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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been trying to find some information on intracompany quality at Honda. More specifically, is a CR-Z made in Japan and shipped over of higher quality than a CR-Z made in the US (don't know of any plans for this yet, hypothetical.) This issue occurred a number of years ago when Ford was making two version of a car, one with a transmission made in the US and one with a transmission made in Japan. Customers eventually started demanding the Japanese made transmissions and were willing to wait for them due to their higher quality build.

Having said that, my CR-Z was made in Suzuka Japan. If it had been assembled in Ohio, would I be worried? I guess previous Accord/Civic owners can answer this one.
 

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I can answer this for you.

I worked at one of Honda's American auto plants, where I assembled Civics and Acuras. Cars for different markets were assembled on the same line in my plant. Although the vast majority were for the US market, there were occasional right-hand drive Civics coming down the line. Various labels pointed to Japan as the destination for the right-drivers. No difference in the assembly process for either (except, of course, where the steering wheel went).

Some of the components going into the right-hand drive cars appeared/felt like they were of higher quality. I may have just imagined this "quality gap", though. My job was removing doors for subassembly as well as installing seat belts, radio antennas, and various other small items.

I wouldn't worry about domestically-produced Hondas. The non-union workforce was quite happy and content and really cared about the quality of the product. Honda was a very nice place to work. I'm not there anymore since I went back to school for engineering.

Hope this helps address any concerns.
 

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I don't believe there have been many opportunities to compare two of the same cars side by side. But there were at one point Japan built Accords that were sold alongside Ohio made cars. I'm not sure if they are still making US Accords in Japan. However, back then I had a customer who wanted to find a Japan made car so we walked the lot till we found a "J" VIN. Out of curiosity, we spent a few minutes trying to find some differences between the Ohio made car sitting next to it. In terms of fit and finish, they were identical and I would venture that long-term the results would be the same. Just one first hand example. (BTW, she did buy the Japan car, old habits die hard I guess)
 

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I don't want to believe that US made products are of lower quality but the Japan built cars tend to do better in initial quality scores. Civic Hybrid, Fit and Insight have all recieved high marks for fit & finish.

Then there are the North American built cars which carry some of the material quality problems. 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour: Interior Build Quality Doesn't Impress Me

Edmunds Crosstour tester:

 

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^^ The "problem" with this comparison is that a Crosstour isn't made in Japan so a 'car for car' comparison is not possible. IOW, there is no way to know how the Crosstour would look if made in Japan, making it hard to separate the materials quality from assembly quality. (which is the variable we're talking about here...I think?)
 

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It's produced in the same plant that made the S2000 and the NSX if that tells you anything about quality.:thumbsup:
From 1989 to 2004, the NSX and s2000 were built at Honda's Tochigi factory. Invitation to work on the assembly of these cars was considered a high honor and one that was earned only after many years of exemplary service. Only in 2004 was production moved to Suzuka.

I can answer this for you.

I worked at one of Honda's American auto plants, where I assembled Civics and Acuras. Cars for different markets were assembled on the same line in my plant. Although the vast majority were for the US market, there were occasional right-hand drive Civics coming down the line. Various labels pointed to Japan as the destination for the right-drivers. No difference in the assembly process for either (except, of course, where the steering wheel went).

Some of the components going into the right-hand drive cars appeared/felt like they were of higher quality. I may have just imagined this "quality gap", though. My job was removing doors for subassembly as well as installing seat belts, radio antennas, and various other small items.

I wouldn't worry about domestically-produced Hondas. The non-union workforce was quite happy and content and really cared about the quality of the product. Honda was a very nice place to work. I'm not there anymore since I went back to school for engineering.

Hope this helps address any concerns.
:thumbsup:
Congratulations on being a part of the success that Honda brought to the manufacture of their cars in the US. I do remember that Consumer Reports studied this some years ago and concluded that the Ohio built cars were on par with the Japan built cars.

All that having been said, I have been pleased that both my Fit and CRZ were Japan built cars. As Colin pointed out old habits die hard. So far the quality of both these cars has continued to exceed my expectations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks guys. That's all pretty helpful. I did find a study in which they looked at a very large data set of Vin numbers at auction and compared what their auction prices were (measure of perceived quality) for cars made in Japan versus those assembled in America within Japanese car companies. The theory was that a difference in auction prices reflected a perception of higher or lower car quality in either America or Japan. Japan had a very slight edge in the study but it was slight.

You all should check out the biography of a man named W. Edwards Deming

W. Edwards Deming - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

He's an American statitician that basically built Japanese dominance in quality after WWII.
 

