In a bid to get a much bigger head start in future vehicle research and development, Honda is set to merge four major Japanese auto and motorcycle parts companies under their own wing. These companies are Hitachi Automotive Systems, Keihin Corporation, Showa Corporation, and Nissin Kogyo Co. LTD.
Honda says that they will be able to reduce the environmental impact on developing new cars with this collaborative effort. Also, Honda's backing of these four parts companies will help them further expand their respective product lines as the automobile industry is beginning to see some seismic changes in propulsion and technology.
This merger will enable combination of the respective advanced technologies of Keihin’s powertrain business, Showa’s suspension business and steering business, and Nissin’s brake system business with the strength of Hitachi Automotive Systems’ three core businesses, namely powertrain systems, chassis systems, and safety systems. But perhaps the biggest advantage this 'integration' will have for all parties involves is the reduced economies of scale. In plain English, all of them will be able to share research and development costs with one another.
So, what does this mean for the average consumer? By lowering research, development, planning, and production costs, those savings will be passed off to car buyers around the world by making the said vehicles less expensive. At the same time, these economies of scale will allow consumers to have the most up to date vehicle technologies without the daunting price tags. In essence, the goal here is to have less expensive cars, but packing heaps more advances in technologies.
Honda has detailed four key areas that will combine the resources of the four parts manufacturers and themselves. First is management foundation in the technology department. All four will gather and optimize their respective resources and development of these technologies will be at a much faster pace than now. At the same time, the cost-effectiveness of their proposed advances will be studied and scrutinized prior to the next stage of development.
The Japanese automaker will then work with Hitachi Automotive and Keihin Corporation to further accelerate their electric vehicle program. Hitachi Automotive will mainly focus on material technology and production process while Keihin will handle small single-unit structure and high efficiency energy management technology.
On to the chassis department, it's all about safety systems and vehicle dynamics. Showa and Nissin have been around long enough to be a reputable name in vehicle hardware such as brakes and suspension. Hitachi and Honda will pour their resources to make the mentioned companies reach a more advanced level of both active and passive safety in their respective products.
After that, all five will lay down the framework to build systems that will further push the concept of autonomous driving into the motoring masses. Honda wants to build an even more capable external sensing technology, along with predictive AI technology.
With the automotive industry at a crossroads, the integration of these parts companies with one of the largest automakers in the world will help in the evolution of the car. At the same time, these companies aim to make these advanced systems a possibility in the near future, all while keeping their products within reach of the masses.