Honda and Sony could agree to set up a new joint company to start making electric vehicles and they want to do it quickly, have them out by the middle of the decade. It will combine Honda’s car making prowess with cameras, screens and self-driving tech from tech giant Sony in order to create what the two companies hope will be competitive EVs which will be sold under a (new) separate brand.
Also key to this partnership is Sony’s entertainment and gaming side of the business, which will surely be integrated into these future products as an important component, since they would be sold as vehicles able to drive themselves without supervision. The day when you will be able to play Gran Turismo right from a car’s infotainment may not be far off, especially with the recent appearance of PS Now.
And after announcing that they wanted to deepen ties in March of this year, the two companies are now saying they are going even further, although the joint venture agreement has not yet been signed and not date has been set for its signing. According to Sony Chairman, President and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, who spoke to Nikkei,
We shared the view that it is better to make the joint venture independent, in the long run, rather than putting it under Sony or Honda. That's a possibility.
We want to contribute to the evolution of mobility by providing the basis with network functions. Mobility is becoming more of a service.
Gallery: Sony Vision-S 02 SUV Concept
It sounds as if the two companies are close to finalizing an agreement, but at the same time it very clearly is not done. But talks are definitely very advanced and it sounds like they are working out the deal’s final form, that they will both agree to sign, before making this public and the joint venture official.
Sony announced its automotive ambitions with a prototype, the Vision S 01, which was built by Magna Steyr in Austria. Then the company revealed another prototype, this time an SUV version of the first one (Vision S 02, pictured), hinting that it was serious about making cars, although at the time it denied it even though its actions were saying something else.
It is unclear if the Honda-Sony joint venture’s vehicles will be the two aforementioned models, but it would make sense given that they are already functional, fully-engineered vehicles designed and built by a company with vast car building experience. However, if Honda took over the manufacturing reigns for the joint venture, then it would also take up the responsibility of engineering the products to best fit with its production principles, so completely new vehicles could still be drawn up in time to be launched by 2025.
This unusual partnership between Sony and Honda only goes to confirm what the CEO of Ford, Jim Farley, recently said he thought was happening in the automotive industry. He believes that automakers will undergo significant changes in the not too distant future, and in order to survive, they will have to partner up or even merge with companies that were outside the automotive sphere - another example is the proposed partnership between Stellantis and Foxconn.