Sony Honda Mobility, a joint venture between two of Japan’s most iconic companies, has been formally inaugurated.
Although the company will be headquartered in Tokyo, its first vehicle will be produced in the United States and exported around the world, including back to Japan.
A teaser video posted overnight provides a few shadowy clues about the styling of Sony Honda’s first vehicle.
From what we can tell, it should be similar to earlier Sony concept cars: the Vision-S sedan prototype unveiled at CES 2020, and the Vision-S 02 crossover that debuted at CES 2022.
Although Sony kept insisting these concepts were primarily for showcasing its automotive-grade technologies, both cars looked surprisingly production-ready.
Built by Magna Steyr in Austria, the Vision-S and Vision-S 02 feature Sony-designed software, infotainment equipment, and safety systems.
According to Sony Honda, the company’s vehicles will be based around “the 3 As” being autonomy, augmentation, and affinity.
The first will see its cars fitted with plenty of computing power to enable Level 3 autonomous driving in limited circumstances, and “Level 2+” driver assistance in most conditions, even the inner city.
Augmentation is said to encompass cloud-based services, and the integration of “real and virtual worlds”.
The company says it will also explore “new entertainment possibilities through digital innovations such as the metaverse”.
For affinity, the automaker says it will foster an “open community” not only for customers, but also suppliers, the “creative community”, and other industries.
The timeline for Sony Honda’s first vehicle sees pre-sales beginning in the first half of 2025, sales starting later that year, and the first deliveries arriving in American driveways in the second quarter of 2026.
This car will also be exported to Japan, where customers can expect initial shipments to arrive in the second half of 2026.
Like other EV startups, including Tesla, Rivian and Lucid, the 50/50 joint venture between Sony and Honda will forego the traditional dealership model, and focus primarily on online sales.
Given the launch timing of the first Sony Honda vehicle, it’s likely it will be based on the e:Architecture being developed in-house by Honda.
Earlier this week Honda announced it would spend at least US$3.5 billion ($5.6 billion) with joint venture partner LG to build a new battery factory in Ohio.
Last week Honda unveiled the Prologue, its first mass-market EV for the US market. Unlike Sony Honda vehicles, the Prologue uses GM’s Ultium electric car architecture, and will be built at one of the General’s factories.