Released: November 30, 2011
Honda captured the "triple crown" that is the Contractor, Rider and Team Championships in this year's MotoGP. I would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation for the support and enthusiasm of Honda fans around the world.
Motorsports is at the origin of Honda and is part of our DNA. After watching the MotoGP races all year, I wanted to experience for myself the overwhelming acceleration of the actual MotoGP machine which took our riders to the podium. So I went to test ride it, and I felt so thrilled and excited by the riding performance of this machine.
Since its establishment, Honda has been committed to the development of personal mobility products which realize the joy and freedom of mobility. What we mean by the joy of mobility obviously includes the joy of operating the vehicle on our own. But it also includes the joy of discovering all kinds of new dreams and inspiring experiences and getting excited by new thrills that can be realized only through personal mobility.
On the other hand, in order to realize a "sustainable society where people can enjoy life", the reduction of CO2 emissions will be one of the most important challenges. In order for Honda to continue delivering environmentally-responsible, exciting and thrilling products, ever since I was appointed as the president of the company I have been prompting systems and capabilities which enable us to develop "edgy products" just like pushpins. By edgy products I mean products which have environmental and safety performance as the solid base, but also a sharp point that creates a distinctive "edge".
Today, I will introduce some models that symbolize this direction which were realized with our electromotive technologies. First, is an EV version of a super sports bike, the RC-E. RC-E was designed after the image of Honda's classic racing machine, the RC series, pursuing the joy of riding.
Next, we are exhibiting the world premiere of our small sports EV Concept model, the EV-STER. The EV-STER is a completely new next-generation EV sports model Honda is proposing. With this model, we embodied the joy of driving to the maximum extent.
Starting from here at the Tokyo Motor Show, we will sequentially introduce multiple new models including a high-performance sports model which is currently under development toward market introduction in the near future.
As for EVs, we are currently conducting demonstration testing with the Fit EV in Japan, the U.S. and China. The Fit EV is scheduled to go on sale in Japan and the U.S. in summer of 2012. With the Fit EV, we achieved the world's top-class, most highly efficient electricity consumption rate. Further, while it is an EV, you can still experience sporty acceleration unique to Honda.
Now, let me introduce Honda's unique concept models of motorcycle and automobile electric mobility.
The MICRO COMMUTER CONCEPT, a four-wheel EV commuter, and the MOTOR COMPO, a two-wheel EV commuter, were created for mobility in a metropolitan area. These models are developed with new ideas and through collaboration between our motorcycle and automobile R&D centers.
Honda will continue proposing the potential of a wide range of electromotive mobility products including the AC-X mid-to-long range plug-in hybrid and the FCX Clarity electric fuel cell vehicle.
In addition to the development of electromotive mobility products, Honda also has been focusing on the creation of clean energy using a solar photovoltaic system and a cogeneration system independently developed by Honda.
As of today, Honda is the industry leader in installing solar power generation systems to our factories and offices in Japan. Next year, we will be installing a mega solar power generation system to our Yorii Plant, which will be the largest solar power system to be installed to an automobile production plant. Furthermore, we will accelerate our effort to install solar power systems to our dealership locations as well.
Based on these initiatives we will strive to achieve the "Triple Zero" - which means "zero" CO2 emissions well-to-wheel (from the point of creating electricity until it is used to power the vehicle) through our own renewable energy technologies; "zero" energy risk through our energy management technologies; and "zero" waste through our effort to reduce, reuse and recycle, the 3Rs.
Under this "Triple Zero" concept, Honda will address climate change and energy/resource issues with our own technologies and business activities. With these efforts, Honda envisions a future with "zero environmental burden society".
For such a future, the most important challenge we need to address right now is the improvement of the efficiency of gasoline and diesel-powered internal combustion engines.
Under the name "EARTH DREAMS TECHNOLOGY," Honda has created a new next-generation engine and transmission series, which we will apply to our products to realize both "fun" and "environmental" values at a high level.
This EARTH DREAMS TECHNOLOGY will be applied first to the N BOX, a new mini-vehicle model we are announcing today, and then we will gradually expand the applications. By combining it not only with gasoline engines, but also with diesel engines, and the new CVT series, we will strive to be number one in fuel economy in each category within the next 3 years.
Accelerating these initiatives, Honda will set a goal to reduce future CO2 emissions from our motorcycles, automobiles and power products sold around the world by 30% compared to the level of the year 2000. And we will strive to attain this goal by the year 2020.
Now, I would like to talk about the mini-vehicle business in Japan.
Honda originally entered the automobile business with mini-vehicles. We made a fundamental review of our origin, that is to say mini-vehicles, and will largely renew our product lineup. I would like you to have high expectations toward the N BOX and the N Concept Series. We put our huge passion into the small body of those vehicles.
Finally, I would like to introduce our all-new ASIMO humanoid robot which is now equipped with the world's first autonomous behavior control technologies.
With improved physical capability and autonomy, this all-new ASIMO was further advanced so that it can now continue moving without being controlled by an operator.
In addition to further improvement of the physical capability of its legs, we advanced the capability of ASIMO's fingers so that each finger now moves independently. These changes were made so that ASIMO can coexist with and be useful for people.
