Honda is to take “prompt action” against increased market demand for smaller, more environmentally friendly cars by launching several new models over the next 10 years.
In his annual mid-year speech, CEO Takanobu Ito said Honda had reached a stage where it needed a new strategy if it was to remain competitive in established and emerging markets.
His plans include “multiple” models offered with Honda’s IMA hybrid system, a new plug-in hybrid vehicle for the US and Japan in 2012, electric cars on sale by 2012 and further development of its FCX Clarity hydrogen vehicle.
Ito said Honda must “provide good products to our customers with speed, affordability and low CO2 emissions”.
“Consumer preference has quickly shifted towards smaller sized vehicles in every market around the world,” said Ito. “Honda must quickly respond to such changes in the times to achieve further growth and expansion in the future.”
There will be a “widespread market introduction” of models equipped with IMA in Japan within the next year to sit alongside the Insight and CR-Z. These models will mainly be “small-sized” vehicles; the Fit (Jazz) hybrid will be launched this autumn.
Honda has also confirmed the next-generation Civic Hybrid will be the first Honda to use a lithium-ion battery pack, rather than the nickel-metal hydride pack previously seen on its hybrid models.
Honda’s first plug-in hybrid car will launch in Japan and the US in 2012 and this model is currently under development. Ito said plug-in hybrids were one of several hybrid technologies Honda was planning for its production cars.