do you people think? Molina gets a ring no matter what happens? Fair? Foul? I'm curious as to what the four people who read this think. Lay it on me.

Oh yeah, and let's say, um, Giants in six.

Japanese car maker steps up efforts to reduce carbon footprint

There are more ways than just making enviro cars to be environmentally friendly....
By Abigail L. Ho
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Recognizing that vehicles are big contributors to pollution, Honda Cars Philippines Inc. is stepping up efforts to reduce its own carbon footprint by implementing various environment-saving measures in its Sta. Rosa, Laguna manufacturing facility.

In a speech during the celebration of the company's 20th anniversary, Honda Philippines president and general manager Hiroshi Shimizu said that from 2006, the car manufacturer had slashed carbon emissions from its production activities by as much as 20 percent.

This was achieved through the implementation of energy demand side management activities, as well as energy efficiency and conservation measures, including the conduct of energy audits
and the installation of energy-efficient equipment and lighting systems.

Shimizu related that the company has also embarked on a waste reduction program that aimed to eliminate manufacturing-related wastes by next year.

Efforts directed at achieving this goal included the reduction and segregation of various waste products, the use of recyclable packaging for the parts that it exports, and the treatment of its hazardous waste materials through cement kiln technology.

Honda Motor Co., the car maker's Japanese parent, is constantly conducting research on automotive technologies that will reduce carbon emissions.

Michio Shinohara, general manager of Honda's environment and safety planning office, said the company was working hard to accelerate the rollout of vehicle models using electromotive technologies.

"The shift to electromotive technologies is one of the most effective ways to reduce carbon emissions,'' he said.

Honda earlier in the year launched a real-world demonstration program of its electric motorcycles and automobiles, in cooperation with Japan's Kumamoto and Saitama prefectures.

These personal mobility products, powered by electromotive technology, were used in a mainstream urban setting to determine the effectiveness of such vehicles under normal driving conditions and to study how the future urban transportation system should be designed to provide the most improvement to overall quality of life.

Honda also sells hybrid vehicles in other markets, but is not inclined to do so until after 2013, when the tariff on such vehicles go down to zero under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement.


Honda’s Asimo Celebrates 10th Bipedal Anniversary

It’ll be ten years on the 31st of October since the day Honda Motor Company’s bipedal Asimo first successfully walked on his own two legs, and Honda plans to celebrate that special day with several events: Honda are creating a large collage and are soliciting submissions of photographs of people with Asimo or other Honda products, or drawings of Asimo; the Honda Welcome Plaza in Aoyama, Tokyo will have a five-day “Asimo Special Week” with demonstrations, conferences with the design team, and handshake events (like booksigning events in bookstores, except with robotic handshakes); and Honda will release an app called “Run with ASIMO” for smartphones (no details on which platform or platforms) which will let users ‘grow’ their own Asimos (by counting steps like a pedometer) and race Asimos between two smartphone users.


Cult Motorsport's Custom Challenger SRT8 Looks Evil

Wow.... just when I thought the Challenger couldn't get any better looking....This Dodge Challenger built for Cult Energy drinks is set to debut in November at SEMA. Built with a one-off, hand-fabricated widebody kit, some Mopar forum fan-boys claim power output's in the 1000 horsepower range.


Source for pic's, check it out, way more photo's; [Not Bland Photography]

Honda India: 2011 Honda Brio City Car on Track

Japanese automaker Honda is rumored to plan the launch of a new entry-level hatchback in India next year. This follows the release of a concept car codenamed CV2 that appeared at the New Delhi Auto Show in early 2010.

The new small car that is set to conquer the Indian market is Brio, which means “funny small car.” This vehicle is likely to enter production next year for the Chinese, Indian, and Thailand markets.

Honda Brio will reportedly be smaller than the Honda Jazz.

The small car is expected to be powered by a 1.2-liter petrol engine that currently propels the Jazz, a 5-speed manual and an automatic CVT transmission option. A de-tuned version of this unit is set for providing higher fuel economy and decrease production costs.

Also, the Brio could also come with a three-cylinder 900 cc powered engine variant. The new city car from Honda boasts a futuristic design with rear door handles fixed to the frame, as on the Chevrolet Beat.

