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.