Guest Post by: Trevor Salas of FindTheBest
Honda. What can you say about this household name? For starters, it’s reasonable enough to suggest most of us reading this article have, at one time, found ourselves behind the wheel of a Honda vehicle. For decades now, Honda has been a leading international brand, not just in vehicles, but motorcycles, scooters, dirtbikes and ATVs. This brand diversity is no accident, and the inventive minds at Honda deserve high praise. They have successfully created difficult-to-obtain brand loyalty (especially across multiple industries) that is founded on affordable, reliable and safe machines. Honda targets the “Average Joe”, a hard-working 9-to-5 kind of guy that wants a great car at a price that won’t break the bank. And, with anywhere from 40-60% of the US considered “middle class” (depending on who you ask), why not make Joe your target? Honda discovered what “Joe” needed, and that’s exactly what they gave him.
Take the Civic, Honda’s trademark vehicle. At a price of $15,600 brand new, it’s affordable on almost anyone’s budget, not to mention the money you save at the pump with its estimated 30 combined MPG. Experts love the Civic as well, awarding it a perfect 10 for resale value (Findthebest). Sounds like a winner, right? Boast a 5-star safety rating and make a handsome automobile, and you’ve struck gold! This was Honda’s game plan and a major step in its quest to harness brand loyalty.
Common assumption is that affordable means “cheap,” but Honda dismissed that logic as each model year is consistently inexpensive, yet built to last. True, you won’t get a built-in humidor in a Civic like you will in the new Bentley, but you will get build quality right where it’s needed, like suspension, brakes and interior. This, combined with Honda’s early reputation in the 60s as one of the premier Asian motorcycle manufacturers, launched the company straight into the spotlight, securing a new audience of loyal customers for years to come. Honda is now the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer, the 6th largest automobile manufacturer and takes significant market capitalization with 30% of all U.S. ATV sales. It has built an empire on basics and affordability.
As an entrepreneur, I can recognize when business strategy has paid off. Besides the recent hiccup in the redesigned 2012 Civic, Honda has delivered some of the best vehicles available. Always at the forefront of vehicle technology, Honda will doubtlessly retain brand loyalty for a long time.
** So there’s my take, now what’s your opinion? Does Honda have what it takes to stay a relevant and proactive automaker? Or does another brand have a winning strategy?