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Honda, Sony to team up on BEVs

New joint venture aims to co-develop and sell models by 2025

8 Mar 2022

HONDA and Sony have announced a new joint venture to develop and sell electric vehicles.


Under the memorandum of understanding, which was announced on March 4, the companies will form a new company this year to create and bring to market “high value-added” battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), of which sales will commence in 2025.


It is understood that the new company plans to sell BEVs in Europe, Japan and the United States, but a production location and volume targets (for the new vehicles) have not been divulged.


“This may be an unprecedented approach,” Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe said.


“It was so difficult to take a bold step outside, but through this new joint venture, we can create new, unexpected value, stimulating the strategy of Honda.”


Automotive News suggests the combination of Honda and Sony could provide Japan with a challenger brand to the growing number of Chinese and US-based electric-vehicle marques now available across the globe.


It is understood Honda will contribute its expertise in body manufacturing, distribution and after-sales support, while Sony will bring is know-how in imaging, sensing, telecommunications, networking and entertainment technologies to the partnership.


The new JV will plan, design, develop and sell BEVs, but for now at least, will not operate its own assembly plant. Honda will be responsible for manufacturing the first model, the new partners said, and the vehicle would utilise a mobility service platform developed by Sony.


“Although Sony and Honda are companies that share many historical and cultural similarities, our areas of technological expertise are very different,” Mr Mibe said.


“Therefore, I believe this alliance, which brings together the strengths of our two companies, offers great possibilities for the future of mobility,” he added.


The announcement of the joint venture comes as Honda takes steps to bolster its position in a rapidly changing automotive industry. The company has already said it will offer an all-electric vehicle range by 2040 and that forming new partnerships, even with technologies companies outside the automotive sector, would be key to its transformation.


Sony recently indicated its desire to enter the automotive space by unveiling its second concept model at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In January, Sony also created a company called Sony Mobility Inc to handle its diversification into the automotive industry.


Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida told Automotive News the new mobility technology would be a “megatrend” in the coming decade, just as the advancement of smartphones had been before it.


“It’s like a chemical reaction, combining Honda and Sony,” Mr Yoshida said.


“Going forward, mobility will become increasingly similar to the mobile phone sector, from the perspective of both technology and the business model. We intend to build on our vision to ‘make the mobility space an emotional one’ and contribute to the evolution of mobility (that is) centred around safety, entertainment, and adaptability,” he concluded.

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