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Sony and Honda to collaborate on an electric vehicle

by Associated Press   

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The joint venture will develop and design the product, but will use Honda's plant for manufacturing.

Two big names in Japanese electronics and autos are joining forces to produce an electric vehicle together.

Sony Group Corp. and Honda Motor Co. agreed to set up a joint venture this year to start selling an electric vehicle by 2025, both sides said on Mar. 4.

The plan is to bring together Honda’s expertise in mobility development, technology and sales with Sony’s imaging, telecommunication, network and entertainment expertise.

A union of traditionally different manufacturing businesses is uncommon for Japan. But it makes sense in the age of electric vehicles, which lack gasoline-powered engines and have complicated electronics.


All the world’s automakers have been developing zero-emissions electric vehicles, as concerns grow about pollution and climate change. But they face tough competition from relative newcomers like Tesla.

The joint venture will develop and design the product, but will use Honda’s plant for manufacturing. Sony, which makes the PlayStation video-game console and owns movie and music businesses, will develop the mobility services platform.

Honda makes the CR-V sport utility vehicle and Clarity plug-in hybrid and already has its own electric vehicle program, teaming up with General Motors to share platforms for EVs in North America.

The joint venture with Sony will be separate, meant to produce unexpected value “in a chemical reaction,” said Honda Chief Executive Toshihiro Mibe.

“We’re so used to thinking within the category of autos, it’s hard to think outside that box,” Mibe told reporters, while stressing that Honda will continue with its own EV program.

Sony showed an electric car concept at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas two years ago. It has been eager to find an auto partner, said Sony Group Chief Executive Kenichiro Yoshida.

The two executives, appearing together at a hastily called news conference in Tokyo, did not rule out a future stock listing of the joint venture.

Shares in both companies fell on Mar. 4, with Honda down 4.5% and Sony losing 3.2%.


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