The Brio, when launched, is expected to be priced at around Rs. 5 lakh (about US$10,250), making it one of the cheapest Honda cars in the country. It will come as a competitor for the Nissan Micra, Toyota Etios, Maruti Alto or Hyundai Santro.

However, no launch dates have been announced by the automaker, with rumours pointing to a possible such event next year. There are also speculations that Honda will launch the Brio first in Thailand in March 2011 and then roll it out in India during the second half of 2011. Toyota Etios is expected to reach showrooms by December 2010 or January 2011.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Statement by American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Regarding Brake Master Cylinder Seal Recall: Selected 2005 to 2007 Acura RL and 2005 to early 2007 Honda

From what I understand, Honda used the same supplier as Toyota on this latest round of recalls....
American Honda Motor Co., Inc., today announced a voluntary safety recall of 471,820 model year 2005 to 2007 Acura RL and model year 2005 to early 2007 Honda Odyssey vehicles to replace a seal in the brake master cylinder.

Honda made this decision to prevent the unlikely failure of a seal in the brake master cylinder. It is possible for the seal to fail if the Honda Genuine DOT 3 brake fluid installed at the factory is replaced with certain aftermarket brake fluids with reduced lubrication properties, followed by a manual brake bleed with full and rapid stroke of the brake pedal. This could cause the seal to become twisted within its retention groove. The twisted seal could then leak a small amount of brake fluid when the vehicle is used. A brake fluid leak due to this would cause the low brake fluid warning lamp to illuminate until repaired. Failure to repair the master cylinder seal would eventually result in a soft brake pedal and the possible loss of one of the two hydraulic braking circuits.

Drivers of affected vehicles should be aware that this condition will always cause the low brake fluid light to illuminate. If any of the vehicle's malfunction indicators are illuminated, owners should take their vehicle to a dealer for repair immediately.American Honda will begin to notify owners of affected vehicles within the next two months. Acura and Honda dealers will repair affected vehicles free of charge using a revised design of the brake master cylinder seal.

Owners are encouraged to contact their dealers for an appointment once notification is received by mail; owners of these vehicles can also periodically check for updates for Acura vehicles athref=""> or for Honda vehicles at . Acura owners can call (800) 382-2238; Honda owners can call (800) 999-1009 and select option number 4.


2011 Honda Element Provides Rugged Versatility Inside and Out

I've heard from a pretty reliable source that Honda is seriously considering taking the Element off the market, which would mean no redesign....
The 2011 Honda Element SUV stands ready for adventure with its wide-opening side cargo doors, a wipe-down utility floor and a multitude of seating configurations that range from lounge mode to maximum cargo mode.

The purposeful interior offers a low load-in floor with flat surfaces along with a tall interior ideal for hauling many types of gear. The interior provides seating for four people along with a cargo area that quickly adapts to large items with its flip-up rear seats that fold flat, fold up and to the side, or can be removed altogether (64-plus seating arrangements). Cargo space measures an impressive 74.6 cu-ft. with the rear seats removed. The Element has a water-resistant, urethane-coated utility floor that quickly wipes down and seat fabric that resists moisture.

Element models for 2011 include the rugged and simple Element LX and the more refined Element EX. All Element models are powered by a 2.4-liter i-VTEC® 4-cylinder engine with a five-speed automatic transmission. Available Real Time 4WD™ enhances all-weather traction. EPA city/highway/combined fuel-economy ratings1 are 20/25/22 miles per gallon for two-wheel-drive models and 19/24/21 miles per gallon for Real Time 4WD models.

The Element LX comes standard with a 4-speaker AM/FM audio system with a CD player, air conditioning, cruise control, power windows and remote entry. The Element EX adds a 270-watt high-output audio system, XM® Radio, CD player-based MP3/WMA™2 capability, an auxiliary audio input for MP3 players or other audio devices, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and seven speakers including a 6.5-inch subwoofer.

All models include numerous storage bins and beverage holders for items such as mobile phones, audio players and drinks. Storage areas include: a large, three-bin tray above the glove box; a modular three-compartment overhead storage bin (EX); seat back storage (EX); six hooks for strapping down bikes or other bulky gear; and door storage pockets on all four doors. The Element EX exclusively has a convertible center console with a removable cooler/storage box.

