Takanobu Ito to become Honda’s CEO in June

During the change in power at Toyota Motor Corp. in June, Honda Motor Corp. will follow with its own change in leadership. Takanobu Ito, currently head of global automotive operations, will replace Takeo Fukui as CEO starting in June as the company faces tough economic times, declining sales and a strong yen.

Fukui, who is now 64-years old, has been CEO of Honda since 2003. Ito, 55, joined the Japanese automaker in 1978 working for its research and development department. He later worked on projects such as developing an all-aluminum unibody NSX supercar.

Fukui will remain on the board and will play advisor to Ito.

Akio Toyoda, grandson of the founder of Toyota, will become Toyota's new CEO in June. He will replace Katsuaki Watanbe becoming the youngest CEO in Toyota's history.

Source: MSNBC


Honda F1 Race Car - Sport

Date with a Spanish fly: In sunny southern Spain, our man learns to brake with his left foot, clutch with his thumb, and generally drive a wicked Honda Grand Prix car with his heart in his throat.

The definition of "total imposter" is a 47-year-old magazine editor dressed in a Nomex race suit, attempting to look completely at ease while strolling through a Formula 1 factory—in this case, Honda's, in Brackley, England, 70 miles northwest of London. Honda had been gracious (and foolish) enough to put me in the driver's seat of its 2007 F1 race car (the RA107), one of just six built. No one at Honda I talk to will even hint at what it cost.

First off, they must get me fitted into a car that has the potential to pull more than 4 g under braking and through corners. Even in a fast street car, the driver has to brace himself while cornering hard to counteract the tendency of the body to move to the outside of the car due to centripetal force. In an F1 car, being held in place is additionally important because there's as much as four times the force pushing on the driver's body.

Honda's build operations manager is Peter Hodgkinson, and the moment he sees the visiting stroller, who stands five feet seven inches and weighs 150 pounds, he says, "You're about the right size." Still, it's a struggle getting in. The driver must step on top of the seat, maneuver gingerly to avoid hitting the winglets and mirrors, and then, standing there, carefully slide down. The seat I'm using was made for one-time Honda test driver James Rossiter, a 25-year-old Brit who's five foot seven and maybe 10 pounds lighter than me. It's a tight fit. With some minor but time-consuming adjustments to the length of the seatbelts, the placement of the pedals and the steering wheel, and the amount of padding under my thighs and behind my shoulders, I'm relatively comfortable—if feeling like a chicken trussed up for the oven is comfy.

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