From the case, Honda is a connoisseur in the utilization of product platforms. It applied its expertise to develop a new light cost-efficient truck, the element, which was immensely alluring to its target market segment. There are several factors and strategies that the company utilized leading to the immense success of the element. Key among the strategies involved the inclusion of the target market segment in the development process by letting their voice be heard. Their feedback enabled the Honda team to develop a car that perfectly suited their needs. Specifically, by listening to reviews from college students during the development process, important changes could be made ensuring that the product was as per their desire.
Some of the key aspects of the car included a sleeping place on weekend trips and room for sports gear. These were highly vital given the buying decisions of the young people in its target market. For the target, the company applied four distinct design themes: authenticity, adaptability, functionality and expression, aspects which also contributed to the elements immense success. These completely differed from its corporate typical guidelines centered on safety, value and performance. In other words, the key element that the Honda team had in mind was innovativeness and the desire make a product that could conform to the active and dynamic lifestyle of its clients.
Another unique and key contributing factor to the element’s success is the design process the development team undertook. A lot can be leant from the process which is a clear depiction of why the car had immense success. Below is a brief description of the main aspects of the process leading to its success.
Phase 1: Idea identification and selection
The idea of the element began in 1998 with the notion of a new light truck. The driving force was the discovery of the popularity of the company’s vehicle among the young market segment. An important aspect here is how the team came up with the idea, from an observation of its previous products leading to the success of the new element.
Phase 2: Concept generation
Unlike its previous product survey techniques, the development team took a rather whole new approach for the element. The team went an extra mile into making observations at rather unexpected places including X-game spectators and participants to get clear picture of their target clients. The results of course gave rise to a vehicle with immense flexibility suiting the needs of its young clients.
Phase 3: Concept evaluation
The main aspect leading to the success of the element in this phase was the inclusion of feedback from college students and making refinements on the design.
Phase 4: Development
The development process was centered on innovation with the team deviating from the company’s conventional design guidelines. New design aspects like ‘suicide doors’ and foldaway water seats were integrated in the design. The final result was highly impressive and the clients really loved it. A year after its first release, the car had already hit 75000 sales, far much beyond the company’s target of 50000 sales.
In summary, Honda, through expert listening to the desires of its clients, was able to develop an ideal car that perfectly met and surpassed their needs. Also, for the first time, Honda designers created a vehicle perceived to provide affordable transportation. The main learning point in this case is that industries have to work in collaboration with their target audience to whom they are developing a product. Special attention also ought to be given to the wishes and special needs of the client to create the specific product they are looking for. In this way, greater sales and benefits are guaranteed.