TOKYO, July 16 (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co's new
chief executive said on Friday the Japanese automaker was
willing to form new alliances to make electrification
"If through an alliance Honda can accomplish early what it
should aim to be, then we'd be willing to form an alliance,"
Toshihiro Mibe, who took the top job in April, told a press
briefing, when asked how he envisions global alliances on
Mibe's comments reflect the pressure on the global auto
industry to share technology and costs to meet demands for
cleaner vehicles. He has assumed the top role at Japan's
second-largest automaker at a time of a growing shift in
automobile technology to electric vehicles (EVs) and autonomous
Honda and its alliance partner General Motors Co have
said they would introduce two jointly developed large-sized EV
models in North America, using GM's Ultium batteries, in 2024
and will launch a series of new models which feature a new EV
platform dubbed 'e:Architecture'.
The two companies already collaborate on autonomous vehicles
as well as on fuel-cell vehicle (FCV) technology, and are
exploring more ways to expand their alliance.
Honda has said it aims to increase the ratio of EVs and FCVs
to 100% of all sales by 2040.
The price of electric vehicles, like home appliances, drops
rapidly once the products are out in the market, Mibe said.
"Building an alliance will become a huge direction in terms
of increasing the number of electric vehicles, considering how
electrification is not commercially feasible right now," he
Traditionally known for its fuel-efficient
internal-combustion engines, Honda launched its first
mass-produced all-battery vehicle in August.
Honda could differentiate itself in the electrification race
with next generation batteries for EVs, Mibe said.
The Honda chief also said that the automaker expects to see
profitability of its car business improve in the next fiscal
year as a result of shutting down several unviable manufacturing
facilities, including its factories in the United Kingdom,
Turkey and Japan.
Last year, Honda saw operating income margin at 13% for
motorcycles and 1% for cars.
The company will take electrification as an opportunity to
review its product lineup and to improve profitability, Mibe
said, adding that Honda is considering a new digital service or
business by utilising customer data.
(Reporting by Maki Shiraki; Writing by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing
by Jacqueline Wong and Muralikumar Anantharaman)