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    William Maley

    Honda's Future: Fewer Models, More Efficiency

      ...Hybrids and a new Modular Platform will play key roles...


    On Wednesday, Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo announced plans for the future of the company's automobile division. Efficiency was the theme in Hachigo's speech in terms of their lineup. manufacturing, and driving.

    One of the initiatives put forth by Hachigo was to cut down on the number of variations on offer in their global lineup, along with the dropping of various regional nameplates.

    "However, as a result of accommodating regional needs somewhat excessively in each individual region, we recognize that the number of models and variations at the trim and option level have increased and our efficiency has declined. So, we will undertake initiatives to further strengthen our inter-regional coordination and collaboration and advance our art of making automobiles in order to simultaneously increase the attractiveness and efficiency of both global and regional models," he said.

    "With this initiative, by 2025, we will reduce the total number of variations at the trim and option level for our global models to one-third of what we have now.In addition, we will increase efficiency by eliminating and consolidating some similar regional models into even more competent models shared across multiple regions."

    This will allow Honda to simplify model allocation at their various assembly plants around the road. According to Hachigo, this will allow the company to achieve "100 percent capacity utilization worldwide by 2020" and cut production costs by 10 percent by 2025. 

    Part of that initiative involves a new modular architecture that will debut in a global model next year. No details on the vehicle were provided, but Honda says the goal of the architecture "is to commonize about 70 percent of the components" used in a vehicle such as the engine bay and passenger cabin.

    Honda is also planning to have two-thirds of their global lineup electrified by 2030. Furthermore, it wants 100 percent of its European lineup to be electrifed by 2025. To do this, Honda is readying a new electric city car known as the e, along with deploying their two-motor i-MMD hybrid setup to all of their models in Europe. In the U.S. Honda is planning to launch more hybrid models, and increase their electric car lineup with some help from General Motors.

    “In North America, we will jointly develop battery components with General Motors and introduce highly-competitive battery EVs in the market,” said Hachigo.


    Press Release is on Page 2


    Summary of Honda CEO Speech on Automobile Business Direction

    • Remarks by Takahiro Hachigo, President & CEO, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

    May 8, 2019

    Honda has been working on two top-priority management challenges in the midst of abrupt changes in the global business environment surrounding the automobile industry: to strengthen the structure of our automobile business and to further increase the speed of business transformation for future generations.

    So, today, I would like to introduce some initiatives we are taking for our automobile business, especially how we are strengthening the structure of our automobile business, the direction we are taking with electrification, as well as some progress we have made to date.

    Strengthening automobile business structure 
    Ever since I became the president of the company, I have been conveying the message that we will make Honda strong by creating strong products and also by strengthening our inter-regional coordination and collaboration. We put special emphasis on the strengthening of our global models, which have been the source of Honda's core competence, and also the enhancement of our regional models.

    As a result, we currently have the five global models, namely Civic, Accord, CR-V, Fit/Jazz and Vezel/HR-V, and these five strong models now account for 60% of our global automobile sales. At the same time, our regional models such as the N Series for Japan, Pilot for North America and Crider for China are playing an important role as a source of growth for each respective region.

    However, as a result of accommodating regional needs somewhat excessively in each individual region, we recognize that the number of models and variations at the trim and option level have increased and our efficiency has declined. So, we will undertake initiatives to further strengthen our inter-regional coordination and collaboration and advance our art of making automobiles in order to simultaneously increase the attractiveness and efficiency of both global and regional models.

    Strengthening inter-regional coordination and collaboration
    As for inter-regional coordination and collaboration, under the new operational structure we adopted for our automobile operations starting from April, we began reviewing and sharing the product lineup by grouping some of our six regions outside Japan based on a similarity of key factors, such as market needs and environmental regulations. With this initiative, by 2025, we will reduce the total number of variations at the trim and option level for our global models to one-third of what we have now. In addition, we will increase efficiency by eliminating and consolidating some similar regional models into even more competent models shared across multiple regions.

    Advancement of our art of making automobiles (automobile development) 
    As for the advancement of automobile development, since I became the president, we have been increasing the efficiency and speed of our Monozukuri (the art of making things) by innovating the entire process, from planning and development all the way through production, by enabling the S-E-D-B (sales, manufacturing, R&D, purchasing*1) functions to collaborate beyond the boundaries of their divisions.

    Moreover, we have already introduced the Honda Architecture in our development.

    The Honda Architecture is a company-wide initiative which will increase the efficiency of development and expand parts-sharing for our mass-production models. The first model being developed with this new method will be the global model we are launching next year. And we will continue increasing the number of models to which we apply this new architecture.