The Element's fully independent suspension uses a front MacPherson strut and a rear compact double wishbone designs for responsive handling and a comfortable ride. A 101.4-inch wheelbase contributes to a compact exterior size. An ultra-tight turning diameter of 34.9-feet provides for excellent maneuverability in tight quarters. Element LX and EX models are equipped with 16-inch wheels (steel on LX, alloy on EX) with all-season P215/70R16 tires. Additional LX and EX standard features include power rack-and-pinion steering and front and rear stabilizer bars.

The all-aluminum Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC) engine produces 166-maximum horsepower at 5800 RPM and 161 lb-ft. of maximum torque at 4000 RPM. The Element's i-VTEC variable valve timing system enhances low RPM torque while also delivering high RPM horsepower. The standard five-speed automatic transmission features Grade Logic Control to minimize "gear hunting" on hilly roads. The available Real Time 4WD system enhance all-weather and light-duty off-road capabilities when driving in rain, snow, dirt roads and sandy conditions by sending power to the rear wheels when the front drive wheels experience a traction loss during acceleration.

Standard safety equipment includes: Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®); a pedestrian injury mitigation design in the front of the vehicle; dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags; side-curtain airbags with a rollover sensor; front side airbags with a passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); active front seat head restraints; an anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist; a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS); and active front-seat head restraints.

1 The Element is assembled in Ohio at the Honda of America Mfg., Inc., East Liberty Auto Plant using domestic and globally sourced parts.

2 Based on 2011 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.Windows Media® Audio is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.


JDM Acura RL Receiving 6A and New Tire Noise Silencer Technology

The Acura RL is undergoing a mid-model refresh in Japan, where it is known as the Honda Legend.

As far as we can tell from Honda's Japanese release (thanks, Google Translate), the Legend will soon be getting a six-speed automatic transmission. That transmission will pair to the 3.7-liter V-6 producing 300 horsepower in the U.S. version, with SH-AWD.

The 2010 RL is rated 16/22 mpg city/highway. When the MDX -- with the same engine -- received the six-speed automatic, mileage improved by 1 mpg in the city and on the highway.

The other news for the JDM Acura RL is new technology involving the 18-inch wheels you see in the photo of the silver Legend. Honda says the wheels reduce tire noise. We'd hesitate to explain the technology using the jumbled English in the translated release, but an advancement making the RL quieter could help distinguish the car from the larger, more powerful, and less expensive TL sedan.

Honda hopes to sell just 600 Honda Legends per year in Japan, according to the release. For a comparison, the Acura RL has sold 1477 units through the first nine months of 2010.

Acura has yet to offer any information on the 2011 RL, which is also not yet rated by the EPA for mileage. A six-speed automatic is possibly in the cards for the 2011 RL. Do you think Acura will also include the noise silencer wheel technology?


Friday, October 22, 2010

NFL Picks Week Seven: In Which I Tell You About Buffalo

Yes, some of you might have noticed that I didn't write anything at all this week. One of you, in fact, demanded to know why I hadn't said anything about the Giants' impressive 3-1 (now 3-2) series lead over the Phillies. Come to think of it, that person may be the only one who reads this with any regularity. Either way, fear not, because I have a justified reason for being so damn lazy with updating this little-trafficked writing space.

And that is because of the beautiful city of Buffalo, which you see to your right. The Queen City is a remarkable place in just about every way and if you have a chance to visit, well, the food is pretty good.

The beer, too.

Either way, I was unable to write and entertain you all because I was on a business trip up to the shores of Lake Erie in Western New York where I got to see the 2010 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Inductions. And if you didn't know that, you clearly weren't talking to me at all this week. Or at least you weren't having me foist my stories in your face the entire time. Either is possible.

I won't begrudge you for not having read them, but know that you missed out on brilliance.

In any event, I'm back now, and fear not, I have, in fact been paying attention to those wild and crazy stories of the day, namely the fact that if the San Francisco Giants can win one more game I will officially be able to watch the World Series this year, but also the very interesting debate going on over the new rules the NFL has levied regarding dangerous hits and tackles.

