Saturday, November 24, 2012

Honda Malaysia to establish R&Development center

Honda Malaysia will set up an R&D center in Malaysia to do development for new models for the local market. This center will be the fourth in the Asia region after HRT in Thailand. The center will be located in Pegoh industrial area of Melaka together with the assembly plant there. 

All these while, Honda Malaysia had to depend on HRT for any special requirements for models. In numerous cases when Honda Malaysia wanted a special model that HRT has not developed, Honda Malaysia had to source for it through a labourous process, by matching specifications of models in overseas market to local requirements. Often this can lead to slight mis-matches and in occassions, even cases of over-specification. 

A case in point is the current Honda Jazz Hybrid which is imported from Japan but is a variant spec'ed for the Europe market. This 'CBU Jazz Hybrid' has slight mis-matches against models specifically developed for ASEAN/Malaysia by HRT. An example is the location of the windscreen wiper and headlight/turn-signal stalks which are reversed in positions on the steering wheel. The fuel consumption readout on the multi-information display is also in units of litre/100km instead of km/l which is the unit used here. Then, the Jazz Hybrid is also a 'glitch' in terms of features, being better equipped than the Civic for e.g., with side and curtain airbags. This 'anomaly' has been resolved by the launch of the locally assembled Jazz Hybrid which now features only front dual airbags plus things like 'correct' location of the windscreen wiper/headlight stalks amongst other things.

In another example, when Honda Malaysia got permission to launch the FD2 Civic Type-R here a few years ago they had to develop some contents locally, like the boot tray cover. They could not depend on HRT as the FD2R was not authorized as an ASEAN model, only for Malaysia on a special case basis. It fell to the local product planning team to do the development, a task they are really not equipped to do. In that case however, they did a good job with the constraints they had to work with. 

The establishment of this R&D center will ensure situations like this will not happen. Other crucial functions of the R&D center also includes working with local suppliers to develop more local contents for calls assembled in Malaysia, to take advantage of the local tax laws for local versus important contents and thus to reduce cost and keep prices competitive.


FiSHChan said...

Hopefully, these include some "RS" or SiR-like version of existing models... not likely given the Malaysian tastes (bigger+cheap=better) I know, but still...

TOVA said...

The HMSB people that had the imagination to do the RS, they are all now with other manufacturers.

FiSHChan said...

Well that is too bad. Well HM better take note..

Speaking of locally productions, I was completely surprised that the first hybrid had ALREADY been built in Malaysia and now being sold (or at least previewed)! That was pretty damn quick either that or they did it way before the news release, which seem like not long ago..

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