Honda will begin to produce small business jets for the U.S. market in partnership with Piper Aircraft, the company announced Tuesday.
Honda said new orders could be received as early as this fall. However it added that it would take three to four years for the company to obtain a production certificate from the Federal Aviation Agency.
â€œAviation has been an important dream of Honda for more than four decades,â€ said Satoshi Toshida, senior managing director of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. â€œOur goal is consistent with the philosophy of other Honda products - to provide convenient and efficient transportation that will make people's lives better. We are excited now to enter a new dimension of mobility.â€
The U.S. marketâ€™s fifth largest automaker in terms of sales, according to J.D. Power and Associates, has made no secret of its desire to expand into the aircraft market.
Started in 1986 the Japanese car marker began research on both small aircraft and jet engines. In 2003, HondaJet took its first test flight and by 2005 the jet made its â€˜world debutâ€™ this week at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture 2006 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
To date, the prototype six-to-seven seat HondaJet has completed more than 240 hours of flight-testing since December 2003. So far, the prototype HondaJet has achieved an altitude of 43,000 feet and a speed of 412 knots.
To prepare for itâ€™s entry into aviation, Honda will establish a new U.S. holding company.
Piper Aircraft expressed that the alliance would benefit both companies given Hondaâ€™s history of building high quality products.
â€œHonda is a company with a rich heritage of bringing high quality, innovative products to market,â€ said James K. Bass, president and CEO of Piper Aircraft, Inc. â€œPiper is very excited about this alliance and the way it complements our vision for the future.â€