Honda might be killing off the NSX and pulling its factory support out of various two- and four-wheeled racing events along with its long-running Honda Hoot gathering, but the automaker has managed to find the resources to invest in a five-story top hat-wearing Asimo float to lead the Rose Parade on January 1. In addition to the towering presence of Asimo, a hydrogen-powered FCX Clarity will pace the event, which moves pretty slow and therefore probably doesn't really need a pace car at all. No matter, this spectacle will be witnessed by millions of people tuning in to watch the 120th Tournament of Roses and the event will celebrate Honda's 50th year in the United States.
In addition to the giant Asimo robot and FCX Clarity, which will be accompanied by a Super Cub motorcycle, Honda will be providing 166 Metropolitan scooters and 12 generators to power the event. As you may have guessed, Honda is a major sponsor to the Tournament of Roses and is hoping to win another major award, as it's done in 13 of the last 14 years.


Honda Tests 49 Foot Robot!

Float Will Kick off Rose Parade and Company's 50th Year in the U.S.
Rose Parade Pace Car to be Hydrogen-Powered Fuel Cell Vehicle for First Time

Today Honda ( tested its unique Rose Parade float as part of a rehearsal of the parade's opening show, conducted for media and invited guests in Pasadena, Calif., revealing the float design and giving parade fans a glimpse of this year's event. Honda's Rose Parade float, a 49-foot replica of Honda's ASIMO humanoid robot, and the parade's first-ever hydrogen-powered fuel cell pace car, the Honda FCX Clarity, will lead the 120th Rose Parade as well as kick off Honda's 50th anniversary of U.S. operations.

In front of the millions of viewers watching from around the world on Jan. 1, 2009, Honda's float will evolve from an opening ceremony stage into an animated replica of Honda's ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility), standing about 12 times the height of the actual ASIMO humanoid robot. Honda's float creation called "Hats Off in Celebration" will be completed with natural materials like lettuce seed, rice, carnations and strawflower. The float will be joined by the Prairie View A&M University Marching Band, a past participant in the Honda Battle of the Bands which features the music programs of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. A few members of the band will ride on the float, which will be immediately followed by the entire marching band. In addition, during the parade the FCX Clarity pace car will be accompanied by the Honda Super Cub motorcycle, the first model sold in the United States.

"Honda always brings a great amount of innovation to the Rose Parade and what a fantastic way for the company to kick off their 50th anniversary in the U.S.," said Bill Flinn, chief operating officer, Tournament of Roses.

The Honda float includes a variety of flowers, plants and seeds that will later be ground up for mulch after the parade activities are concluded. The surface of ASIMO will be covered with super fine ground white rice and super fine ground everlasting; it is accented by fine cut blue statice and fine cut red statice as well as silverleaf to create accents and "shadows." Fine cut everlasting, whole red carnations and white chrysanthemums will bring vivid color to Honda's 50th anniversary logos, which will be decorated by Honda associates (employees) on December 27.

"We're honored to be celebrating our first 50 years in America by continuing our participation in the Rose Parade," said Stephan Morikawa of American Honda Community Relations. "We're thankful that so many customers have placed their trust in our products and services, and we are looking forward to surpassing their expectations during the next 50 years."

Honda is one of the parade's longest-running corporate sponsors, and its Rose Parade entries have captured major awards in 13 out of the last 14 years. Honda is the official Tournament of Roses vehicle. This year, the company will provide 115 vehicles, including the Honda FCX Clarity pace car; 166 Metropolitan scooters; and, 12 generators for use by Tournament of Roses personnel. The 120th Rose Parade, themed "Hats off to Entertainment," will take place Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2009 at 8 a.m. (PST).

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