Video: Honda takes to the skies

updated 7/25/2006 1:36:47 PM ET 2006-07-25T17:36:47

Honda Motor Co. will enter the aircraft production and sales business, published reports said Tuesday, amid expectations the automaker will soon sell small jets its CEO has previously called the “Honda Civic of the sky.”

The Tokyo-based company will start taking orders later this year, Kyodo News agency reported without elaborating. Kyodo did not identify how it obtained the information.

Honda officials in Tokyo were not immediately available for comment.

The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, reported Tuesday that Honda would soon announce plans to crack America’s small business jet market.

The automaker successfully tested the four- to five-passenger twin-engine Honda Jet, equipped with Honda-designed engines called HF118, in December 2003.

Honda conducted its first public demonstration flight of the jet at a 2005 air show in Oshkosh, Wis.

The company has said the plane, which chief executive Takeo Fukui has referred to as the “Honda Civic of the sky,” is designed to be more fuel efficient than conventional small jets and could fly 1,100 miles before needing to refuel.

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