Honda to Build Model X Concept

TORRANCE, Calif., Jan. 3 -- Honda's Model X concept will be the foundation for a new Honda light truck model, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. announced today at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

While the official name has yet to be announced, the new vehicle will closely emulate the multi-functional Model X design concept introduced last year at the 2001 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The new vehicle features similar ``open wide'' doors along with a rugged, flexible interior designed to accommodate people, bulky sports equipment and the lifestyles that come with the turf.

``Model X radically departs from traditional automotive design and thinking in a way that resonates with a younger audience,'' said Dick Colliver, executive vice president of American Honda. ``The Model X concept clearly demonstrated that a vehicle like this is possible to build and consumer interest is high for new and functional approaches to exterior and interior designs.''

A mass production version of the Honda Model X is scheduled for about a year from now.

The Model X concept was conceived around achieving ideal functionality for a cross-country road trip, hauling surfboards, mountain bikes, snowboards or just about anything else as it combines some of the best features of a pickup and an SUV.

Another target of the concept was to keep the cost low, so it would be an attractive entry-level vehicle to younger buyers.

Model X was first conceived by a core group of young R&D engineers in 1998. They wanted to develop a vehicle that they could use for their activities and conducted informal on-site focus groups at colleges, beaches, campsites and the mountains.

The exterior design has a simple two box design with side moldings running the length of the vehicle for a durable look. The side doors are designed without a B-pillar and open from the center, achieving an ``open architecture'' style. These ``open wide'' doors make Model X the perfect base camp or location for side gate parties.

On the inside, Model X offers a resilient and comfortable interior. The floor is flat with a low loading height and features an easy to clean resin surface. All seating surfaces are made of materials that are easy to clean. Interior features include a flip-up navigation screen with integrated wireless Internet capability, video input and DVD playback. The stereo system includes MP3 download and playback capability, along with satellite radio, cassette and CD player.

Consumer information regarding American Honda is available at www.honda.com .

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