The move is said to be part of an orchestrated effort to revive the automaker’s once proud reputation for engineering brilliance as well as to make cars cheaper for sale in emerging markets.
The key will be the adoption of new design and manufacturing techniques aimed at making vehicles lighter, Reuters reports citing Japan’s Nikkei business daily.
Essentially, Honda will weld more components, such as the roof, side panels and other sections, to form single mega-structures rather than preparing parts separately and then bolting them together. The Japanese newspaper claims this will enable Honda to reduce the number of bolts and reinforcing material required, helping to reduce weight by as much as 10 percent in addition to costing less.
While not mentioned, repair to damaged vehicles may become more difficult as it may no longer be possible to replace single components as everything will be welded together.
Nevertheless, Honda is reportedly rolling out the new design and manufacturing techniques on its small vehicles like the N Box initially before expanding it to larger vehicles in the near future.
Honda is not alone in its quest for lighter vehicles as automakers around the world strive for lighter and more fuel efficient cars. Aluminum composite hybrids, carbon fiber and ultra-high tensile steel are just some of the new materials being implemented in vehicle construction to make vehicle structures not only lighter but stronger too.