Honda’s HondaJet Touching Down Soon

Honda Motor Co (NYSE:HMC) will become the first car maker in the world to also manufacture aircraft when it delivers its $4.5 million HondaJet next year. The jet is currently undergoing certification, and Honda aims to jack up production to about 80 jets a year from 2013. This should be interesting news for Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Airbus.

Michimasa Fujino, a Honda executive and CEO of its North Carolina-based subsidiary, Honda Aircraft Company, said confidently, “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,” in an obvious reference to competitors Textron Inc (NYSE:TXT) and Brazilian company, Embraer SA, who currently enjoy a major share of the market for business jets.

The company’s jet offers a quieter engine and up to 20% better fuel economy than its competitors. It offers operational costs of about $1000 – $1200 per hour, comparing very well with the $1800 that competitors offer.

Figures of current orders in hand are not available, but Honda booked more than 100 orders in 2006 when it opened bookings. Fujino said – “right now we want to focus on delivering on the orders that we have, but I’d like to enter Brazil and China earlier than we’d initially planned,” though declining to specify a timeframe. New demand from emerging markets could expand the global small-jet market to about 300 a year, he further said.