It’s going to be a few days before we can share what we learned at a Honda media event outside San Diego this week. Honda certainly isn’t the only equipment maker that takes special care to introduce new products, or unveil significant updates of existing lines, on its own terms.
For Honda, which makes mowers and other lawn-care equipment, tillers, snow blowers and a few other items landscapers use regularly, including side-by-side utility task vehicles (UTVs), generators and pumps, the California press event covered a lot of ground. But let’s face it: The cars are always the stars of the show.
For the Honda representatives on hand, however, the principal story they wanted to tell had as much to do with snow blowers as smart vehicles. Again and again, they came back to the theme that all Honda products share the company’s driving commitments: to safety first, then quality.
They take pride in being known for making good engines and – off the record at least – they’ll acknowledge that Honda essentially makes a wide variety of things in which to put those first-rate engines. (Nowadays, that includes jet airplanes, something I didn’t know before this trip.)
Honda managers also like to point to that TV commercial that General Motors came out with several years ago. You probably remember it: Former NFL player/now broadcaster Howie Long talks at some length about how GM cars are just as good as Hondas, then strolls up to a Honda lawn mower and says (and I’m paraphrasing here), “But Honda does make something we just can’t compete against.”
When that commercial started running, Honda managers say, sales of the company’s lawn mowers spiked. They remained higher than normal until the commercial stopped appearing. That’s got to bug the folks at GM – a fact that makes the Honda folks grin.