SHANGHAI, China, April 19, 2011 - Today Takanobu Ito, President and CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., gave a speech at Auto Shanghai 2011 (Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition, press days April 19-20, general admission April 21-28), excerpted below.
China is maintaining positive momentum as the world’s largest automobile market. Honda’s sales also have been growing steadily, and our products and services have been highly acclaimed by our customers in China. To further accelerate our growth, Honda will expand production capacity at Guangqi Honda and build a second plant at Dongfeng Honda.
In addition to the Civic Hybrid which is now sold in China, in 2012 we will introduce the Insight hybrid model through Dongfeng Honda and the CR-Z and Fit hybrid models through Guangqi Honda. These vehicles will initially be imported from Japan.
We are also preparing for local production of these hybrid vehicles in China so as to offer hybrids to our Chinese customers as quickly and with prices as reasonable as possible. This will include obtaining core components of the hybrid system such as the battery and motor in China.
Today, we’re also presenting a powertrain display of Honda’s original IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) hybrid system with a lithium-ion battery produced by Blue Energy Co., Ltd.
In China, Honda and the city of Guangzhou and Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. reached a basic agreement to conduct demonstration testing of EVs. This testing will verify how practical and convenient the EVs Honda is currently developing will be within the city of Guangzhou and what will be the ideal infrastructure for society toward achieving the widespread use of EVs. Moreover, Honda is working toward the goal to begin production of EVs in China in 2012.
Honda began full-scale automobile operations in China in the 1990s. Since then, we have always offered our customers in China the world’s latest technologies and highest levels of service. Based on this original spirit, Honda will further strengthen our local capabilities in the areas of development, production and sales.
First, we have established new R&D and product planning functions in China so that we can better reflect the needs of Chinese customers in our products. Through this initiative, we will further enrich our lineup of vehicles developed with a focus on China as a main market and further enhance customer satisfaction.
In addition, we will strengthen our local parts purchasing function and utilize these capabilities globally. Finally, we will strengthen our local quality and service functions. Together, these elements will establish the next generation of our local business foundation in China.