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

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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