Sony, Honda Say EV Partnership Could Breed New Brand for Both

Sony and Honda want to work together through a third company at arm's reach, it seems.

Sony has long been pursuing a push into EVs, with the tech giant set to form a partnership with Honda to pursue these goals. Head of the Japanese tech giant, Kenichiro Yoshida, stated on Monday that the way forward will likely be via an independent company started by the two Japanese heavyweights, as reported by Nikkei Asia.

“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,” Yoshida told Nikkei earlier this week. Serving as Sony’s chairman, president, and CEO, the executive noted that offering shares or a stake in the company to outside interests was “a possibility.” A third company separate from the two collaborators makes sense, bringing EVs to market under its own unique brand.

Sony and Honda signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this year regarding the creation of a joint venture before the end of 2022. The aim is to create an independent third company that will bring EVs to market by 2025. Early reports are that Sony will focus on the software side of things, along with entertainment content like music and movies. Meanwhile, Honda will focus on the hardware—unsurprising as it’s the only one of the two companies that has any experience in vehicle manufacturing.

The Honda partnership is an interesting shift from earlier moves made by Sony. As recently as January, it was discussing the creation of “Sony Mobility Inc” which would focus on the commercialization of the company’s surprise Vision-S concept vehicles. However, it’s a move that makes a lot of sense, as actually getting vehicles out the door will be far easier with a manufacturing partner like Honda on board.

The venture is still in its early stages, with Yoshida playing his cards close to his chest at this stage. Details on the structure of the venture or its business model are scant, with the Sony head stating that he hopes to discuss the finer details “at some point in the near future.”

“Mobility is becoming more of a service,” Yoshida told Nikkei. It’s a bit of an investment buzzword, applied to everything from ridesharing companies to trucking services and broad collaborations between traditional automakers. However, it goes to show that Sony is thinking about more than just shifting cars. There’s plenty of money to be made in more ephemeral ways, from things like driverless taxi services to new models like car sharing.

When it comes to finding a production partner with experience and capacity, you could do a lot worse than Honda. As the world’s 7th largest automaker in terms of vehicles sold in 2021, Sony should be able to burst on to the EV scene with less headaches than those starting from scratch. As always, time will tell.

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