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Has Honda relocated its mojo?


The Koreans starred, the Japanese mounted a comeback, and One Ford hit the headlines with an extended family of Focus-based newcomers that it is certain to make a big hit in Australia. But it was one car and the commitment of its company chief that made the most impact as America fought back on the opening day of the 2011 North American International Motor Show.

US Honda has unveiled the new NSX Concept at Detroit auto show, highlighting the design and technology direction for the its next-generation "supercar.'' 

It could go some of the way towards addressing Honda's public perception problem which has seen a dramatic slide from; premium Japanese brand with a sporting flavour to; maker of cheap but expensive low-tech econoboxes.

New NSX, which is expected to go on sale in the next three years, will be developed by Honda R&D America and manufactured in Ohio. It will be developed as a world car

The dynamically-styled NSX Concept retains a V6 engine which many see as the problem with the first NSX.

The mid-mounted V6 employs several new technologies including an innovative new Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super Handling All Wheel Drive) hybrid system. Hopefully it won't be as big a waste of time and money as the SH-AWD on Honda Legend.

Takanobu Ito, President and CEO of Honda Motor Co said the new NSX will "again express high performance through engineering efficiency.''

"While most supercars opt for brute force delivered from a large engine, the NSX Concept champions the true racing philosophy of an extremely favourable power-to-weight ratio.''

Cynics will read into that "non supecar performance.'' The engine's a "next-generation'' VTEC V6 engine with direct-injection and works in concert with a dual clutch transmission with built-in electric motor, to create "supercar'' acceleration. We'll have to wait and see.