Automotive

Published on May 20th, 2024 | by Subhash Nair

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New Honda Accord Lead Engineers Explain Their Development Philosophy

Learn about the development of the first Honda Accord Malaysians won’t experience.

The Honda Accord has been one of the most loved D-segment Japanese sedans in Malaysia ever since it arrived decades ago in its 1st generation. Since Honda Malaysia was set up in the early 2000s, the Accord has been locally-assembled and it climbed in popularity, surpassing the Camry as the best-selling car in its segment for a number of years.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a case for the Accord in Malaysia anymore and here’s why. The prices of D-segment Japanese cars have been climbing up and the last Accord was sold at about RM200,000. Meanwhile, the German makes have been closing the gap with smaller ‘4-door’ options like the A-Class sedan and the BMW 218i Gran Coup√©, which are both available at around RM218K-RM230K. At the same time, C-segment SUVs have been increasing in size and popularity, displacing the larger sedans. It’s understandable that a CKD Accord had to be discontinued.

Honda Accord in White being driven

We’re still holding out for a CBU Accord, but we’re doubtful this will happen. But in case you’re curious about the new Accord, Honda conducted an in-house interview with the Development Leaders of the new Accord, Naoki Yokoyama and the e:HEV powertrain, Takahiro Sasaki.

Honda Accord Lead Developers Sasaki-san and Yokoyama-san

When asked about their initial thoughts upon being assigned as Development Leaders, both Yokoyama-san and Sasaki-san admitted to feeling the immense pressure that comes with such a pivotal role. However, their shared passion for delivering a truly exceptional car overshadowed any reservations.

Honda Accord in the USA in three different colours

Yokoyama-san revealed that the development team’s guiding principle was to create a car that would evoke a sense of “latitude” and “resilience” in everyday use. Drawing inspiration from the balance beam in gymnastics, they envisioned a wider, more forgiving platform that would instill confidence and freedom in drivers of all skill levels.

“While driving, if the controls installed in the car naturally support the driver’s abilities, the vehicle can be driven with peace of mind and composure,” Yokoyama-san explained. “We aimed to create a car that serves as a companion with such resilience for as many customers as possible.”

Sasaki-san, on the other hand, spearheaded the development of the “Sports e:HEV” powertrain, a key component in delivering the “joy of driving” that the new Accord promises. Driven by the market’s evaluation of the driving experience, the team sought to enhance the quietness and exhilarating acceleration that e:HEV offers.

“We revamped the powertrain to achieve a rhythmic and exhilarating operation by expanding the high-efficiency range of the engine and synergizing it with a high-output generator,” Sasaki-san explained. “Furthermore, by optimizing the gear ratio through structural changes and strengthening battery assistance, we expanded the engine’s direct connection range, further enhancing quietness.”

The development process was a true collaboration, with both leaders recognizing and appreciating each other’s roles and responsibilities. Yokoyama-san praised Sasaki-san’s ability to propose innovative ideas from a functional perspective, while Sasaki-san commended Yokoyama-san’s clear vision and communication skills, which aligned the development trajectory.

You can read the full interview at this link.

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Written work on dsf.my. @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.



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