Honda Motor’s announcement in June last year that it will shut down its powertrain production unit in the city of Moka, Tochigi Prefecture, in 2025 came as a surprise to Keita Aoki.

Japan’s second-largest automaker by sales had already declared that it would end production of brand new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2040 as part of its fight against climate change, so the head of Moka-based Aoki Symtech knew that this would happen eventually.

But it came much faster than Aoki expected.