Honda's Fukui favors fed loans, confirms V-8

Automotive New reports on Honda CEO's opinion about government bail-outs and plans for a new V-8.

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TOKYO--Honda Motors CEO Takeo Fukui says he's fine with direct loans from the U.S. government to the Big Three automakers. Meanwhile, he will fortify the Acura brand with a new V-8.

"I think it's only natural that the U.S. government tries to provide some support to U.S. manufacturers," Fukui said last week in an interview, referring to $25 billion in government-backed loans for U.S. automakers.

Foreign automakers building cars in the United States also are eligible for the loans. But Fukui said Honda has no intention of seeking any: "At this point in time, no."

Fukui supports the loans partly because he fears a backlash against Japanese automakers if an American rival goes under. But the loans also will help Honda suppliers, he said. "It's not just that the help is only being provided to American manufacturers. If I consider all the parts and components manufacturers, that would not be only U.S. companies," Fukui said.

Separately, he confirmed plans for Honda to launch its first V-8 engine in an Acura. Fukui said Acura, with U.S. sales down 15.3 percent through September, needs something extra under the hood, especially in its flagship RL sedan. "I don't think that the Acura RL 3.7-liter is sufficient. We can't compete with other premium brands."

The upcoming engine will "be completely different from conventional, past-generation ones and have excellent fuel efficiency," he said.

(Source: Automotive News)

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