Released: September 28, 2006
Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us. Earlier this year, at the Geneva Motor Show, I spoke about our goal to create new value for our customers and fans in Europe.
One area of commitment was the challenge of Formula One racing. We were obviously pleased when Jenson Button won his first F1 race in Hungary. It was also the first victory for Honda in this third era of Honda's F1 racing. I was in Hungary for the race, but my satisfaction was not simply in winning. My satisfaction is in the joy we created for Honda race fans around the world.
But we are not content with one victory. We will continue to challenge the top of the podium.
I think this also helps explain the goal of our product efforts. Our challenge is not simply to increase sales or develop one exciting new model. We want to create real joy in the hearts of our customers, by first creating new value in all of our products. This challenge now has our complete determination.
A clear example is the new Civic. We have received an overwhelming response since sales of he 5-door European Civic model began in January. This success is based on the new value we created through an emotional design ... "hidden versatility" ...and fun-to-drive performance. And Civic ... which is also produced in Europe ... has been a key contributor to Honda's growth.
To advance this positive momentum, we have continued our focus on bringing new value and more emotion to our product lineup. In July, we presented the 3-door Civic Type S at the London Motor Show. And, today, we further enhance this approach with the introduction of the Civic Type R. As with the concept model we showed in Geneva, the exterior design has been further strengthened with a wider and lower look. A high performance 2-liter engine and rigid body and chassis demonstrate Honda's racing DNA. I am confident the Type R will deliver an emotion driving experience.
Honda has also been challenging to create new value in the area of the environment. For example, the Civic Hybrid makes advancements in fuel consumption and driving performance. But we are not stopping there. Honda will expand its hybrid line-up in 2009 with an all-new dedicated hybrid vehicle suitable for families, and offered at a reasonable price. We expect a global sales volume of 200 thousand units.
Of course, new value implies the future ... and Honda is surely looking ahead. Today, we display the FCX Concept fuel cell vehicle. It looks years ahead of its time. But just last week we unveiled a drivable FCX Concept in Japan to show the progress of our development. And we intend to set up the opportunity for European journalists to drive it in the near future. Further, in 2008 Honda plans to begin sales of a next generation fuel cell vehicle based very closely on this concept ode.
But today our real focus is CR-V, a vehicle that has had a major impact on the global car industry. It offers the versatility of an SUV with outstanding clean, safe and fun performance.
To continue this focus on creating new value, the all-new 3rd generation CR-V offer the ultimate sedan-like driving feeling ... further enhancing its reputation for fun and dynamic performance.
In Europe, the CR-V will also offer a category-first Collision Mitigation Brake System in addition to its long list of advanced safety technologies. For the environment, both the petrol engine and diesel engine CRV's will offer industry leading fuel consumption.
CR-V is now a world car, just like the Civic and Accord, with total cumulative sales of approximately 2.5 million units, in more than 160 countries, and is produced at 8 plants worldwide including the UK. In fact, we plan o increase output of both the CR-V and Civic in our Swindon, UK plant from next spring, taking Swindon up to its full capacity of 250 thousand units on yearly basis, within 2007.
But, again, to create new value we cannot stand still. So, in closing, let me promise that we will continue our efforts to create real joy in the hearts of our customers ... and our racing fans ...throughout Europe. We want your expectation high .. and we look forward to the challenge of exceeding them.
I hope you enjoy the rest of the show. Thank you.