Determination and Passion: A Car that Fulfills the Creative Lifestyle
The line-off ceremony for the second generation Odyssey was held on September 30, 1998, at Honda of Canada Manufacturing (HCM), the continent’s newly constructed second production line. Thus, the car created in response to America’s love of the minivan concept was a reality. It had taken Odagaki and his development team eight long years - from a vehicle envisioned for the U.S. market to one produced for Japanese roads, then back to the original idea - and countless man-hours to see it through.
"When development of the Odyssey began," Odagaki recalled, "Mr. Amemiya had a strong conviction that sedans were losing their popularity in the U.S. and that Honda could be driven out of the market if it didn’t develop its own minivans and SUVs (sport utility vehicles). This was despite the strong position Honda was then enjoying in the U.S. with extremely popular models such as the Civic and Accord. In the U.S., several minivan projects had been started and canceled. This time - one of four, in all - we were finally able to create the minivan we really wanted."
The development of the Odyssey, a car that satisfied the creative lifestyle of today’s consumer, marked the birth of a completely new passenger-car category. Naturally, other manufacturers soon released their versions of the Odyssey, proving that it was truly the car that consumers desired. Said Odagaki, "Nothing could be more satisfying to an industrial engineer than to see that the product he has created can bring joy to so many people," says Odagaki.