For years effort was focused on gimmicks (sorry for that), like bogus concepts of hybrids just to cut on consumption,
recently I heard that first gen Prius still running healthy without changing any key component incl battery cell. Actually when looking into details of Prius, Aqua, etc, I can understand why it sells well...even me is tempted to buy one, for economical reason.
Unfortunately for Honda the fact that they are Japanese is likely to dictate how sales in China go more than any advertising campaign or the quality of their products.
Japan government and right wing's fault. They have absolutely no idea about "profit and mutual benefit and strategic relationship", instead obsessed with petty pride and face.
The same argument might be valid for gas powered cars, as many taxis have retrofitted their fleets from petrol to that, but is that a final solution? Probably not.
Not sure the gas u meant, but reminded me that some Asian countries have alot of gas-powered cars and buses whose engines are altered to run by gas, presumably LPG, yikes! coz gas is cheaper than petrol there of course. but such use is not good for engine, i heard. Also it has massive gas tank fitted in the luggage room at the back, just scary. There're alot of accident that gas tank explodes at filling station and by road accident and of course death/injury by that. Scary
Now look at the biggest car markets in the world, the US and China. Both countries are currently highly dependent on imported oil and are keen to reduce consumption in order to reduce reliance on the Middle East and improve trade balances.
US still have ample choices for energy source, they have oil within and can afford to go for risky and unknown solution like shale gas. Also rather nearer to middle east and africa.
Europe too is in alot better position, it has North Sea oil field nearby, and Russia and Middle East, all these connected with pipe hence cheap. Also has diversified energy source - nuclear energy in France and East Europe, grid across Europe hence can afford to take hedge, such as venturing unknown renewable energies in Germany, Spain etc.
But Japan, it's bit too far to connect pipe and grid with Eurasia continent, and no oil/resource within its territory, no nothing. That's why nuclear power is essential for Japan and many countries want it, but almost all nuclear reactors are stopped now not directly due to nuclear disaster in 2011 earthquake but coz of incompetent regulator and media as well as silly protest and crazy people. It's costing Japan about extra 3 trilion yen ($30bil) (!) annually just for importing extra oil just for generating electricity.
Anyway so Japan has very limited option regarding energy/resource unlike EU and US, so it's natural and inevitable for Japanese automakers to go for alternatives, high tech and "gimmicky" possibilities like hybrid, rather than keep pursuing traditional method, in order to combat the disadvantageous circumstances and reduce resource dependency.
China is similar to Japan but their advantage is they can afford to play power game.
Honda have understood they need to spend R&D money on downsizing, direct-injection, turbocharging and energy recovery for their road cars. They will be spending this money regardless of any motorsport involvement.
This expense can be subsidised by marketing budgets by putting the lessons learnt into producing motorsport engines. So F1, SuperGT (and it's possible DTM/American DTM connection) and possibly LMP involvement is really making the best use of their resource, even if the motorsport programme provides only fringe benefits to core road car development.
yip that's basically what they said - expectation for f1 engine development and technology to feed back on roadcars.
but seems guys at R&D just want to do F1
Marketing and technological transfer and adaptation is of course essential factor but that's other people's job, esp at Honda, i guess.