By Dayton Business Journal

Honda has plans to boost its overall 'green' initiatives as it looks to role out a new plug-in hybrid in the United States and Japan in 2012, as well as looking at a new market for electric vehicles.

The plans were part of a mid-year speech Tuesday by Honda Motor Co. (NYSE: HMC) chief executive officer and president Takanobu Ito. The speech was posted on the company's Web site, and offers wide-ranging details of the company's plans for the next decade.

"The next 10 years will be very critical for Honda to survive in the midst of major changes in the times that include an increase in environmental awareness and changes in the global economic structure," Ito said in the statement.

"In the past several years, consumer preference has quickly shifted toward smaller sized vehicles in every automobile market around the world due to increasing environmental awareness on a global basis, as well as the structural changes that happened to the global economy. Honda must quickly respond to such changes in the times to achieve further growth and expansion in the future."

In regards to the plug-in hybrid, It said the new system for mid-size to larger vehicles is currently under development, and that vehicles equipped with the new system should go on sale in 2012 in the U.S. and Japan. Multiple systems will be developed for different sized vehicles to meet customer demand.

However, the plug-in hybrid models aren't the only effort to be more green.

"In the long-term, fuel-cell electric vehicles will provide the ultimate mobility. And Honda will continue working on the technological advancement of the FCX Clarity as well as our hydrogen refueling systems," he said.

In Ito's statement, he went on to say, "Though there still are some issues that need to be addressed such as range per charge and recharging time, battery EVs have the potential to create a new market as mobility that emits no CO 2 during operation. Leveraging the technologies established through the development of fuel-cell electric vehicles, Honda will make progress in the development of a battery EV with a goal to put it in real world use as soon as possible. Hondaâ¿¿s battery EV is scheduled to go on sale in Japan and the U.S. in 2012."

He added that Honda will introduce these products by around 2012 and "further advance them and accelerate their more widespread introduction to the market in the next 10 years."

Honda bases its North American production headquarters in Marysville. It employs about 2,750 people at its Dayton-area engine plant in Anna and operates a 600,000-square-foot distribution hub in Troy.

To read his full speech from the Honda Web site, click here.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals

Copyright 2010