With U.S. growth leveling, do you see a price war brewing?
We think there will be price competition. But we need to reinforce our ideas about how to do manufacturing and how we handle expenditures and how to get the best use from platforms. We need to reinforce those aspects. Otherwise, we won't be able to win in the global market or the U.S. market. We don't want to pursue increased volume just by increasing incentives.
If Honda increases exports from Japan, can it do so profitably at current exchange rates?
If overseas plant capacity is getting close to full, then rather than make a new investment, we might think about getting more supply from another global plant.
In Japan, we want to do around 700,000 units for the domestic market and then do 100,000 to 200,000 for export. We are doing a lot of activities on the manufacturing side, so we can be competitive exporting that 100,000 to 200,000 at the current foreign exchange rate. We want to make sure our European factories can do exports as well.
How will you revive Acura? To be a successful luxury brand, doesn't it need to be global?
What we want to focus on is building the Acura brand in the U.S. and China. Globally, we think the U.S. and China are the only regions where it is possible for us to cap the two pillars [of regional and global vehicles] with a luxury brand. For other regions, we want to build a solid business using the region-specific models and global models first.
Can you give an update on the Takata airbag inflator recalls? Is a resolution coming soon?
Takata set up an independent committee, and they are considering different approaches to a resolution. That is where the decisions will be made. We state our views about how not to inconvenience our customers. That's as much as we're involved. Nothing is going to be decided in light of just one company's views.
Would bankruptcy make restructuring Takata more difficult or easier, from Honda's stance?
There are different perspectives from which to view that. So I don't think I can say one way is more difficult than another. We would like to see them fulfill their responsibility to supply, while ensuring quality. It's a matter of the customers and that there continues to be supply.
Does industry consolidation increase the pressure on Honda to find a partner for scale?
We don't have any aspirations to make it 10 million [in global sales]. While staying in the 5 million range, we want to continue what we've been doing to enhance our quality and products.
Somebody who's gotten to the 10 million level might want to aim for 12 million or 13 million. But we want to draw a line between those who want to do that and ourselves. We want to stay within the 5 million range. By strengthening our products, that may lead to increased scale.
We are not pursuing volume just for volume's sake. Our objective is to reinforce the individual products that make up those numbers.
But I'm not jumping at the news of other partnerships.
What is Honda's strategy toward partnerships regarding new mobility, such as car-sharing, ride-hailing and autonomous driving?
As long as there are suggestions that are win-win, then we would be willing to do those. When it comes to technological collaborations, we are working with General Motors on fuel cells. We are not trying to do everything by ourselves. But when it comes to business, there are things we want to do on our own. So we want to maintain that.
What is Honda's outlook and strategy for hybrid vehicles in the U.S.?
We want to deploy models using plug-in hybrids as our core models.
In 2017, we will launch a plug-in hybrid in the U.S. as well. By 2030, we want two-thirds of our global sales from some kind of electrified vehicles.
And within that, we want 50 percent to be hybrid or plug-in hybrid. For the U.S. as well, we will be deploying plug-ins as the core and then bringing in other electrified technology.
Will the green-car penetration rate also be two-thirds of Honda's volume in the U.S.?
The ratio will be far higher in the U.S.