    With the strengthening of global and regional models through inter-regional coordination and collaboration and with the introduction of the Honda Architecture, by 2025, we will reduce the number of manhours we use for the development of mass-production models by 30%, and we will repurpose those manhours to accelerate our research and development in advanced areas for the future. In this way, we can continue creating new technologies which will support the future of Honda.

    Strengthening our operational structure in the area of production 
    In addition to the area of development, we are further strengthening our operational structure in the area of production as well, so that we can create strong products with high efficiency.

    We are making steady progress in optimizing our production capacity in all regions. When this is complete, we are expecting to see that our global capacity utilization rate, excluding China, will increase from 90% recorded in 2018, and we will be producing at full capacity by 2022.

    In China, the third plant of Dongfeng Honda became newly operational, and this put us in a position where we can definitely accommodate market demand in China. We believe that this progress we made paved the way for the optimization of our global production capacity.

    From here onward, we think it is important to increase our competitiveness by increasing the efficiency of our production system in North America.

    For our business in North America, while keeping pace with sales expansion, we enhanced our model lineup and established a flexible production system where our plants sometimes produce various models in duplication to accommodate changes in market demand. However, as a result of the pursuit of high flexibility, an increase in the investment amount and a decline in production efficiency started to become an issue. Therefore, in North America as well, we will reduce the number of variations at the trim and option level, and at the same time, we will simplify the production model allocation at each plant. Through this initiative, we will re-establish a highly-efficient production system and realize the growth of North American business through the pursuit of quality.

    By implementing these initiatives to increase production efficiency in each region, we are expecting to reduce global cost in the area of production by 10% by 2025, compared to the cost recorded in 2018.

    Through all these initiatives I have mentioned, we will steadily strengthen the structure of our automobile business and realize the solidification of our existing automobile businesses by 2025, and, at the same time, we will accelerate our preparation for the future.

    Direction for the electrification of our automobile products
    Striving to realize a carbon-free society, Honda set a goal to electrify two-thirds of our global automobile unit sales by 2030.

    When we talk about the introduction of electrified vehicles, there are two perspectives. One is the improvement of fuel economy, and the other is zero emissions. Regulations for the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards are becoming increasingly stringent in every country around the world and complying with CAFE standards is one of the most important challenges for the automobile industry. At Honda, in light of the required infrastructure and how people use automobiles, we believe that hybrid technology is, at this moment, the most effective way for us to comply with CAFE standards. Therefore, we will electrify our products mainly with hybrid technologies. By increasing sales of our hybrid models all around the world, Honda will contribute to the global environment through the improvement of fuel economy.

    To this end, we will expand the application of our 2-motor hybrid system to the entire lineup of Honda vehicles. In addition to the 2-motor hybrid system which is compatible with mid-to-large-sized vehicles, we developed a new, more compact 2-motor hybrid system suitable for small-sized vehicles. This small-sized 2-motor hybrid system will be adopted first by the all-new Fit which we are planning to exhibit as a world premiere at the Tokyo Motor Show this fall.

    In addition to the expansion of the lineup of products equipped with the 2-motor hybrid system, we also will expand the application of the 2-motor hybrid system on a global basis. With that, by 2022, we are expecting to reduce the cost of the 2-motor hybrid system by 25% compared to the cost of this system in 2018.

    As for zero emission vehicles, with our battery EVs we will comply with the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program being adopted by California and other states in the U.S. and China's New Energy Vehicle (NEV) mandate. We will efficiently introduce our battery EVs to the market by selecting the most appropriate partners and resources to satisfy the different needs in each region.

    In North America, we will jointly develop battery components with General Motors and introduce highly-competitive battery EVs in the market.   

    In China, in order to keep up with the fast speed of electrification, we have already begun introducing battery EV models developed together with our local joint venture companies in China. While envisioning the introduction of battery EV models from the Honda brand, we will continue utilizing local resources in China and introduce more battery EV models in a timely manner to fulfill local market needs in China.

    In Europe and Japan, we will introduce the Honda e, a new battery EV model, which was recently introduced as a prototype at the Geneva Motor Show.

    To summarize, Honda will popularize and improve the business feasibility of electrified vehicles by focusing on hybrid vehicles and battery EVs.

    Changes in operational structure
    In order to ensure the solid implementation of these initiatives I just introduced for our automobile business, we renewed our operational structure as of April. The aims of this structural change are to establish an organization which brings all regional operations together to strongly facilitate inter-regional coordination and collaboration and to increase the speed of our business operations by enabling prompt decisions and prompt execution.

    Today, I introduced our initiatives to strengthen our automobile business structure and the direction of our electrification. Under the new organizational structure, we will realize our goals with a keen sense of speed. 

