In his first public appearance since being announced as Honda's CEO, Takanobu Ito, said that the introduction of hybrid cars will be fast-tracked to better meet customers' expectations and demands.
Ito said, "Bringing hybrids quickly to customers will be a major focus of our activities" want Honda to be a speedy company." Ito took over Honda last month amidst an economic recession that has only just barely left Honda profitable.
Although only Honda -- of Japan's top three automakers -- did not suffer a loss last year, the cards are different this time. It predicts a 95% drop in operating profits for the fiscal year ending in March 2010.
Ito's focus on hybrids will likely put Honda in a better position once the economic recession is over. Honda's CR-Z hybrid sports car is scheduled for release in 2010, Honda CEO Takanobu Ito has confirmed.
Virtually all of Honda's Formula One engineers are hard at work in developing hybrids. Ito has expressed that the company is looking to develop a new hybrid system for midsize and larger vehicles, which will use two electric motors (instead of the single motor currently used).
This new hybrid system is meant to replace the clean diesel engines that Honda had been developing but has shelved for the meantime. Ito was unable to say when the new system would be available.
Competition in the delivery of hybrid technologies is very stiff, with Honda elbowing its way against Chevrolet (which will sell the 2011 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid electric hatchback in the fall), Nissan (which will soon begin to roll out its own mild hybrids), and Chrysler (which has a plug-in electric hybrid minivan to be released soon).