Honda Motor Company open to win-win global partnerships, says CEO Toshihiro Mibe
The company has so far partnered with General Motors for the North American market.
At a time, when its Japanese rivals - Toyota, Suzuki, Nissan, Mitsubishi have joined hands with other global competitors to build scale and alternate fuel competencies, Honda Motor Company which has steered its fortune for the last decade on its own, has said it too is open to alliances across streams as long as it is a win-win solution for both the companies.
The company has so far partnered with General Motors for the North American market, but unlike Renault Nissan Mitsubishi, and Toyota-Suzuki, who are leveraging each other’s vehicle architecture and product distribution to build portfolio and scale, it is missing for Honda.
Honda Motor President and CEO Toshihiro Mibe told select Indian journalists on the sidelines of Japan Mobility show, "With GM we do not have any capital partnership but we do have an alliance, as long as we can find a win win situation for both of us, I think there will be a possibility for various kinds of alliances going forward, wherever we can find benefit."
Honda Motor Company's light vehicles output in the last decade has increased by just half a million units from 3.54 million to 4.07 million while volumes for other rivals too have grown at a similar rate or even may have declined - but the combined scale with alliance partners has helped them deliver a bigger product portfolio and frequent model intervention with alternate fuel technologies.
Thanks to the global alliance of Toyota Motor with Suzuki, the world's largest car maker has been able to expand rapidly in the Indian market, with its volumes doubling in the last three years, and in fact the maker of Corolla and Camry is looking at adding new capacity. Similarly, Nissan Motor Corporation has leveraged its global partnership with Renault and Mitsubishi to share vehicle architectures not only for Japan, but key global markets of India, Latin America and other parts of the world.
To be sure, Toyota has been able to almost double its India sales thanks to an alliance with Maruti Suzuki in the Indian market that offered multiple rebadged cars at the entry level for the Innova maker. Similarly, Renault Nissan has announced $660 million investment in India to introduce new platforms, whereas Honda Cars India will be going solo in its vision to launch 5 SUVs by the end of the decade including an EV.
Mibe explained that Honda Motor Company already has an alliance with General Motors - which may not be an equity partnership, but it is strategic for the future growth of the company. "We have various kinds of discussions going on with GM to look for some beneficial engagement for both companies."
Honda interestingly announced the end of the affordable EV project with GM a few weeks back, however it is going ahead with the performance cars with US car makers. And both Honda and GM both formalised a driverless taxi JV which will be operational in early 2026 in Tokyo.
On the fuel cells too, Honda has done research and established a JV company to produce fuel cells. “Next year we will be able to launch the car that carries the fuel cells that are produced by this company,” reminded the Honda Motor Company CEO.
On the importance of the Indian market, Mibe said, it is a big market, a market where the use of EVs, electrification is rapidly progressing (for cars and motorcycles).
Elaborating on India gameplan, Toshio Kuwahara, President and CEO, Asian Honda Motor and Head of Regional Unit (Asia and Oceania) reaffirmed its commitment to India and said the company plans to launch a battery EV within the next few years in India.
“As I have mentioned before, our target is to launch a battery EV within the next 3 years. So naturally, there will be some amount of investment for that, and our plan is to keep progressing and pushing forward our electrification. By the way, just to share about the size of the Indian market right now, of the total sales in terms of the number of units sold, India is number 7 in the world. So along with that growth of the market itself, we will be making necessary judgement, because we know that the growth is happening right there,” assured Kuwahara.
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