In the '80s and '90s, the typical product life-cycle for Japanese vehicles was four years and out. During that time, the bodies typically got a full refresh and most of the underpinnings received evolutionary updates. Automakers based in North America and Europe would typically build essentially the same cars for 6-8 years before a major redesign. Over the last decade Honda and Toyota have stretched out the life-cycles of their mainstream models to five years and other lower volume cars and trucks would stay around even longer.

With Honda facing the same economic realities as every other company, it's looking at even longer cycles. Models that are unique to North America like the Accord and Odyssey are likely to be the first to go to a six year span between redesigns. Simply delaying a redesign on an existing vehicle can be problematic because tooling designed for a specific lifespan can start to cause quality problems. Keeping a high volume car around longer can also lead to falling demand in later years.

In spite of the economic problems and models like the S2000 being discontinued, Honda is bringing a number of new models to market including the Crosstour and CR-Z. Other models like the Civic and Fit that are common globally will probably stay on the same re-design schedule.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]


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