Designers Talk#5
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Exterior design

Creating an exciting and lively exterior design for a highly affordable automobile

In designing products, Honda constantly strives to achieve excellent utility combined with excitement, stylishness and visual appeal. Honda demonstrated this ideal when it created its first products, motorcycles, and later when it entered the automobile market with mini trucks and sports cars.

Today, this ideal is alive and well in Honda's full automobile lineup, from entry-level cars like the Fit/Jazz and Civic to premium models like the Legend. Always aiming for design with meaning, Honda never creates automobiles that are mere tools for hauling people and cargo.

Responding to the needs of India and Thailand

With the goal of developing a compact automobile for the fast-growing markets of India and Thailand, Honda listened extensively to the people in these countries, learning that a large percentage of them already understood and appreciated Honda's design ideal. "Honda's cars are sporty and cool," and, "They're futuristic and exciting like spaceships," were two of the most common positive comments.

It's wonderful that people around the world enjoy Honda's automobile designs, yet Honda should not be complacent. Honda's research in India and Thailand clearly showed that cars like the Fit/Jazz and the Civic are still seen as relatively expensive and not as the highly accessible automobiles that Honda endeavors to offer.

Creating a compact car for a new era

Affordable pricing is of top importance in helping as many people as possible experience the joy of owning an automobile. At the same time, however, it costs money to realize Honda's ideal of utility combined with excitement, stylishness and visual appeal. The more complex in shape a car's exterior steel plates are, the more involved it is to produce the molds for the plates, and the more expensive it becomes to manufacture the car. Avoiding such complications can leads to a boxy-looking car equipped with door mirrors, headlights and other functional parts that fulfill their basic function but add nothing to style. The overall impression can be cold and uninviting.

Honda was determined to offer customers fun and excitement particulary since it is an entry-level automobile. Thanks to extremely efficient packaging, this automobile would feature not only a compact body but also a roomy interior and outstanding utility. In addition, it would offer customers an exciting design and lots of extra details to add to pride of ownership. Working closely together, Honda's engineers and factory leaders and suppliers took on the challenge of creating a compact automobile offering customers a new kind of value.

Double triangle form offering a strong presence and suggesting forward motion

Honda would not stop until it realized a truly dynamic design for its new automobile. The car would have a presence that clearly differentiated it from other automobiles, and, despite its small size, it would be extremely memorable.

Honda designers traveled to the home of compact cars—Europe—and worked in a design studio in Milan, Italy, producing many sketches of automobiles standing among elegant stone buildings and rolling down cobblestone streets. Joining designers from Japan were those from continental Asia, who contributed invaluable knowledge of the countries in which the Brio would be hitting the streets, and those from Europe, who were used to seeing compact cars zipping around every day. The ideas of the European designers would be crucial to the final design.

What the designers eventually came up with is the Brio's double triangle form. The character lines on the sides of the automobile define two triangles that, while overlapping, are offset fore and aft: a dynamic triangle, focused on the nose and sweeping forward, and a sporty triangle, focused on the rear fender and jumping rearward. Complementing the Brio's low and wide stance and protruding fenders, these two triangles help create a form that is lively and energetic from front to rear.

The Brio feels like an extension of the driver's body, allowing complete freedom of movement and full enjoyment of the benefits that a compact car has to offer. In addition, the body panels that make up the muscular bulk of the two triangles have an organic structure that appeals to the eye.

Exacting standards fulfilled in every detail

In designing the front of the Brio, Honda sought to emphasize the automobile's low and wide packaging and communicate confident, stable driving. To accomplish this, the face of the Brio is appropriately thick and strong for a stable look, and the fenders protrude for a dynamic appearance. The large-cylinder-design headlights add to the bright, youthful expression, while the front bumper features an enlarged opening to accentuate the wide stance.

The details rival those of a premium automobile. High-quality chrome on the grille adds to the refined presence, exceeding expectations for the segment. Extra touches like these help add to the genuine visual enjoyment and pride of ownership that the Brio offers customers.

The rear features combination lamps that extend to the edge of the vehicle, emphasizing the Brio's wide stance, and the placement of the large, round red lenses of the tail and stop lights at the edges of the body add to this effect. The outer lenses have a special edge that contributes to aerodynamic performance. Adding to the functionality of the rear door, the glass area has been made as large as possible. Further, as though sliced clean with a knife, the rear has a short, sleek look that emphasizes the Brio's width, aerodynamics and advanced styling.

Other exterior design features contribute to the Brio's aerodynamic characteristics, which support excellent visibility and outstanding fuel economy. The massive door mirrors perfectly match the active character of the body shape, and the wheels give an impression of extension. In short, the Brio's design shows an attention to detail that until now was not present in such an affordable automobile.

An easy-to-drive, high-utility compact car that makes every day fun. A compact car that's stylish and exciting—but still affordable. To achieve this ideal, Honda drew upon all its worldwide resources.

Now, Honda is thrilled to offer the Brio, hoping to help as many people as possible experience the joy of owning and driving an automobile.

*All Brio photos show Thai models

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