How does the S2000 differ from all the other roadsters in the market?
We haven't used a platform from a volume car, and we haven't used parts from volume models. The S2000 does not have a retro look. Its X-type chassis stems from racing experience, as does its double wishbone suspension and single body shell. The 2.0-liter engine has the highest specific power output of any normally-aspirated engine on the market. The transmission had to be specially designed to stand up to 9,000 revs-per-minute. The central position of the engine/transmission block gives an ideal 50-50 weight distribution between the front and the rear.
How much of Honda's SSM (Sports Study Model) concept, shown at the Tokyo motor show in 1995, was realized in the S2000?
The basic design and styling, and the suspension system. But the engine is completely new. With the 50-liter tank, you can cover more than 500km.
Former Honda President Nobuhiko Kawamoto worked hard to persuade Honda's directors to give their approval to a purist sports car like the S2000. Did he contribute to the car's development?
Yes, he often made suggestions. But, most importantly, he sent us to Europe to study driving conditions on the German autobahns. This was most important.
Will you install an even more powerful engine in the S2000?
No, it is powerful enough. We wanted to build a fully-fledged, affordable sports car that competes with the best in the market. I think we managed exactly that.
Dealers in Europe, especially in Germany, complain that their allocation of S2000s is too small.
We have raised output in Japan to 16,000 units. But Tochigi (where the S2000 is built) is a plant for gems, not volume. Special cars like the NSX are built there.