Prachinburi, Thailand – Honda R&D Asia Pacific Co., Ltd. (HRAP) held an opening ceremony today to celebrate the completion of its Honda R&D Asia Pacific Prachinburi Proving Ground at Rojana Industrial Park, Prachinburi province. The ceremony was attended by Dr. Atchaka Sibunruang, Minister of Science and Technology, the Kingdom of Thailand, and H.E. Shiro Sadoshima, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Kingdom of Thailand. Mr. Shinji Aoyama, Chief Officer, Regional Operations (Asia & Oceania), Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and President and CEO, Asian Honda Motor Co., Ltd.; Mr. Yoshiharu Itai, Managing Director and representative of Honda R&D Co., Ltd.; and Mr. Hideo Komura, President of Honda R&D Asia Pacific Co., Ltd.; and Honda employees were also in attendance along with other honorable business guests.
The Honda R&D Asia Pacific Prachinburi Proving Ground is a unique and comprehensive test course specially designed for the Asia & Oceania region. Honda invested 1.7 billion baht to establish the proving ground with new eight test courses covering 800,000 square meters (500 rai), which makes Thailand only the third country where Honda has proving grounds, after Japan and the US.
The new proving ground will be used for automobiles and motorcycles, with various vehicle tests including handling, stability, and overall performance carried out on regionally-developed products. Through this test course, the new proving ground will contribute to the competitive enhancement of Honda products in Thailand and the Asia & Oceania market. The Prachinburi Proving Ground is also expected to be used to test models for other regions in the future, as one of Honda’s proving grounds in the world.
Dr. Atchaka Sibunruang, Minister of Science and Technology, said, “The automotive industry is one of ten Cluster Development Policies that the Thai government is promoting to enhance the Thai economy. Honda’s investment in the Honda R&D Asia Pacific Prachinburi Proving Ground reflects this shared vision and direction, and will help to strengthen Thailand by developing its competitive strengths in the automotive industry.”
Mr. Shinji Aoyama, Chief Officer, Regional Operations (Asia & Oceania), Honda Motor Co., Ltd., and President and CEO, Asian Honda Motor Co., Ltd., said, “Thailand has been at the center of our manufacturing and exports in the Asia & Oceania region as well as an important base for our R&D operations. The Prachinburi Proving Ground will reinforce our product line-up by providing more competitive and attractive models beyond the expectations of customers in Thailand and the region.”
Mr. Yoshiharu Itai, Managing Director and representative of Honda R&D Co., Ltd., said, “The test roads at our proving grounds are designed so that they reproduce various road conditions. We believe that Honda products, which will reflect the findings from the tests here at the Honda R&D Asia Pacific Prachinburi Proving Ground, will contribute to providing a sense of “joy” for our customers and make our products Fun to Drive.”
The Honda R&D Asia Pacific Prachinburi Proving Ground has eight test courses to simulate various road conditions and terrains, with the total length of the test courses approximately eight kilometers. The test courses include the following:
1) The Oval Course:
A 2.18 kilometer oval course. To be used to test a vehicle’s performance while driving at high speeds, plus other tests such as noise levels from wind in the cabin and steering while controlling.
2) The Winding Course:
A 1.38 kilometer winding course. To be used for general performance testing, including the effectiveness of braking systems and vehicle stability. The Winding Course simulates terrain of varying elevations, and incorporates 17 turns and blind spots.
3) The Vehicle Dynamics Area:
An extended area from the Oval Course. To be used to test stability control at high speeds and braking efficiency during sharp turns.
4) The Wet Course:
A course which simulates wet and slippery road conditions. To be used to test the impact of wet roads on a vehicle’s performance. The Wet Course features the Pool Road, a test road alongside the Splash Road and the Wet Brake Road, which can adjust the water level from 0 to 1,000 millimeters to simulate flooding which is common in Asia, and also test water resistance and any effects on the engine.
5) The Ride Road Course:
A course which simulates road surfaces from different countries in Asia & Oceania. To be used to test general performance on different road surfaces. The Ride Road Course has eight roads including the Concrete Highway, the Noise Road using damaged asphalt, and the Camber Road.
6) The Special Surface Course:
A test course which was designed to model rough road surfaces with 3D technology. To be used to test the durability of the underbody of a vehicle. The course has eight roads, which include the Speed Breaker and the Concrete Rough Road.
7) The Slope Course:
A slope course to be used to test engine strength and braking performance.
8) The Straight Course:
A 1.2 kilometer course to test fuel economy and acceleration.
The proving ground also has lawns that will be used in the future to test Honda’s lawn care products.
The Prachinburi Proving Ground will ensure Honda’s product quality and further enhance Honda’s ability to develop competitive products in the future.
About Honda R&D activities and HRAP
Honda was the first automotive manufacturer to open R&D functions in Thailand in 1988 when it established a motorcycle research and development operation. Later, Honda established the Honda Research Thailand in 1994 as one of divisions at Honda Automobile (Thailand) Co., Ltd. to support automotive parts development and its automobile production operations. The Department’s responsibilities grew to include product planning and quality control.
In 2005, the Honda Research Department was registered as a juristic entity under the name Honda R&D Asia Pacific Co., Ltd. (HRAP). It is now responsible for research and development for automobiles that meet the needs of consumers across the Asia and Oceania region.