Released: March 6, 2007
Good afternoon. And thank you for joining us.
At the last Geneva Motor Show, I suggested that Honda's determination to create new value for our customers would be the key to our success in Europe. In today's competitive marketplace, such creativity is a never-ending challenge. For Honda, the key is to deliver products that are fun-to-drive, while also providing outstanding levels of safety and environmental friendliness.
Our customers in Europe have reacted positively to this expression of Honda DNA. Last year was our third consecutive year of record sales. We expect to repeat this success in 2007 for another all-time record in Europe, with the full Civic line-up and the all-new CR-V driving sales.
Our strong determination to succeed in Europe is not based only on our ability to deliver fun to the customer. At the same time, we are making a commitment to further advance environmental technology for our customers and society throughout Europe.
For instance, Honda has been a leader in the introduction of hybrid technologies. The Civic Hybrid currently on the market balances packaging, fuel-consumption, and driving performance to provide new value for our customers.
Based on our experience, we believe that hybrid technology has the greatest benefit-to both the environment and the customer-in small, affordable cars. Based on this belief, we have announced last year that Honda will bring an all-new dedicated hybrid vehicle to market in 2009. And we have set a global sales target of 200-thousand vehicles.
As I said, both "Fun-to-drive" and environmental friendliness are part of Honda's DNA. Today, we are showcasing for the first time a design study model that represents such DNA. Designed by our R&D design studio in Europe, where CO2 reduction has always been a guiding light, the Small Hybrid Sports Concept focuses on high fuel efficiency together with true driving excitement by fusing advanced hybrid technology and fun-to-drive spirit in a sleek aerodynamic design.
Another key technology in the effort to reduce CO2 is, of course, the diesel engine. As you know, the Honda diesel engine currently available in four different models in Europe has been well-received. Now, Honda has developed a next-generation super clean diesel engine which reduces exhaust gas emissions to a level equal to a petrol engine. So, the engine display next to me might be rather small but the impact of this technology is very large!
The catalytic converter for this diesel engine features a very innovative system using ammonia generated within the catalytic converter to detoxify harmful emissions. There is no need for on-board storage-and injection-of urea. This new diesel engine will be introduced in the U.S. in about two years. And we are considering introduction in Europe as well as Japan.
Even as we work on these near-term green powertrains, we continue to advance the ultimate solution: Honda's fuel cell technology. In Paris, we displayed the FCX Concept, which demonstrates that a fuel cell car doesn't need to focus just on environmental issues. It can offer great design as well. Today, we have the fully operational model to show the rapid progress of our development.
Honda now plans limited sales next year of a next generation fuel cell vehicle, which will bear a remarkable resemblance to this FCX Concept. And later this year, we will be offering an opportunity for Europen journalists to get behind the wheel for a test drive, here in Europe.
Our commitment to the environment is not limited to our production models. Last week we unveiled the new racing colors for Honda's 2007 F1 car. Some of you might be surprised to see that, for the first time, no sponsors' brands appear on the car, only a picture of Mother Earth! With this new livery, we not only hope to raise awareness of global environmental problems, but also offer our fans, sponsors and customers a chance to pitch in to help environmental charities address those problems.
For the future we will continue to input this Honda DNA to every vehicle we create. Using technological innovation as a driving force, Honda is committed to accelerating our commitment and challenge to reduce CO2 emissions, while also creating new value for our customers with exciting products that are fun to drive.
I hope you enjoy your day at the show. Thank you.