Honda President Commits to "Distinctive" and "Sporty" Vehicles

Colum Wood
by Colum Wood

After having taken quite a beating with reviews of the new Civic, Honda has been on the offensive, promising updates while announcing its new “ Earth Dreams Technology” plan to reestablish itself as a fuel economy leader. With the debut of the EV-STER electric sports car concept and confirmation that a new NSX is on the horizon, company president Takanobu Ito is now going a step further, while explaining the faults of the past.

In an interview with the The Nikkei, he explains Honda’s old product planning method. “We divided the world into six regions, and Honda’s regional operations were each responsible for their respective regions. Whenever we planned a product for the global market, our thinking was that we needed to listen to each regional supervisor.”

The result, says Ito, was a lowest-common-denominator approach to building a car, watering down all the characteristics of a vehicle to the greatest mass-market appeal. The problem admits Ito is that, “When you harmonize all the different opinions, you end up with a safe, boring car.”

Under the old method of doing business, the vehicle development team was essentially taking the designed-by-committee idea and building a car around it.

Ito says that since he took over in April of last year, changed the system. “I had three corporate officers each supervise luxury, midsize and small vehicles,” he said. “Putting more authority in their hands, I asked them to create more competitive autos and to speed up coordination with product planning and regional operations. I set up a structure that would allow them to take the lead in realizing the wishes of the development team. The fruits of these moves will begin to appear in the market next fiscal year.”

Exactly what those fruits are, says Ito, will be cars that are environmentally friendly and safe, but also ones that are “highly distinctive”. Honda, after all, has a long history of unique vehicles from the NSX, S2000, CRX and del Sol. But perhaps most importantly, he says, “This strategy will be represented by our effort to make vehicles more sporty.”

The first true example of this plan will be evident when Honda unveils the next-generation NSX at the Detroit Auto Show next week.

[Source: Nikkei via TTAC]

Colum Wood
Colum Wood

With AutoGuide from its launch, Colum previously acted as Editor-in-Chief of Modified Luxury & Exotics magazine where he became a certifiable car snob driving supercars like the Koenigsegg CCX and racing down the autobahn in anything over 500 hp. He has won numerous automotive journalism awards including the Best Video Journalism Award in 2014 and 2015 from the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Colum founded Geared Content Studios, VerticalScope's in-house branded content division and works to find ways to integrate brands organically into content.

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  • Xmariusx Xmariusx on Jan 07, 2012

    Thats great...I hope that emphasize the aftermarket products as well...better yet a no down 100% exchange from the 9th civic to an upgraded one...yeaaaaahhh...wishful thinking, not going to hold my breath...at least I have a "limited edition" 9th gen lol!!!

  • Fordrustang38 Fordrustang38 on Dec 03, 2012

    Its about time Mr. Ito took over.

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