Honda has formally announced that production of the ‘RC1’ Odyssey in Japan will end by the end of this year.
The closure of the Sayama Automobile Plant in Saitama, which also manufactures the Legend luxury sedan and the alternative-fuel Clarity model will see their productions end by March 2022, as reported by Nikkei.
However, the Odyssey multi-purpose vehicle itself will continue being on sale, as the product has a large enough demand in North America and China and currently have their own design, development and production resources. There are no plans to move production of the Japanese Odyssey model to other Honda plants domestically.
Honda has earmarked the closure of the Sayama plant since late 2017 and had plans to consolidate other operations to the larger and newer Yorii plant located 40 km away with an annual production capacity of 250,000 units.
Honda announced the initiatives to evolve its production system and capability to further enhance its “Monozukuri” (the art of manufacturing/making things) processes in Japan due to the rapid advancement of new technologies and demand for electrification. Honda plans to completely phase out manufacturing the internal combustion engine by end of 2039, entering 2040 with just all-electric powertrains.
Completely axing the new Honda Odyssey for domestic sales comes as a surprise, as the model has just undergone a facelift refresh just in November 2020. Honda Malaysia imported the current-generation pre-facelift RC1 Odyssey 2.4 model from February 2018 with a price tag of RM254,800. As for the Clarity models comprising of hydrogen fuel-cell and plug-in hybrid variants, sales have always been low due to the high cost of fuel-cell vehicles as well as the exclusive infrastructure it requires.
The Honda Legend luxury sedan on the other hand is similar to what a Lexus LS is to Toyota Motor Corp, supposedly to feature the most advanced technologies. Just early this year, Honda premiered the Honda Sensing Elite driver assistance system that is equivalent to SAE Level 3 semi-autonomous driving standard.
The Honda Legend Hybrid can slow itself down, move to the road shoulder and make an emergency call if it detects that the driver is no longer in control of the vehicle.