Business / Corporate

Toyota to fly its executives on rival's HondaJet Elite

The firms are competitors on the ground, not in the air

Kyodo

Toyota Motor Corp. will start flying its executives using a business jet from Honda Motor Co.’s U.S. aviation unit, corporate sources said Tuesday.

The plan to use the HondaJet Elite from next spring is drawing attention because the two are rivals in the global auto market and the development of new technologies.

“We don’t make planes, and it means that we buy good stuff” even from rivals, said a Toyota executive who declined to be named.

The ownership of the jet was transferred in June to Aero Asahi Corp., a Toyota affiliate based in Tokyo that provides aviation services, from a company in the group of the trading house Marubeni Corp., official documents show.

The seven-seat jet is registered as JA86GR, apparently named after Toyota’s sports car 86GR. With the transfer of the ownership, it is now stationed at Nagoya Airfield in Aichi Prefecture, where Toyota is headquartered.

Honda delivered 37 jets in 2018, making its plane the top-selling small business jet in the world, and aims to expand domestically as well.

With its unique over-the-wing engine configuration, the upgraded HondaJet has a flying range of 2,661 kilometers (1,653 miles), allowing it to fly direct from Japan to East Asian cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei.

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