Thursday, 20 August 2009


HONDA SAYS: The Honda Motor Company in Japan has announced the appointment of a new President and CEO. Takanobu Ito takes over the reins from Takeo Fukui, who will remain at Honda as a director in an advisory capacity.

Ito-san has a Masters degree in Engineering from the Kyoto University, and joined Honda Motor Company in 1978. He was closely involved with the chassis engineering of the ground-breaking Honda NSX supercar.

Ito has been a member of Honda’s senior management team since the late 1990s and has also been closely associated with Honda’s considerable research and development efforts.

Since 1997, Ito has held senior management positions at Honda R&D Company and at Honda Motor Company, and was also involved with Honda’s motorsport programme for some years. After a stint as GM of Honda’s Suzuka factory, he returned to Honda Motor Company as Managing Officer in 2005.

In 2007, Ito was promoted to COO of Honda’s automobile operations, as well as Senior Managing Director of Honda Motor Company. His appointment as President and CEO of Honda coincides with his concurrent role as President and Director of Honda R&D.

Ito has pledged that the products and technologies delivered by Honda will be ahead of the times, while also exceeding customer demands – an objective that will also entail continued investment in advanced research to remain at the cutting edge.

“The direction toward a greater focus on environmental performance and the downsizing of automobiles is certain. Therefore, the key to our success lies in how strongly and quickly we can pursue that direction,” he says.

Ito has promised to be at the forefront of these efforts to confront the challenging times currently experienced.

“The unprecedented upheaval experienced at present can represent a chance to create new values. Let’s go back to the original foundation of Honda: have fun, but work hard and show a high level of initiative, in order to create a new era for Honda,” he added.

The new President has already confirmed that the eye-catching CR-Z hybrid sports car, first shown in prototype form at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, will go into production in 2010, and will be on sale in Japan by February next year.

The two-door coupĂ© will showcase a number of advanced technologies to deliver a thrilling driving experience while reducing the vehicle’s environmental impact. European sales of the sporty hybrid are expected to commence in early 2011.

A hybrid version of the Jazz (known as the Fit in Japan) will also debut next year, bringing the number of Honda hybrid production cars to four.

The other two are a hybrid version of the Civic, and the ground-breaking Insight, which has already taken Japan by storm, and is also wooing European customers.

Honda has already launched the FCX Clarity, the world’s first fuel cell-powered production passenger car, in the US and Japan, further underscoring its leading role in the development of alternative energy-powered vehicles.

* Takanobu Ito picture courtesy of dvj@honda-media