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Honda's future: small cars, no NSX or Euro Acura

Fri, 23 Oct 2009

Honda CRZ concept at the 2009 Tokyo motor show; one of the cars unveiled by Honda CEO Takanobu Ito

By Ben Pulman

Motor Industry

23 October 2009 11:22

Honda chief executive Takanobu Ito today spelled out his vision for the next decade at Honda to CAR Online. No successor to the NSX is under development, but there will be a smaller city car slotting under the Jazz in Honda's range. It will be launched in Asia at first, potentially following in the rest of the world.

Ito, who is also president of Honda R&D, said that the company had no firm plans for a pure battery electric vehicle at this stage – the onus is on hybrid petrol electric cars and fuel-cell models.

It will continue to develop diesels for Europe, but Ito admitted a project to build clean-fuel diesels for the US market had been cancelled. He also expressed regrets over pulling out of F1, but said it made sound business sense to pump the money saved back into developing eco technologies.

What next for Honda's hybrids?

Speaking to CAR at the 2009 Tokyo motor show, CEO Ito said that future Hondas would use one of two hybrid systems. Small cars of Civic size or below would use a single-motor part-electric system, whereas bigger hybrid cars would use two electric motors.

He also confirmed that future Honda road cars would use direct injection tech, and that his company was researching turbocharging. At present, forced induction is only used on turbodiesels, but Honda acknowledges that downsizing allowed by blown, smaller capacity engines will be key to lowering CO2 and emissions.

And what of the top end Hondas?

Ito ruled out any launch of the Acura brand in Europe, to challenge Lexus and the newly launched Infiniti. He also scotched rumours of a planned new-generation NSX, even a hybrid one.

Fuel-cell cars, like the FCX, will continue to be leased rather than sold outright – until Honda can mass develop the tech to be available at a more affordable price.

>> Come back to CAR Online in the next few days for the full interview with Honda CEO Takanobu Ito

By Ben Pulman