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February 27, 2014

Honda Automóveis do Brasil Commences Operations at its New Research and Development Center

Investment of R$ 100 million aims to increase the localization levels of vehicles

São Paulo, Brazil, February 27, 2014 - Honda Automóveis do Brasil (HAB), confident in the potential of the local automotive market, opens today (27), in Sumaré (SP) , its new Research & Development Center. With investments of R$ 100 million, the unit aims to enable the development of models that meet the specific demands of the Brazilian market, in addition to increase the localization levels of components and technologies. The space begins operations with approximately 300 employees who will work in the Engineering, Purchasing and Research & Development departments.

New R&D Center in Brazilzoom
New R&D Center in Brazil

Since 2008, when it began producing engines in Brazil, the company already had laboratories for engine tests in Sumaré. In this expansion, a new laboratory was built and equipped with two chassis dynamometers and pollutants emissions system. The equipment will contribute to the development of components, engines and transmission systems, besides conducting durability test, emissions and consumption measurement.

Other structures and technologies, such as the system of dimensional measurement, which contributes to the development of items for the exterior and interior of the vehicle, and the laboratory of materials, which allows validation of raw materials and local components, make the new unit one of the main Honda’s R&D Centers outside Japan / U.S.

The new unit is aligned with the global strategy to promote simultaneous development in the various regions of the world to provide global products with local differentials.

As it has already happened with Civic 2.0 FlexOne, Fit Twist and City Sport, new models that are coming to the Brazilian market soon, as the new Fit and City, besides the compact SUV, will have even more adjustments in powertrain, suspension and new technologies for the local market developed by the new Center.

"The decision to strengthen our R&D capabilities reflects our commitment to develop products that meet the expectations of the Brazilian customers. Our goal is to increase the level of components localization in the next two years and to develop new versions and specific models for our market," explains Luis Gazzola, general manager of Research and Development of Honda Automóveis do Brasil.

Bet on Brazil

Honda is betting on the realignment of its business in Brazil to accelerate the development, production and marketing of new products with more competitive prices for Brazilian costumers. HAB announced last year the construction of its second factory in the city of Itirapina, in the countryside of São Paulo, with production capacity of 120 thousand cars per year. The new plant will start operations in 2015.

In 2013, the company made other important announcements. Aiming to accelerate the processes of decision making and to gain agility and competitiveness, Honda South America (HSA) decided to focus on a single location, in the plant of Sumaré, the board and all HAB´s departments. Based on the global concept of 'one floor', used in the Japanese head quarter, the project provides greater proximity of administrative and industrial areas.

Furthermore, Honda announced the construction of a wind farm in the city of Xangri-lá, Rio Grande do Sul, which will supply the entire electricity demand of its first automobile factory. The initiative, an innovation among the automakers present in the country, will also have an initial investment of R$ 100 million. For the operation of the wind farm, which will begin operations in September, it was created Honda Energy do Brasil Ltda, new HAB´s subsidiary.

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