[YesAuto Design Decode] Although “to do what you like” is a derogatory term in Chinese, it is the golden rule in business. Almost all the products we see on the market today are developed by companies based on the principle of “investing in what they like”. The “its” here refers to the market or customers. It is too difficult for an enterprise to make good use of “investing in what they like” when making products. In this issue, we interviewed Tsushima Hirototsu, the head of Honda Haoying's development , to talk about how Honda “puts what it likes”.


Saburo Kobayashi, the head of Honda's management and planning department, mentioned in his book “The Essence of Honda Innovation”: The essence of things captured from a unique perspective based on customer values. So since it is based on customer values, why did Honda launch another Haoying with a very similar positioning when it already has CR-V?

What does the head of development do?

Jin嶋 (dǎo) 広 (guǎng) Tong is the head of Haoying's model development. It is not an exaggeration to say that he is Haoying's “father”. So what kind of work does this “father” undertake?

Like most companies, Honda adopts a project system in development. The development team is not fixed. Whenever there is a new project, experts will be dispatched from various departments to form a development team. The Haoying development team is composed of members who have participated in the development projects of CR-V, CR-V mid-term revision, Civic, Accord and so on.

1+1=1.5 is also acceptable

In fact, Haoying has been planning to launch models in China very early. In other words, Honda's two-car strategy “has been planned for a long time” and is “the next big game”. In fact, we are accustomed to the dual-vehicle strategy of Japanese brands and the layout of the dense product lines of German brands. It is natural for Honda to launch another model with a positioning very similar to CR-V at the level of compact SUV.

From the perspective of Dongfeng Honda, you may indeed be concerned about hitting yourself. For Guangben, this is not the case. Honda’s SUVs in China have XR-V/Binzhi, CR-V, UR-V/Guandao from small to large, but there is a gap between Guangben’s Binzhi and Guandao. When customers have When demanded, I could only watch Tomoto opening. In the struggle for vital interests, how can there be friendship between brothers?

It seems similar, but there are some oppositions to attract those who are dissatisfied with CR-V.

The birth of Haoying originated from the dissatisfaction of some CR-V users. In the past few years, the demand for SUVs in the Chinese market has risen rapidly. After reviewing the existing product lines, Honda found that the compact SUV market in China only had the CR-V. However, after investigating the group of CR-V owners It was found that a considerable number of CR-V owners were dissatisfied with CR-V, thinking that they could not meet their needs, not to mention those who voted for other cars with their feet.

Small companies make choices, but big companies say I want them all. In response to such market research results, Honda feels that it needs to develop a compact SUV that is different from CR-V to win the wallets of customers who are dissatisfied with CR-V.

Introverted and handsome, it suits young Chinese customers

So who is Haoying pleased? When we mentioned CR-V in the past, many people habitually associate it with labels such as middle-aged and family, and even call it “Dad's car.” In short, it is difficult to stay away from youth, sports and technology.

Such an image of car owners undoubtedly pushes young people and the young generation that has grown up. Even mid-level cars such as the new Accord have become sports car-like. If compact SUVs stick to their positions, the market will be snatched away. The fierce competition in the business society is like sailing against the current.

Honda found through research that the thinking of Chinese young people is changing rapidly. In the past, the mainstream aesthetics of the Chinese auto market had a trend of pursuing shining, tall, and atmospheric characteristics. In the past few years, this trend has begun to pass, and everyone is pursuing Introverted handsome. After learning about this trend in China, the designer in charge of styling development applied this style of design to Haoying.

How to understand introverted handsome? We can refer to the fashion industry. The most popular word in the past two years is sexual coldness. In fact, it is minimalism. Usually light colors, neutral colors and seemingly simple lines are selected, which represent restraint and modernity, and simplicity. It is clear, but the sense of high-level is very strong.

This style is represented by Japanese and Nordic schools, and is most common in household goods and clothing. It is this aesthetic trend that makes Honda need to reconsider the preferences of young people.

However, the seemingly simple design is actually very complicated. This complexity is different from the complexity of lines and colors in the past. It is the design with the least color system and the least lines to create a sense of high quality, that is, from the stacking of elements to the subtle transitions to the lines, the slight changes in colors, and the design of the board. In-depth scrutiny with slight ups and downs began to test the skills of designers and engineers.

