Honda Motor Co.7267.TO +0.65% won’t be introducing any new high-tech monster machines at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show in late November. Instead, Japan’s third-largest car maker will spotlight conventional gasoline-engine vehicles — and not for muscle cars, mainly for small ones.
Gas-powered small cars are Honda’s latest strategic move in its ongoing business shift in the home market, as can been seen by the slew of successful mini-vehicle rollouts in recent years.
Compact vehicles are one of the few growth areas in Japan’s shrinking vehicle market. Honda joins its domestic rivals in stepping up offerings of such vehicles, and will introduce three new models at the upcoming 43rd Tokyo Motor Show, trying to entice domestic customers away from leading mini-car makers Daihatsu Motor Co.7262.TO +1.77% and Suzuki Motor Corp.7269.TO -0.08%
Making its debut will be the Honda S660 small concept sports convertible, the design of which evolved from the EV Ster electric car unveiled at the previous show two years ago.
The S660′s designer, Ryo Sugiura, boasts of a completely new concept to entice younger customers and seniors looking for a second car to drive around on weekends. He shrugged off speculation it will be a rehash of the Honda Beat, a smashingly popular mini convertible of the early 1990′s.
“Some people might think this will be the remodeled version of the Beat. But it is not. This is totally brand new,” Mr. Sugiura said.
The new, two-seater powered by 660-cc gasoline engine will be the basis of a new small car that Chief Executive Takanobu Ito says the company will bring to market next year.
Another offering will be the production version of the concept sport-utility vehicle unveiled at the Detroit motor show in January. Honda’s first compact SUV, to hit Japanese streets in December, is one of the strategic models Honda plans to roll out globally.
Honda will also unveil a tall, boxy mini car tagged the N-WGN, the fourth of the N-series mini-vehicles Honda has been aggressively pushing.
But if small isn’t your thing, Honda will still bring some thrills in the form of sports cars with more muscle, although not necessarily making their first appearances. Among them will be the concept version of Honda’s latest monster sports car, the NSX. The company plans to bring the all-wheel-drive sports hybrid powered by V6 engine and three electric motors to market in 2015.
Louisville Kentucky Honda Dealer, Bob Montgomery Honda, http://www.bobomontgomeryhonda.com