TOKYO -- When Takahiro Hachigo returned to Japan in March after years overseas to be the new CEO of Honda, he didn’t rush out to buy a new car, Honda brand or otherwise.
Indeed, even months later, the self-confessed car-crazy veteran chief engineer remains probably one of the few automotive executives anywhere without his own set of wheels.
But Honda’s car-less CEO is holding out for a reason. “There is a model I want, which will, as I have told you, be launched this autumn,” Hachigo said during his first media roundtable this month “I will wait.”
That model? The revived Civic Type R hot hatchback that will be manufactured at Honda’s plant in Swindon, England, and exported to markets worldwide, including Japan and the U.S.
The car will go on sale in Europe in the summer and in Japan in the autumn. U.S. sales will likely start next year.
“Unfortunately, I don't have a car now,” he said. “But I want to buy the Civic Type R.”
The Type R speaks both to Hachigo’s personal predilections and professional plans. Regarding the latter, he aims to revive Honda’s reputation as a purveyor of innovative engineering, stylish fun and cutting-edge cool. “I joined Honda because I loved cars and driving,” Hachigo said.
He counts the upcoming Type R, along with the just-released Japan-market S660, an open-top turbocharged mini roadster, as the two Honda nameplates he’s most excited about.