Expanding joy by realizing true globalization
Honda has finally achieved business performance on par with pre-Lehman Shock levels after overcoming repeated trials such as the Great East Japan Earthquake and flooding in Thailand. As global competition continues to intensify, I intend to pursue aggressive development of our businesses in an effort to lay the groundwork for Honda's future growth and development. To that end, I feel a pressing need to transition to a new global operations framework that can continuously create competitive products that anticipate our customers' needs in every region, even as the global economy and market structure undergo major transformations.
We will pursue initiatives to realize true globalization so that we can deliver the best products and services with an optimal sense of timing to customers worldwide by carrying out reforms to create a business structure unique to Honda, thereby ensuring the independence of our businesses in all regions, including Japan, and making the most effective possible use of regional resources on a global basis. Having done so, in FY2017 we will further expand the joy we bring to more than 39 million customers worldwide through our motorcycle, automobile, and power products.
New environmental and safety challenges
On July 9, 2013, the Yorii Plant at our Saitama Factory began operations as the newest automobile plant in Japan. The facility is home to production lines that operate at a maximum level of efficiency while achieving an exceptional level of environment friendliness, and it will play an extremely important role in bringing the technologies developed there to our global operations. Like the Yorii Plant, the neighboring Ogawa Plant has been given important responsibility not only for producing next-generation, environmentally friendly engines, but also for serving as a base from which to disseminate environmentally friendly facilities and manufacturing technologies to the world.
At Honda, we like to say that the appeal of high-quality products transcends national borders. In the future, we will similarly assert that the same applies to exceptional technologies, and I look forward to building a high-efficient, low-carbon Honda that is truly strong on the global stage, starting on the production floor.
One of the most symbolic of the environmental initiatives undertaken at the Yorii Plant can be found on its roof, the entire area of which is covered with solar panels. The power generated by those panels is used at the plant, but the 2.6 MW installation, the largest in the automotive industry, was designed to produce enough electricity to sell back to the grid. The plant also employs painting technology that is the first of its kind in the industry, which it has deployed to facilitate environmentally friendly manufacturing. Using the more advanced paint materials, it eliminates a middle coating process to realize a 3-coat/2-bake painting process that can be used for any exterior paint color. As a result of these innovations, the plant has succeeded in slashing overall CO2 emissions per vehicle by 35%, making it the world's most environmentally advanced manufacturing facility. We have already made the decision to apply these initiatives to a new plant in Mexico, which is slated to begin operations in the spring of 2014. Going forward, we will continue to pursue the evolution of manufacturing by speedily applying concrete technologies across borders to our operations worldwide.
Alongside the environment, Honda treats safety as a key priority. Our founders' strong commitment to safety forms the basis of this focus. We have actively undertaken safety initiatives leading the industry in terms of both products and services, such as traffic safety initiatives and developing first airbag system in Japan, in keeping with our philosophy of pursuing the safety of everyone who participates in our transportation-oriented society, a priority captured in one of our founder's pronouncement that “the means of transportation must respect human life.” Based on this stance toward safety, Honda recently adopted “Safety for Everyone” as its global safety slogan. As we accelerate our environmental initiatives under the global environmental slogan of “Blue Skies for Our Children,” which was adopted in 2011, we will also deepen our safety initiatives in an effort to realize a safe and secure transportation-oriented society and, by extension, an accident-free, mobility-based society.
Pursuing the “cycle of joy” in order to become a company society wants to exist
Consider the LP gas generator that Honda developed in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake. The device was commercialized in just three months thanks to the passion and enthusiasm of associates who felt driven to help out by making use of the LP gas that was widely used by homes in disaster-stricken areas. Honda has historically pursued a program of corporate activities based on its fundamental beliefs of Respect for the Individual and the Three Joys. In short, creating exceptional products while respecting and affirming one another so as to delight the customers who use them gives us joy and fuels our dedication to embrace new challenges. We believe that this cycle is important, and we have pursued locally rooted activities that seek to share joy with residents around the world. No matter how convenient our lives become as infrastructure and communications capabilities are developed, customers' desire to travel freely remains unchanged. Personal mobility makes it possible for customers to go where they wish to go, and to travel to meet the people they wish to meet. We will continue to provide good products to customers with speed, affordability and low CO2 emissions, expanding rich, satisfying, and enjoyable lifestyles that are characterized by personal mobility while emphasizing the environmental and safety issues.
We at Honda will continue to act as a company society wants to exist by creating exciting products that resonate in the hearts of customers and all stakeholders in accordance with the people-oriented approach to manufacturing that lies at our very origins.
President, Chief Executive Officer and