In a shattering volte-face, Honda has cancelled the NSX replacement. It was due to be unveiled within weeks. Japanese companies normally set huge store by consistent long-term planning. And it pulled the plug on F1 a couple of weeks ago. It all shows how desperate the economic climate is for everyone.
Do not, by the way, imagine these decisions are the doing of passionless men in grey suits who don’t understand the value of halo cars.
Honda’s CEO Takeo Fukui would have been right behind a V10 supercar. A lifelong engineer, he has designed Formula One engines. He ran Honda bike R&D, then all Honda R&D. Back in the day, he was a bit of a hand in a race-car, and has driven modern F1 cars around a track none too shabbily. Name another executive who can do that.
He’s just announced other changes, too. A new small diesel engine, which is good news for us in Europe. Hybrids in bigger cars.
A new factory Honda factory in Japan, already built, won’t go into production, he says. (Similarly, Toyota is just finishing a plant to make the Prius in America, but for the moment it’ll be locked and left silent.)
I can put only one positive spin on the Honda NSX and F1 stories. And that’s that the engineers won’t be sent home. But that they’ll be re-assigned to making sure other Hondas are better than they’d otherwise have been, and get here sooner. Especially the lovely little CR-Z hybrid sports coupe.