Honda Motor Co., Ltd. president and CEO Takeo Fukui, speaking at the North American International Auto Show today, announced several new safety and environmental initiatives for Honda and Acura vehicles as he reinforced the company's commitment to leadership in these critical areas of social responsibility. The new initiatives include an advanced collision avoidance system for the Acura RL, new safety and advanced powertrain features for the next generation Honda Civic, expansion of Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) to the Honda Pilot and introduction of a fuel cell vehicle to an individual customer.
This fall, the 2006 Acura RL will be equipped with Collision Mitigation Brake System (CMBS) + E-Pretensioners, the world's most advanced system for accident avoidance. CMBS uses millimeter wave radar to detect a collision before it happens and alerts the driver with audible and visual signals and by pre-tensioning of the seatbelt. If an accident appears unavoidable, the system applies braking force to reduce the severity of the collision.
Based on Honda's industry leading "Safety for Everyone" initiative, the next generation 2006 Civic will set new standards for safety performance in the compact class. The new Civic, being introduced this fall, will feature anti-lock brakes, side curtain airbags, driver and passenger side airbags with Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS) technology and pedestrian safety features as standard equipment on all U.S. Civic models. In addition, the new Civic will utilize Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure for improved occupant protection and compatibility with larger vehicles in a collision, the first application of this technology in a compact-class vehicle.
In the area of environmental leadership, Mr. Fukui announced plans to further advance and expand the use of Honda fuel-efficient technologies including its hybrid technology and Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system. VCM will be applied to the 2006 Honda Pilot sport-utility vehicle scheduled to debut this fall. VCM deactivates three of the engine's six cylinders during cruising, deceleration and other low engine load conditions to reduce fuel consumption. This technology was first introduced in the U.S. in 2004 on the all-new 2005 Odyssey minivan and 2005 Accord Hybrid.
Further, the 2006 Civic will be powered by the newest and most advanced generation of Honda's i-VTEC engine technology to achieve even higher fuel economy and lower emissions. And a new Civic Hybrid will feature enhancements to Honda's IMA hybrid technology to achieve significantly higher fuel economy and performance. The natural gas Civic GX, powered by the cleanest internal combustion engine in the world, will continue to be made in Ohio.
Honda also announced its plans to place a fuel cell vehicle with an individual customer. The company will seek out interested parties to become the first private individual to lease its FCX fuel cell vehicle for regular everyday use. The 2005 FCX is the world's most advanced fuel cell vehicle and the only FCV to earn certification from the U.S. EPA and California's Air Resources Board (CARB). It is powered by Honda's originally developed fuel cell stack (Honda FC Stack) with the breakthrough ability to start and operate in below freezing temperatures, along with significantly improved performance, efficiency and range.
Honda is one of the world's leading producers of mobility products including its diverse line-up of automobiles, motorcycles and ATVs, power products, marine engines and personal watercraft. This diverse product line-up has also made Honda the world's preeminent engine-maker, with production of more than 19 million engines globally in 2004. On a global basis, Honda has more than 120 manufacturing facilities in 31 nations.
Honda began operations in North America in 1959 with the establishment of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Honda's first overseas subsidiary. Honda began assembling motorcycles in America in 1979, with U.S. automobile manufacturing starting in 1982. Honda now employs more than 26,000 Americans in the design, manufacture and marketing of its products in America. Honda currently builds products in 12 manufacturing plants in North America, with three major R&D centers in the U.S.