This morning, in a hot and humid Tokyo, Honda boss Takanobu Ito delivered a series of emphatic messages that spelled out one larger one - that Honda is back, and it intends to spread its engineering wings again.

Among the series of ground-breaking global announcements there were some that were especially relevant for Europe: confirmation of the next generation Honda Civic Type R, an all-new Jazz in 2013, a small, Jazz-based crossover and three hybrid powertrains, the most basic of which Ito declared will be the most efficient in the world ("better than the Prius" was the subtext).

For other markets there was similarly good news: the return of the baby, rear-drive Beat roadster for Japan, one of six new small cars for the Japanese market by 2015 that compete in the kei car category, which now accounts for 40 per cent of all Honda sales; a next generation baby Jazz for markets including Turkey, saloon and SUV variants of the Brio for Asia and a new diesel engine for India.

Nor was it just product announcements. Ito outlined a new product development system, which will allow each region to play a role in a new car's development, ensuring that they can modify each vehicle for local tastes from early in the development cycle rather than at the end of it, plus made a commitment to Japan that Honda will build at least a million cars there a year for the forseeable future.

He ended this quick-fire series of major investments by setting the goal of raising sales of just over three million cars to six million by 2017. No small task, he conceded, adding that setting goals could be dangerous, as it also set a target he might not reach. "But goals are there for us to strive for, not force," he said with a smile. "I want to inspire everyone in the company and get them pushing together to achieve our targets."

All this off the back of new products such as the Honda Civic and Honda CR-V in the past 12 months, plus the announcement of the next generation Honda NSX and Honda's return to world championship car racing, in the World Touring Car Championship.

"It is time to counter-attack," concluded Ito, reflecting on the global economic woes that led to the cancellation of Honda's F1 and NSX programmes and an acceleration of its sales-orientated, but bland, model line-up.

Ito, who as a young engineer worked on the original NSX, is very much viewed in Japan as being in the spirit of company founder Soichiro Honda, was promoted to company president on the eve of that economic crisis. Today, you might reasonably argue, Honda's uninspiring car line up is a result of his need to cut back investment and concentrate on the bottom line.

But now, you sense, is Ito's time to show the world what he thinks Honda should really be about.