DETROIT - All of Honda Motor Co.'s four-cylinder engines will be smaller and cleaner starting in 2001, thanks to technologies pioneered on the Insight hybrid, said company President Hiroyuki Yoshino.
He also confirmed that Honda is in talks with General Motors about participating in GM's TradeXchange, a Web-based business forum for suppliers and automakers, and acknowledged that Honda has held talks with other automakers about engine supply deals.
He spoke this month at the North American International Auto Show.
'Last year I had talks with almost every manufacturer (about engines), but right now I don't have any talks going on with anybody,' Yoshino said.
Last month, GM announced it will buy V-6 engines from Honda, which will in turn buy small diesel engines from GM subsidiary Isuzu Motors Ltd. In November, Yoshino said his company also is talking to Ford Motor Co. about supplying engines.
Honda's new family of 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engines will appear in 2001 in North America and meet the definition of 'super ultralow emissions,' the toughest tailpipe standard in California's LEV II regulations short of the zero-emissions vehicle category. In 2003, the engine will become standard equipment on the Honda Accord.
The new engines will use design features such as integrated exhaust manifolds, offset crankshafts to reduce internal friction and a more compact variable valve timing system.
Yoshino said Honda is still a few years away from deciding whether to develop its own fuel cell or buy one from a supplier, such as Ballard Power Systems of Vancouver, British Columbia. The company's own fuel cells have less power than those from Ballard, while the rising costs associated with the development of fuel cells and other technologies are forcing Honda to make adjustments in other areas.
For example, Honda has scaled back plans to operate a factory Formula One team. Instead, Honda will supply just the engines.
Yoshino denied rumors the company is developing a full-sized pickup. 'That's a question I've been getting for more than 10 years. Currently, we don't have any plans.'