Two years have passed since the last Tokyo Motor Show, and quite a lot has happened in Japan and around the globe. In this changed world, what is the meaning of the Tokyo Motor Show? What kind of exhibit should Honda create for it? Asking ourselves these questions, we began our work.
Until now, motor shows have been about displaying the vehicles of the future. In the year 2011, however, we wondered whether we were ready to say, “Here is the future of Honda.” Even if we felt ready, would we be correct?
As a result of this further questioning, we made our decision: We’d create an exhibit full of energy in which we tried new things and freely expressed our ideas. We’d present this exhibit to the world and see what our customers had to say.
No matter what they have to say, hearing the words of our customers helps us find the key to our next success. For us, searching for this key is the meaning of this year’s motor show.
Our theme this year is feel-good design. Considering people’s feelings is Honda’s point of origin. Since the great variety of what makes people feel good all depends on the individual, we’ve included many ideas in our exhibit and given form to many ways of feeling good. In this way, instead of presenting a single vision of Honda’s future, we’ve offered quite a few examples of designs that can positively affect people on an emotional level.
We believe that the possibilities of feel-good design have only begun to be explored. For example, we didn’t develop the twin lever steering column for our concept cars specifically with feeling good in mind. Rather, we designed it for speed and safety, yet it turned out to be a feel-good technology the likes of which we had never experienced before.
Our goal is to keep creating new feel-good designs. We trust that this year’s motor show will provide further inspiration for this quest.
Since the start of the global economic crisis, the importance of efficiency has been emphasized, even in the world of design. Yet I don’t believe that feel-good design can be achieved with efficiency alone.
By way of example, vitamin pills may provide nutrition, but they don’t offer flavor or anything pleasurable. I believe that feelings of finding food delicious and wanting to eat it are also extremely important.
Thus, when it comes to designing and making things, we need to move people emotionally. They should want to drive or ride our vehicles and feel that they look like fun. Pursuing these positive emotions is what feel-good design is all about.
“Lately, Honda hasn’t been its true self,” is something that we hear a lot. We often feel that way ourselves. Yet, in every era, Honda needs to be a company that overturns the toy box. We need to be unpredictable, with no one knowing what we’ll do or create next. After all, that’s what our customers expect of Honda.
To those who feel Honda has changed, I’d like to respond by offering new designs and products with a free and courageous spirit. To borrow a metaphor from the ancient art of shiatsu, or acupressure, people have emotional “pressure points” that make them feel good. I believe that Honda needs to be a company that finds the pressure points of feel-good design.
Honda is a company driven by the power of the workplace. The energy of our young associates from a variety of Honda workplaces has found form in our exhibit for the show this year. We’ll be very happy if our visitors can feel that energy too.