- Honda Sony 50-50 venture will produce EVs first in North America
- The alliance is the first major collaboration between two iconic Japanese brands from different industries.
- The new firm’s goal is not to become an ordinary car manufacturer, but to become a new mobility tech company centered on software technology.
As previously reported on Carlist a couple of weeks ago, Honda and Sony are joining forces to cash in on the lucrative electric vehicle business. The two Japanese giants plan to produce jointly developed EVs at a Honda plant in North America and deliver to customers starting in spring 2026.
Registered as a 50-50 joint venture, the new company will be called Sony Honda Mobility Inc. and plans to export American-made EVs to Japan. The alliance is the first major collaboration between two iconic Japanese brands from different industries to take on the challenges of EVs in a rapidly changing auto industry. Only if firms of the caliber of Honda and Sony join forces can Japan hope to effectively compete with industry-dominating companies such as Tesla and Apple, which have not yet created cross-industry affiliations.
At a press conference in Japan this week, executives from both companies described the future EV models as high value-added vehicles that will feature lots of new technology from Sony, including entertainment systems, advanced software and sensors. While Honda boasts know-how on cars, Sony has the technological assets including imaging sensors and artificial intelligence key to developing next-generation vehicles. Sony Honda Mobility can also take advantage of Sony’s entertainment content to provide new in-vehicle experiences.
Customers will purchase or lease through online sales that follow similar web-based sales strategies we’ve seen from Tesla and others.
Sony unveiled its Vision-S 01 and Vision-S 02 prototypes a year ago to positive reviews and it is those cars that will form the base of the production vehicles that will be offered to the public.
The first batch of production models will be allocated to North America, Honda’s most important market, because the U.S. is speedily advancing its electric vehicle development and market acceptance. EV-friendly incentives and regulations, like those in force in California, also aided the new firm’s case.
“We would like to form this company as a whole new automaker completely different from anything else,” said Yasuhide Mizuno, CEO of the new joint venture. “Our goal is not to become an ordinary car manufacturer, but to become a new mobility tech company centered on software technology,” he said. Mizuno also explained that the reason why they chose North America as a launchpad was that it was more advanced than say, Japan.
Asked if the joint venture could compete with Tesla, Chief Operating Officer Izumi Kawanishi explained that the firm wants to succeed by leveraging its cutting-edge technology and software.
Sony Honda Mobility does also plan to produce in Japan in the near future but was remaining tight-lipped about details. But for now, North America will be the main production platform and sales hub, with European sales to follow later. Sony Honda Mobility will start taking orders for the new car in the first half of 2025.
It was only a matter of time before a carmaker and a tech giant would combine forces to build the next generation of EVs. We can expect big things from Honda–who will look after the vehicle side of the equation, and Sony–who will be responsible for the tech and entertainment aspects of the project. And keep an eye out for Google and Apple moving into the car space soon.