TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Honda Motor Co.s North American subsidiaries can now develop multiple new U.S. models simultaneously -- thanks in part to overseas training of U.S. engineers.
That represents a new level of U.S. market autonomy for the Japanese automaker. Honda created a North American umbrella company in 1994 specifically to enable the U.S. operations to direct its own fate with locally designed and built products.
Several recent North American vehicle programs have been headed by U.S. project leaders who participated in Hondas Overseas Assignment Program, said Charles Allen, vice president of Honda R&D Americas Inc. in Marysville, Ohio.
The program sends American staffers to the companys central R&D office in Japan to work for two years.
American engineers, many of them OAP participants, are serving in top positions as large project leaders of new model development or as project leaders on key aspects of those developments, Allen told a Management Briefing Seminars audience on Thursday.
The growth in U.S. capabilities lets Honda juggle multiple projects.
We now have the ability to design and develop new models simultaneously, including many of the critical new technologies that make these products unique, he said.
Over the past year, three separate U.S. r&d teams launched the Ridgeline, Hondas first American pickup, developed a new Civic coupe and led another upcoming vehicle through development.
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