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Honda drives drastic R&D reforms to reverse slow auto business

Company seeks to cut dependency on motorcycles and duplicate minicar success

Honda Motor President Takahiro Hachigo moves to revamp carmaking operations.

TOKYO -- After Takahiro Hachigo took over at Honda Motor in 2015, the Japanese automaker has implemented a string of reforms to shore up its auto business, including closing plants at home and abroad and shaking up supply chains. But it left one entity untouched -- Honda R&D, its crown jewel research unit, once headed by legendary founder Soichiro Honda more than a half century ago.

But no more.

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