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Honda axes European design studio

2009-10-06 07:08
News of Honda’s pending closure of its European design studio at Offenbach will have many MacBook owners shifting uncomfortably in their contemporary office chairs.

The design office, part of Honda’s European R&D facility outside Frankfurt, has been operational since 1992, occupying two stories and 3000m² of floorspace.

Responsibilities at the design studio cover both car and motorcycle conceptualisation and finishing, with the Open Study Model one of the better known products to have been conceptualised there.

Whilst the design studio’s floorspace will be assimilated into the larger Honda R&D facility, we don’t know what happened to staff.

Honda’s other European design hub is a scant 200m² motorcycle drawing room in Milan, which could hardly absorb the personnel spill over. 

Although industry pundits are talking up the motor industry, conjecturing that we have cleared the bottoming out phase and are now bound for recovery, Honda’s behaviour would auger otherwise.

The pending closure of the company’s Offenbach’s design studio is just the latest chapter in a raft of cutbacks for Honda – including the misjudged sale of its now all conquering F1 team, idling at assembly plants and an absence from major auto shows.

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