We are utilizing the technologies we have amassed through ASIMO and humanoid robotics research for our mobility products such as motorcycles and automobiles.
In addition, we will apply such technologies to other devices such as the task-performing robot arm which performs tasks in places where people cannot access and the walking-assist device which supports walking for people with weakened leg muscles. We will continue our R&D activities to put those technologies into practical use so that we can offer more technologies that are useful for people.
The motivation behind our ASIMO research and, the development of mobility products in the areas of motorcycles, automobiles and power products is our passion to create products that are useful to people and that utilize technologies to make people happy. That is Honda's philosophy as a manufacturing company which has remained unchanged since the establishment of the company.
Honda will remain true to its origin - manufacturing for people - and continue creating "edgy products" that move people's hearts, so please keep your expectations high!
Today, I would like to explain the initiatives we will be taking in Japan.
Honda has a history of introducing various environmentally-responsible vehicles ahead of the times. Starting from the CVCC engine, we are now selling various models equipped with Honda's original IMA hybrid system. With the recent introduction of the all-new Freed series, our hybrid lineup in Japan now consists of six models, and the percentage of hybrid vehicles among new vehicle registrations in the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2012 is expected to be approximately 50%.
A wide variety of environmentally-responsible vehicles, including hybrids, are being introduced by each automaker; however, the toughest market in Japan is the mini-vehicle market. Today, I will introduce to you the new mini-vehicle series, N Concept, which was created as a result of our complete review of our mini-vehicle history.
The name "N" represents both Honda's original passion as well as our strong passion today to propose new vehicles for Japan for the new era to come - based on the key words of New, Next, Nippon (Japan) and Norimono (which means "vehicles" or "mobility devices").
The N BOX is Honda's completely new mini-vehicle that combines a newly-designed platform, which adopts Honda's original packaging technology, and a highly competitive new powerplant. In order to realize spaciousness, comfort and economic efficiency beyond conventional thinking, we condensed the values of a minivan, where Honda has great experience, into a mini-vehicle. The N BOX will go on sale in Japan on December 16.
Furthermore, the new platform and powerplant, which are adopted for the first time in this N BOX, will be expanded to other models which will be introduced to the market in the future. As a part of the N Series, a new model based on N Concept 3 will be introduced to the market in spring 2012, followed by the introduction of another model based on N Concept 4 in fall 2012. With that, we will strive to increase our mini-vehicle sales to 280,000 units, which would double the sales of 2011.
Fit EV will be introduced to the Japanese market in summer of 2012. Initially, we are assuming the lease sales will be conducted mainly with businesses and the public sector; however, we will enhance our product lineup and expand sales in the future.
As for the recently announced all-new CR-V, in addition to the 2.4-liter model, a 2.0-liter model which realizes the top fuel economy in the SUV class will be introduced exclusively in Japan.
Offering a variety of services for our customers that enhance the value and enjoyment of the automobile is as important as the new values offered by our products. Our signature service is the Internavi, which is an interactive car navigation service that utilizes Honda's original floating car data (driving data). This service has been widely utilized, and the "Traffic Information Maps", which we released in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake to help people go in and out of the affected areas, received the 2011 Good Design Grand Award. In the future, we will extend the sharing of floating car data, a unique technology of Honda, not just between cars, but from cars to people and to society, to connect people through social media and other technologies.
This new initiative to utilize our Internavi is named the "dots project", and will be sequentially expanded from end of this year.
The first set of contents to be provided through this project will be Internavi information such as the most appropriate route to a destination, weather and disaster information. This information will be posted through social media and shared by customers. We are going to start this function before the end of this year.
Furthermore, we are planning to begin providing a broad range of Internavi Linc services to our motorcycle customers as an application dedicated to motorcycle users.
The motorcycle is at the origin of Honda's establishment. I have always thought that the motorcycles Honda offers must always be fun. The New Mid Concept, which I am pleased to introduce to you today, is being developed as a product which exceeds the expectation of our customers with the fun of maneuvering and ease of handling it provides. The all-new 700cc engine realizes both the joy of riding and excellent fuel economy at a high level. It offers powerful torque and ease of handling in the low- to mid-speed range as well as excellent fuel economy which was improved by more than 40% compared to sports models in the same class. In addition, we offer a type equipped with the second-generation Dual Clutch Transmission, realizing an exhilarating ride that provides a powerful and direct feeling despite the fact it is still an automatic motorcycle.
Now, let me introduce three different models all based on this innovative New Mid platform.
First, the NC700S -- an easy-to-handle model with dynamic styling that enables the rider to enjoy riding with a secure feeling in urban areas or on winding roads.
Next, the Integra -- with unique styling that realizes both the fun of riding a motorcycle and the comfort of riding a scooter. And finally, the NC700X -- which was developed based on the Crossover Concept and offers Fun riding beyond the range of on-road and off-road.
These three models as well as the CRF250L, an eagerly-awaited on/off model, will be introduced to the Japan market sequentially starting from spring 2012 to offer the joy of riding to more customers.
Honda will continue its challenge to deliver mobility products and services that are beyond the expectations of our customers and are unique to Honda, with speed and affordability. So please maintain your high expectations!
Thank you very much for coming today!