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  TOV Articles > 2004 Civic Si Factory Performance > > Re: "...money well spent"????

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slowhand
Profile for slowhand
"...money well spent"???? [View Article]    (Score: 1, Normal) 03-25-2004 13:19
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So let me get this straight. After spending 4 large plus installation, you end up with:

- stiffer ride and reduced suspension travel, yet the car still understeers
- marginally better acceleration times due to new rubber (representing perhaps 20% of the FP package's intrinsic value)
- poorer brake biasing than stock (so much for the "carefully engineered" part)

I realize TOV is a Honda fan site, but the article's "money well spent" conclusion seems seriously at odds with some of your test results. (As a mental exercise, contrast the value-for-money added by MazdaSpeed to the Protege or Miata.)

Perhaps the positive spin will get you invited back to Tochigi and reacquainted with the CTR--a useful reality check when assessing the FP Kit's "value".

JeffX
Profile for JeffX
weak??!? [View Article]    (Score: 1, Normal) 03-31-2004 10:12
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I'm not sure what you're trying to insinuate, but your out of context quotes do nothing for the "points" you're trying to make.

You (and many others) seem to be missing/overlooking the point that a-spec/fp is a factory authorized AFTERMARKET solution. It's not a factory option, and the product is evaluated as such. As a mental exercise, educate yourself about the difference.

Virtually any AFTERMARKET solution will look like a poor value compared to a true factory option. But you're comparing it to true factory options (mazdaspeed) or vehicles that aren't even offered here (CTR). That's an apples to oranges comparison.

For a "reality check", take a look at a parts catalog from BMW's M-technic division and price some of the "M3" parts for a 330 and you'll see what i'm talking about. Wheels, tires, suspension, and bodywork will quickly ring up to many thousands of dollars.

In case it's still not clear, Honda's accessories division is completely separated from the people who are responsible for developing the vehicles and determining exactly what rolls off the assembly line. For us in the US/Canada, this is currently not an either/or proposition. It's the ONLY option, so by that yardstick the value proposition for the FP setup is quite favorable.

The FP/A-spec group is spawned from Honda's Access/Modulo group in Japan, which has been doing the same thing and offering these products for years, as AFTERMARKET accessories, sold as upgrades to lesser models right alongside the Type R models they get there. The development is largely done there and the pieces are marketed here. There are "grey market" importers who have been selling these same components to Honda and Acura owners in the US for years. American Honda's accessories group wants a piece of that action.

Perhaps the confusion is due to the way the Acura and Honda marketing guys are helping pitch this accessory package and almost listing it as if it's a true factory model. It's not.

In any case, it's not difficult to comprehend the actual conclusion of the article, and I stand by the conclusion. The setup has credible merits, particularly in the way it dramatically improves the car's handling performance. But, as I also mentioned, those improvements come with some compromises - if I were trying to put "spin" on it, why would I bother mentioning them? For some people, the price wouldn't be worth it, but for others who are looking for upgrades to those components anyway, it's a solid option. That was the conclusion of this product review. I don't get it - what's so hard to understand about that?

slowhand wrote:
So let me get this straight. After spending 4 large plus installation, you end up with:

- stiffer ride and reduced suspension travel, yet the car still understeers
- marginally better acceleration times due to new rubber (representing perhaps 20% of the FP package's intrinsic value)
- poorer brake biasing than stock (so much for the "carefully engineered" part)

I realize TOV is a Honda fan site, but the article's "money well spent" conclusion seems seriously at odds with some of your test results. (As a mental exercise, contrast the value-for-money added by MazdaSpeed to the Protege or Miata.)

Perhaps the positive spin will get you invited back to Tochigi and reacquainted with the CTR--a useful reality check when assessing the FP Kit's "value".







TonyEX
Profile for TonyEX
Re: weak??!? [View Article]    (Score: 1, Normal) 03-31-2004 20:25
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Jeff... as you said, I think the fact that these parts are sold as Honda Accesories with AHM's blessing has a lot to do with the perception that the parts should be preinstalled as a factory upgrade.

Yes, compared with aftermarket parts, the prices are in line. But then, when it comes to that industry we realize that the volumes are far smaller and that non recurring costs are far higher. When you deal with a manufacturer, you expect some cost relief due to the economies of mass production and in this particular case, you'd expect at the very least to get a credit from the manufacturer for the parts that are being removed.

I suppose that I don't understand why AHM decided to get into this business to begin with. I guess the dealers ain't making much of it and the customers are upset. Why in the world did AHM do this? It's really a no gain situation with the Civic.

