Takanobu Ito, who takes the helm of Honda Motor Co. in late June, concedes his initial interest in Honda was fueled more by airplanes and motorbikes than automobiles. He joined the company in 1978. He spoke with Asia Editor Hans Greimel.
What triggered my interest in joining Honda was that I used to study aircraft as a student. And I was thinking it would be good if I could get a job related to aerospace.
I used to visit companies with my friends. And in those days, Honda had its headquarters in Harajuku, and I remember talking with somebody in the personnel department and drinking tea.
I liked motorbikes anyway, so I was already interested in Honda. But the person handling personnel affairs said to me, 'We might make airplanes.' And then I thought, 'I like motorbikes, and they might do airplanes. No other company has it this good!'
As for four-wheel vehicles, I started with the N360. I was truly moved by that car. It was really wonderful. I had a part-time job at a gasoline station, and thanks to that I had the opportunity to drive various cars. I finally bought an N360 for something like ¥10,000 ($100).