There’s no point being innovative if you haven’t got the competency behind a product to back it up. Likewise, and particularly in the automotive industry, competency will only get you so far if there’s not the innovation to go with it.
Which brings us nicely to Honda. The once great innovator of the industry, Honda’s halo has slipped somewhat in recent years, the brand now making a range of deeply competent but altogether uninspiring products. Truth be told, Honda hasn’t given us anything to be excited about for years, the likes of the previous Civic Type R, S2000 and NSX, and even its involvement in F1, being long consigned to the history books.
I can remember visiting industry test bed MIRA in 2011 ahead of the launch of the current Civic hatchback, and the engineers looking completely bewildered at why we were probing so much about why there wasn’t going to be a new Civic Type R, and not about how good the perceived quality was of the new car, or how clever it was in the wind tunnel. It’s because stuff like this, interesting and worthy as it is, is not stuff to get excited about. It’s the stuff that fills your news story after the eye-catching intro, or what pushes a purchase over the line after that initial hook. And it’s that lack of an eye-catching intro and initial hook with the products rather than some underlying issue with the brand or quality that Honda has suffered through not having in recent years. As the saying goes, if you’re standing still and not innovating, you’re actually moving backwards. Honda’s sales figures would testify to that.