HEADLINES

1999 Acura CL- Design And Manufacturing

Overview

As the first Acura model to be designed and manufactured in the United States, the CL breaks new ground for the Acura line while also ushering in an exciting new era for the Acura nameplate.

The engineers and stylists created the CL specifically for the American market, combining distinctive, personalized styling with the high level of luxury amenities and convenience features widely expected by Americans shopping in this automotive arena.

Because the CL was created with U.S. production in mind, the American design and engineering teams were able to forge a uniquely close working relationship with manufacturing personnel, ensuring that the requirements of the car's assembly were an integral component of the design process from the very outset of the program.

This global cooperation is highlighted in the 3.0CL, which is powered by the first Acura V-6 to be manufactured in America. With concurrent development in Japan and America, the 3.0CL powerplant took just two years to reach production. By making manufacturablity a key focus of the project from the beginning, time was saved and efficiency was boosted. Additionally, the unique talents and technologies of many North American vendors could be incorporated into the design, to the benefit of performance and productablity.

U.S.-Japan Collaboration

As a part of Acura's ongoing effort to produce its cars where they're sold, Acura continues to advance the capabilities of its U.S. facilities. In the case of the CL, more product design and development than ever before was carried out in America.

The dynamic lines of the CL's exterior, along with its sweeping, "symphonic" cockpit layout, were penned at the company's studios in Torrance, California. After an intensive study of buyer needs and future automotive trends, stylists settled on a design theme that combined the simplicity and purposefulness of a sailplane with a conspicuous air of sphistication and elegance. The result is a coupe that radiates sportiness, prestige and refinement-qualities amonth the most sought-after by American buyers moving into the mid-luxury segment.

On the manufacturing side, both engines that power the CL (the 2.3-liter-in-line four and the 3.0-liter V-6) are produced at the Anna, Ohio plant with heavy reliance on North American parts suppliers. For production of the V-6 the Wako, Japan engine plant provided technical backup. The East Liberty, Ohio plant, where the CL is assembled, draws on many North American suppliers for parts and subassemblies.

The CL's engines were penned at HGT (Honda R&D-Tochigi) in Japan, while total vehicle development took place in America, using parts and assemblies provided by the same suppliers that would ultimately make the production components.

Global Concurrent Development and Engineering

Though the logistical problems might at first seem daunting, in fact, a global approach worked ot the CL program's advantage. With work taking place at HGT in Japan, questions and design issues were raised, then electronically passed along to HRA-Ohio. While Japan slept,the U.S. team worked out details with suppliers and sorted out manufacturing challenges. By the start of business the next day in Japan, the required technical or manufacturing data was waiting for the dsign team as they arrived for work. This around-the-clock development program operation was a pivotal factor in trimming about one-third of the time from 3.0 CL engine development and was a great help in the overall CL project.

Development

The CL's most recent advancement is the 3.0-liter VTEC V-6, but this engine's pre-development actually led much of the CL project. Pre-development of the V-6 engine began in mid-'93, with bulk of the development work beginning in 1994, and stretching through to early 1996. Development of the car itself began in earnes in the same 1994-96 time frame. Local parts procurement support for the V-6 engine began back in late 1993. Like the V-6, the 2.3 CL's in-line four relies heavily on North American sourced components.

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