OF THE FUTURE
OF THE FUTURE
Taking some time off from the show, we head over to the brand’s global headquarters in Minato, Tokyo for a very good reason. Sitting with us for this exclusive session is the main man, Takahiro Hachigo, President, Chief Executive Officer and Representative Director of Honda Motor Corporation.
EVO: Is Honda currently in a partnership with any brands when it comes to development for production vehicles or technology sharing?
Hachigo-san: Yes, definitely. However there’s no relationship when it comes to equity. There are some proposals on technology development in the near future, and currently we are working closely with General Motors in various technological development.
EVO: Let’s talk about the future of green technology. Would it be a viable business case for the brand in the coming years?
Hachigo-san: Of course it will — but likewise there will always be challenges in areas such as the development of technology, costs and the infrastructure in some markets we are present. The year 2030 will be an interesting one as we will be progressing to include more PHEV and EV vehicles in our range in a bid to preserve the environment and reduce Co2 emissions globally.
EVO: If vehicle production is taken into account, will Malaysia see more investments when it comes to brand growth?
Hachigo-san: The Malaysian market is excellently strong, and we definitely take note about that. Currently, Malaysia ranks as the number one when measured in marketshare from a global perspective, and subsequently leading as the best-selling non-local brand as well. There will be more investments to come for this thriving market to continue on this superb pace — that’s for sure.
EVO: Having driven the Clarity, it is indeed a very neat piece of advanced motoring derived from Honda. Are there any plans on how to market the three different variants recently introduced on a global scale?
Hachigo-san: Yes. The American market will get all three variants, which is the Fuel Cell, PHEV and EV variant. Other markets are subject to additional subsidy or grants offered by their respective governments. For the Southeast Asian market, our focus for now is to market our latest i-DCD range of vehicles.
EVO: As we know for now that Honda is on a roll towards a sustainable future, will there be any plans on enhancing energy conservation when it comes to the brand’s production facilities?
Hachigo-san: No doubt about that. We currently have a comprehensive policy when it comes preserving the environment at our production sites. Most plants or facilities are designed to use renewable energy — be it solar or wind power depending on location. Production flow is also optimised to be as efficient as possible as well.
EVO: Now with a future poised for electrification, how will Honda see diesels in the coming years? And will Malaysia see an oil-burning engine derivative anytime soon?
Hachigo-san: The demand for diesels are still strong in Europe, though currently going on a decline as the aforementioned continent is also pushing on a sales ban for diesel-powered vehicles by circa 2030-2040. Malaysia is not a target market for diesel-powered Hondas, and will only continue on marketing diesels only in regions with demand.
EVO: The hottest bit. Will there be any more sports or performance-oriented models added to the future line up alongside the NSX, S660 and new Civic Type R?
Hachigo-san: (laughs). I knew this was coming. Yes, if there’s demand, we will. We believe that our customers should experience the best with our brand when it comes to fun, and motoring pleasure is a novelty that has been running in our DNA ever since. But when it comes to developing more sportier models, will they actually sell? We can’t just be building models that only appeal to a handful of followers. However, we will observe the trend — and if the time’s right — we will develop and introduce more sports cars to the global stage.
EVOLTN HONDA JAPAN FEATURE | TAKAHIRO HACHIGO INTERVIEW
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