Following the presentation and discussions in the conference room, Mr. Ito led the group over to Honda's massive G-CON test center, adjacent to our building. Here we were treated to a live crash test demonstration, pitting a 2004 Honda Pilot against a 2004 Honda Civic coupe (each with only a few miles showing on the odometer).
As seen in the video clip (right click and "Save Target As..." to download the 3.66MB MPEG-1), the two vehicles were sent hurtling towards each other at 50km/h and introduced in an offset fashion. The energy transfer from the impact launched both vehicles into the air and sent shockwaves through the facility that seemed to echo forever. Honda associates quickly descended upon the scene to sweep up the broken glass and shards of plastic that littered the area. Once the hazardous artifacts were cleared, we were invited to take a closer look at the vehicles.
The smell of airbag propellant permeated the air, and both cars continued to smoke and hiss for quite some time following the impact. Both vehicles suffered serious damage, but the dummy occupants all escaped serious injury. In the Civic, there was a bit of intrusion into the driver-side footwell, but there was plenty of "survival room" inside the passenger cabin.
Following our live demonstration, we returned to the meeting room where Mr. Fukui held a Q&A session with the assembled press. The focus of the session was strictly related to Honda's commitment to safety and environmental technology. Honda's "Advanced Compatability Engineering" initiative and their recent breakthroughs in Fuel Cell technology were discussed at length.
When the allotted time for Q&A expired, we graduated to the "hands-on" portion of the day's schedule. At this point we were divided into groups and bussed out to a number of "stations" where we would sample the various areas of the R&D center.