I don't understand the rationale that AHM used when choosing the kits . A 30% premium over the Si's base price that doesn't up the power makes little marketing sense -regardless of who provides the parts, AHM or your local speed parts emporium. The FP kit would made more sense if rather than providing add on body parts had provided a CAI, exhaust and upgraded ECU.

At least in the TL you're only seeing a 12% premium on what is already a sufficiently powerful car. And the competition well... as you said...

BMW wise... hmm.... that's a low blow huh? Everyone knows that BMW parts are pricey beyond reason, but then they sell a more expensive product and well.. there's the "cachet" and "prestige" associated with getting gouged by the German Propeller Boys.

Jeff wrote:
...

You (and many others) seem to be missing/overlooking the point that a-spec/fp is a factory authorized AFTERMARKET solution. It's not a factory option, and the product is evaluated as such. As a mental exercise, educate yourself about the difference.

Virtually any AFTERMARKET solution will look like a poor value compared to a true factory option. But you're comparing it to true factory options (mazdaspeed) or vehicles that aren't even offered here (CTR). That's an apples to oranges comparison.

For a "reality check", take a look at a parts catalog from BMW's M-technic division and price some of the "M3" parts for a 330 and you'll see what i'm talking about. Wheels, tires, suspension, and bodywork will quickly ring up to many thousands of dollars.

In case it's still not clear, Honda's accessories division is completely separated from the people who are responsible for developing the vehicles and determining exactly what rolls off the assembly line. For us in the US/Canada, this is currently not an either/or proposition. It's the ONLY option, so by that yardstick the value proposition for the FP setup is quite favorable.

The FP/A-spec group is spawned from Honda's Access/Modulo group in Japan, which has been doing the same thing and offering these products for years, as AFTERMARKET accessories, sold as upgrades to lesser models right alongside the Type R models they get there. The development is largely done there and the pieces are marketed here. There are "grey market" importers who have been selling these same components to Honda and Acura owners in the US for years. American Honda's accessories group wants a piece of that action.

Perhaps the confusion is due to the way the Acura and Honda marketing guys are helping pitch this accessory package and almost listing it as if it's a true factory model. It's not.













JeffX
Profile for JeffX
Re: weak??!? [View Article]    (Score: 1, Normal) 03-31-2004 20:39
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I guess I could have used SVT as an example - i'm sure their catalog parts are priced in the same range as the FP setup, but M-Technic came to mind first since they've been doing it forever. There are likely a lot more examples I could have used (VW/Audi, MOPAR, AMG...)

It's understandable that not everybody would want the full kit. Personally I don't agree with that strategy, but some buyers are apparently okay with that (they are actually selling).

TonyE wrote:
Jeff... as you said, I think the fact that these parts are sold as Honda Accesories with AHM's blessing has a lot to do with the perception that the parts should be preinstalled as a factory upgrade.

Yes, compared with aftermarket parts, the prices are in line. But then, when it comes to that industry we realize that the volumes are far smaller and that non recurring costs are far higher. When you deal with a manufacturer, you expect some cost relief due to the economies of mass production and in this particular case, you'd expect at the very least to get a credit from the manufacturer for the parts that are being removed.

I suppose that I don't understand why AHM decided to get into this business to begin with. I guess the dealers ain't making much of it and the customers are upset. Why in the world did AHM do this? It's really a no gain situation with the Civic.

I don't understand the rationale that AHM used when choosing the kits . A 30% premium over the Si's base price that doesn't up the power makes little marketing sense -regardless of who provides the parts, AHM or your local speed parts emporium. The FP kit would made more sense if rather than providing add on body parts had provided a CAI, exhaust and upgraded ECU.

At least in the TL you're only seeing a 12% premium on what is already a sufficiently powerful car. And the competition well... as you said...

BMW wise... hmm.... that's a low blow huh? Everyone knows that BMW parts are pricey beyond reason, but then they sell a more expensive product and well.. there's the "cachet" and "prestige" associated with getting gouged by the German Propeller Boys.

Jeff wrote:
...

You (and many others) seem to be missing/overlooking the point that a-spec/fp is a factory authorized AFTERMARKET solution. It's not a factory option, and the product is evaluated as such. As a mental exercise, educate yourself about the difference.

Virtually any AFTERMARKET solution will look like a poor value compared to a true factory option. But you're comparing it to true factory options (mazdaspeed) or vehicles that aren't even offered here (CTR). That's an apples to oranges comparison.

For a "reality check", take a look at a parts catalog from BMW's M-technic division and price some of the "M3" parts for a 330 and you'll see what i'm talking about. Wheels, tires, suspension, and bodywork will quickly ring up to many thousands of dollars.

