The 38th Tokyo Motor Show  November.2.2004
Approach to Welfare Vehicles
Fun for Everyone. Honda
Starting from a basic concept of "respect for the individual", we want to bring the pleasure of motoring and freedom of mobility to as many people as possible. In line with this desire, Honda builds vehicles that are safe and comfortable for everyone. To help physically challenged customers drive with ease and comfort, we developed the Honda TECHMATIC System and Honda FRANZ System: versatile driving assistance systems people can select according to their specific physical disabilities. Our substantial lineup of welfare vehicles, including the ALMAS series designed for those requiring nursing care, demonstrates Honda's pro-active commitment to building vehicles based on respect for the individual.
1981: Honda adds more pleasure to driving
Honda's welfare vehicle program started in 1975 when we began to supply special vehicles for use in driving tests for the disabled. Then, six years later, we embarked on a project that was prompted by a letter we received from a woman who wrote, "Both my hands are disabled. Is there a way for people like myself to drive? My mother always does the driving and next time I'd like her to be the passenger." In answer to her request, we took up the challenge of meeting the driving needs of those who have arm disabilities.
A foot-operated driving assistance system developed in Germany was attracting attention for both its medical and technical aspects. We approached Eberhard Franz, the inventor, and enlisted his services in the technical guidance of our project team. Honda then further enhanced the system with its own original technologies to complete the Honda FRANZ System. However, at the time the law did not permit people with arm disabilities to drive. To overcome the problem, Honda led a fierce campaign along with other automakers to have the law amended. As a result of this action, the Road Traffic Act was revised in 1981.
The following year, Honda became the first automaker in Japan to introduce a passenger vehicle customized to the needs of those with arm disabilities. Since then the number of vehicles equipped with the Honda FRANZ System has increased to 68*, offering the physically impaired the ability to enjoy driving and the freedom of mobility.
*Total number of vehicles with Honda FRANZ System sold(as of August 2004).


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