Honda Motor Co.’s leading designers admitted that the carmaker overestimated the impact of the global financial crisis and misjudged consumer tastes, which has cost the Japanese builder some of its market share. Moving forward, Toshinobu Minami and Yoshinori Asahi, Honda’s chief of global exterior design and worldwide head of interiors respectively, are now working on a new design language under the banner "Exciting H Design," which is slated to debut during the 2016 model year.
Honda’s top designers are now hoping that the new design language would allow the company to attract new buyers. Honda’s top market forecasters had assumed that customers would be more attracted to fuel-efficient, no-frills cars after the financial crisis. Asahi and Minami, however, conceded that the company was wrong back then.
Although customers still consider fuel efficiency as a prime factor for choosing new cars, they were also drawn to vehicles that don upscale features and emotional styling. Hyundai and Kia saw that and started offering high trim and affordable prices.
Asahi admitted that there may be a disconnect between Honda’s minimalist, efficiency-based focus of style and what buyers are looking for in a vehicle. But with the design language, Honda is showing that it is adapting with the time.
The elements of the new language are seen in several concepts, including the Honda AC-X hybrid touring sedan, the Honda Micro Commuter electric city runabout, the Honda EV-ster open-cockpit roadster, and the Acura NSX sports car.
New styling point includes a grille-headlight combination that runs together in the “Solid Wing Face.” According to Minami, sheet-metal treatment will be more sophisticated, with a great combination of hidden and exposed surfaces. [source: Autonews]