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I can say that I've owned two Accords that were both built in Ohio. I had my 1991 Accord for six years and I bought it from the original owner. When I sold it it had around 215k miles and had never had any major mechanical failure. The interior had held up very well and with the exception of the shift boot none of the interior trim parts had broken. I can think of just one rattle it had in the RH power seat belt assembly. All of the power accessories (windows, mirrors and such) worked perfectly and had never been serviced or replaced.

I also had a 2006 Accord for just about a year and a half. The only interior complaint about that car is the finish on the big volume knob had already gotten scratched up. Everything else the leather and such all had no problem. Only repairs it ever needed were maintenance items.

I have heard the newest generation Accords have diminished in quality...it seems a lot of that stems from bad materials and not necessarily being poorly assembled.

I cant say my CR-Z is of any higher Or lower quality than either of my previous American built Hondas, seems to be of similar quality to me. I'm not sure that there is a car anymore that's built in both the US and Japan.
 

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The transmission that you speak of was not a Japan v. USA in the same manufacturer thing. Ford had Mazda build the transmissions, as Mazda was using them as well, and a number of them were shipped back to the USA for Ford. Mazda had decided to produce the components to a tighter tolerance leading to a better transmission. I would think that it a single company was having a part produced in multiple locations, they would attempt to make them as similar as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The transmission that you speak of was not a Japan v. USA in the same manufacturer thing. Ford had Mazda build the transmissions, as Mazda was using them as well, and a number of them were shipped back to the USA for Ford. Mazda had decided to produce the components to a tighter tolerance leading to a better transmission. I would think that it a single company was having a part produced in multiple locations, they would attempt to make them as similar as possible.

I thought Ford owned Mazda so it would be a single company. Ford dictated the part designations and accepted tolerance levels for the parts. The American manufacturer were within tolerance levels but the Japanese manufacturer was even closer to the specifications. At least, that's what I read.
 

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just hope that you dont get one that was built on a friday afternoon...
This may be very true of the average N. American, unionized auto worker where they have that, "TGIF, let's rush thru the last 6 bolts so we can hit the bar before the paint guys get there first, beat you to the campground with my keg, get out of my way when I'm running to the punch clock" mentality.
However, the Japanese workforce is well accustomed to working 6 and sometimes 7 day weeks. They see factory work as a lifelong career and there's company pride. The N. Am. auto worker sees his as a "job". There is no comparison of work ethic.
Besides, it doesn't matter if N. Am. built cars are the best ever. They've spent the past 5 decades screwing me over with sub-standard product while being arrogant about it. Such behavior doesn't deserve to be rewarded with a purchase of a new car from them now.
 

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The theory was that a difference in auction prices reflected a perception of higher or lower car quality in either America or Japan. Japan had a very slight edge in the study but it was slight.
It would be an interesting study to see. Especially with an eye for the details. In other words, it makes little sense to say that Japan built S2000's go for higher figure's because they're Japan built, when the reality is; they go for higher figures because they're S2000s.
I have heard the newest generation Accords have diminished in quality...it seems a lot of that stems from bad materials and not necessarily being poorly assembled.
Exactly! This is what I'm trying to say. Materials quality has little to do with assembly quality. And the only way to judge assembly quality is to compare two cars made in two different plants. And, as you noted, there aren't too many cars within the Honda family that are built in North America and Japan.
The American manufacturer were within tolerance levels but the Japanese manufacturer was even closer to the specifications. At least, that's what I read.
And this brings up another issue. I'm sure everybody is familiar with the five speed automatic transmission fiasco from the early 2000s. All of these transmissions were built exclusively in Japan and shipped to North America for final assembly. This made them the only part of the car made in Japan for many Odysseys, TLs, and Accords. So how do we view this statistic? It seems that in this situation the problems were caused by design and not manufacture.
 

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Exactly! This is what I'm trying to say. Materials quality has little to do with assembly quality. And the only way to judge assembly quality is to compare two cars made in two different plants. And, as you noted, there aren't too many cars within the Honda family that are built in North America and Japan.
It might be interesting to compare the Acura TL and the Honda Accord they are built in the same plant but with different materials. I am not familiar with the TL but if it's on par with other Acuras I think you'd find it to be a much nicer car than the Accord. I remember seeing reports of interior problems with 6mo old Accords from the current gen. where as my previous gen. car had pretty much no issues.

From looking at different Honda models, I think this is a problem with just Accords...I don't get this same feeling from the Civic. For some reason it seems they have gone a little cheap on the recent Accord. Personally I don't think I'd buy one now (at least not brand new) if I wanted a less equipped car like an LX I think I could find more for my money elsewhere...and I think only an idiot would buy a loaded Accord when the much nicer, higher quality, and better looking (even with the beak...) TSX is pretty much the same price.
 
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