After working on its foray into aviation for 25 years, Honda can be expected to be looking for a return on its patient investment, but comments made by the head of the company's aviation division to Reuters turned some heads on Tuesday. Michimasa Fujino likened the almost-certified HondaJet to the introduction of the Honda Civic and said the company was going after 25 percent of the worldwide light jet market. "I'm very optimistic about our prospects," Fujino said. "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."
The Civic, with its fuel-efficient front-wheel-drive platform, set the tone for vehicle manufacturing for the next 40 years when it was introduced in 1973. Fujino said the HondaJet sets a similar bar for aviation and the HondaJet will have direct operating costs about 30 percent lower than comparable Embraer and Cessna products. He said the HondaJet will cost from $1,000 to $1,200 an hour to fly compared to what he said was $1,800 an hour, at best, from the competition. He also said that after the undisclosed backlog is filled, he'll be looking at Brazil and China to fuel future orders. Fujino said he expects the operation to be profitable by 2018.