I have my own ideas regarding a fairly unorthodox solution, which would be to decrease the effectiveness of pads. Why? Because if you don't feel like your body is covered in armor, you won't use it as a missile. Aussie Rules Football and Rugby are fraught with tons of tackling with almost no padding whatsoever. And that's because it's tackling, not body launching. Players are taught proper form where they square up and wrap an opposing player before taking him to the ground because they have to defend themselves as well as their opponent from injury. American football has grown into a game where this is considered unnecessary by men who feel so protected by their equipment that they assume an air of invincibility.

Now, that said, do I really think the NFL should decrease the protectiveness of its equipment? No, of course not. I think the NFL should accept that its a violent game they make their bread with, that split-second defensive reactions will inevitably lead to injuries and that simply fining a player won't undo years of ingrained psychological training to value toughness and intensity above personal safety.

Punishing the players financially, is not the answer, and the fact that these dangers are an inherent risk of the game is simply evidence that an 18-game schedule is a foolish idea.

The 16-game schedule works out just fine, however. And we've got plenty of those 16 games to talk about this weekend, so let's get on with it.

Last Week: 5-8-1
Season: 41-44-5

ATLANTA (-4) over Cincinnati
Washington (+3) over CHICAGO
TENNESSEE (-3) over Philadelphia
Jacksonville (+10) over KANSAS CITY
Pittsburgh (-3) over MIAMI
NEW ORLEANS (-14) over Cleveland
St. Louis (+3) over TAMPA BAY
San Francisco (-3) over CAROLINA
BALTIMORE (-14) over Buffalo
SEATTLE (-7) over Arizona
DENVER  (-9) over Oakland
SAN DIEGO (-3) over New England
GREEN BAY (-3) over Minnesota
NY Giants (+4) over DALLAS

Those are your ironclad locks, people. Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Honda Design Concept: The Honda AIR

Honda Air

The Honda Air concept is a vision of the future of lightweight and alternative fuel performance vehicles; a coastal cruiser for the aggressive lifestyle. Inspired by the modern roller coaster as well as skydiving wing-suits, the Air is powered by a compressed air and pneumatic regulator system. It utilizes turbo vacuums and external air-flow to regenerate tank pressure for extended range and increased boost for an estimated 100 miles. The chassis doubles as the master tank and all components, including seating, are mounted to the central chassis/tank to eliminate redundant structure and reduce overall weight.

Vegetable based polymer panels and fairings protect occupants, maintaining the solid Honda method; safety for everyone. The Air’s cockpit and package maintain the aggressive human packaging of a modern roller coaster aimed at maximizing the open air experience. In order to reduce weight and increase dynamic performance, a hub-less wheel and drive system eliminates the use of heavy drive train components. Glass reinforced seating panels, urethane tire composition and skeletal sub-frame components combine for drastic weight savings. Using a Honda generator / air compressor at home or tire filler at your local filling station, the main tanks and reserves can be filled quickly and safely.

At just under 800 lbs., the powerful anthem of pneumatic propulsion and a character unlike any zero-emission vehicle exemplifies Honda’s concept of fun to drive. The pow[air] of dreams.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Auto Channel: 2011 Honda Odyssey Review

Honda Odyssey for 2011
By Thom CannellSenior EditorDetroit Bureau The Auto Channel

Why does Honda have the guts to develop an all-new minivan when GM and Ford have abandoned the market? Though sales have dropped, annual sales of half a million per year makes the minivan market larger than many and, one supposes, profitable. And why does Honda think it can outsmart perennial leader Chrysler? That is the story.

Today’s minivan intenders and prospectors are the first kids who to grow up inside those early boxes on wheels. As infants, toddlers and adolescents they were car seated, booster seated, soccer-baseball-football-hockey trans-sported in minivans and very likely went to their proms aboard a minivan (not to mention the extreme likelihood their first kiss occurred behind a sliding door). These new and soon-to-be parents are, at least potentially, not put off by the image of soccer mom and car pool carrier, though research says they lust for BMWs, S/CUVs and Mustangs.

For them, Honda has built a minivan that combines the best minivan attributes along with sport sedan styling while offering sufficient technology to inspire the next FaceBook-like leap of imagination. In short, the 2011 Odyssey easily overcomes its potentially dowdy image.

