What will this mean for consumers?
In this day and age where competition in the automotive industry is fierce, automakers cannot afford to have overly complex lineups with too many trim levels and variants - except for BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche, who all seem to get away with it. Even the largest automaker in the world, Volkswagen, has said it needs to cut down on models and trim levels for its core brand and reduce engine options for its luxury brand Audi.
In a company announcement on future business plans, Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo mirrored VW's strategy on reducing model complexity, saying, "we recognize that the number of models and variations at the trim and option level have increased and our efficiency has declined."
Hachigo went on to say, "[Honda] will undertake initiatives to further strengthen our inter-regional coordination and collaboration and evolution of vehicle development in order to simultaneously increase the attractiveness and efficiency of both global and regional models. By 2025, we will reduce the total number of variations at the trim and option level for our global models to one-third of what we have now. In addition, we will increase efficiency by eliminating and consolidating some similar regional models into even more competent models shared across multiple regions."
It isn't difficult to see why Honda needs to reduce model complexity. In the US, the Accord is offered in five trim levels including LX, Hybrid, Sport, EX, and EX-L. Once you factor in transmission and engine options, the total number of configurations shoots up to 11.
We still don't know exactly which models, trim levels, or engines will be on the chopping block, but Hachigo says Honda's goal is to "reduce global cost in the area of production by 10% by 2025, compared to the cost recorded in 2018." This plan also includes electrifying two-thirds of Honda vehicles by 2030, co-developing battery technology with General Motors, and building a new Honda Architecture to use on future models. Honda may be offering fewer models and trim levels in the future, but there should still be plenty of options for consumers.