4th Gear: Honda, Now Born From Jets

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Reuters says Honda has finally begun making small jets in the United States. Honda said yesterday that its unusual five-passenger jet, which has two engines mounted over the wings, went into production in Greensboro, N.C. It expects FAA certification for the jet's engine to come before the end of the year. Reuters says some Honda executives are counting on the project, which analysts say is behind schedule, to rekindle the spirit of innovation that many inside and outside Honda believe the company has lost. The company says it has well over 100 customers for the HondaJet, and it wants to be able to produce 100 jets a year in Greensboro.

But there's some skepticism about whether there will be a market for the $4.5 million jet, and also whether Honda has enough expertise to build airplanes. "All this newness scares a lot of people," Jeffrey Lowe, an analyst at Hong Kong-based consulting firm Asian Sky Group, told Reuters. "Some people may take a wait-and-see attitude."

Photo: The Associated Press


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