The new Odyssey was introduced at the Chicago Auto Show as a concept and is little changed. Its signature lightning bolt zigzag side view revitalizes its necessarily boxlike shape and creates an appearance that is sleek and swift, if not racy. Production versions seen either head on or from the rear to be very stylish, better proportioned than most non-sedans of any ilk, and not at all like a brick or barn side. A recent brief test drive disclosed other facts about Odyssey.

Honda asserts that Odyssey has great technology, enviable power and fuel economy, and driving characteristics more sedan than van. These are reasonable claims and we have only minor quibbles about them. Certainly Honda’s power train expertise and the V-6 engine that drives the vehicle is almost magically smooth and complex, shifting seamlessly from using all six cylinders to accelerate briskly and then to four, or even three cylinders to cruise economically. This is not new, but the 3.5-liter 248 hp i-VETEC retains all of its magic and mojo. Mated to a five or six-speed automatic transmission (who would want anything else?), it powers the two and a quarter-ton vehicle to highway speed with grace and finesse. Any transition from powerful passing to more economical cruising goes almost totally unnoticed and five-speed versions deliver 18 mpg City and 27 Highway for a combined 21 mpg average (+1 mpg for 6-speed transmission-equipped models).

Honda also says the vehicle has sporty driving character with a 56/44% weight distribution and improved brakes. Clearly it aspires to sportiness, riding solidly over bad and worse roads while delivering responsive directionality in rain. However the steering is somewhat on the rubber-bandish side of direct when moving off center for our tastes and, while boasting a supportive and massively rigid chassis that never puts a tire wrong, cannot be described as actually sporty. Despite minor negatives (we thought the brakes exhibited more than a hint of sogginess, though solid), Odyssey is better connected to the road than any minivan we’ve driven.

Where Odyssey truly displays differentiation is in its adaptability and interior style. For instance, the front door bins might accommodate most of a paperback library or the most capacious clutch bag while holding any manner of beverage container. The way its multitude of interior surfaces creates harmony would be more familiar to shoppers of Bergdorf Goodman’s or Lord & Taylor than Gap, American Eagle, or Forever 21.

Instruments are clear and the center stack that holds controls for climate and entertainment could be delivered as your den’s media center, complete with a large video screen. That screen—navigation, not television—is easy to understand—once you understand it. We had trouble figuring out how to change mapping scale; it is blindingly obvious once understood. The nav screen is used for a multitude of operations: climate control, rear view camera, incoming call numbers, XM and CD information, and traffic map display.

Depending on model (an LX starts at $27,800 plus destination to the ultra-premium Touring Elite at $43,250) more features are piled on, from the navigation system to humidity-controlled climate control, a variety of audio systems, and a “must have” 16.2” rear video display that can show two channels (video or game systems) simultaneous. How’s that for keeping the back seat free of disputes?

Regardless of price, the functions of a minivan are retained and improved. The third row seat is, as a matter of fact, comfortable for adults of more than modest size and access to that former purgatory is truly easy enough for a child’s muscles. The 60/40 split third row Magic Seat now folds into the floor with a single tug of the pull-rope and the front center console is removable. If you wish, (removable) second row seating can slide outward, and back in to increase elbow room or ease access to the third row. Heck, there’s even a six-pack sized cool box and a bin just for your mobile devices (think handsfree.) This is a very well developed minivan, one conceived, designed, engineered and built in the US.


RBM Camaro to muscle into SEMA 2010

I think I just drooled all over my keyboard.... this looks so hot....
Graphic artist Jon Sibal designed this Camaro for RBM - one of 5 of his designs which will make it to the SEMA 2010

Thanks to graphic artist Jon Sibal for his BMW M3 DTM rendering yesterday which gave us an idea of what BMW's return to that racing series may look like.

Now, this 2010 Chevy Camaro for Raging Bull Marketing is a model that Sibal has designed himself. It is one of 5 from the automotive designer that will be making it to the 2010 SEMA show in Las Vegas next month.

Martinez, California-based Raging Bull Marketing (RBM) was so impressed with Sibal's rendering of a Camaro XS that they commissioned him to design this special RBM 2010 Chevrolet Camaro.

