March 6, 2012
Good morning, and welcome to Honda’s media conference. I am very pleased to be here with you today.
Last year proved to be a very challenging year due to the natural disasters in Japan and in Thailand that impacted on our supply of new vehicles. Our ability to deliver cars to the customers who wanted them was restricted. Our Thai plant resumes full production within a month and all other production activity is fully restored. Whilst we must learn from recent history, we now look forward to what is an exciting future.
This is an important show for Honda. We are displaying products and technologies that will be at the heart of our growth plans for Europe. We are now entering a period of numerous product launches which will see Honda increase production volumes and increase sales.
In 2012, our UK factory will double production volumes to 180,000 units. In May, the New Civic assembly line will start a double shift and 500 new workers will join us.
Later in the year we start production of the New European CR-V.
The all New CR-V will be built in Europe and will be introduced in the Autumn with improved quality, performance, and enhanced fuel economy, along with new features unique for the European market. Today, we are showing a European CR-V prototype. We will display the production model at the Paris show in September.
Honda will also renew our entire European engine line-up, with a new engine series called Earth Dreams Technology. With these engines we aim to be Number 1 in fuel economy in each sector within 3 years.
The first engine from this series will be a new 1.6 liter diesel engine. Designed for Europe, it is expected to deliver 95 grammes per kilometre CO2 emissions and is the world’s lightest engine in its class. It will be introduced on the New Civic and production starts at our UK factory at the end of this year.
Earth Dreams Technology engines will also deliver excellent performance characteristics. And at the summit of this range…. There is the new NSX.
This NSX Concept is powered by a mid-engine V6 … and a new Sport Hybrid All-Wheel Drive system that comprises of 1 motor on the rear axle and 2 on the front. Supercar acceleration and outstanding efficiency will be the hallmarks of this revolutionary powertrain. The two motors in the front axle enable independent control of the left and right wheels to realize a ground-breaking “On-the-rail-cornering” experience. New NSX is set to define a new standard of Super Sport.
The US will launch new NSX with the Acura brand in 3 years. I can confirm the NSX will come to Europe….as a Honda.
NSX is the ultimate top-line Sports model, could we develop a smaller one? The EV-STER is another European premiere. This small sports EV Concept indicates the direction of how environmental technology can be incorporated with the pure joy of driving.
Our sporty plans are not limited to new models. A half century ago, Honda established the Suzuka circuit in Japan. It was the first racing track in Asia.
In October, at the Suzuka round, we plan to enter a European Civic into the FIA World Touring Car Championship. This celebrates the 50th anniversary of Suzuka Circuit. It also marks the 40th anniversary of Civic.
This racing Civic will be powered by Honda’s new 1.6 direct injection turbo racing engine solely developed by Honda R&D. This is an important first step as we enhance the sportiness of Civic and the Honda brand.
Through Earth Dreams Technology, Honda will continue to minimise our environmental footprint so that we will all be able to enjoy sports driving for future generations and preserve Blue Skies for Our Children.
Thank you for your attention.