Chad Harrison is the LPL for the 2018 Honda Odyssey minivan. That stands for “large project leader.” And were this not Honda, Harrison would be known as the “chief engineer.”
But let’s face it: Executing a brand-new minivan, a vehicle that Honda has consistently worked at improving inside and out, a vehicle that is in a category in which many players have left the table but those that remain have elevated their games (think only of FCA and the Pacifica—while many of its vehicles have languished or proven themselves to be so unsuccessful that they’ve been pulled from the lineup, when it came to redoing the stalwart model, they went all in), is nothing if not large.
Harrison came to “Autoline After Hours” along with a cut body, one that, he explains, doesn’t emphasize the various materials being used to build the vehicle (although there are a range of high- and ultra-high strength steels, an aluminum hood, and magnesium (this for a steering hanger beam)), but the major structures that go into producing the vehicle. (E.g., if you look at the pink parts on the image below, it is the hot-stamped steel ring that provides both safety and structural integrity (one of the areas that they focused on was making sure that the overall structure of the minivan—something that Harrison says is tricky, given that it is essentially a rectangle with a lot of holes cut into it—was solid: the torsional rigidity of the 2018 model is 44 percent greater than the previous model).)
What is Harrison’s favorite element of the 2018 Odyssey? It’s what they call the “Magic Slide” second row seat. Each of the second row seats not only slide forward and backward, but they also adjust laterally to any of five positions. This means that there is enhanced access to the third row.
Harrison talks with “Autoline’s” John McElroy, Lindsay Brooke, editor-in-chief of Automotive Engineering, and me on this week’s show.
Also, McElroy, Brooke and I discuss a variety of topics, including the consequences of ride-hailing on the overall production of vehicles (it may not bode well for production operations going forward), the likelihood of increasing gas prices (which would not bode well for the OEMs that are becoming increasingly dependent on the profits garnered from the sale of light-duty pickups and large SUVs), and the still on-going and seemingly growing diesel scandal that is roiling the German auto industry.
And you can see it all here:
Ram Truck chief exterior designer Joe Dehner talks about how they’ve developed the all-new pickup. “We’ve been building trucks for over 100 years,” he says. “Best I could come up with is that this is our 15th-generation truck.”
A young(ish) guy that I’ve known for a number of years, a man who spent the better part of his career writing for auto buff books and who is a car racer on the side, mentioned to me that his wife has a used Lexus ES Hybrid.
Design, materials, powertrain and manufacturing details about what is arguably the quintessential vehicle in the Jeep lineup.