Sunday, May 25, 2008

Honda president Takeo Fukui is aiming for F-1 championship

Honda, the second largest Japanese automaker is pioneer in many things. The company first introduced hybrid vehicle in the USA. Honda is also the first Japanese automaker to enter into F-1 racing. Unfortunately, the company has not been able to win any title and this is killing Honda Motor Company’s present President and CEO Takeo Fukui. Now, he is eyeing to win one F-1 championship and he announced to spend $10billion to win a F-1 championship. International Herald Tribune reports:

Toyota, Japan's largest automaker, beat Honda to the hybrid market by two years with the Prius in 1997. The vastly improved second-generation Prius in 2003 became an instant hit, helping Toyota win a reputation overnight as the leader in green automotive technology.

Honda's own efforts have been stop-and-go. After introducing the Insight two-seater in 1999, the company discontinued sales of two underpowered hybrid models, leaving the gasoline-electric Civic and hybrid sales at a fraction of Toyota's.

Honda, No. 2 in the Japanese market, recently detailed plans to change that. Using technological advances that would make its hybrid system less expensive and more profitable, Honda plans to introduce three hybrid cars over the next few years.

With gasoline prices soaring, Honda hopes to sell about 500,000 hybrids a year by 2015 - nine times what it sold last year - rivaling Toyota's own goal of increasing hybrid sales to a tenth of its total sales after 2010.

Sixty three year old Takeo Fukui, a resident of Tokyo had been an amateur race car driver. He joined Honda Motor Co. (TYO: 7267) because it was first Japanese company to participate in F-1 racing. Under Fukui’s leadership, Honda saw a major increase in its car sales and last year the company made a profit of $5.8billion.

No doubt, Takeo Fukui is a great business leader but will he be able to make Honda an F-1 champion? What do you think?

Related article:
International Herald Tribune