Today at the São Paulo Motor Show, Honda unveiled the its new Fit Twist softroader. Based on the familiar Fit/Jazz subcompact, the Twist gets its own, distinctive grille and roof rails, along with unique front fascia, matte fender lips and what looks like more ground clearance for the region's notoriously rough roads. Inside, the Twist gets its own seat coverings as well.

As there's no official word to the contrary, we assume the Twist will be powered by the Fit's 115-horsepower, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The sportier-looking Fit Twist is the first model Honda has designed locally in Brazil, and it's intended solely for the local market. Honda says sales will begin next month.

In recent months, the Japanese automaker has been rumored to be investigating a new small crossover vehicle based on the Fit architecture. While this Outback-like Twist treatment certainly qualifies, our sources suggest there is still a different vehicle under consideration in the halls of Honda.

In related news, Honda also took advantage of the São Paulo limelight to confirm plans to launch its upscale Acura brand in Brazil in 2015. Check out the official press release below for more information on both.
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International Motor Show 2012
- Further Strengthening Automobile R&D Capability in Brazil -

SÃO PAULO, Brazil, October 22, 2012 - Honda Automoveis do Brasil Ltda. (HAB), the Honda automobile production and sales subsidiary in Brazil, today unveiled "FIT twist" at the 27th São Paulo International Motor Show 2012 currently being held in São Paulo, Brazil (press days: October 22–23 / public days: October 24 – November 4, 2012). The "FIT twist" is scheduled to go on sale in Brazil next month.

FIT twist
Key world premiere models on display:

The "FIT twist" is a Fit derivative model developed exclusively for the Brazilian market, and it is the first model developed by the local automobile R&D team in Brazil. While maintaining the ease of use and driving comfort of the original Fit, the "FIT twist" offers a sportier vehicle image with a bold design realized through adoption of an exclusive front grill and roof rails as well as an exclusive seat surface material. Honda also unveiled its lineup of new flex fuel*1 vehicles, which are popular in Brazil, including CR-V Flex and Civic 2.0 which are scheduled to go on sale in 2013. *1 Mixtures of ethanol-gasoline fuel with various ratios from 100% gasoline to 100% ethanol

Strengthening local automobile R&D capability in Brazil:

HAB will invest 100 million Brazilian reais (approximately 4 billion yen*2) in its automobile R&D division in the next two years to strengthen the R&D facilities and equipment. A new facility will be built before the end of 2013, and the number of associates who will work in the area of R&D will be increased to the hundreds. The strengthening of the local R&D capability in Brazil is a part of Honda's initiative to reform its global operations, which includes pursuit of "concurrent development by all six regions of the world," where each region will participate in product development concurrently and at the same level. Through further localized R&D activities, to include design development that incorporates local needs and the expanded adoption of locally sourced parts, Honda will develop and introduce new models that fulfill the needs of customers in Brazil. Starting from 2014, HAB will renew its lineup of small cars including the Fit and the City. HAB will also introduce a new compact SUV model, which is one of the fastest growing segments in Brazil. *2 Calculated based on the exchange rate of 1 real = 40 yen

Evolution of Acura brand in Brazil:
Honda also announced its plan to introduce the Acura brand in Brazil in 2015. For the purpose of introducing the Acura brand for the first time in South America, three models, Acura NSX Concept, Acura RDX and Acura ILX are being exhibited at the motor show as reference models.
Comment of Takanobu Ito, president & CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.:

In the press conference at the motor show, Takanobu Ito, president & CEO of Honda said: "For more than 40 years since we began our motorcycle business in Brazil in 1971, we have been offering the joy of riding, with more convenience and comfort for people's daily lives. To introduce more attractive automobiles more quickly to the Brazilian market, Honda will further strengthen its R&D capability in Brazil, including adopting locally optimized design to create products that directly respond to the voice of Brazilian customers."

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