23 October 2012

Honda to invest R$ 100 million to strengthen automobile R&D capability in Brazil

São Paulo, Brazil - 22 October 2012 - Honda Automoveis do Brasil Ltda. (HAB), the Honda automobile production and sales subsidiary in Brazil, today unveiled “FIT twist” at the 27th São Paulo International Motor Show 2012 currently being held in São Paulo, Brazil. The “FIT twist” is scheduled to go on sale in Brazil next month.

The “FIT twist” is a Fit derivative model developed exclusively for the Brazilian market, and it is the first model developed by the local automobile R&D team in Brazil. While maintaining the ease of use and driving comfort of the original Fit, the “FIT twist” offers a sportier vehicle image with a bold design realized through adoption of an exclusive front grill and roof rails as well as an exclusive seat surface material. 

HAB will invest 100 million Brazilian reais (approximately 4 billion yen) in its automobile R&D division in the next two years to strengthen the R&D facilities and equipment. A new facility will be built before the end of 2013, and the number of associates who will work in the area of R&D will be increased to the hundreds. 

The strengthening of the local R&D capability in Brazil is a part of Honda’s initiative to reform its global operations, which includes pursuit of “concurrent development by all six regions of the world,” where each region will participate in product development concurrently and at the same level. Through further localized R&D activities, to include design development that incorporates local needs and the expanded adoption of locally sourced parts, Honda will develop and introduce new models that fulfill the needs of customers in Brazil. 

Starting from 2014, HAB will renew its lineup of small cars including the Fit and the City. HAB will also introduce a new compact SUV model, which is one of the fastest growing segments in Brazil. 

Honda also announced its plan to introduce the Acura brand in Brazil in 2015. For the purpose of introducing the Acura brand for the first time in South America, three models, Acura NSX Concept, Acura RDX and Acura ILX are being exhibited at the motor show as reference models. 

Takanobu Ito, president & CEO of Honda said: “For more than 40 years since we began our motorcycle business in Brazil in 1971, we have been offering the joy of riding, with more convenience and comfort for people’s daily lives. To introduce more attractive automobiles more quickly to the Brazilian market, Honda will further strengthen its R&D capability in Brazil, including adopting locally optimized design to create products that directly respond to the voice of Brazilian customers.” 

Source: Honda