Honda dealers across the United States fear being cut out of Honda and Sony’s plans to sell electric vehicles in the country.
The two companies recently confirmed that they will sell their first EV in the U.S. by 2026, adding that they want to implement an online-only sales model. This has raised questions among Honda and Acura dealers about how they will be included and how the vehicles will be sold and serviced.
“These issues are certainly a concern,” general manager and vice president of Paragon Honda and Paragon Acura in Queens, New York, Brian Benstock told Auto News. “The best path forward is with the dealers.”
Read More: Sony And Honda To Debut Their First EV In 2026 In North America And Japan, Tease New Model For CES
Sony Honda Mobility spokesperson Mai Nagadome says a lot of details about the plan still need to be finalized and added that the carmaker had not ruled out the possibility of selling through dealers, noting that customers would feel uneasy without a familiar after-sales service process.
A number of dealers remain curious about why Honda would consider working outside its current sales network which includes 1,100 Honda and 270 Acura dealers in the U.S.
“The cost of continuing to develop (internal combustion engine) products along with EVs and autonomous tech and software for the next generation vehicles is proving to be quite the challenge,” said dealer principal of Atlanta-based Hennessy Automobile Companies, Peter Hennessy. “I get teaming up with Sony, but it should be done in conjunction with the dealer network, not outside it.”
The first EV to be produced by Sony Honda Mobility will feature an advanced in-car entertainment system, cloud-based software, and sensors that allow for Level 3 autonomous driving in certain scenarios and Level 2+ in urban and highway driving. The vehicle will be produced at a new factory somewhere in the U.S. and will likely be exported to Japan and various European markets.