Honda R&D Americas Opens New Advanced Design Studio in California

12/5/2006 4:41:24 PM

Honda R&D Americas, Inc. (HRA) today opened the doors to its new Advanced Design Studio. The new studio, located in the Old Town area of Pasadena, is the company's third design center in California. The new studio will focus on advanced design concepts and the creation of concept vehicles for future Honda and Acura products.

In March 2006, HRA broke ground on its second major California design center - the Acura Design Center in Torrance, located adjacent to its existing Los Angeles Center and the company's U.S. sales headquarters. The new Acura Design Center, opening next summer, will focus exclusively on market research and styling design activities for the Acura brand, while the existing Los Angeles Center will be responsible for market research, concept development and styling design for the Honda brand.

"We will now have one center focused on Honda products, another center focused on Acura products and this new advanced studio that takes a longer view focused on advanced design concepts that will guide the future of both of these brands," said Hirohide Ikeno, president of Honda R&D Americas.

HRA's new Advanced Design Studio will work closely with other Honda Advance Design studios around the world - specifically in Germany, Italy and Japan - to provide future product and brand direction to Acura and Honda product design stylists. In addition, the new U.S. studio will undertake special projects such as concept cars for American auto shows and school projects with the Art Center College of Design.

"I am pleased that this studio will be integrated into the community and will have a relationship with the Art Center," said Ikeno. "In this way, it will enable Honda designers to make an important contribution by working together with young designers of the future."

"Our challenge is not simply to create new products, although we'll do that, but to help establish brand direction that is two generations away," said David Marek, chief design stylist with Honda R&D Americas and the director of the Advanced Design Studio. "In our factories, we emphasize that cars are built by people, not machines. And in our design work, even as we get more high tech ... I want to emphasize that our goal is to connect our designers with the customer ... designing cars with their own hands and their own ideas."

HRA began its operations in California in 1975 with local market research activities and has steadily grown its capabilities over the past 31 years to include all aspects of new vehicle design and development. Recent development efforts include trend-setting products like the Honda Ridgeline, Pilot and Element, and the all-new Civic Coupe and Civic Si and the Acura MDX and TL sedan.

With the addition of the Advanced Design Studio and Acura Design Center (which will begin operation in summer 2007), the company will operate 10 major facilities in North America with more than 1,400 designers, engineers and support personnel engaged in the development of Honda and Acura passenger cars, motorcycles and power equipment products for North America and global markets.

HRA's main centers of operation include the Los Angeles Center (Torrance, CA) responsible for market research, concept development and styling design; the Ohio Center (Raymond, OH) responsible for complete product development, testing and support of North American supplier and manufacturing operations; and two dynamic test facilities near the Mojave Desert in Cantil, California, and in East Liberty, Ohio. Power equipment R&D is conducted at the North Carolina Center in Swepsonville, NC.

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