The car I just drove in integrates the core Honda values of clean, safe and fun at a high level in a concept model that expresses what’s possible in a near-futurefuel cell vehicle. It was designed to be friendly to both drivers and the people around them, as well as responsible for the environment. It's suggesting a new approach to mobility that creates a more intimate connection between human beings and the automobile.
With this vehicle’s 360-degree rotation mode, parallel parking is not a problem, and the joystick enables intuitive steering. The vehicle lights up to signal its operational condition to people around the vehicle. And this vehicle also has an endearing appearance like a pet animal. As you can see, this secure-looking and soft body made of silicon gel material makes people want to touch it. In fact, the name PUYO is part of a Japanese coined word describing the comforting sensation of touching.
What enables this compact car to comfortably seat four adults is the low-floorpackaging made possible by the compact design of the FC Stack, which was already installed in the FCX Concept that is on display over there. The FCX Concept features not only a next-generation power plant, but a whole new level of driving experience together with an innovative design. This is not merely an eco-car. This is a next-generation vehicle with the potential to change the future of automobiles.
We are planning to introduce an all-new hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle based closely on the FCX Concept next month at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and begin deliveries in the U.S. and Japan next year. Please look forward to the official introduction in Japan in 2008.
Honda has always placed the highest priority on its efforts to address environmental challenges, and has proactively pursued environmental initiatives to become the industry leader in this area. Toward this end, we set our theme as“For the endless joy of mobility on our earth” – which includes a number of meanings including “addressing environmental issues together with the fun of mobility,” and “passing on the joy of mobility to future generations.” We have filled our booth with Honda’s proposals to help us achieve the endless joy of mobility on our earth.
In the area of environmental technology, we believe that there are different approaches to comply with different challenges in each region of the world. Especially, related to our products, Honda will pursue every possibility with our own unique ideas and technologies – this includes our effort to improve the efficiency of the fuel cell, which I just introduced, also hybrid, diesel, and gasoline engines, and even the development of energy-creation technologies. With this approach, we will accelerate our CO2 reduction efforts on a global scale. Through this motor show, we want more people to understand the various challenges Honda is undertaking in the development of environmental technology.
Honda's hybrid system features a gasoline engine as the primary power source, supplemented by an electric motor. It's ideal for small cars because of its compact size, and achieves the fun of driving together with high fuel efficiency and cleaner exhaust emissions.
This CR-Z is a model that symbolizes Honda’s hybrid technology. While thoroughly pursuing the reduction of weight, CR-Z features a dynamic yet sharp exterior design that makes people want to get in and drive. Through this model Honda demonstrates a new direction for the next-generation hybrid sports car to enable people to enjoy more casual sporty driving.
At last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show we introduced the Honda REMIX concept vehicle, an agile, fun-to-drive and easy-to-use two-seat sports car. Then at this year’s Geneva Motor Show we presented the Honda Small Hybrid Sports Concept, which achieves the fun of driving together with excellent environmental performance based on our hybrid technologies.
This CR-Z is a concept model developed by further advancing those two design study models. In addition to the dedicated hybrid vehicle we plan to release in 2009, which will be even more affordably priced than the Civic Hybrid, we're striving to bring a vehicle based on this CR-Z to market.
Our work on next-generation diesel engines is also advancing. Inherently more efficient than gasoline engines, diesels will be a key technology in the effort to reduce CO2 emissions. The i-DTEC engine on display here, with emissions as clean as a gasoline engine, is scheduled to be introduced in the U.S. in 2009, and then in Japan.
And of course, we continue our efforts to develop gasoline engine vehicles while achieving the fun of driving together with environmental performance. Last week, we introduced the all-new, second generation Fit. With this full model change, styling and functionality were further enhanced, and the engine was advanced to achieve even more powerful driving performance and outstanding efficiency.
Since it was first introduced in 2001, the Fit has became a global car that supports Honda’s automobile business, with worldwide sales topping two million units. Fit has proven to be successful although it has only been on sale for one week, ten thousand units have already been ordered. As a benchmark for the next-generation of small cars, the Fit will continue providing joy to more customers around the world.
In addition to our commitment to address environmental issues through the advancement of various power plants, we are proactively working on the development of technologies that will enable us to create energy itself more efficiently and cleanly. Such environmental technologies are showcased at the Next Energy area of our display.
Among various energy sources, bio-ethanol is currently drawing a lot of attention worldwide. In this area, we have developed technology to produce bio-ethanol from inedible biomass such as rice straw instead of the edible parts of corn and sugarcane feedstock. Moreover, this month, Honda began nationwide sales (in Japan) of our next-generation solar cells which create clean energy.
Difficult challenges are what drive Honda forward. And seeing the smiling faces of our customers who enjoy our products is our ultimate joy. At Honda, we will maintain a high level of initiative and strive to realize our theme, “the endless joy of mobility on our earth.” We appreciate your continued interest in Honda.
Please enjoy your visit to the Honda display. Thank you very much.