The new look features a two-tone paint finish, new front bumper with widebody fenders, widebody quarter panels, original side skirts, vented bonnet, a rear spoiler, 3-piece wheels with a large brake kit and a lowered suspension.

GM is running a poll on its Facebook page for visitors to vote on their favorite custom Chevy Camaro or Silverado HD model that will be displayed at the SEMA show.
Our vote is with Jon Sibal. You too can place your vote here!

Burlapp Find: 2012 Honda FIT Extended?!?

Huh?!? Not sure if this makes sense but here it is anywayz....

Euro 2012 Honda Civic Drawing

Nice find from Burlap....

2012 Toyota Yaris pics leaked

Looks like a big improvement over the current Yaris, hope they do something to that dash as well....
Toyota is getting ready to present a new generation of its Japanese domestic market Vitz supermini, which we will come to know (with a few changes here and there) as the 2012 Yaris.

For this reason, Toyota launched a mini site teasing the new car through some cropped images and text, which unfortunately, is in Japanese - any help with the translation would be appreciated. From what we understand, the new Vitz / Yaris will either be unveiled or is planned to go on sale in Japan, in December.


Honda Odyssey Commercial: The Van Beckons

HondaJet Program Update Released at 2010 NBAA

- Ground function testing underway on first conforming flight test aircraft
- Static stress testing in progress on second conforming aircraft
- Third conforming flight test aircraft in production
- Production cockpit and cabin released

Honda Aircraft Company, Inc., today released at the annual National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention an update to its HondaJet advanced light jet program, including the announcement of ground testing underway on its first conforming flight test aircraft and static structural stress testing in progress on its second conforming aircraft. Also announced was the commencement of assembly of its third conforming flight test aircraft.

With the installation of electrical, hydraulic, mechanical and environmental control systems, the first conforming flight test aircraft has entered the ground testing stage in preparation for first flight. Systems tests already completed on the conforming aircraft include, among others: oxygen, fuel tank and vapor cycle systems tests; landing gear deployment tests; steering and brake tests; flight control tests; power distribution tests; core navigation functions (VOR/ILS/GPS) tests; primary air data and attitude/heading sensor tests; and integrated avionic system functional tests. Additional tests completed at supplier facilities include: DC motor pump extreme environmental condition tests; hydraulic and electrical component tests; landing gear actuator vibration tests; landing gear drop tests; and crew and cabin seat crash tests.

Exterior treatment of the first conforming flight test aircraft also is complete with the application of a new HondaJet paint scheme. Featuring a metallic silver-over-white profile combined with a distinctive sweeping fuselage stripe in dark metallic gray, the aircraft sports a bisecting white and dark metallic gray combination stripe extending from its nose over the upper fuselage, further enhancing the HondaJet's unique image of dynamic performance.

Assembly of the second conforming aircraft - to be used for static structural stress testing - was completed in July. Following control surfaces FAA testing, including rudder and elevator tests, static structural stress tests of the entire aircraft have commenced and included: 100% limit-load wing tests; 100% limit-load horizontal stabilizer tests; wing stiffness tests; landing gear load tests; pylon stiffness tests; and fuselage pressure tests. Static structural stress testing has been undertaken at Honda Aircraft Company's R&D facility on its Greensboro, North Carolina, campus.

"In addition to the more than 500 flight hours we have accumulated on the proof of concept HondaJet, the successful completion of this robust range of static structural stress tests on the conforming aircraft significantly reinforces the advantages of the HondaJet's advanced design," said Michimasa Fujino, Honda Aircraft Company's President and CEO.

All static structural stress tests are conducted utilizing Honda's advanced structural test system. The system incorporates 61 hydraulic actuators and a 2,600-channel data acquisition system within a structural test fixture designed exclusively for HondaJet testing. The entire aircraft can be tested simultaneously to prove static and fatigue strength under various flight- and ground-load conditions. Testing will continue on static test aircraft as the HondaJet program moves through the certification process. The fourth conforming aircraft will be used for fatigue testing scheduled for 2012.

Honda is now focused on assembly of the third conforming aircraft to be used for flight testing of mechanical systems. The fuselage and empennage for this aircraft have been completed, while the wing assembly nears completion. Final assembly of this aircraft is scheduled to begin soon at Honda's R&D facility on its Greensboro campus.

