President, Honda Motor Company
The man behind the Acura NSX, 1991 Automobile of the Year
In our words: “In addition to his accomplishments as an engineer and an executive, Kawamoto possesses striking intelligence, enthusiasm, candor, and good humor. All were intact during our interview in a comfortable suite at Honda headquarters.”
In his own words: ”I think the NSX is extremely well done. It is where Honda is today. Yes, it is a car we wanted to build, and it has involved a lot of new developments, a new concept, net materials, new manufacturing methods. It did not have to be a sports car, but it is the sort of project we wanted to undertake. It is not an indulgence. It is good business.”
What happened next: The NSX went on to sell fairly well, earning critical acclaim as one of the purest expressions of the sportscar, until 2006. Kawamoto’s tenure at Honda coincided with a huge increase in profitability…until Kawamoto was replaced in 1998 by Hiroyuki Yoshino.