TOKYO – The two big names in Japanese electronics and cars are joining forces to produce an electric vehicle together.
Sony Corp. and Honda Motor Co. agreed to set up a joint venture this year to start selling electric vehicles by 2025, both sides said on Friday.
The plan is to combine Honda’s experience in mobility, technology and sales with Sony’s experience in imaging, telecommunications, networking and entertainment.
Combining traditionally different manufacturing plants is unusual for Japan. But it makes sense in the age of electric cars, which lack gasoline engines and sophisticated electronics.
The joint venture will develop and design the product, but will use a Honda plant for production. Sony will develop a mobile service platform.
Both Sony and Honda have humble beginnings in the 1940s, when Japan was recovering from the ashes of World War II. Both had charismatic founders.
Honda was founded by Soichira Honda, an engineer, industrialist and renowned nonconformist. He started helping out at his father’s bike repair shop and eventually turned Honda into a global powerhouse. He is often quoted as saying: “A diploma costs nothing, learn to work with your hands or work for yourself, not for the company.
Sony was founded by Akio Morita, who co-authored “Japan That Can Say No,” which advocated a more assertive and proud Japan, and Masaru Ibuka.
Morita knew the market, and Ibuka was known for product development. In the 1970s, when Sony developed the portable Walkman audio player, some engineers were skeptical. But Morita insisted that people would like to listen to music on the go.
“Although Sony and Honda are companies that share many historical and cultural similarities, our areas of technological expertise are very different,” said Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe, announcing the agreement.
“I believe that this alliance, which unites the strengths of our two companies, opens up great opportunities for the future of mobility.”
Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama
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