Honda CEO Admits Chinese EV Makers Are Way Ahead

Honda Chief Operating Officer Shinji Aoyama reiterated the CEO’s remarks, saying company executives were “overwhelmed by the Chinese” during the Shanghai auto show. Following this, the Japanese automaker has announced new steps to accelerate electrification, with the introduction of new EV models in key markets including North America, China, and Japan from 2024.

Honda also intends to deliver improved batteries, powerful software, and a completely redesigned driver interface in order to catch up with EV industry leaders. Furthermore, the company plans to build dedicated EV facilities with totally revamped production systems and a reliable supply of semiconductors.

Related: Honda Unveils 3 Electric Vehicles at 2023 Auto Shanghai

That may take a few years to accomplish, but the steps are necessary given Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe’s acknowledgment that his company is slipping behind in the worldwide battle for electric vehicles. The executive stated that the company’s global relaunch will begin in 2025.

Honda 20CEO 20Toshihiro 20Mibe 2C 20left 2C 20shown 20here 20with 20COO 20Shinji 20Aoyama 2C 20right
Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe (left) with COO Shinji Aoyama (right)

According to Automotive News, Toshihiro Mibe made a few surprising comments about Chinese competition while addressing Honda’s annual business briefing. He claimed that Honda executives were taken aback at the Shanghai car show, where local companies crowded the exhibition hall with advanced EVs of all kinds, while the Japanese automaker showcased three electric SUVs set to debut in China in 2024. Mibe said:

“They are ahead of us, even more than expected. We are thinking of ways to fight back. If not, we will lose this competition. We recognized we are slightly lagging behind, and we are determined to turn the tables.”

The COVID-19 pandemic, when the world was entirely blocked off from China by travel restrictions and quarantine procedures, saw significant advancements in Chinese electric vehicles, according to Honda’s CEO. Honda COO Shinji Aoyama mirrored Mibe’s remarks when he said, “We were overwhelmed by the Chinese,” in reference to the Shanghai car show. Such frank admissions of China’s domination in the electric vehicle market are uncommon, at least from high-ranking executives of companies that compete directly with the Chinese.

honda shanghai 2

As Automotive News previously reported, during the press days of the show, the domestic brands attracted the majority of interest from the media and influencers, leaving the exhibition booths of international manufacturers far more empty than those from Chinese rivals. For instance, there were so many people visiting BYD’s new Yangwang luxury brand booth that the automaker had to set up a queue for people to see the vehicles.

Related: BYD Steals the Show at 2023 Auto Shanghai

Visitors to the Shanghai car show were able to observe firsthand how far ahead Chinese automakers are in the development of electric vehicles. At the event, no less than 100 new cars made their debut, with 70 of them being all-electric. The majority of those 100 new cars were produced by Chinese automakers themselves.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments