• Jan 13th 2010 at 8:27AM
  • 22
During the unveiling of the CR-Z at the Detroit Auto Show, Honda CEO Takanobu Ito announced that Acura will be adding a hybrid drivetrain to its models. Ito gave no further insights as to timing or which vehicles would get the systems, but it's safe to speculate that the TSX and TL sedans would be the first recipients of the new system. However, when we spoke to Ito last fall in Japan, he did say that Honda was developing a hybrid system suitable for larger vehicles. It's not clear how much it will differ from the architecture of the current IMA mild hybrid system used in the Civic, Insight and CR-Z, but we do expect the system to come equipped with lithium ion batteries from Honda's new partners at GS Yuasa. Make the jump for a copy of Ito's comments.

[Source: Honda]


2010 North American International Auto Show Remarks by Honda Motor Co., Ltd. President & CEO, Takanobu Ito; and American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Executive Vice President, John Mendel

Takanobu Ito

It's nice to be back in Detroit. I'm excited to be at the show this year as the entire industry continues to fight back against the difficult business conditions. Last year was the 50th anniversary of our business in America. And I want to begin by thanking our customers and the communities where we develop and build our products. This milestone would not have been possible without their support.

Ten years ago, I was working in Ohio at Honda R&D Americas on development of the first generation Acura MDX. This project led us to this Detroit show, because in 2001, our team was honored with the North American Truck of the Year award here at this show. I was also a member of the team that created the aluminum body of the original Acura NSX.

Last year, due to the business conditions and to focus on reducing CO2 emissions, we re-focused some of our product development resources. Now, I'm pleased to say that we will be adding hybrids to the Acura brand. And based on my history in developing several Acura products, I have strong confidence in our ability to advance the Acura brand.

As I look at the market today, at Honda, we have the advantage of being a very global company with strong operations worldwide, including the growing markets of China and Asia. Further, Honda has the advantage of three major business areas – including automobiles, motorcycles and power equipment products. Together, our global makeup and great product diversity provide us strength and flexibility in difficult times, helping us manage the ups and downs of any one market or product segment, while keeping Honda in the black financially.

Our three business lines also make us the leading engine producer in the world. This has provided Honda with tremendous expertise in the area of power plant technology but also a deep sense of responsibility to advance technology in order to reduce CO2 emissions that contribute to global warming.

For engineers, this is perhaps the most challenging time in the history of the auto industry. At Honda, our focus is on being at the very forefront in the area of environment and energy technologies. And we have taken up the challenge to reduce CO2 emissions through the advancement of various electromotive technologies.

We understand electric vehicle technology as well as anyone. Honda developed the EV Plus electric vehicle in the 1990s and leased it to individual customers in California. Now, we are conducting research on a short-distance battery electric vehicle as a "city commuter car." Battery technology continues to be a barrier to mass market use. But we're studying the U.S. market with a view to introducing this commuter car in the future.

We continue to believe that a fuel cell electric vehicle is the ultimate solution to reduce CO2 emissions. A fuel cell car IS a full electric vehicle. But rather than use electricity from the grid, a fuel cell vehicle generates electricity on board and refills more quickly. The development cost must come down and there must be a major expansion of the hydrogen fueling infrastructure. But make no mistake. As a vehicle, the Honda FCX Clarity is ready now. Further, Honda is unique in making long-term investments to develop the refueling infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles.

This month, we will begin operation of a next-generation solar hydrogen station at our Los Angeles R&D center. This compact system was designed for daily home refueling of a fuel cell electric vehicle. Honda engineers were able to eliminate the compressor entirely to greatly reduce the size of the system to fit in the user's garage. The potential of a solar hydrogen station is one reason a fuel cell electric vehicle is the ultimate eco-car – the best path to reduce CO2.

But in the near term, the most important approach to cut CO2 emissions is expanding the use of hybrid electric vehicles. To increase the opportunity for more customers to choose a hybrid we must be able to meet different needs with family, luxury and sporty hybrid vehicles. We will apply hybrid systems which are compact, lightweight and affordable to a wider range of products in the near future.

It won't be easy to create fun and affordable products that achieve a dramatic reduction in CO2. But we embrace this challenge. Honda is a company that loves creating new things for people. We are working in a comprehensive way dedicated to research and development of next-generation technologies in every field, to create products that bring joy to our customers and lead the way in reducing CO2 emissions.

My first assignment in the U.S. came in the early 1980s. I was a young engineer, developing the chassis for the first generation Honda CRX. You might remember it as the "pocket rocket". I remember CRX as a vehicle that demonstrated that a car can be both sporty and fuel efficient.

Times have changed, but the idea of developing vehicles that are both fun to drive and fuel efficient is alive and well.
Today, it is my pleasure to introduce, for the first time, the production version of a new sport hybrid car that further demonstrates the potential of the Honda hybrid system and our commitment to offer both fun and fuel efficiency in one dynamic package. Thank you.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      So which Honda will they add leather and make uglier? The Insight or the CR-Z?
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's all cool, but when will they make a non-hideous TL again?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I laughed at the declining Acura sales. Diehard Honda fans were insisting the abominations like the new TL would sell well, but look how that turned out. And if their hybrid tech is anything like the fail that is the CR-Z, it won't do them any good.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If it's one of those "mild" systems then why waste the time? That new CRZ's numbers are absolutely horrible! My V6 TL already gets 27 MPG with 258 hp. I'd take that over a some POS that only gets 35 MPG and 160 hp.

      If you're going to do something, do it whole-heartedly. Make a "real" hybrid system attached to a diesel power plant and give us real MPG advantages. Honda could get 60 MPG on a TSX if they did it, and I'd buy an MDX with 45 MPG return.

      Come on Honda, let me love you again!!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        My 2007 Civic LX 5MT never dropped below 32MPG in the winter with 100% city. Summer is 40MPG on the same routes (Including there's always that one or two times per tank where I just redline it on every shift, haha). And I live in a pretty hilly city.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nah, they'll stick with their mild hybrid system and your 27 mpg TL will get 29. The Civic Hybrids my friends have had never even got close to 40 mpg. Honda is doing this to put "hybrid" on the back.

        This is what happens when bad marketing monkeys take over the engineering zoo.
      • 5 Years Ago
      ...and hire Audi designers...
        • 5 Years Ago
        I love the nose on the Acura
      • 5 Years Ago
      So uh... is there any way to resurrect Soichiro Honda from the grave?

      I don't think he will be pleased with how this company turned out after his death.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honda, please just give up with the IMA.

      Time and time again the system has shown its deficiencies.

      Just go full hybrid, or don't do it at all!

      And like someone had previously said, yes Honda, LET ME LOVE YOU AGAIN.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I can see ho IMA can become a part of all cars. All Honda cars can be IMA, also the lineup would include a hybrid and an electric car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hmmm...so exactly what's the point? Will they make the buck-tooth green instead of chrome, increase the price by $3500 and have it get 2 mpg more? No thanks.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Takanobu has been making some pretty poor calls lately, hopefully this isn't another one. While it's true they need to up their game with Acura if they are to still compete against the likes of Lexus, I just hope their efforts don't turn into another Accord Hybrid or ZDX. And please get rid of those stupid chrome beaks!
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Argh! My comment disappeared!
      • 5 Years Ago
      and the return of the RSX
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