In his year-end speech, Honda CEO Takeo Fukui described progress made on product initiatives announced in May (earlier post) and outlined a number of expansions the company is undertaking, including the building of an experimental cellulosic ethanol plant and the building of a “resource/energy-recycling Green Factory” which will reduce the amount of CO2 emitted per automobile produced by 20% compared to the level of 2000.
The CEO confirmed that Honda will offer a new, “smaller size” dedicated hybrid vehicle in 2009 at a price level lower than the Civic Hybrid. He also reconfirmed the introduction of a Tier 2 Bin 5 compliant diesel for the US market within the next three years, and said that Honda will consider introducing this engine in Japan as well.
Honda R&D has been working with RITE to develop processes for the production of cellulosic ethanol. (Earlier post.) The company is now going to build an experimental cellulosic ethanol plant within its Fundamental Technology Research Center in Wako in 2007 in order to work toward the commercialization of the technology.
Honda is now selling two E100 flex-fuel vehicles (vehicles capable on running on ethanol-gasoline blends of up to 100%) in Brazil: the Civic and the Fit. (Earlier post.)
A new “Green Factory” plant in Yorii, due to come online in 2010, will have a production capacity of approximately 200,000 units per year. It will be preceded by a new engine plant in Ogawa (close by Yorii) that will establish production systems and capabilities that will enable Honda to respond flexibly to increases in demand.
Annual production capacity of this new engine plant will also be approximately 200,000 units. Advanced engines produced at this plant will be supplied to Honda auto plants inside and outside of Japan.
Honda also said it will begin leasing its mass-production fuel-cell vehicle based on the technology and design of the FCX Concept in 2008 in Japan and the US. Honda will continue its work on the Home Energy Station which produces hydrogen from natural gas, as well as a solar-cell based Hydrogen Station, which Honda has already begun testing in the US.
Globally, Honda expects its auto sales in 2007 in climb 5% from 2005 to 3.55 million units, with motorcycle sales rising 3% to 12.7 million units.