We attend Honda’s press meeting in Japan to find out the future of the company
Honda exclusively invited us to an international press meeting in Japan where President & CEO Takahiro Hachigo discussed the future direction of Honda as part of their 2030 Vision plan.
Hachigo-san first talked about the achievements under his 2-year tenure as CEO, namely the success of the new Civic and CR-V globally, with the same expected from the next-gen Accord. He also says regional models are doing well, such as the new Odyssey in USA (and coming this summer to the GCC) as well as the Avancier in China. Production of the UK-built Civic Hatchback is also in full swing, exporting to North America and Japan, while the Brazil-designed Honda WR-V is now built in India as well, but there is no mention of these cars coming to the GCC yet. We took a close look at most of these (parked) cars during our trip, alongside other vehicles such as the China-only Acura CDX, the Japan-only S660 and the X-ADV offroad scooter.
Honda is also big on zero-emissions vehicles, including fuel-cell and full-electric cars. They plan to increase development speed on such cars, and new models are already on the way from 2018 onwards. They are also planning an electric scooter with a detachable battery for convenient charging and replacement.
Honda will start making their active-safety Honda Sensing features standard on all cars in all markets eventually, starting with more developed markets first. By 2020, they intend to offer autonomous driving tech for highway travel, and full autonomy in street-driving as well by 2025 (at which point they will reach “level 4” automated driving).
Honda will also continue to look at mobility solutions, artificial-intelligence robotics, and energy solutions. We got to experience all three in action in the form of the Uni-Cub personal mobility device, the ASIMO robot and the Clarity hydrogen-powered car.
[Mash] Check out what Honda we test-drove in Japan after Asimo left…
Posted by DriveArabia.com on Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Honda is also going to clutch strongly to their quality reputation, with a new Product & Perceived Quality Planning division to make sure customers always get “perceived value” in all products, meaning they feel they are getting more for their money, even while a new Automobile Cost Planning division works towards reducing costs by making the production and development processes more efficient.
Out and about at Honda’s Research & Development centre in Tochigi, we were given an overview of their Accord and Legend autonomous-driving prototypes for street and highway driving, their motorcycle tech such as the multilingual riding-safety simulator, the scooter airbag and the flashing brake-light, all previously only offered only for cars. We also briefly drove some hot cars, such as the Clarity that came in various electric flavours, the Civic “Dynamic Study” development prototype that featured a dual-clutch automatic, and the absolutely mental Honda Civic Type-R which hasn’t hit showrooms anywhere yet.
And finally, there was a demo of the all-electric Acura NSX Pikes Peak race-car, which did an acceleration run so fast, that it sounded like a jet airliner was passing by, all without any engine noise.
[Mash] Got to see a demo of the Acura NSX Pikes Peak all-electric racer.
Posted by DriveArabia.com on Thursday, June 15, 2017
We’ll do a deep dive into some of the cars we drove in later articles, but it was interesting to see that Honda is definitely putting in the work needed to stay competitive in a world increasingly headed towards autonomous cars, while still keeping alive cars that are fun to drive. Whether all the latest cars and tech is offered in the UAE and GCC is a completely different issue, driven by market demand and government incentives (or lack thereof), but despite what fanboys from the 1990s say, Honda is definitely not a has-been company, and pushing hard on the engineering forefront in their own unique way.
Photos by Mashfique H. Chowdhury and Honda.