As a writer that focuses on the automobile, this is the question I hate being asked. First of all, it may expose a bias or preference of one brand over another. I’d like to keep biases out of my work as much as possible, unless something rubbed me the wrong way. It also frees up any brand loyalty that would spark major debates with other motorheads as to defend said brand even though I know the arguments against them.
I know, this theme is getting old. But, consider the entire story of Honda’s luxury brand. Where it started some 35 years ago with two models – the Integra and Legend. The path where it showed the Europeans and Americans that you can deliver on the promise of offering something special and backing it up with a great dealer network and dedicated staff from the Acura division.
In the meantime, the automotive retail business has been working overtime to reinvent itself. They are hungry for inventory, while production is ramping up under safer conditions along the assembly lines. Used cars are becoming scarce, with some auction facilities laying off personnel. However, the rental car companies are trying to reduce excess fleet in the pall of financial issues due to a reduction in travel.
Honda struck pay dirt with the original CR-V back in 1997. It appeared that they found a good vehicle to lead the SUV charge for the brand. It is not to discredit the rebadged Isuzu Rodeo known as the Passport, but the original CR-V was the result of learning how to produce one that attracted the right customer with its capabilities and overall design.
Translation: Japanese cars were thought of as cheap tin boxes that would never make it through a Minnesota winter. That was the mentality of the American consumer until the last couple of decades. It does help that several Japanese automakers set up shop building vehicles on our soil to change our collective minds.