Good afternoon everyone. And thank you for joining us. This is the 5th straight year I have attended the North American International Auto Show. But whenever I come to Detroit I think back to my first visit in 1974.
I was a young engineer participating in an important emissions certification test for the Civic at the EPA lab in Ann Arbor. We believed that clean air was important for the future of life on this earth. And we made it a central focus of our product development efforts.
It was November 1974 and Civic became the first vehicle to pass the new standards of the U.S. Clean Air Act based solely on engine performance. But what I remember most ...was, that the EPA inspector congratulated me for achieving the industry's top rating for fuel economy.
For the past three decades we have continued to challenge in both areas clean air and fuel efficiency. Today, every Honda and Acura vehicle sold in America individually meets or exceeds EPA Tier 2, Bin 5 the emissions standard in all 50 states even our light trucks.
Now global warming is the number one environmental issue. For every company, increasing fuel efficiency to reduce CO2 emissions is the single most important challenge we face. And with the new CAFE standards established by the U.S. government. I look at this challenge in the same way we approached the issue of clean air more than 40 years ago.
We believe that by improving fuel efficiency, we can achieve something important for the future of life on this earth. So, the challenge to create the most fuel efficient products for our customers and the environment will continue as a central focus of our product development efforts.
At Honda, we believe this challenge cannot be met with a single technology. So, we are now developing a number of new vehicles and power plants.
We think the ultimate solution is a fuel cell vehicle that sets a new world standard for cleaner emissions and high fuel efficiency through alternative fuel technology.
The hydrogen-powered FCX Clarity you see here delivers both advanced technology and advanced design and will be offered to a limited number of customers in California later this year. This vehicle promises to lead the way for the next 100 years of personal mobility.
But, for today we continue to invest in other technologies as well. Based on our engineering expertise we believe that hybrid power is best-suited for smaller vehicles where the fuel efficiency gains are the greatest. The Honda IMA system is the ideal technology for a small hybrid car because it's more compact, lightweight and lower in cost while achieving higher fuel efficiency.
Within the next few years, we are introducing two different, all-new hybrid small cars. Next year, we will launch a hybrid vehicle with a newly developed lightweight and compact IMA hybrid system.
This vehicle will achieve high fuel efficiency meet the needs of a family and be offered at a more affordable price based on Honda's efforts to significantly reduce cost. The global sales plan for this vehicle is 200,000 units including 100,000 units in North America.
We will then introduce a new hybrid sports model on a global basis based on the CR-Z you see here today. CR-Z combines environmentally responsible performance with sporty excitement.
Based on this direction, we envision that hybrid models will account for approximately 10 percent of Honda's global automobile sales by around the year 2010.
Finally, we have also developed the new i-DTEC clean diesel engine series. The first new i-DTEC engine meeting Euro5 emissions standards will go on sale in Europe this year. We will debut i-DTEC technology in the U.S. next year that will meet the same Tier2, Bin5 emissions standard as a gasoline engine vehicle. But, without the need for a tank of urea onboard.
This i-DTEC clean diesel engine will be introduced first on an Acura brand vehicle in 2009. Please take the opportunity to see the i-DTEC engine displayed in the Acura booth. This will be followed in the future by the introduction to a Honda model.
Importantly, even as we make it a priority to reduce CO2 emissions with environmentally responsible vehicle we will continue to make them fun to drive fun to use and achieve advanced safety performance. Based on this strong vision we believe that Honda will continue to meet the needs of our customers while doing our best to ensure the future of life on this earth. Thank you.
Now, I'd like to turn the presentation back over to John.