Honda Motor began operating its new regional R&D and testing centre last week in the Rojana Industrial Park in Thailand's PrachinBuri province. 

The new facility, managed by Honda R&D Asia-Pacific, was built on an 80 hectare plot next to the company's second Thai car assembly plant. It will be used for helping to develop vehicles sold across Asia and Oceania regions.

The US$51m facility has eight driving courses to simulate various driving conditions and a total track length of 8km (five miles). It is the second such facility outside Japan, the other being in the US.

It will carry out R&D and testing for both cars and motorcycles and will likely be used to test vehicles produced in other regions later.

Honda R&D Asia Pacific was established in 2005 and carries out product planning, body styling, engineering and quality control. 

The company expects to increase development work by 50% over the next five years with the brand's car sales expected to reach 800,000 units across Asia and Oceania by 2021.