Honda will start selling an electric vehicle as well as a plug-in hybrid in 2012 in the US and Japan, joining the race to manufacture green cars in which rivals have already taken slight leads.
The plans were disclosed by Honda Motor Co President Takanobu Ito at the Japanese automaker's facility in a Tokyo suburb Tuesday. "Honda has no future unless we achieve significant reduction in CO2 emissions," he told reporters. "The next 10 years will be true test for Honda's survival."
Coming up with good cars quickly and at affordable prices is now crucial to score success in changing times, he said. He also said the world's needs were shifting to small and green vehicles.
Ito declined to give details of the vehicles but said green technology was becoming increasingly important in the auto industry. Tokyo-based Honda, Japan's No. 2 automaker, now makes the Insight and CR-Z hybrids but has not given concrete plans for a plug-in or EV previously.
Ito denied Honda was ever disinterested in electric vehicles as was the impression among some analysts and media reports. Japanese rival Nissan Motor Co. has already begun taking orders for its Leaf electric car, which is set to arrive in Japan and the US later this year. Toyota Motor Corp. is also planning electric vehicle model for 2012.