Carmakers Pursue Plane Plans

Honda's and Toyota's secretive forays into general aviation may be more serious than they're letting on.

Published: 21-Mar-2004

In the state that gave birth to powered flight, engineers for Honda Motor Co. have been quietly developing a small jet airplane that could alter the general aviation landscape.

Operating out of a small airstrip in Greensboro, N.C., Japan's second-largest auto manufacturer has begun test flying the HondaJet. It's a prototype of a six-passenger jet that marks a major leap forward in Honda's decades-long ambition to build a highly efficient, low-cost aircraft.

Meanwhile, Honda's archrival and Japan's largest automaker, Toyota Motor Corp., has been secretly test flying a propeller-driven, four-passenger plane over the Mojave Desert.

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