TOKYO: Over 2,000 Honda Motor Co. employees have applied for an early retirement program the automaker introduced for the first time in a decade, it was learned Friday.
The program, which started in April, is aimed at promoting a generation change chiefly among engineers to make Honda better compete in developing cutting-edge technologies such as electric and self-driving vehicles, company officials said.
Honda has hammered out plans to have all new models it sells globally be electric and fuel cell vehicles in 2040.
No limit is set on the number of applicants for the program, which targets employees aged 55-63. An official in charge of the program said it is “designed not to cut workforce but to support employee’s job changes.”
At a time when automakers are facing a once-in-100-year technological turning point where internal combustion engines are being replaced by electric motors and vehicles are becoming more like robots, workers, particularly engineers, are required to have a different body of knowledge, pundits said, pointing out that developers of autonomous driving systems should have knowledge about artificial intelligence.