Honda’s Leadership Dilemma: Descriptive analysis of Eco-friendly Vehicles Commercialization Strategies

Majid a dehkordi, seiichiro yonekura


Purpose– This study addresses the eco-friendly vehicles commercialization strategies of Honda in the past two decades. The key influential factors associated with Honda’s EV development from 1996 to 2003, as well as EV project’s co-relation with the company’s HEV development will be discussed. In addition, this study seeks to explain the leadership dilemma of Honda in green vehicles production.


Design/methodology/approach – A descriptive case study approach has been used to provide an insight into Honda’s eco-friendly projects from the mid-90s. In this regard, two recognized generations of EV and HEV development from 1996 to 2012 have been analyzed.


Findings – In contrast to technology marketing studies, this study claims that Honda’s historical approach toward the eco-friendly vehicles commercialization has been a conservative one, which bolds the company’s tendency to be an environmental leader rather than a market leader. Furthermore, the findings demonstrate Honda’s product cannibalization in eco-friendly vehicles production.


Originality/value – This research makes a few contributions: First, the authors could identify the contextual factors which affected the market acceptance of eco-friendly vehicles in the late 90s and the early 2000s. Second, they provide an in-depth insight into the Honda’s marketing and production of eco-friendly vehicles. And as a major contribution, they show that Honda’s historical path has mainly been focused on being the frontline of Fuel efficiency and Emission control issues.

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