From the side, the paint is smooth and clean, with few lines, but these lines integrated into the body seem to be drawn easily, but in fact they are extremely complicated. For example, the inconspicuous waistline that runs from the headlights to the tail is an extremely challenging process of stamping, welding and assembly.

“In order to achieve the effect that this line can be done in one go, and it is difficult to maintain each unit at such a high level. These parts are mass-produced, and each part must be biased, but we assemble a car When you get up, you can't see these deviations,” Tsushima Hiroto said. “So to achieve such an effect, colleagues in our factory need to work hard to coordinate.”

For those who still think that Haoying is not enough to exercise, there is also the Magic Night version, which can be regarded as an enhanced sports version of Haoying. What is introverted handsome, this is it.

Another way to please Chinese young people is to be intelligent. Major brands, especially Chinese brands, are working hard on intelligent vehicle interconnection systems, emphasizing whether they are intelligent in functions or visual sci-fi, in short, they must make the car look sub-modern, especially when the screen is large.

Honda also has its own smart car interconnection system Honda CONNECT. Haoying’s Honda CONNECT 2.0 is Honda’s first mass-produced technology in the world. It focuses on navigation services and supports FM music, weather and Alipay. The map resources are from AutoNavi. However, Haoying's screen is only 7 inches, which is quite different from mainstream smart cars.

Regarding the size of the screen, Honda found that users around the world are actually divided into two groups. One group hopes that the bigger the better, the other group thinks it is enough, which is very polarized. The current 7-inch screen of Haoying is a bit smaller than the mainstream, but it can fully ensure that the driver can see the contents clearly, and it is a more suitable size. But if Haoying can sell well in China, Honda can also collect the voices of many Chinese users, and will make improvements in accordance with the needs of Chinese users. Yes, to please customers also have to consider the cost.

To do what you like, there will be unexpected

The ideal state of investment is to master complete information, and through reasonable analysis, to perfectly grasp the preferences of customer groups. The reality is that under the current technical level, car companies cannot grasp all the data in research, so naturally they can only move closer to reasonable analysis and perfect control as much as possible. Therefore, no matter how hard you study customer preferences, accidents will inevitably occur.

CR-V was originally developed and designed in Japan, but it really became popular in the United States, and then slowly became a global car, gaining a foothold in 160 countries and regions. The dual-vehicle strategy is also unavoidable. Guangqi Honda Accord is an evergreen tree in China, and its sales are so hot. Later, Dongfeng Honda launched INSPIRE with a similar positioning, but failed to achieve similar sales results. . Analyzing the reasons, some said that the popularity gap between INSPIRE and Accord was too big, and some said that there is no Chinese name that is not close to the people.

The background of Haoying's birth is so similar, and the product strength is not bad, but there are already well-known predecessors in the same field, and the pressure is self-evident. Fortunately, although Haoying was developed for the Chinese market, some people asked on the Internet during the pre-sale stage, “Is this car available in Japan?”

to sum up:

Jobs has a famous saying: Customers don’t know what they want. Zheng Yuhuang, an MBA from Tsinghua University and a Ph.D. in Marketing from Columbia University, once commented on Jobs's sentence: For many innovative product categories, this sentence may be correct. However, when there are already a large number of similar competing products, this sentence is not so applicable. After each innovative product category is born, competing products will emerge in large numbers. At this time, it is the customer's choice that determines the outcome of the enterprise. In fact, Jobs himself made several serious mistakes in market decision-making early in his career because of ignoring customer feedback and ignoring market research.

Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen and other car companies' dual-vehicle strategy or intensive product line strategy may seem to be thankless in the early stage, and there is a risk of internal friction, but it is not a bad thing for customers. Cars are actually a product category that is difficult to carry out major category innovations in a short period of time. Under the general environment of declining sales, everyone takes a more fierce attitude to compete. At this time, it is necessary to fight for smell, attitude and technology. Who can Accurately grasp the market trends and customer preferences, who can develop and design products with the most sincere attitude, who has enough technology to provide good products and reasonable cost reduction, who can continue to laugh, instead of being changed from the original The position is kicked down, or even eliminated. (Photo/Interview with Tu Qin Hanwen, Auto Home, Wei Jiangpeng, Auto Home)