A new MoU will see the two Japanese manufacturers collaborate, and open subsidiary businesses in US and China
Hitachi Automotive Systems and Honda Motor have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a joint venture company for the development, manufacture and sales of motors for electric vehicles. The two companies now will conduct formal discussions regarding the creation of a new company.
The venture will be incorporated in July with a 5 billion yen (US$45 million) investment, and will be 51% owned by Hitachi and 49% owned by Honda.
Hitachi Automotive started selling motors for electric vehicles in 1999, and has delivered a high volume of these motors to vehicle manufacturers in Japan and globally. Honda, which launched its first hybrid in the same year, has pursued similar ends in its motor development
With the market for EVs growing, the MoU will see a new collaboration between vehicle manufacturer and supplier to generate economies of scale that will “strengthen their competitive advantage and business foundation for the motors at the core of an electric vehicle system.”
Subsidiary operations of the new Japan-based joint venture are planned for the US and China, each with manufacturing and sales functions.
“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,” said Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo at a press conference on February 7.
Hitachi already supplies engine and brake components to Honda, as well as to Renault-Nissan, Toyota, Ford and Volkswagen. A new motor-focused firm could therefore make quick inroads into existing EV manufacturers. However, like Toyota, Honda is likely to continue its emphasis on hydrogen, having just announced a new partnership with General Motors to manufacture fuel cell systems at a Michigan, US factory.