Odyssey / 1994

Determination and Passion: A Car that Fulfills the Creative Lifestyle

Odyssey / 1994

One Car, Two Visions: Sales Versus Engineering

The plan for facilities investments needed in preparation for Odyssey production was well under way at the Sayama Plant, but the Sales Division in Japan remained skeptical about the new car and its chances for success in the market. At the time 70 percent of "one-box" cars were powered by diesel motors. However, the Domestic Sales wanted a one-box car with a sliding door, just like those of other manufacturers. In fact, more and more Honda owners were switching to other brands in order to get them.

One Car, Two Visions: Sales Versus Engineering

Checklists identifying the areas of improvement. Using these lists, young employees at Sayama Plant tackled the challenge of improving their own process. Efforts such as these resulted in several upward adjustments in production volume while minimizing new investments.

"Diesel engines may have been acceptable in the past when the safety or the environment was not so important issue," said Odagaki. "But the Odyssey was to reflect the way family cars would look in the future. I insisted on this, perhaps with a certain amount of self-praise. I said we could change the world by introducing this car, and I maintained that we should release it as soon as possible. I tried my best to convince them, saying we could build it at our existing plant using the existing facilities and Accord parts, and that the required investment and development time could be kept to the absolute minimum."

Sales management was not to be won over so quickly, but Odagaki and his team members simply would not give up. Instead, they focused on the challenge of making a more effective presentation the next time around. After careful consideration, they decided to use illustrations to explain concepts that mere words would make difficult to understand. Illustrations, for example, could show how easily the seats could be stored and lifted, and which functions were used when and in what way.

The team employed a one-quarter scale model and full-size Styrofoam package model in its presentation at the Corporate Strategic Meeting and Special Reporting Session. It made no difference to them that the full-scale mock-up consumed a significant amount of space within the conference area, since they wanted the decision-makers to actually get into it. In fact, they knew that was essential to gaining the support they needed.

Also explained at these meetings were sample use patterns based on various applications. Among the several simulations the team presented was one describing the vehicle’s benefit to golfing enthusiasts, a point well taken by the sales managers. The team explained: "This one can carry four golf bags without having to stack them on top of one another. Furthermore, people won’t mistake your car parked at the clubhouse entrance for some generic shuttle bus hired by the club."

Nobuhiko Kawamoto, Honda’s president, in summarizing the overall response immediately expressed his support for the Odyssey project. However, North American Sales did not show much interest in the new minivan, which was less powerful and smaller in size than its U.S. counterparts. The upper-level representatives from Japanese Sales showed their reluctance due to the car’s divergence from traditional one-box models.

The Challenging Spirit of Honda

1990 - 1999
  1. The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997
  2. Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994
  3. Odyssey / 1994Odyssey / 1994
  4. Establishment of Honda Taiyo, Kibo-no-Sato Honda and Honda R&D Taiyo / 1992Establishment of Honda Taiyo, Kibo-no-Sato Honda and Honda R&D Taiyo / 1992
  5. Hosting Hosting "Orei-no-kai" / 1991
  6. The NSX / 1990The NSX / 1990
1980 - 1989
  1. The VTEC Engine / 1989The VTEC Engine / 1989
  2. Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988
  3. An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988
  4. Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987
  5. The Airbag System / 1987The Airbag System / 1987
  6. The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983
  7. Formula One Entry / 1983Formula One Entry / 1983
  8. Development of Honda's Franz System Car / 1982Development of Honda's Franz System Car / 1982
  9. The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982
  10. Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981
  11. The Car Navigation System / 1981The Car Navigation System / 1981
  12. City / 1981City / 1981
  13. The F200 The F200 "Komame" Mini-Tiller / 1980
  14. Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980
1970 - 1979
  1. The Oval Piston Engine / 1979The Oval Piston Engine / 1979
  2. Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979
  3. The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978
  4. Creating Hometown Forests / 1977Creating Hometown Forests / 1977
  5. The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977
  6. Introducing the Accord / 1976Introducing the Accord / 1976
  7. CG125 / 1975CG125 / 1975
  8. Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974
  9. Company Leaders Honda and Fujisawa Retire; Kawashima Assumes Presidency / 1973Company Leaders Honda and Fujisawa Retire; Kawashima Assumes Presidency / 1973
  10. Announcing the Civic / 1972Announcing the Civic / 1972
  11. Introducing the CVCC / 1972Introducing the CVCC / 1972
  12. Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970
  13. Launching the Office of Safe Driving Promotional Operations / 1970Launching the Office of Safe Driving Promotional Operations / 1970
1960 - 1969
  1. The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969
  2. Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968
  3. The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968
  4. Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966
  5. The E300 Portable Generator / 1965The E300 Portable Generator / 1965
  6. Formula One Entry / 1964Formula One Entry / 1964
  7. Kyoto: Celebrating the Company's 15th Anniversary / 1963Kyoto: Celebrating the Company's 15th Anniversary / 1963
  8. Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963
  9. Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962
  10. Employing the Employing the "My Record" Project and Expert Certification / 1960
  11. The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960
1950 - 1959
  1. Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959

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