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March 4, 2022 10:13 AM, EST

Honda, Sony Join Forces on New Electric Vehicle

Kenichiro Yoshida and Toshihiro MibeSony Group CEO Kenichiro Yoshida (left) and Honda Motor CEO Toshihiro Mibe shake hands at a press conference in Tokyo on March 4, 2022. (Jun Hirata/Kyodo News via AP)

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TOKYO — Two big names in Japanese electronics and autos are joining forces to produce an electric vehicle.

Sony Group Corp. and Honda Motor Co. agreed to establish a joint venture this year to start selling an electric vehicle by 2025, both sides said March 4.

The plan is to bring together Honda’s expertise in mobility development, technology and sales with Sony’s imaging, telecommunication, network and entertainment expertise.

Sony VISION-S

Sony VISION-S concept vehicles. (Sony)

A union of traditionally different manufacturing businesses is uncommon for Japan. But it makes sense in the age of electric vehicles, which lack gasoline-powered engines and have complicated electronics.

All the world’s automakers have been developing zero-emission EVs, as concerns grow about pollution and climate change. But they face tough competition from relative newcomers such as Tesla.

The joint venture will develop and design the product but will use Honda’s plant for manufacturing. Sony, which makes the PlayStation video-game console and owns movie and music businesses, will develop the mobility services platform.

Honda makes the CR-V SUV and Clarity plug-in hybrid and already has its own electric vehicle program, teaming with General Motors to share platforms for EVs in North America.

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The joint venture with Sony will be separate, meant to produce unexpected value “in a chemical reaction,” Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe said.

“We’re so used to thinking within the category of autos, it’s hard to think outside that box,” Mibe said, while stressing that Honda will continue with its own EV program.

Sony showed an electric car concept at CES in Las Vegas two years ago. It has been eager to find an auto partner, said Sony Group CEO Kenichiro Yoshida.

The executives, appearing together at a news conference in Tokyo, did not rule out a future stock listing of the joint venture.

Shares in both companies fell March 4, with Honda down 4.5% and Sony losing 3.2%.

“I believe this alliance which brings together the strengths of our two companies offers great possibilities for the future of mobility.”

Yoshida said Ibuka respected and had learned a lot from Honda.

“Commitment at the top is important,” he said. “We are committed to taking up this challenge together.”