Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you very much for taking time from your busy schedules to join us at the Honda booth.
Passion of Honda
Honda has strengths in producing a broad range of products including motorcycles, automobiles, power products and even business jets. And Honda has relationships with 28 million customers around the world, which we established through our products. Such strengths as a manufacturer and relationships with our customers are proof that Honda has been embodying its passion to “serve people worldwide with the joy of expanding their life’s potential” and, at the same time, these are the strengths of Honda.
Today, I would like to introduce various Honda products created with such passion and enjoyed by customers all around the world, as well as new products unique to Honda which we are developing while looking ahead at the new era to come. Moreover, I would like to introduce new initiatives Honda will pursue in order to let our Japan operations shine even brighter and result in the growth of Global Honda.
Introduction of global models (motorcycles)
Honda products which represent our passion toward the “joy of expanding life’s potential” have been widely shared beyond the boundaries of countries and times.
The greatest example is the achievement of the 100 million-unit cumulative global production milestone for Honda Super Cub series motorcycles. The Super Cub series was first created approximately 60 years ago. Since then, it has been enjoyed by customers all around the world and became the longest-selling product among all Honda products. This time, as an addition to the epoch-making Super Cub series models which we introduced in the past, we are proposing some new Super Cub models, such as Cross Cub and a 125cc model.
As for our flagship model, Gold Wing, this model has also evolved continuously since its first introduction in 1975 to continue fulfilling the changing needs of our customers in each era by adopting our latest technologies of the time. And it will undergo a full model change this year. The all-new Gold Wing will feature further enhanced comfort while maintaining an overwhelming presence, which will make this model a great travelling companion that can make our customers’ lives even more enjoyable.
Introduction of global models (automobiles)
Honda also has strong automobile models which have been advanced and nurtured in the global market. Our global models such as Civic, Accord and CR-V have been very well received by our customers all around the world over successive generations and have become models that lead other Honda models in the areas of driving performance and design.
This year, we launched our all-new Civic in Japan with our strong passion.
Some people say that Honda now has more mini-vehicle and mini-van models and fewer models which area unique to Honda. But we want to let people to know that Honda has a number of strong world-class models, and we want to enable Honda to shine more vigorously in Japan. With such passion, we will introduce the all-new CR-V in Japan next year. By adding a hybrid model and 3-row-seating model to the lineup, we will further broaden the value the CR-V will offer to our customers as a SUV model.
In addition, we will renew designs and fundamentally revisit the driving performance of the Legend to further refine it as our flagship model, which we will introduce to the market sometime next year. Furthermore, as with Civic and CR-V, we will begin global sales of the all-new Accord, which debuted in North America this year with a dramatically improved design, packaging and driving performance.
Summary of discussions about global models
To summarize, we will further strengthen the lineup of our motorcycle and automobile global models, which represent one of Honda’s strengths. In addition, we will further strengthen our Mono-zukuri/art of making things in Japan by accommodating the introduction of new technologies such as electrification technologies. Through this initiative, we will reinforce the role of Japan operations to lead Honda’s automobile manufacturing on a global basis.
Honda will create the world’s greatest automobiles in Japan, and Honda associates all around the world will take them as benchmarks and make further efforts, which will let Honda shine even brighter. This is what we believe we need to do now to growth further in the major transitional period facing our industry.
Introduction of Electrified models
Honda has been working on the development of various technologies and products which will contribute toward the realization of a carbon-free society.
In the area of motorcycles, Honda has been leading the industry’s CO emissions reduction efforts by further improving the fuel economy of gasoline-powered models by adopting 4-stroke engines and fuel injection technologies ahead of other manufacturers. And now, Honda is making progress in the development of electrified motorcycle products. Today, we are exhibiting the new PCX Hybrid and PCX Electric which are currently under development based on the Honda PCX scooter model, which has been popular all over the world. Both of these models are scheduled to go on sale sometime next year. And through the introduction of these models, Honda will propose what future motorcycle products should be in light of the diverse market needs and social environment in our future.
As for the area of automobiles, since the introduction of the CVCC engine on our mass-production models in 1970s, we have been making good progress in making our gasoline-powered vehicles cleaner and more fuel efficient. In the late 1990s, Honda began sales of Insight, a hybrid vehicle, and as of today, Honda’s cumulative global sales of hybrid vehicles has exceeded 2 million units. We will further expand our lineup of hybrid vehicles, by adding hybrid types to CR-V and Step WGN, which are on display here today.
