Odyssey / 1994

Determination and Passion: A Car that Fulfills the Creative Lifestyle

Odyssey / 1994

The Concept that Overcame the Adversity

The team also faced many difficulties at the R&D Center. For example, while Odagaki was away on a business trip, he was informed that some team members had been told to work on urgent drawings for another project, so upon his return he had to fight hard with the manager of that project in order to get his men back. Since what they were developing was not an approved product model, there were many hurdles to clear.

Fortunately, there were supporters as well, including Michiyoshi Hagino, senior managing director of the R&D Center. "First let’s create a running prototype," he said. "Then they’ll understand the benefits of this car. But for the time being, the team members must continue to work on the project unofficially."

Accordingly, Odagaki asked Takefumi Hiramatsu, managing director in charge of development operations, to commit twenty employees to prototype development, on the condition that no new processes would be added. His request was approved on April 16, 1991.

The prototype created by the twenty-member team had a graceful bodyline embellished by motorcycle headlights and the Acty’s tail lamps. The steering wheel was positioned on the right, because the company’s prime focus at the time was to improve its automobile sales in Japan. Thus, the team began its effort to convince the Sales Division using this running prototype.

"If we try," they argued, "we can develop a car that drives like a sedan but offers much more interior space. But we really should introduce the U.S. minivan culture to Japan. This car will become a powerful weapon in increasing our sales domestically."

Gradually, support for the Odyssey increased. However, Domestic Sales remained hesitant about giving its endorsement. The team decided to bring the prototype to the U.S. and sell it to American Honda. The initial order Odagaki had been given in August, 1991 was to develop a new car: a minivan for the American market. However, even though the prototype was smaller than had originally been envisioned, he was confident that it would be accepted in the U.S.

A test drive was held in Los Angeles the evening of January 10, 1992. Amemiya, who came to the test drive, saw the steering wheel on the right side and immediately said, "This team can’t be serious. They’re thinking about the Japanese market."

Still, the team managed to convince Amemiya to drive the car. Odagaki, sitting next to him, described the hardships that he and his team had thus far endured.

"The project would have been scrapped by then if we hadn’t built the prototype with a right-hand design," Odagaki told Amemiya. "Regardless of the steering wheel’s location, I honestly believe this car will be a strong asset for your operations in the U.S. We really need your support."

Some time after the development team had returned from the U.S., they received good news. American Honda had offered a plan to sell 5,000 units per month. Still, a "go" sign by Japanese Sales had yet to be obtained. However, the endorsement by American Honda, which was responsible for selling large quantities of product, ensured that the Odyssey project would finally move forward.

"I really didn’t think we could develop a great product if everything went too smoothly," Odagaki said of that period. "In our case, the team members had a clear idea as to what we should create. But we also knew how to fight. Because of that vision, and perhaps helped along by the current trend, we were able to overcome adversity."

The Challenging Spirit of Honda

A System that Fosters Expertise
  1. A System that Fosters ExpertiseA System that Fosters Expertise
  2. The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960
  3. Employing the "My Record" Project and Expert Certification  / 1960Employing the "My Record" Project and Expert Certification / 1960
A Dream Come True: Car Builder for the World
  1. A Dream Come True: Car Builder for the WorldA Dream Come True: Car Builder for the World
  2. Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962
  3. Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966
  4. Introducing N360 / 1967Introducing N360 / 1967
  5. Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968
  6. Introducing the CVCC / 1972Introducing the CVCC / 1972
  7. Announcing the Civic / 1972Announcing the Civic / 1972
  8. Introducing the Accord / 1976Introducing the Accord / 1976
Marketing Globally, Producing Lacally
  1. Marketing Globally, Producing LocallyMarketing Globally, Producing Locally
  2. Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959
  3. Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963
  4. Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980
A Refreshing New Development
  1. A Refreshing New DevelopmentA Refreshing New Development
Products Emerging From Technology and Innovation
  1. Products Emerging From Technology and InnovationProducts Emerging From Technology and Innovation
  2. The Oval Piston Engine / 1979The Oval Piston Engine / 1979
  3. The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968
  4. The Car Navigation System / 1981The Car Navigation System / 1981
  5. The Airbag System / 1987The Airbag System / 1987
  6. Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987
  7. The VTEC Engine / 1989The VTEC Engine / 1989
  8. The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977
  9. The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983
  10. The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969
  11. CG125 / 1975CG125 / 1975
  12. Road Pal / 1976Road Pal / 1976
  13. City / 1981City / 1981
  14. The NSX / 1990The NSX / 1990
  15. Odyssey / 1994Odyssey / 1994
  16. Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988
  17. The E300 Portable Generator / 1965The E300 Portable Generator / 1965
  18. The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978
  19. The F200 "Komame" Mini-Tiller / 1980The F200 "Komame" Mini-Tiller / 1980
Production Technology: The Essence of Creative Manufacturing
  1. Production Technology: The Essence of Creative ManufaturingProduction Technology: The Essence of Creative Manufaturing
  2. Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974
  3. The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982
  4. Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981
  5. An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988
A Neverending Passion for Racing
  1. A Neverending Passion for RacingA Neverending Passion for Racing
  2. Completion of Suzuka Circuit / 1962Completion of Suzuka Circuit / 1962
  3. Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979
  4. Formula One Entry: The Initial Phase / 1964Formula One Entry: The Initial Phase / 1964
  5. Formula One Entry: The Second Phase / 1983Formula One Entry: The Second Phase / 1983
  6. Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994
  7. The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997
Creativity - The Way to Work Harder, Play Harder
  1. Creativity – The Way to Work Harder, Play Harder Creativity – The Way to Work Harder, Play Harder
  2. Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970
People and Society Coexisting in Harmony with Nature
  1. People and Society Coexisting in Harmony with NaturePeople and Society Coexisting in Harmony with Nature
  2. 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
  3. Creating Hometown Forests / 1977Creating Hometown Forests / 1977
  4. Hosting "Orei-no-kai" / 1991Hosting "Orei-no-kai" / 1991

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