Honda new product strategy in light of a disastrous 2008 nixes more than just the NSX supercar as previously reported – and Acura is bearing the brunt of the blow. Among the casualties include the rumored V-8, the successor to the Honda S2000, a program to develop rear-wheel drive cars to compete with BMW’s, and a convertible based on the CR-Z concept.
While the NSX was an obvious program to be pushed off Honda’s plate, Acura’s future lineup was a less-expected candidate. Honda was planning to develop rear-wheel drive platforms aimed specifically at competing with BMW’s rear-wheel drive 3-series, 5-series and 7-series. Autocar says a potential 7-series fighter was to be the first arrival, in 2015, but all three programs have been halted. Development of the V-8 engine meant to drive these rear-wheel drive cars has also been cancelled, due to Honda engineers’ inability to make it cost-effective and fuel efficient.
In addition to Acura’s disappearing future products, Honda dropped plans to build a convertible version of the CR-Z concept, and the current Honda S2000 – which is in its last year of production – no longer has a replacement in development. The Honda Accord, which currently has two models – one for the U.S. market and one for the rest of the world – may be reduced to a single model to save in development costs.
Honda will now concentrate on building more hybrids and small cars. It wants to build 500,000 hybrids by 2012, including the new Insight and the hybrid Honda Fit, which is expected to achieve 80 mpg on the European test cycle.