About 30 years ago, America was in an automobile crisis. Gasoline prices were through the
roof, and Detroit simply wasn’t prepared. At the time, American “economy cars” consisted of the
Ford Pinto, and the equally craptastic Chevy Citation. Needless to say, we didn’t have many
decent economy cars to choose from.
Some years earlier, the whole Toyota vs. Honda thing started when both car companies started
sending their tiny vehicles to America. These ‘foreign jobs’ weren’t very popular, but both
companies refused to give up. By the early 80’s, buyers actually started to consider these fuel
efficient cars from Japan because they were well made, reliable, and cheap.
What made Toyota & Honda so good was their use of the Kaizen principle. Originally devised
by the U.S. War Department, and taught to the Japanese through the Training Within Industry
program. The concept was to empower each worker by teaching them to take ownership of their
jobs, and figure out more efficient ways of doing said job. Managers are taught to listen to their
workers, and then implement the best ideas. Together, managers and workers help Toyota and
Honda to operate as efficiently as possible.
The Japanese vastly improved upon that original idea, taught to them during post-war
reconstruction. As simple as it sounds, the Kaizen/TWI system is not used in the United States.
This is probably why it’s taken 30-odd years for the American auto industry to catch up with their
Thanks to inept American cars, the whole Toyota vs. Honda thing went from the car club, and
street race scene, to downtown Suburbia. Now office managers and school teachers argue the
merits of Toyota vs. Honda, as they compare their American Made Japanese cars.
Both Honda & Toyota have design studios and manufacturing plants in the U.S. This allows
them to create vehicles specifically tailored to American tastes. The Toyota Tundra and Honda
Accord are examples of this ‘Americanization’, and they’re both extremely popular as a result.
In fact, both companies have cars in the Top 5 best selling cars. The 2012 Toyota Camry
has already sold 310,000 units, putting it in 2nd place behind the almighty 2012 Ford F-150.
The 2012 Honda Accord placed 4th, with YTD sales of 218k. But the redesigned 2013 Honda
Accord should easily eclipse that number when it goes on sale later this year.
In terms of sales volume then, Master Yoda wins the Toyota vs. Honda contest. But Honda wins
the engine building contest, producing over 14 million engines per year (for everything from cars
to lawn mowers).
Toyota vs. Honda: Popular Models
2013 Honda Accord vs. 2013 Toyota Camry – These two cars have sat atop the bestseller list
since anyone can remember. The Camry gets massive points for its quiet, sophisticated interior,
and idiot-proof driving demeanor. The all-new 2013 Honda Accord…looks just like the old one.
But that’s not such a bad thing. Plus, the Accord is the largest car in its class. Viva La America!
2013 Toyota Corolla vs. 2013 Honda Civic – Even though Honda made their ‘new’ Civic look
just like the old one, people still bought them. In fact, the 2012 Honda Civic was the 5th best
selling car in America for August, with nearly 220k sold. Although it’s not the most exciting, or
luxurious car in the compact class, the Civic still represents value and dependability to a lot of
people. The refreshed 2013 Honda Civic addresses the boring looks, and poor interior quality of
the 2012 Civic, making the new Civic a definite contender against the new Corolla.
The redesigned 2013 Toyota Corolla is lighter, more efficient, and much better looking than its
predecessor. But even with its wallflower looks, and snooze-fest driving dynamics, the 2012
Toyota Corolla still managed 7th place on the bestseller list, with an average of 20k being sold
per month. The new Corolla however, should add some serious wood to the Toyota vs. Honda
Two of the most popular are the 2013 Honda CR-V & 2013 Toyota Highlander. Not surprisingly,
both offer whisper-quiet interiors, silky smooth engines, and modernista styling. Choosing
between the two is really a matter of taste, because they’re both excellent family runabouts.
About the only real differences between the two are under the hood, and inside the cabin. The
Highlander is available with the torque-tastic V6 from the Camry, where the CR-V has to make
due with 4-cylinders. The CR-V does get best-in-class fuel economy, but it only has two rows
of seats. The Highlander has three rows of thrones, but the third row is about as useless as
a ‘shake well before opening’ label on a can of Coke. As far as Toyota vs. Honda CUVs, it’s up
to your taste buds.
Toyota vs. Honda: The Bottom Line
Both of these car companies have managed to dominate the rather fickled American car market.
We tend to change our taste in cars every 10 years, yet both Toyota and Honda always seem to
be ahead of the curve. They know our market well, and have a knack for giving us exactly what
we need. With the exception of the 2013 Honda CrossTour…who the hell thought that was a