HondaJet Speculation Continues

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A leading market analyst says it doesn't really matter why Honda is joining the business jet market, the fact that it will start delivering aircraft in less than two years should be enough to give existing airframers pause. The Gerson Lehrman Group says critical observations about the HondaJet's quirky engine-over-wing design and the lack of scalability of the aircraft are similar to those heard when Honda introduced the Civic 35 years ago. "The Detroit automotive establishment said that Honda would never be successful," the analysis says. "Honda in fact went on to make the Civic the best selling subcompact in the industry." No one doubts the company's ability to follow through with the HondaJet program but there are two schools of thought on the "real" motive behind it.

There are those who say Honda simply wants a piece of the whole pie, starting with the HondaJet and creating new models as it identifies markets for them. Others say engines are at the heart of the aerospace venture and the partnership with GE is a match made in OEM supply heaven, from both technical and finance perspectives. Gerson Lehrman notes the scalability of the HF120 engine, which Honda/GE claims will be 30 percent more efficient than anything comparable. Whatever the motivation, Gerson Lehrman says Honda will make a go of it. "Executive boardrooms in Montreal, Savannah, Merignac, Sao Paolo and Wichita should take notice that Honda has arrived," the company says.