Honda, Hitachi Automotive to form EV motor joint venture

Tue Feb 7, 2017 5:08am EST
 
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By Naomi Tajitsu

TOKYO (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co Ltd and Hitachi Ltd's auto parts subsidiary plan to form a joint venture to develop, produce and sell motors for electric vehicles (EV), joining forces to better compete in the highly specialized "green" car segment.

Automakers are increasingly teaming up with parts suppliers to build components for the fast-growing EV segment as a way to expand product line-ups while containing high development costs.

"Producing motors is capital intensive, so rather than just manufacturing them for our own purposes, we would like to produce in large volumes with the possibility of supplying a variety of customers," Honda Chief Executive Officer Takahiro Hachigo told reporters at a news briefing on Tuesday.

"In pairing up with Hitachi, we're hoping to tap into its expertise in volume production."

The venture will be established in July with an investment of 5 billion yen ($44.69 million), and will be 51 percent owned by Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd and 49 percent held by Honda, the two companies said.

It will build motors to be used in petrol hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery-electric cars, and will have sales and manufacturing functions in the United States and China in addition to Japan, they said.

Hitachi Automotive Systems is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd and longtime supplier of components including engine and brake parts to Honda.

It counts the alliance of Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Renault SA as its biggest client, accounting for around one-third of annual sales. Other customers include Toyota Motor Corp, Ford Motor Co and Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE: Quote).   Continued...

 
Honda Chief Executive Officer Takahiro Hachigo (R) and his Hitachi Automotive counterpart Hideaki Seki shake hands at a photo session after their news conference in Tokyo, Japan, February 7, 2017.  REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon