As the HondaJet flight test programme nears the final phase, both in manufacturing and testing, Honda Aircraft Company confirmed that the company will join forces with American Honda Finance Corporation (AHFC) to work with customers to offer term loan financing for customers in the US.
AHFC, a subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co., will provide financing and account servicing for HondaJet customers in the US and will collaborate with Honda Aircraft Company to develop the systems and infrastructure to support HondaJet customers. More details about the funding program will be provided early next year, but AHFC expects to begin accepting credit applications in time to support deliveries.
“We are once again challenging the industry by bringing new value to the ownership experience,” says Michimasa Fujino, CEO and president of Honda Aircraft. “Offering aircraft financing for HondaJet customers in the US is a logical extension of Honda’s philosophy to provide innovative products that are backed by unsurpassed service and support.”
Speaking with Corporate Jet Investor in Las Vegas, Fujino says the motivation behind Honda’s decision to offer aircraft finance is simple. “For this size of aircraft, about 50 per cent of people are buying with cash and thirty of forty per cent are using loans,” he says.
Honda is only offering aircraft finance to US buyers for the time being. “North America is the major market,” says Fujino. But he also says that the company hopes to expand its availability across more regions in the future.
Honda is in process of looking into increasing its worldwide distribution and Fujino boldly claims that the company already has the facilities and capabilities to deliver 80-100 Hondajets per year, with around 80 deliveries in the aircraft’s first year of service.
“The Honda Aircraft production team is diligently preparing to ramp-up production by continuing to implement lean manufacturing techniques and investing in workforce training,” said Fujino. “We anticipate our production workforce will double as we prepare for HondaJet entry into service.” There are six HondaJets already on the assembly line.
Fujino is now turning his attention towards 2014 and says he will feel the greatest satisfaction when the aircraft finally becomes commercially available.
“The first flight was a big milestone for me, but the reason I became involved an engineer is because I wanted to design something that could by used by the public.”
When asked whether Honda has started developing a second Hondajet, Fujino chuckles and insists: “That is confidential.”