Japanese Honda and Sony team up for a new electric vehicle

TOKYO (AP) – Two big names in Japanese electronics and automobiles are teaming up to jointly produce an electric vehicle.

Sony Corp. and Honda Motor Co. have agreed to form a joint venture this year to begin selling an electric vehicle by 2025, the two parties announced on Friday.

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

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

The joint venture will develop and engineer the product, but will use Honda’s plant for manufacturing. Sony will develop the mobility services platform.

Sony and Honda had humble beginnings in the 1940s when Japan was being rebuilt from the ashes of World War II. Both had charismatic founders.

Honda was founded by Soichiro Honda, engineer, industrialist and renowned non-conformist. He started out helping out in his father’s bike repair shop and eventually made Honda a global powerhouse. He is often quoted as saying things like: a degree is worthless, learn to work with your hands, or work for yourself and not for a company.

Sony was founded by Akio Moritawho co-wrote “The Japan that can say no”, which pleads for a more assertive and proud society Japanand Masaru Ibuka.

Morita had a good knowledge of the market while Ibuka was known for product development. In the 1970s, when Sony was developing the Walkman portable audio player, some engineers were skeptical. But Morita insisted that people would want to listen to music on the go.

“Although Sony and Honda are companies that share many historical and cultural similarities, our areas of technology expertise are very different,” said Honda’s chief executive. Toshihiro Mibe said when announcing the deal.

“I believe that this alliance that brings together the strengths of our two companies offers great possibilities for the future of mobility.”

Youri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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