Our theme for the Tokyo Motor Show this year is “Find Your Wings.” On top of Honda’s focus on the creation of advanced new technologies and products and our strong commitment to the development of environmental and safety technologies, we believe that enhancing the fun element intrinsic to motorcycles and experiencing the exhilaration of riding will give more joy to our customers.
For our latest efforts in environmental technologies, we have made the fuel injection system even more lightweight and compact to expand its application to small motorcycles as well as large models. We will also incorporate such new technologies as the Ultra-Low Friction Engine with the aim of further improving Honda’s fuel economy.
One of our technologies on display at this year’s Motor Show is the Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system, which is a unique variable cylinder system developed by Honda. We are currently conducting research and development to apply this VCM system to large motorcycles. Next-generation engines featuring VCM will enable optimum control of the number of operating cylinders, switching between two, three or four cylinders according to riding conditions. Honda aims to improve fuel economy by about 30% for large motorcycles, compared to conventional engines. The engine will provide pleasure for a rider who seeks to enjoy multiple engine features concurrently.
I would now like to talk about our latest developments in safety technologies. In the area of passive safety equipment, Honda currently sells the Goldwing, which features the world’s first airbag system for mass-produced motorcycles, in about 30 countries. We plan to apply this airbag technology for motorcycles to an increasing number of models.
In the area of active safety equipment, we will raise the number of models equipped with the Combined Brake System (CBS), a front and rear wheel interlocking braking system, and also with Combined ABS which incorporates an ABS, an Anti-lock Brake System featuring CBS. We plan to offer these state-of-the-art brake systems on almost all of our models 250cc and over by 2010. Thus, Honda will continue to be committed to its quest to develop innovative technologies.
For our efforts in “soft” areas, we currently have Traffic Education Centers at 8 locations inside Japan, and in 23 countries around the world, which mainly focus on improving people’s riding and driving skills. We have also actively carried out the development of riding simulators, which we aim to apply globally to enhance our activities for allowing people to safely experience and understand dangerous conditions.
In addition to the development of these safety and environmental technologies, which we consider to be our top-priority challenges, we place high regard on pursuing the universal pleasure of running a motorcycle as the rider desires, by focusing more on so-called fun technologies.
A look at the marketplace in Japan shows that more and more people are enjoying motorcycle riding as a leisure activity, especially people in the baby boom generation who now lead relatively affluent lifestyles. In the mature markets of the developed countries in Europe and North America, the demand for leisure-oriented fun models with a focus on touring has been on the rise.
Our new, recently announced, automatic transmission system for motorcycles, called the Human-Friendly Transmission (HFT) system, is one example of how Honda has realized fun technologies. The HFT system provides an exhilarating riding experience with a direct feel worthy of a motorcycle, in an easy-to-operate manner. This HFT is installed on the DN-01, which is on display at this Motor Show. Another example is the automatic transmission on the new Forza and the EVO6 concept model. We aim to develop technologies like these to reinvigorate the market by pursuing the fun element.
Another fun factor we deem important is styling that provides the deep satisfaction of owning the vehicle. Created around the Pride Fighter concept, we seek to harmonize a traditional feel with cutting-edge design in the styling of our concept model EVO6. Also on display are the CB1100F, our “naked” model for mature riders, and the CB1100R, which incorporates an exciting taste for racing. We will continue exploring a wide range of possibilities in design technologies to respond to the diverse needs of our customers and present them with pioneering, trend-setting models.
In our motorsports activities, a source of Honda’s vitality and dynamism, we now face an uphill battle in the MotoGP class, the world’s foremost road race series, despite the challenge we made this season with the new V4 engine. However, our determination to never give up in the face of such conditions is our driving force. Honda’s “challenging spirit” is rooted in our motorsports activities, and we are ever committed to envisioning grand dreams and taking bold initiatives, with the hope that we can continue sharing our dreams and excitement with our customers worldwide.
I would like to ask for your continued support and encouragement for our various activities. Thank you very much for your attention.