Honda Associate Group Offers Input on Designing Products for People with Disabilities

ENABLE, which stands for Engender and Nurture Abilities through Business Leading Empowerment, is a business resource group (BRG) at Honda dedicated to creating a more inclusive environment by promoting disability awareness and empowering people with disabilities.

American Honda (AHM) associate Ashley Humble, who founded the ENABLE BRG, recently organized a focus group for ENABLE BRG members in collaboration with Dan Patterson, division lead and assistant vice president for AHM’s Automotive Design and User Experience Division. The goal of the focus group was to help Patterson’s team learn from associates with disabilities or associates who support disabled family members and use this information to help Honda better support customers with disabilities.

“Empowering people with disabilities is the same as empowering any other group of people – encouraging us to bring our authentic selves to work,” Humble said. “By embracing who we are and who they are, we are empowering people with disabilities and each other.”

The focus group, which was attended by both associates from Automotive Design and User Experience, and ENABLE members, was an opportunity for participants to share ideas for making the company’s products more attractive to customers with disabilities. “I think it was really engaging,” Humble shared. “We had a lot of people speaking up and adding their thoughts during the meeting.”

Patterson’s division, which is responsible for automotive products in North America including light-duty truck design for Honda and Acura, shared that it’s always beneficial for their team to hear from individuals with first-hand experience. “In design, it’s important for us to understand people and what their needs are,” Patterson said. “Supporting people with disabilities connects back to Honda’s 2030 Vision to create products and services that expand people’s potential and make their lives better.”

Currently, Honda offers a Honda Customer Mobility Assistance Program, which provides a reimbursement of up to $1,000 to each customer for expenses to purchase and install qualifying adaptive vehicle equipment on any eligible purchased or leased Honda vehicle. Many of the ideas shared during the focus group included thoughts on how to improve Honda products with features to support individuals with disabilities, or how to better market to customers with disabilities. “For us, it’s about gathering and translating insights into our product proposals,” Patterson added.

Honda Development & Manufacturing of America associate Jared Ridoutt, who participated in the focus group as an ENABLE BRG member, was appreciative that Honda and ENABLE are actively trying to promote awareness and opportunities for individuals with different disabilities. “All three of our children have fairly severe autism, so it’s a topic I have particular interest in,” Ridoutt shared. “I also have a number of friends and family who have disabilities. My biggest takeaway from participating was that while we have a long way to go when it comes to making our vehicles more accessible and useful for people with disabilities, we have associates who are passionate about the topic and are putting in effort to improve the situation.”

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