Honda manages its global production and sales networks through an organization divided into six regions: North America, South America, Europe, Asia & Oceania, China, and Japan. Six regional environmental committees, one for each region, set their own policies and plans for environmental initiatives based on the global direction and supervise and evaluate the divisions that carry out these plans. For the publication of this year's report, the six committee chairmen were gathered and asked to provide a review of activities in fiscal 2013 as well as their future outlook for global operations.
First, please tell us what defines your region in terms of market characteristics and environmental challenges.
●Iwamura: North America is in many ways an environmentally advanced region with very eco-conscious public and private sectors. This is true not only of the U.S., which has the most stringent environmental regulations in the world, but also Canada and Mexico, which tend to follow U.S. regulations. So as a whole, North America is a region that's rather tough on environment requirements. At the center is the U.S.; its government makes decisions based on hearings with various private sector interests. Honda engages in a wide range of communication activities to take advantage of these opportunities and convey to the government our stance and how companies should act on key issues, and get those ideas reflected in long-term environmental policies.
●Takedagawa: South America's largest market, Brazil, has for the last 40 years been promoting the use of sugar cane-derived bioethanol fuel as a national policy. During that time, flex-fuel cars and motorcycles have moved into the mainstream. Other innovative efforts include the development of the world's largest environmental protection system, a system to monitor the Amazon rainforest using satellite technology, and the passing of an environmental crimes law, which is unusual on a global level. National environmental programs outside Brazil vary widely, so today I would like to talk mostly about Brazil, which is the most important market for Honda in South America.
●Nishimae: Europe has watched its automobile market contract in a deteriorating economic environment, from 16 million units in 2006 to less than 12 million units last year. Consumers are wanting smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles. Another notable trend in recent years has been the dominance of diesel, which now accounts for more than 55% of the market. Diesel engines with a capacity of 1.6-liters or less are particularly popular among fuel-efficient models. With the EU targeting a mandatory CO2 emission limit for passenger cars of 95 g/km.one of the lowest in the world.by 2020, environmental regulations across Europe are also becoming increasingly strict.
●Kobayashi: Asia and Oceania is a very broad region that extends from Pakistan in the west to South Korea in the east, and as far south as Australia and New Zealand. As a result, a wide divergence in environmental awareness between countries is one characteristic of this region. Within that context, the automobile market in India and other emerging countries is growing quickly, which has been met with moves in these countries to introduce more progressive environmental regulations. This region also has the highest sales of Honda motorcycles, so what we do to the environmental performance of motorcycle products here will have a large impact on Honda elsewhere.
●Kuraishi: China is now the largest mobility market in the world, selling roughly 20 million cars and 25 million motorcycles a year. This has led the national government to set very high environmental targets and ordinary people to take more interest in environmental issues. The actual response to these issues is still inadequate when you look at, say, the problem of fine-particle pollution, but the environment is, as you would expect, a major pillar of Honda's business in China. Looking to the future, we are actively expanding the application of hybrid technologies for automobiles and electronic fuel injection1 for motorcycles, and aim to be the most environmentally responsible automaker as we continue growing in this market.
●Minekawa: Japan's triple disaster of two years ago: the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown, have had a huge impact on the minds of Japanese people. Since then, customer expectations with regard to sustainability and renewable energy have risen substantially, meaning that companies who are failing to respond decisively to these expectations will be left behind. Furthermore, local public transport systems are going bankrupt more often due to the decline of Japan's rural population, which is increasing the need for personal vehicles as a means of transportation. Honda hopes to offer viable solutions to issues like these.
1. Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI)