Is it just mere coincidence that Masahiko Nakamura, who is celebrating his 30th year with the Japanese carmaker Honda, would share this milestone with Honda Cars Philippines Inc (HCPI), which is also celebrating its 30th year of operations? Back in 1990, as Nakamura and HCPI embarked on their journeys with Honda, crossing each other’s paths was certainly not in their minds. But, as fate would have it, their roads converged this April 1 when the 56-year-old executive started his tour of duty in the country as president of HCPI.
Nakamura’s Philippine assignment couldn’t have come at a more critical and challenging time, what with the CoViD-19 pandemic forcing governments—including that of the Philippines—to lock down virtually all industries to restrict movement in an attempt to halt the spread of the disease, resulting to drastically slowed-down economies.
Nakamura’s three-decade experience of holding various key positions in sales, business strategy, and marketing at Honda Motor Co Ltd in Japan has kept HCPI’s confidence up, as he has managed to steer Honda’s automobile business through a rapidly evolving economic landscape. He even says he looks forward to the day when he can finally be able to visit the country’s top tourist destinations, especially the beaches, where he plans to take long walks and spend his “quiet times”.
So, did the two roads meet just by mere chance? Maybe the law of attraction, wherein like minds gravitate towards each other, was at work here. “Both HCPI and I are celebrating our 30th year with Honda, some of the similar personal qualities we have is the culture of always doing our best in order to deliver quality work at all times, and our dedication and passion to provide good service for the customers,” he explained to Inquirer Motoring this Oct. 9.
“What I like most in my current stay in the Philippines is the warm hospitality of the Filipino people. Everyone is helpful and hospitable, and the Filipinos continue to remain hopeful and optimistic despite the pandemic,” he added.
Six months into the job, Nakamura has an idea of his immediate and medium-term plans for HCPI. “Honda will continue to assert its commitment to the Filipino people in doing our very best to expand customer joy by delivering the best experience that quickly adapts to a changing environment and addressing the needs and wants of our customers, through innovation and enabling mobility for everyone.”
Speaking of innovation and inclusive mobility, Honda headquarters recently surprised the motoring world when it announced that it would be quitting Formula 1 to concentrate on zero emissions technology such as battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-powered vehicles.
It was a move Nakamura said whose time has definitely come. “I agree with Honda Motor’s decision to strengthen the research and development in the areas of advanced power units and energy technologies. As for HCPI, we will continue making more progress in saving energy and using/utilizing renewable energy in the area of corporate activities as well. We will work on the reduction of CO2 emissions from our products, services and entire corporate activities from the ‘life-cycle perspective’, then strive to realize carbon neutrality by 2050,” he said.
“As for electric vehicles (EVs), the customer needs for EVs vary from one country to another. Therefore, Honda wants to formulate our EV strategy with the ‘right vehicles in the right market’ approach. There is no doubt about the trend of electrification, but we think there will be multiple stages, and we must take proper steps. We are currently in the process of studying different factors in the Philippine market, such as infrastructure and charging stations,” Nakamura revealed.