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TORRANCE, Calif., Dec. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
today announced that it has joined in an industry-wide program to improve
vehicle-to-vehicle crash compatibility by designing all future Honda and Acura
vehicles to meet or exceed new criteria set forth by the industry's Enhanced
Vehicle-to-Vehicle Compatibility Working Group. For Frontal-to-Frontal crash
compatibility, Honda has already undertaken the task of improving the
compatibility of its own fleet through years of research, development and
application of advanced safety designs. Accordingly, all 2004 model Honda and
Acura light trucks sold in North America already comply with the Phase 1
industry Frontal-to-Frontal compatibility guidelines.
"Honda believes that one of the most important strategies to achieving
greater safety is to improve the compatibility of all vehicles, large and
small," said Tom Elliott, executive vice president of American Honda. "We are
pleased that this important safety program focusing on compatibility has
gained industry-wide participation."

Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) Body Structure
Honda is taking additional steps to improve compatibility across the full
range of Honda automobiles through the application of its innovative Advanced
Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure. Honda's commitment to the
study of car-to-car crash dynamics led to the opening of the world's most
sophisticated indoor car-to-car crash test facility in Tochigi, Japan, in
March 2001. Research at this facility played a critical role in the
development of Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body
structure, introduced on the Japan-market Life minivehicle this past
September. By improving the dispersion of collision forces over a larger
frontal area while reducing the potential for vertical or lateral misalignment
of vehicle safety structures, the ACE body structure delivers improved
protection for vehicle occupants while at the same time reducing aggressivity
toward other vehicles in a frontal collision.
In an offset frontal crash test of the new 2004 model Japan-market Life
minivehicle with ACE technology against an Acura RL luxury sedan, the Life
sustained substantially less damage than the previous generation vehicle under
the same test conditions. Energy absorption of the engine compartment was
increased by 50 percent while load on the passenger compartment was reduced by
30 percent. The 2005 model Honda Odyssey minivan and the Acura RL sedan will
be the first North American models to feature this new technology. The ACE
body structure will be applied to all new vehicle platforms over the next
six to seven years.

Phase 1 Front-to-Side Guidelines
For Front-to-Side crash compatibility, Side Curtain Airbags meeting
Phase 1 of the industry guidelines are featured as standard or optional on a
number of 2004 Honda and Acura models representing about 20 percent of total
North American vehicle sales. The Honda-developed Side-Curtain Airbag system
features the world's fastest and widest deploying side-curtain system -- and
includes unique "smart-fold" technology that helps reduce the chance of injury
to out-of-position occupants. As a part of its "Safety for Everyone"
commitment, all Honda and Acura vehicles sold in the U.S., with the exception
of a small number of specialty vehicles, will feature Side Curtain Airbags as
standard equipment before the end of calendar year 2006.

Future Frontal-to-Frontal Phases
Honda also looks forward to participating in the future Frontal-to-Frontal
Phases of the industry's Enhanced Vehicle-to-Vehicle Compatibility Working
Group, which will address the reduction of concentrated forces and the
stiffness of vehicle front structures across all models. Honda will
participate in the challenging future Phases of the industry's Front-to-Side
Compatibility efforts that will address improved restraint systems, structures
and other methods to achieve even better Front-to-Side crash compatibility
among all models.

Honda Safety Leadership
Through original research into advanced body design, Honda developed its
proprietary G-Force Control (G-CON) collision safety body technology. By
better managing collision G-forces and redirecting crash energy away from
vehicle occupants, G-CON has improved the safety of all Honda and Acura
models.
As a result of G-CON and other Honda-developed safety technologies, an
industry leading five Honda models have earned the U.S. federal government's
top Five Star safety rating for the driver and front passenger in front-impact
and front and rear seat passenger in side-impact testing. This includes the
Civic Coupe, the only compact class vehicle ever to earn the government's
highest safety rating.

Safety For Everyone Commitment
Honda's participation with the industry's efforts to improve compatibility
is consistent with its 'Safety for Everyone' concept -- a comprehensive
approach to vehicle safety that seeks to provide high levels of occupant
protection for all Honda and Acura vehicles regardless of size or price, along
with reduced aggressivity toward other vehicles and improved safety for
pedestrians.
In keeping with its 'Safety for Everyone' commitment, American Honda
recently announced plans to apply advanced safety technologies to the full
range of Honda and Acura products over the next several years.
In addition to the application of the ACE body structure, Honda will take
the following actions:

-- All Honda and Acura vehicles, with the exception of a small number of
specialty vehicles, will get Front Side Airbags, Side Curtain Airbags
and Anti-Lock Brakes as standard equipment before the end of calendar
year 2006. Vehicles receiving this equipment, including the lowest
priced models, comprise more than 99 percent of American Honda's U.S.
sales volume.
-- All Honda and Acura light trucks sold in the U.S., including all SUVs
and minivans, will be equipped with Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and
rollover sensors for side curtain airbag deployment before the end of
calendar year 2006.
-- Honda will further expand the use of technologies to reduce injuries
to pedestrians. Already, more than two million U.S. Honda and Acura
vehicles are equipped with a number of these features including
specially designed hood structures, front frame construction and
breakaway wiper pivots.

For more information on Honda and Acura products, safety initiatives and
downloadable high-resolution images, please visit http://www.hondanews.com.
 
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