Testing of aircraft systems on conforming flight test aircraft are supported through the implementation of Honda's industry-leading Advanced Systems Integration Test Facility (ASITF). Honda's ASITF confirms before first flight the integration of the aircraft's electrical, avionics, mechanical and flight control systems, including stall warning protection systems (SWPS) and rudder bias systems (RBS). The HondaJet ASITF incorporates a fully representative primary flight control system with a high-fidelity control-loading system.

The HondaJet ASITF also incorporates actual aircraft systems hardware and software, installed in a spatially-representative manner and interconnected with actual aircraft electrical harnesses. Additional simulation capabilities have been integrated to provide real-time simulation of navigation RF data, including GPS.

"Honda's Advanced Systems Integration Test Facility is a powerful tool that will support the most efficient development and certification process possible for the HondaJet. By effectively identifying any developmental issues at the earliest possible stages of the process, our ASITF system will support an accelerated program momentum and, ultimately, help us create the best possible aircraft," said Fujino.

At this year's NBAA, Honda released HondaJet production cockpit and cabin designs featuring production parts, reflecting the quality of materials, colors and finishes to be available in delivery aircraft. The HondaJet's cockpit design has been updated to reflect the maturity of Honda's human factors engineering efforts and flight test evaluations.

Concurrent with the ongoing assembly of flight test aircraft, construction of the HondaJet production facility on the company's Greensboro campus is quickly nearing completion. The 250,000 ft2 production facility is now in the final phase of construction, with interior build-out well underway. The facility is scheduled for completion in early 2011, at which time pre-production preparations and training of production staff will begin. Upon completion, the production facility's two state-of-the-art painting facilities will be utilized to support finishing of additional conforming aircraft, thereby supplementing the painting capacity of Honda's R&D facility on campus. In addition, the HondaJet production facility will incorporate Flight Safety International Level-D, full-motion flight simulators for training of all HondaJet pilots and crew.

Also at this year's NBAA, Honda will conduct demonstrations of its advanced humanoid robot ASIMO to showcase the company's commitment to enhancing and expanding human mobility for the benefit of society. In addition to the design and development of automobiles, motorcycles and power equipment products, Honda's innovative research and development efforts during the past decade have yielded such diverse outcomes as humanoid robotics, walking assist devices, HondaJet, fuel cell electric vehicle technology, thin film solar cells, increased rice crop yields and functional nano-materials.

Based on its belief in the value of technology to address the needs of society, Honda's mission is to develop products that anticipate and satisfy the evolving needs of its customers while meeting society's demand for cleaner, safer, more efficient and sustainable means of transportation and human mobility.

About HondaJetHonda Aircraft Company, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Honda Motor Company, Ltd., began sales of the advanced and innovative HondaJet in October 2006 in the U.S. and has amassed orders for well over 100 aircraft. Scheduled for first delivery in the third quarter of 2012, the $4.5 million HondaJet is Honda's first-ever commercial aircraft and lives up to the company's reputation for dynamic performance together with superior efficiency. The HondaJet proof-of-concept aircraft has accumulated more than 500 flight test hours and attained both a top speed of 420 knots (483 mph) and a maximum altitude of 43,000 ft. in flight testing.

The HondaJet incorporates many innovative technological advances in aviation design, including a unique over-the-wing engine-mount configuration that dramatically improves aircraft performance and fuel efficiency by significantly reducing aerodynamic drag in flight. This innovative approach to airframe design also lowers ground-detected noise when overhead and allows for a more spacious cabin and greater cargo capacity. The HondaJet is powered by two highly fuel-efficient GE Honda HF120 turbofan jet engines.

The production HondaJet flight deck features a Honda-customized Garmin® G3000 next-generation all-glass avionics system incorporating a class-leading layout with three 14-inch landscape-format displays and dual touch-screen controllers for overall avionics control and flight plan entries. The HondaJet Avionics Suite is the most advanced glass flight deck available in any light business jet and provides state-of-the-art integrated avionics functionality featuring split screen MFD capability, satellite weather, graphical synoptics, digital audio, and optional Synthetic Vision.

Learn more about HondaJet at