Honda America will be spearheading several of Honda’s global vehicle development projects in an effort to help the carmaker fend off competitive challenges in North America and avoid the effects of the strong yen. Honda’s US unit will be engineering and developing the new-generation Acura NSX sports car, the redesign of the current Civic at the end of 2012, the next-generation Accord wagon and Accord coupe and "a few Acura models," according to Erik Berkman, the new president of Honda R&D Americas.
Berkman said he was appointed as president of Honda R&D Americas in April in part because he likes to play “offense.”
Honda has been fostering North American engineering for the past two decades, and with the increasing pressure on the carmaker – including the stronger yen -- it has no choice but to have its US unit handle new responsibilities. Honda is also under pressure from smaller US market players like Nissan and Hyundai. In fact, Nissan’s Altima sedan outsold Honda’s Accord in 2011.
Berkman readily accepted the newly imposed responsibilities. Berkman said that Honda’s R&D center in Raymond, Ohio, which employs around 2,000 people, may expand in the next few years to accommodate the increased responsibility.
He likewise hinted that Honda America would engineer the next-generation Civic. Berkman said that although Honda R&D Americas has yet to achieve a scope of activities on par with R&D operations in Japan, its US facilities and the skill level of its engineers have achieved full citizenship in r&d.
Acura’s NSX Concept is dynamically styled, giving you an indication of the Acura brand’s next great performance car. It uses lightweight materials and features a mid-mounted V6 engine. Moreover, the NSX Concept boasts several new technologies, including the Acura's Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) hybrid system.
The Acura NSX Concept also utilizes a 2 Electric Motor Drive Unit equipped with a bilateral torque system with adjustable control, therefore allowing the new hybrid all-wheel-drive system to instantly generate positive or negative torque to the wheels at the front during cornering. The carmaker anticipates that the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD will bring handling performance that is unmatched by earlier AWD systems.
Aside from the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system’s handling benefits, a next-generation VTEC V-6 engine plus direct-injection works in conjunction with the dual clutch transmission in order to produce supercar acceleration while also offering excellent efficiency. This dual clutch transmission features a built-in electric motor.
According to Takanobu Ito, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.’s president and CEO, this Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system is going to make NSX the carmaker’s ultimate expression of the synergy between machine and man. He said that the NSX is going to make you one with the car, enhancing dynamic driving capabilities. The NSX Concept champions the racing principle of a favorable power-to-weight ratio in its truest sense. Meanwhile, most supercars lean towards brute force that is delivered from large engines.