Honda Motor Co. plans to begin deliveries of its new lightweight five-seat jet by 2013.
The $4.5 million HondaJet is one of several entrants in a relatively new class of jets, sometimes called very light jets or light jets, that include the Embraer Phenom 100, which began deliveries last month, the Eclipse 500 and the Cessna Mustang, which has been in production for several years.
Imagined by Honda officials nearly 30 years ago, the Japanese automaker is expecting to make its first HondaJet delivery next year, and intends to carve out a 25 percent market share of the world's business jets.
The HondaJet can travel up to 1,400 nautical miles, enough to fly nonstop from Los Angeles to Denver or New York City to Chicago.
The company hopes to increase HondaJet production to 80 a year within the first two quarters of 2013. It is in the process of getting the jet certified, reported Reuters.
I'm very optimistic about our prospects, said Michimasa Fujino, a Honda executive and CEO of its North Carolina-based subsidiary, Honda Aircraft Company, on Monday to reporters in Tokyo. We're doing with HondaJet what the Civic did to American cars from the 1960s. Our competitors are still producing with technology from the 1990s.
Honda had intended to roll out its first jet sometime this year, but less than favorable engine tests in October forced the company to redesign the plane and delay its scheduled deliveries, reported Bloomberg.
Boasting a lightweight fuselage and a distinctive looking over-the-wing engine mount, a design that Honda says reduces drag, the company says its jet is more fuel efficient than its competitors.
As of Dec. 20, 2011, the jet had undergone a year of flight tests with the FAA. The company hopes to conduct two more rounds of tests throughout the year.