The joint venture between Sony and Honda for electric cars and mobility services announced in March is becoming more concrete. It will be called Sony Honda Mobility, based in Tokyo, and will be owned equally by both companies with an initial investment of 10 billion yen (about 7o million euros).
The official establishment of the joint venture is targeted for later this year. In 2025, Sony Honda Mobility is expected to start selling electric cars and providing mobility services. Today’s announcement is the furtherance and result of a discussion of a strategic alliance in the mobility field between the parties.
According to the latest announcement, Honda manager Yasuhide Mizuno will lead the joint venture as CEO. COO Izumi Kawanishi, on the other hand, comes from Sony. The other four board members also come half from each of the two shareholders, meaning neither party has a majority.
“Based on our vision to ‘make the mobility space an emotional one’, Sony’s initiatives in the mobility business are centered around the three areas of safety, entertainment, and adaptability,” says Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida. “Going forward, we aim to contribute to the evolution of mobility by combining Honda’s cutting-edge environmental and safety technologies, mobility development capabilities, vehicle body manufacturing technology, and after-sales service management experience with our expertise in imaging, sensing, telecommunication, network, and entertainment technologies.”
“We are very pleased to have signed a joint venture agreement with Sony, which has strengths in advanced digital technology and shares our desire to take on new challenges,” responds Toshihiro Mibe, CEO of Honda Motor Company. “At the new company, we will strive to create new value through the fusion brought about by combining our different industries, so please look forward to future developments.”
Two are better than one
Sony unveiled its second electric car prototype earlier this year and announced it was looking into entering the e-car market. However, Honda will most likely build the vehicles, and its expectations of Sony are clear: “It is expected that a mobility service platform will be developed by Sony and made available for Sony Honda Mobility,” the automobile manufacturer added.
At the moment, it is not yet apparent how things will proceed in detail, nor what the position and success of the new ‘alliance’ will be in a fast-changing automotive world. But, in a typical Japanese style, both companies are not boosting too much about the agreement; it will be done quietly and steadily, mainly behind the scenes, until the result is there.
It is clear that the people at Sony analyzed the situation in the automotive world and concluded that diving in on their own was taking a too big risk. However, joining their expertise in different fields and communication and connectivity becoming ever more important, both companies saw opportunities in joining future efforts in the world of e-mobility.