Honda considers design centre in UK
The Japanese manufacturer closed its previous European design operation in 2009. However, the general manager of Honda’s Styling Design Development Division, Yoshikazu Kigoshi, said: 'We would like to reopen a design studio in Europe. We haven’t decided on a location, but the UK is one of the key candidates. It is a good candidate, I would say.
'We believe we would like to be able to design European cars in Europe. I think this facility would be an advanced design studio, probably with a maximum of 10 people.'
However, sources say the eventual head count could be as high as 50. Honda is said to be acutely aware that the demands of its customers in the United States and Japan, as well as the emerging market of China, are different from those in Europe.
The car maker has also seen the European success of models created by Nissan’s design centre in London, and the increasing prominence of European-design cars created by Hyundai and Kia.
Kigoshi even suggested that the next Accord-size model might not be called Accord in Europe, allowing greater differentiation between that car and Accords in the US and China.
He said: 'We know that we need a mid-sized sedan for Europe, but if you look at the differing requirements, perhaps the "Accord for Europe" will not have the Accord name any more. We haven’t decided yet.'