Last year, we announced our intention to electrify two-thirds of global automobile sales by 2030. And we are evolving our products toward the realization of this goal.
In particular, we believe that plug-in hybrid vehicles will play a key role in this challenge and, therefore, we will introduce the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, which we have already announced in North America this year, to the Japanese market in the summer of 2018. While featuring utility equivalent to that of gasoline-powered vehicles, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid realizes EV range of more than 100km, powerful acceleration through an electric motor and quiet and smooth driving performance. This model represents Honda’s new proposal which will lead to the further popularization of electrified automobile models.
Introduction of Concept models
We have been developing and introducing our hybrid and plug-in hybrid models based on our enduring passion to realize the joy of helping people and the joy of driving. This passion will remain the same in the development of our EV models. Without compromising the merits of electrification, we will create products which will enhance convenience and fun for our customers. Now, let me introduce some of the future mobility products we are currently developing.
First, let me introduce Honda Riding Assist e.
The Riding Assist e is an experimental motorcycle model Honda developed by applying proprietary balance control technologies Honda amassed through its research in the field of robotics. This motorcycle self-balances and mitigates the risk of a fall during low-speed riding and stopping. This model represents Honda’s proposal for how we can offer motorcycle riders greater peace of mind and make life with motorcycles more fun for people.
Honda also wants to create more distinctive, user-friendly and unique automobile products that realize the joy of helping people and the joy of driving.
First, let me introduce Honda NeuV, our EV commuter concept, which is being developed in the pursuit of the joy of helping people. The NeuV is equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) and automated driving technologies and makes judgments about the driver’s state of stress based on facial expressions and/or tone of voice and provides assistance to the driver to support safe driving. Moreover, NeuV will learn the lifestyle and preferences of the driver and suggest different options for making driving more fun for the particular driver. This model will demonstrate how mobility products can serve people as an even closer “partner” than they already are.
Next, let me introduce Honda Urban EV Concept, a friendly EV that will stay close and support its user in everyday life. The Urban EV Concept is a city commuter developed under the concept of enhancing the user’s everyday life and fun with greater freedom. This vehicle features interactive communication functions which enable mobility products to have more fun connections with people and society. Moreover, with packaging that is only possible for an EV, the Urban EV Concept features a friendly design with a spacious cabin inside a compact body, which enables the owner to experience a feeling of closeness that will lead them to grow attached to the vehicle.
We are planning to begin sales of a new model based on this Urban EV Concept first in Europe, and then in Japan in 2020.
And finally, let me introduce a concept model we developed to realize the joy of driving with a EV model. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Honda Sports EV Concept.
This Sports EV Concept is a new proposal from Honda, a company which always… regardless of the requirements of the times… wants to provide its customers with the joy of driving, at the will of the driver, with a sporty and exhilarating driving experience.
Based on the same dedicated EV platform as the one used for the Urban EV Concept, we further lowered the vehicle’s center of gravity to realize a sporty driving experience that performs at the will of the driver.
As for the design, we adopted the low & wide package which represents the “beautility” of a sports car, striving to realize a design which will be loved by a broad range of people for a long time.
As demonstrated by these models I have introduced to you today, Honda will always research and develop new technologies and products for the joy of helping people and for the joy of driving, and Honda will continue offering products that go beyond the expectations of our customers.
Introduction of motorsports activities
Before I conclude my speech today, I would like to introduce our motorsports initiatives.
As for motorcycle racing, we are continuing our challenges in the most prestigious races such as MotoGP, Motocross and Trial. Recently, we achieved an unprecedented 11th consecutive title in the Trial, and in MotoGP, we are in a position to be able to strive for the season’s World Championship.
As for automobile racing, we are continuing our challenges in F1 racing. We are feeling frustration in that we have not been able to achieve the results that fulfill the expectation of our fans and customers. However, we are looking forward to making steady results as we begin to work next year with Toro Rosso, a team with a youthful energy and momentum.
We experienced a very pleasing and historic moment this year. Takuma Sato, who has a long history of taking on challenges together with Honda, won the Indy 500, one of the three most prestigious auto races in the world. Moreover, as we moved into the second half of the season, we reached to the level where we consistently earn a spot on the podium in the Super GT and Super Formula.
Honda will continue taking on challenges in motorsport activities while always being desperate to win and striving for results which will not betray the expectations of our fans and customers. Thank you in advance for your continuous support of Honda!
With our passion to please our fans and customers, Honda will continue striving to expand our customers’ life’s potential through our technologies and products. On behalf of Honda, I would like to thank you for your continuous support.