“You already see in Europe, the United States and China many new players coming into EV manufacturing. Sony is one of them,” Mibe said Jan. 27 at a regular briefing by the Japanese auto industry group. “Having additional players in the industry brings about positive competition.
“A new entry like Sony will really revitalize the industry,” the Honda chief said.
Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda, who serves as JAMA chairman, said he expects the maker of TVs, computers, game consoles and cameras to eventually join the organization.
Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida announced the establishment of Sony Mobility Inc. at the CES in Las Vegas earlier this month. At the same time, the tech giant unveiled a crossover EV prototype, the Vision-S 02, but offered scant details about pricing or release dates.
Sony’s auto gambit is expected to leverage its expertise in digital and software technology, while likely leaving the manufacturing of the car itself to an outside partner. It is a model often raised the best way for other technology companies, such as Apple, to crack the auto sector.
Mibe speculated that there will be many approaches toward auto manufacturing as the industry heads into a new era of electrification with a host of new contenders.
More traditional, vertically integrated approaches, like those of legacy automakers such as Honda, General Motors or Volkswagen, may exist alongside horizontally aligned or decentralized approaches by newcomers. The latter method may rely more on contract manufacturing.
“There’s going to be a combination of different, coexisting manufacturing approaches,” Mibe said. “So, in that sense, we are very positive about all the change in the industry.”