It’s true that the majority of new vehicles tend to be heavier than the ones they replace, even if their dimensions remain similar. Most of the times, the reason is that manufacturers try to improve their vehicle's safety credentials and comfort amenities with a negative impact on weight and fuel consumption.
Now this trend seems to be reversing, albeit at a slow pace. For example, Peugeot’s new supermini, the 208, is lighter than its predecessor, the 207.
According to business daily newspaper Nikkei, Honda will soon join the pack as it plans to change its design and assembly methods to reduce its vehicles’ weight without making any compromises in safety or comfort features.
Nikkei reports that Japan’s third largest manufacturer will invest tens of billions of yen to update both its local and overseas plants, starting with the smallest models in its range.
The newspaper added that some of Honda's new manufacturing methods include welding outer panels to the frame of the vehicle instead of assembling the ceiling, side and the rest of the panels, in order to reduce the usage of bolts and reinforcing materials.
In fact, Honda has already modified one of the two assembly lines at its Suzuka plant in Japan that manufacture the N BOX, the first model of the N Series mini cars. The move is said to have reduced the city car's weight by 10 percent compared to an equivalent size model, while also lowering manufacturing costs.
Story References: Reuters