Vehicle weight has always been an automaker’s design concern ever since the dawn of automotive engineering. Back in the early days of the automotive industry, a light weight car was designed to cover-up for a less powerful engine. But nowadays, it is mainly for fuel consumption. Another positive factor in a light weight vehicle is better driving dynamics.
Honda is implementing new assembly methods in order to shed weight from their vehicles. It is part of a plan to revive Honda’s once proud reputation for automotive engineering expertise. Basically, part of the new assembly methods is to weld more body parts such as; roofs, side panels and other body sections. This will form single structures instead of preparing parts individually and then bolting them on together to form sections.
This method will enable the automaker to reduce the number of bolts and other fastening parts used to join body panels or sections. This will also help to reduce weight by at least 10 percent and at the same time it will reduce costs. In order to achieve this, Honda will invest in overhauling their production lines so that they can utilise the new implementations.
The first vehicle to receive this treatment is the new Honda N Box (pictured above). Honda intends to start using this new assembly method on their smaller vehicles first before expanding it to their bigger vehicles. Other than reducing costs and improve fuel consumption, Honda also hopes that these new methods will help their entry into new markets.
Over the years, safety regulations and new technical equipment has made vehicles heavier and this has prompted automakers to fix larger capacity and more powerful engines. These actions have resulted in higher fuel consumption and everyone knows that the price of fuel is not cheap nowadays.
This is what I feel/think about Honda’s plans.
Honda’s move towards lighter vehicles will not only improve fuel consumption on their cars but also, in a way, will reduce the time we visit petrol stations. And my only concern with regards to these new assembly methods is when a vehicle gets damaged; it may be more difficult for body repair shops to replace panels that are all welded together.
Photo credit: tokyo100.com and uol.com.br