Honda Motor is gearing up to take a second stab at the top-end sports car market dominated by European heavyweights by bringing out a state-of-the-art vehicle made in the U.S. Aside from the car itself, the fact the Japanese automaker chose the U.S. to make the car has intrigued motor enthusiasts.
Honda said Thursday that it will start manufacturing the all-new NSX sports car in late April. Aiming to compete with such famous brands as Ferrari and Porsche, the company has thrown everything it has into making its new top-of-the-line vehicle look as good and perform as well as the European supercars. In the U.S., the model will be called the Acura NSX.
To produce the new offering, whose price starts at around $150,000, Honda has built a dedicated manufacturing base at its existing plant in Marysville, Ohio. The $70 million facility, named the Performance Manufacturing Center, is now test-building the NSX, said Clement D'Souza, who is in charge of the vehicle's production. Once mass production starts, the PMC will make eight to 10 NSXs a day. From start to finish, it takes 10 to 12 days to build an NSX, according to D'Souza. The comment indicates that more detailed work goes into making the new NSX than its previous incarnation, since the daily output of the first-generation NSX was 25 units.
Blast from the past
Honda launched the original NSX in 1990, when its partnership with the U.K.'s McLaren was dominating the world of Formula One racing. Helped by Honda's racing success, the luxury sports car, which sold for around 8 million yen (about $72,000 at today's exchange rate), was received well in Japan. But it failed to make a splash on the world stage, where European upmarket sports cars reigned supreme. Honda discontinued the first-generation NSX at the end of 2005. A total of 18,737 were made.
Its looks and power were the biggest reasons why the NSX was unable to crack the overseas market. Learning its lesson, Honda has sharply upgraded the paint of the new NSX. By using a robot whose huge arm moves around flexibly to spray the car body from every angle, Honda will apply 11 layers of coatings to the NSX, taking four days to complete just the painting alone.
source by nikkei