Honda wants Chinese tastes to flavor global designs

BEIJING -- Honda wants Chinese tastes in cars to add more flavor to its global lineup.

At the Beijing auto show, CEO Takanobu Ito unveiled two new concept cars, one of which will be manufactured and sold first in China before being introduced worldwide.

The so-called Concept S is a small wagon/MPV that runs on a hybrid drivetrain.

The car was engineered with the Chinese market in mind. It will first go on sale in China next year before being rolled out overseas.

Ito said the process is the reversal of Honda's traditionally Japan-centered r&d process, in which cars are first developed and launched in the home market.

"I hope Honda in China will not only build cars that Chinese customers want but also paly a role to lead other Honda operations around the world," Ito said.

While Honda plans to sell the car elsewhere, it was mum about whether North America would be an eventual market.

The car is similar to the Stream wagon sold in Japan, a vehicle that is smaller than the Odyssey minivan.

The hybrid Concept S on display in Beijing showed off its green credentials with a metallic emerald paint job and sleek wedge-shaped silhouette.