Honda is gearing up for a future centred around smaller-sized, smaller-engined cars with a smaller environmental impact. In his annual speech, CEO Takanobu Ito called for “a new growth strategy” which involves offering more models utilising Honda’s IMA hybrid system, the launch of plug-in hybrid and electric cars for the U.S. and Japan in 2012, and the continued development of Honda’s FCX Clarity hydrogen electric car.
With an eye towards clean, small cars, Honda will be introducing the Jazz Hybrid in Japan later this year, adding to Honda’s current hybrid range of the Insight, CR-Z and Civic Hybrid. The next-generation Civic Hybrid, arriving next year, will be the first Honda model to draw power from the more advanced lithium-ion batteries instead of the current nickel-metal hydride batteries.
In 2012, Honda will launch a plug-in hybrid car and an electric car in the U.S. and Japan, even though the plug-in hybrid car is still under development and the electric car still faces “some issues that need to be addressed such as range and recharging time”, as Ito put it. However, Honda maintains that “fuel-cell electric vehicles will provide the ultimate mobility”, justifying Honda’s continuing development of hydrogen fuel-cell technology in cars as well as the necessary hydrogen refueling infrastructure.
For developing markets, Honda has plans to launch a low-cost car for India in 2011, and a fuel-efficient eco-version of that same car for Thailand and other emerging countries, possibly including Malaysia. Honda New Small Concept, which was showcased at the New Delhi Auto Show in January, could provide some clue as to the upcoming Honda.
Based on its localized product development and sales system, Honda not only addresses customer needs promptly but also provides new value in a rapidly growing and changing market. In motorcycle business, Honda has released new models in popular and growing product categories, continuing to lead the market as well as expanding the...