In case it's still not clear, Honda's accessories division is completely separated from the people who are responsible for developing the vehicles and determining exactly what rolls off the assembly line. For us in the US/Canada, this is currently not an either/or proposition. It's the ONLY option, so by that yardstick the value proposition for the FP setup is quite favorable.

The FP/A-spec group is spawned from Honda's Access/Modulo group in Japan, which has been doing the same thing and offering these products for years, as AFTERMARKET accessories, sold as upgrades to lesser models right alongside the Type R models they get there. The development is largely done there and the pieces are marketed here. There are "grey market" importers who have been selling these same components to Honda and Acura owners in the US for years. American Honda's accessories group wants a piece of that action.

Perhaps the confusion is due to the way the Acura and Honda marketing guys are helping pitch this accessory package and almost listing it as if it's a true factory model. It's not.















NSXman
Profile for NSXman
Re: weak??!? [View Article]    (Score: 1, Normal) 04-01-2004 10:30
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TRD parts are stinking expensive too. I'm not sure where TRD fits in with Toyota as a company, but I personally feel they are one of the key reasons the FP/A-spec came to America.
slowhand
Profile for slowhand
Re: Distinction without a difference [View Article]    (Score: 1, Normal) 04-01-2004 13:07
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Comparing a "factory authorized aftermarket solution" to a "factory option" is hardly apples vs. oranges. The same types of parts are involved--suspension bits, aero kits, wheels and tires. The principal discriminant from the consumer's perspective is the price. Noting that Honda's accessories division is completely separate from vehicle development only serves to highlight how inefficient the former is as a distribution channel for these parts, and how badly US & Canadian consumers have been screwed by not having access to the "factory option" path.

Some of the pricing differential might be justified if the FP / A-spec programs offered the pieces a la carte. But they don't. As monolithic packages, they compare unfavorably both with other factory-sponsored accessory programs, and with the 3rd-party aftermarket.

As for your conclusion, I see upon rereading that the praise is narrower in scope than I first gave it credit for. But the suspension tradeoffs still appear to have unnecessary rough edges that are inconsistent with the "careful engineering" phrase. And the brake biasing issue is just plain sloppy in the context of a Honda factory offering, "aftermarket" or otherwise.

Mechanic
Profile for Mechanic
Re: "...money well spent"???? [View Article]    (Score: 1, Normal) 04-03-2004 15:49
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I'm with Slowhand on this: The Civic Si HFP package is at least $2k over-priced. IMHO King Motorsports' (i.e., Mugen) fully assembled shock/spring package is a much better suspension setup for about $1k. Additionally, because the Mugen package comes fully assembled as a kit, you can remove the OEM suspension setup intact and then re-install it, if desired, when you're ready to sell the car. Depending on how your prospective buyer feels about a "modified" car, the ability to quickly re-install the OEM setup can be a real plus. Add a decent set of aftermarket alloys and some really sticky tires, and you're good to go. All for about $2k total.
Graham_02SiR
Profile for Graham_02SiR
Re: "...money well spent"???? [View Article]    (Score: 1, Normal) 04-04-2004 00:20
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As a 02 SiR owner ... all I could think when reading this was if I had an extra 4K, I'd get the rsx type-s. But I didn't, and I'm glad. For the price, it's a fantastic car.

The only thing that gets me a little excited about this kit is the suspension. In stock form, the SiR suspension is not what I would consider "Sporty". And there are few tuned spring/damper sets available on the aftermarket thus far ... and the ones that are available, start at about $1K US.

My hope is that Honda dealerships will offer the suspension bits seperately. If they do ... I'll be first in line. Especially if they price it at ... say $800 US or less.

oncesir
Profile for oncesir
Re: "...money well spent"???? [View Article]    (Score: 1, Normal) 04-05-2004 00:23
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I too have a problem with the FP kits that Honda is marketing. Its too pricey and doesnt improve enough to justify that cost. Honda needs to wakeup and understand that there is a HUGE market in the sport compact segment. Honda has a decent lineup of autos but the entry level civic is showing its age with other compacts. I personally think that Honda thought that since they had practically made the sport compact market what it was that anything they made would sell because of that reputation. They were very wrong. Nearly every other manufacturer has an offering(in the compact segment) that has more power and is cheaper. If they continue to ignore that niche I wouldnt be surprised if the average age of a new Honda owner begins to increase(like Toyota has dealt with). I love Hondas but I cant say that I would trade my 91 Si hb in for an 04 Si. My .02.

 
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