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Honda cancels NSX
New-generation NSX supercar officially hits the skids as downturn bites Honda
22 Dec 2008
HONDA’S next-generation NSX is the latest casualty of the global economic downturn.
The Japanese maker has officially cancelled the development program for a replacement for its ground-breaking original supercar, as part of a raft of cost-cutting measures announced by president Takeo Fukui in Tokyo on December 17.
“The development of the NSX successor model equipped with V10 engine will be cancelled,” said Mr Fukui just days after Honda officially announced this year will be its last season in Formula One.
“Honda has decided to withdraw from all Formula One activities, making 2008 the last season of participation,” he said. “While reassessing investment priorities, Honda will concentrate its investments on initiatives which enable Honda to survive in the rapidly changing world and achieve continuous future growth.
“In order for Honda to sustain its business during the next 100 years of the automotive industry, it is critical for the company to further strengthen its ability to continue advancing environmental technologies and to apply them to creative and attractive products,” said Fukui-san.
The replacement for Honda’s original NSX coupe was previewed by the Acura-badged Advanced Sports Car concept at the 2007 Detroit motor show and was also pictured in a leaked engineering cut-away image and Nurburgring spy pictures earlier this year, indicating its development was well advanced.
Left: Honda's Insight concept as seen at the 2008 Paris motor show.It was to have been powered by a front-mounted V10 delivering in excess of 500hp (373kW), eschewing its lauded predecessor’s mid-mounted V6 layout, making new-generation NSX a direct rival for Nissan’s born-again GT-R supercar, as well as the likes of Audi’s R8 coupe, which will soon also feature V10 power.
The reborn NSX had been widely expected to appear globally as a 2010 model, replacing a model that set new supercar benchmarks before ceasing production in late 2005 after 14 years on sale.
Badged only as an Acura – Honda’s US-focussed luxury brand – which could well have prevented its availability in Australia anyway, it was to have featured extensive use of carbon-fibre and aluminium components as well as Honda’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system.
Apart from cancelling the launch of the Acrua launch in Japan in 2010 as planned, Mr Fukui this week also announced cuts in Honda’s sales and profit forecasts, a 10 per cent reduction in executive salaries and delays in opening new facilities.
“Honda has decided to withdraw from all Formula One activities, making 2008 the last season of participation.
“While reassessing investment priorities, Honda will concentrate its investments on initiatives which enable Honda to survive in the rapidly changing world and achieve continuous future growth,” said Mr Fukui.
The Honda president said his company’s renewed concentration on the small and light car segments in Japan had resulted in the withdrawal of its plan to introduce Acura there in 2010, but says the development of hybrid models remains “the most realistic path for CO2 reductions at this moment”.
The opening of Honda’s new research and development centre at Sakura will be delayed beyond 2010, but Honda says it will focus most of its energy on hybrid development to “achieve mass market penetration as soon as possible”.
To that end, Mr Fukui reiterated that the new Insight hybrid will debut at the Detroit motor show in January, promising it will offer both fuel-efficiency and “zippy, yet light and comfortable driving performance” in equal measures.
Honda said the new Insight will go on sale in Japan next year priced below two million Yen ($A33,000), while the CR-Z-badged sports car version will go ons ale by the end of 2010.
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