Honda made its bones as an engine manufacturer first and foremost, so its latest problems getting the HondaJet off the ground must be frustrating. According to Bloomberg, recent testing revealed a susceptibility to ice damage, forcing a redesign of the HondaJet's HF120 engine. This development means engine certification will be pushed back until the second half of next year, and the plane will not launch during 2012, as previously planned.
This is the latest in a series of delays for Honda's highly touted foray into aviation. The HondaJet was announced in July 2006, with hopes to launch in 2010. But by 2009, Honda had bumped that target to late 2011, Bloomberg reports. Further problems resulted in the anticipated 2012 launch. Now the best-case scenario would see the plane finally go on sale in 2013. The $4.5 million, 489-mile per hour HondaJet made its first flight last December with testing continuing this year.
Bloomberg pegs Honda's research and development investment in the project at over $1 billion. Honda officials wouldn't quantify the financial impact of this most recent delay, although Honda Aircraft Co. President Michimasa Fujino did downplay the significance of the slipping schedule, saying, "The business-jet market is a little slow right now, so the impact on sales is minimal, because the market won't recover until 2013."