Released: April, 2010
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for coming to the Honda booth today. And thank you for your continued interest in Honda.
In 2009, China became the world’s largest automobile market. This year again, the market in China has continued its tremendous growth.
As the world’s largest automobile market, China is very important for Honda. And our sales reflect this focus. Last year, Honda's sales in China achieved an all-time record of 580-thousand units. And our sales this year have maintained this record pace.
But we view this growth as just the result of our philosophy of focusing on the customer – and we appreciate the support we have received from our customers in China.
As you know, Honda’s core business is personal mobility. Last year, we delivered our motorcycles, automobiles and power products to approximately 23 million customers around the world.
Leveraging Honda’s strength with these three different product groups Honda is striving to be at the forefront in the area of the environment and energy technologies by making a comprehensive commitment to reduce CO2 emissions. This includes not only making existing products more fuel efficient, but also investing in areas such as solar cells and electromotive technologies.
At this Beijing Motor Show, we are exhibiting Honda’s near-future environmental technologies – including fuel cell electric and battery electric vehicles.
The advancement of electromotive technologies is a critical factor for the long term reduction of CO2 emissions. We believe fuel cell electric vehicles are the ultimate answer for the future, as they have advantages such as zero CO2 emissions during operation, a longer driving range and a short refueling time.
Our fuel cell electric vehicle, FCX Clarity, is powered by electricity generated onboard by the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. Based on our independent research and development of fuel cell stacks since the 1990s, the FCX Clarity stack is significantly smaller and lighter with an eye toward future mass-production.
Regarding a battery electric vehicle, Honda began lease sales of the EV Plus in 1997 in Japan and the U.S. This advanced our knowledge of both electromotive technologies and customer expectations.
The newly introduced EV-N is a simple design for a compact city commuter model that represents the direction Honda is taking with our research on battery electric vehicles. Short-distance commuter vehicles reflect the current capability of battery performance.
To best contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions today, we believe that Honda must prioritize the full-scale market penetration of hybrid vehicles. Toward this goal, the most important challenge is to provide a wider selection of hybrid models to increase the number of customers in China who can drive hybrid vehicles.
We already sell the Civic Hybrid in China. Today, we are exhibiting two dedicated hybrid models. On your left is the Honda Insight, which targets both ease-of-use and fun-to-drive characteristics in a hybrid model.
On the right is the Honda CR-Z, a unique hybrid model that was developed based on a new concept to achieve an exhilarating driving experience while offering outstanding fuel economy.
In 2012, Honda will begin sales in China of the Japan-made Insight and CR-Z through the Honda sales channel.
Moreover, we plan to provide Acura customers in China with the opportunity to benefit from Honda’s unique hybrid system by introducing a hybrid model to the Acura channel within the next three years.
Fuel economy regulations in China are entering a new stage. As the largest automobile market in the world China is making a great commitment to establish one of the world’s top level requirements.
As an automaker doing business in China, Honda will proactively support this effort and we are fully committed to our responsibility as an automaker to reduce CO2 emissions – and to do so ahead of other automakers.
Since Honda made a full-scale entry into the Chinese automobile market in the 1990s, we have taken various initiatives ahead of other automakers. This includes products of the highest quality and introducing the world’s latest and highest-level technologies to our customers in China. Honda took these actions ahead of other automakers which has enabled us to be where we are today in China.
Moreover, Honda has always challenged to cultivate new markets. In last September, Honda introduced the Spirior through Dongfeng Honda, which creates a new premium sporty segment.
Today, we are introducing our premium crossover utility vehicle, the Crosstour, which will create another new market in China by combining the performance and comfort of a luxury sedan and the outstanding utility of an SUV at a high level. (Unveil, pause for 3 seconds)
The Crosstour will be produced by Guangqi Honda with sales to begin by the end of this year.
We also took on an unprecedented challenge among joint venture automakers -- the introduction of LI NIAN, Guangqi Honda’s proprietary automobile brand. This was announced here at the Beijing Motor Show in 2008.
Today, we are exhibiting a concept model of the LI NIAN brand vehicle.
It shows the direction of the mass-production model, we will introduce to you this year at the Guangzhou Motor Show.
Now, Dongfeng Honda will also begin its original brand. Together, these original brands of Guangqi Honda and Dongfeng Honda further advance the localization of the Honda Group in China.
From the beginning, Honda has strived to become an automaker close to our customers in China. We have been very fortunate that our partners share these same values and goals – and have the deepest understanding of Honda’s way of thinking about our customers.
I would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to our partners, Guangzhou Automobile and Dongfeng Motor.
Hand-in-hand with our partners Honda will continue to advance in order to truly become the automaker closest to customers in China. Thank you again for your continued interest in Honda. Thank you.