Honda will launch new global platform, heavily slash trim variants

4 years, 6 months ago - 13 May 2019, Autoblog
Honda will launch new global platform, heavily slash trim variants
Next-gen Fit debuts this fall, and here's Honda's hybrid plan

Along with Honda's announcement of the Honda E electric city car's production name, CEO Takahiro Hachigo today revealed a smattering of other initiatives and plans for Honda's future. Perhaps the most intriguing is a new vehicle platform to be announced next year with a "global model." It will be called Honda Architecture, and Honda says it's going to increase development efficiency and expand parts-sharing between models built on the platform. What Honda didn't tell us was what model we'll see on the platform first. Since the vehicle will be introduced next year, we expect it to be for the 2021 model year. It's tough to say which vehicle will be getting this platform first, as Honda has many global models: Civic, CR-V, Fit and HR-V.

The Accord and CR-V are both already loosely based on the same platform as Civic, so where that car goes, the others will follow and vice-versa. The HR-V is a Fit-based crossover, but the new Fit was announced to be shown at the Tokyo Motor Show this fall — this means it can't be the car using the new platform, since Honda says the "Honda Architecture" is coming to a model announced in 2020. Honda also said this new Fit will be getting a next-generation version of its i-MMD hybrid system. We expect absolutely stellar fuel economy from a hybridized Fit — you can check out the next-gen Fit in spy photos here.

Other news from Honda this morning is trim-related. Hachigo said that the number of variations currently available for its vehicles is too high, leading to excessive complexity and higher costs than necessary. To cure that problem, he said that Honda is going to slash the number of variations at the trim and option level for its global models to one-third of what it has now. This is significant as Honda already has fewer variations than most car companies, although they have certainly been increased in recent years with additional luxury-oriented trim levels.

Additionally, Honda says it will be "eliminating and consolidating" some similar regional models sold across multiple regions. Just like the new platform vehicle, there's no word on which vehicles will be getting the "eliminating and consolidating" treatment from Honda.

Further electrification claims were made by Hachigo. Honda previously pledged to electrify its entire European lineup by 2025, and now we know the form of electrification that will take. Hachigo said Honda will be expanding its two-motor hybrid system to the whole lineup of Honda vehicles. There was no talk of plug-in hybrids or mass adoption of pure electric vehicles beyond the Honda E. For now, Honda has its partnership with GM to jointly develop EVs, and that's all we know.