Message from the Head of Automobile R&D
Jiro Yamaguchi Director and Senior Managing Officer, Automobile R&D Center, Honda R&D Co., Ltd.
Photo: Automobile R&D Center (Tochigi), Honda R&D Co., Ltd.
One great achievement of fiscal 2014 was the global launch of a new generation of compact vehicles. We completely redesigned the Fit series to provide class-leading fuel performance in both gasoline and hybrid vehicle variations, and also released the Vezel SUV and
City sedan based on the same high-efficiency powertrain. This trio of efficient vehicles put us in the right place to deliver a new
generation of compact vehicles to customers worldwide.
In North America, we finished development of the Acura RLX, featuring SPORT HYBRID SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive), Honda's first three-motor hybrid system. Combined with the onemotor hybrid system, SPORT HYBRID i-DCD(Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive), and two-motor hybrid system, SPORT HYBRID i-MMD(Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive), these three models complete our hybrid vehicle lineup.
We also released a variety of new models in other regions across the globe, including the Civic Tourer wagon in Europe, the Amaze sedan in India, and the Mobilio MPV with third-row seating in Indonesia.
Behind these successes was the impressive growth of our local product developers in emerging countries. In fiscal 2014, we got significantly closer to what we see as the ideal process for global product development: to develop core technologies in Japan and support overseas developers as they incorporate them into models optimized to each region. This approach helped us realize industry-leading environmental performance in each region.
In emerging markets like China, India, Brazil, and Africa, motorization is advancing at a pace many time faster than post-war Japan. The fate of our business in these countries will hinge on how economically we can deliver environmentally advanced products. One technology that offers a solution is engine downsizing, the approach of using forced induction and other efficiency technologies to deliver more power
with less displacement. We developed VTEC Turbo, a new-generation downsized turbo engine that delivers higher fuel performance at a lower cost, as well as power performance that lives up to Honda's reputation for fun driving. We plan to fit this engine in a number of global models from fiscal 2015, so be on the lookout.
One important task from a longer-term perspective is workplace development. While low-carbon technology is an essential part of future mobility, customers won't buy our products if they don't come with an added element of excitement, an appeal that only Honda can provide. Honda's identity is rooted in the creation of amazing products no one has ever seen before. To continue developing exciting, mold-breaking products, we need exciting, mold-breaking workplaces for our developers. By returning to a work environment and culture that fearlessly takes on new challenges, we will lay the foundation for launching products that are the first and best of their kind. It will also help us raise the next generation of developers who will lead Honda—and the world—in environmental innovation, and to realize the zero-impact society we all strive for. I hope to share this passion with our young developers and show the world what Honda is truly made of by conceiving a long line of new, appealing products that embody the perfect combination of environmental performance and enjoyment.