This weekend, Honda Motor Company announced that, in an effort to be more competitive on a global scale, it will adopt a common architecture for its three best-selling vehicles: the Accord, Civic, and CR-V. Currently, Civic and CR-V share a compact platform, while the Accord occupies the line between midsize and large.
The move, which Honda hopes to implement by 2015, should save the brand 30-percent in parts costs. With late-model vehicles tallying more than 30,000 individual parts, accounting for roughly 80-percent of a vehicle’s manufacturing cost, the common architecture would enable the three best sellers to share 40-50-percent in parts, allowing Honda to specifically tailor each model for regional tastes. And to do so quicker than ever before.
Honda president and CEO, Takanobu Ito, believes that lower costs will lead to greater competitiveness and sales. The automaker hopes to quadruple its current sales of 2.4 million vehicles worldwide, to more than 6 million vehicles by 2016.
Accord, Civic, and CR-V account for roughly 40 percent of Honda’s global sales, and plans to increase commonalities will rely heavily on parts suppliers like Bosch and Denso. Whereas Honda has traditionally manufactured many in-house parts, the automaker plans to give its suppliers specifications and dimensions for future components.
Automotive.com’s take: With some exceptions, we’re not fond of architecture sharing. It didn’t work out well for Mitsubishi when sporty Eclipse grew as portly as a Galant, and it’s essentially hurt both of Mazda’s sportsters, the embiggened MX-5 (Miata) and its now defunct older brother, RX-8.
We get it. We really do. It’s a smart business decision, and it can lead to greater sales–if it doesn’t mutilate the uniqueness and sometimes greatness of the thing it’s leaving behind. The key for Honda here, and other manufacturers operating similarly, will be its ability to adapt the shared architecture. It’s not so bad when a Civic or CR-V drives like an Accord, but no one wants an Accord to drive like a Civic, or a Civic Si to drive like an Accord? Will Honda be able to maintain a unique identity for each vehicle?
Source: Dow Jones Newswires