Honda goes green by design

* New family look on the way * Cars now shaped by 'green' concerns * Traditional values not abandoned, though...

Honda goes green by design

Future Hondas will take a family look that's shaped by the need to reflect buyers' environmental concerns, says the company's design chief, Nobuki Ebishawa.

He also said the design values that have been highly cherished by the company and its customers since the 1960s will not be abandoned in the process.

Ebishawa says Hondas have combined dynamism and functionality since the company began producing four-wheeled vehicles in the early 1960s.

Honda's cars are based on what it calls the double-m design philosophy maximum space for people and their belongings, and the minimum for the machinery.

Green concerns will drive car design
Ebishawa also says the advent of environmentalism has changed the way Honda's cars look, with what he calls a 'monoform' appearance.

This has blurred the old divide between the engine bay and passenger cell, which has led to the cabin being moved forward, along with longer roofs, higher tails and tapered rears becoming the norm.

More intelligent design for the future
The company's hybrid Insight, the hydrogen-fuelled FCX Clarity and the forthcoming CR-Z are the embodiment of this look.

'This is not the ultimate solution,' says Ebishawa. 'Honda has other ideas that could be seen in five years.' Active aerodynamics wings that rise only when needed and cooling vents that close when not required are part of the plan, he admits.

He also wants to see a closer link between Honda's models so that, for instance, the Civic and Accord no longer appear to come from different companies.

'We will try to bring together designs so that we can create more of a family identity than in the past,' says Ebishawa.