    Closing
    As we stated in our 2030 Vision, Honda is striving to grow through the pursuit of quality so that we can fulfill our vision to "Serve people worldwide with the joy of expanding their life's potential."

    Honda will continue taking on new challenges while being driven by strong passion, so that we can continue to be a company that society wants to exist even in 2050 after Honda becomes more than 100 years old. 

    *1 S-E-D-B: Sales, Engineering (Manufacturing), Development (R&D), Buying (Purchasing)

    Source: Honda



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    Explains why they weren’t in a big hurry to get rid of models like cars in the first place. 

    The one thing I can see Honda doing (as already mentioned) is that they will at least have hybrids in the lineup to make sure there is still a supply of ICE models. They realize why even going more global that not everyone is going to want to be totally EV based  (ie the US, 3rd and developing countries)

    Though I do see the death of one of their biggest name plates, either the Accord or Civic. 

     

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    I can totally understand this and the cost of the battery systems will go down by sharing the cost across Honda and GM. Economy of scale.

    I can totally see a fully automated assembly line in the future where once puts in the desired content and within hours an auto comes out the other side ready for pickup and use. Electrification will drive simplification of auto's.

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    I don't see Civic or Accord going away. 300k units in just the US is still a lot of units... and they still sell them in EU, Japan, and China.  This really feels more like a One Ford strategy where they reduce the number of platforms they use and the number of alacart options available.  Get ready for LX, EX, and Touring being the only choices.  Right now they have Base, LX, EX, Touring, Sport, EX with Navigation, Touring with Navigation, Si, etc.

    There will also probably be a reduction in the number of powertrain variants offered.  Expect a lot more CVTs where possible.

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    7 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    I don't see Civic or Accord going away. 300k units in just the US is still a lot of units... and they still sell them in EU, Japan, and China.  This really feels more like a One Ford strategy where they reduce the number of platforms they use and the number of alacart options available.  Get ready for LX, EX, and Touring being the only choices.  Right now they have Base, LX, EX, Touring, Sport, EX with Navigation, Touring with Navigation, Si, etc.

    There will also probably be a reduction in the number of powertrain variants offered.  Expect a lot more CVTs where possible.

    While true, the days of offering a model for every customer line is over. The Civic and Accord are even somewhat closer in size now. I expect some models to just fade out...

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    I thought Honda/Acura has only ONE platform for virtually all their vehicles.  What efficiencies can they find?

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    21 minutes ago, riviera74 said:

    I thought Honda/Acura has only ONE platform for virtually all their vehicles.  What efficiencies can they find?

    They actually have a handful, not like VW/Toyota/Subaru.. I'm sure the old Accord platform will be going away within a year or two.

    MDX/Pilot/Odyssey/Passport/Ridgeline

    Civic/Accord/CRV

    TLX/RLX (old Accord platform)

    RDX (new Acura platform)

    Fit/HRV "Global Small Car" Platform

    Clarity?

    Edited by frogger
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    Generic?

    Honda?

    It may appear to be so...sure...but Honda is anything BUT generic...

    Honda appears to be generic because for the last 20-30 years, Honda has introduced some automotive themes,concepts and ideas, much like BMW and Mercedes in some cases, and the other, bigger fish in the automotive world just burrow those themes and those themes become widespread and because Honda is a smaller player, it seems that Honda is generic...

    But Honda is not generic.

    Their styling on cars maybe different than the usual and more on the ugly side of different, to some, but different is the opposite of generic...

    The current generation TLX has got genertic styling, but the tech offered on the TLX is certainly not generic.

    The last generation TL had ugly styling, again not generic, and had technology not offered by others in any segment...

    The new NSX uses technology that only a handful of exotic supercars use...that cost 2-3 times more. The new Ford GT and the new ME C8 Corvette wont offer that type of tech just yet.  Anything but generic there as well.

    The Civic...Si...has got boyracer styling. That type of styling WOULD be generic if it were still the 1990s. Its 2019. Its cliched old styling nowadays, but THAT does not define it as generic...

    The Civic SI performance figures for a FWD car is certainly NOT generic...

    NEWSFLASH:

    ALL CUVS/SUVs FROM ALL MANUFACTURES ARE GENERIC...not just Honda's...

    Coupe stlye SUVs like the BMW X6 has become generic.  But BMW was one of the 1st to market. Which leads us to Acura. Acura had one BEFORE everybody else not named BMW...so...at THAT time...NOT GENERIC...

    Honda maybe a lot of things, positive or negative, to people. But one thing that Honda is not...Honda is NOT generic. 

     

    Edited by oldshurst442

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