market dynamics
Honda four-cylinder CB400 localization latest news
Release date:2024.01.11

The news that Honda plans to domesticalize the classic CB400. Despite the secrecy of the project, it has been an open secret from all sides. Moreover, this model is not only a special offer for the domestic market, it is highly likely to become a global model.

The CB400 has been hailed as the car of the generation, known for its classic retro styling with round lights, smooth power output and pleasant sound. The hot discussion of VTEC technology by netizens has added a lot of color to it. This technology turns four valves into two at low revs and back into four at high revs, giving the vehicle a more flexible power output.

VTEC technology can not only reduce engine noise at low and medium speed, but more importantly, in this speed range, by controlling the number of valves, ensuring sufficient air intake and improving power output. When the speed exceeds 6750 rpm, the system automatically switches to a four-valve state, releasing more power and making the CB400 perform better in different driving situations.

At present, Honda's joint venture plant in China has the capacity to produce four-cylinder models. In the past, Honda has been reluctant to make the CB400 locally due to concerns that technology leaks and domestic production could reduce the brand's value. However, the rapid rise of domestic brands in recent years and the fierce competition in the market have forced Honda to reconsider. In order to profit again at the end of the internal combustion engine era, coupled with the successful sales of the rival Kawasaki ZX-4R in the Chinese market, Honda decided to introduce a rival model.

There are currently two kinds of speculation about what the new CB400 will look like. One is similar to the structure of the current four-cylinder 650 model, catering to the Sport NEO style and injecting a more sporty feel. The other retains the classic retro streetcar styling, including iron fuel tanks, large round lights and double-cylinder gauges. Many motorcycle friends expressed their expectation of retaining the classic appearance of CB400, believing that this is more in line with the feelings of CB400, and also helps to reduce development costs and improve development progress.

In terms of engine, the new CB400 is likely to have a water-cooled engine, rather than the air-cooled + small oil cooled engine Honda has always preferred to use. The new engine will be a completely new development based on the current technology, rather than a simple cylinder reduction or expansion. Due to restrictions on local driver's license classification in Japan, the domestic version of the CB400 is expected to be increased to around 500cc and manufactured in China. Japan's most authoritative motorcycle magazine Young Machine has repeatedly reported this news, and the credibility is quite high. The frame will also feature the diamond-shaped frame on the new Wasp CB750 to reduce vehicle weight.

As for the production link, it may adopt the way of Fosa 350, which is produced in Thailand in the early stage and transferred to domestic production in the later stage. Considering the fierce competition in the current market, Honda is likely to use some means to control the price of the new CB400 at about 50,000 yuan. In order to achieve this, relatively old, mature technologies may be adopted without introducing the latest technologies, such as the just-released electronic clutch system.

As for the timing of the launch, since this year marks the 50th anniversary of the CB400's launch, Honda's management did not miss the opportunity to launch the production version of the CB400 at the most opportune time. However, due to the complexity of the redesign, the run-in and commissioning of the production line and the laying of channels for Honda to establish a new sales company in Shanghai, it is estimated that the new CB400 will be released around the end of this year, and the listing time may be around the middle of next year.

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