Sony and Honda plan to make use of music, films and the PlayStation 5 to tackle Tesla and the remainder of the automotive trade by creating an electrical automobile constructed round a premium leisure expertise.

The heads of Sony Honda Mobility, which was established in September and has but to decide on a model identify, instructed the Monetary Occasions that the corporate plans to achieve an edge over opponents by leveraging Sony’s highly effective place within the international leisure trade.

“Sony has content material, providers and leisure applied sciences that transfer folks. We’re adapting these belongings to mobility, and that is our energy in opposition to Tesla,” mentioned president Izumi Kawanishi, who has headed Sony’s AI robotics enterprise.

“Tesla is just not offering any content material providers,” he mentioned, including that integrating the PlayStation 5 platform into their vehicles was “technologically doable”.

Yasuhide Mizuno, chair of the three way partnership and who was in control of Honda’s vehicles division, mentioned the corporate was even adapting the automobile manufacturing course of to place content material first.

As an alternative of inserting software program after a automobile is produced, “we are going to develop a automobile as {hardware} that can cater to the leisure and community we wish to supply”, mentioned Mizuno. He mentioned the corporate deliberate to roll out its first electrical automobile mannequin in North America by 2025.

Izumi Kawanishi and Yasuhide Mizuno shaking hands
Izumi Kawanishi, left, and Yasuhide Mizuno, proper, are centered on perfecting a self-driving automobile © Sony Honda Mobility

The feedback by the three way partnership heads present how firms are working to adapt to shifting shopper preferences in vehicles.

In addition to making an attempt to mount an entertainment-based problem to Tesla, the Sony-Honda automobile will purpose to compete with equally software-focused autos produced by Google and Apple.

However Kawanishi mentioned the three way partnership would additionally focus on perfecting a completely self-driving automobile — a goal that some mobility firms, together with Uber and Google, have both deserted or considerably pushed again as challenges and bills have mounted.

Argo AI, a self-driving automobile group collectively backed by Ford and Volkswagen, introduced final month it might shut down operations, saying profitability was “a great distance out”.

“To benefit from the house in your automobile, you need to make it an area the place you don’t have to drive. The answer for that is autonomous driving,” mentioned Kawanishi, an engineer who has developed PlayStation 3 and robotic canine Aibo at Sony.

“Autonomous driving should evolve significantly from the present stage to get to that time, and it’ll take time for that to occur,” he added, saying that finally the corporate was aiming for absolutely driverless autonomy.

Some analysts consider that the grand ambitions of the Sony-Honda three way partnership masks an easier set of enterprise targets: to make use of the automobile as a showcase for applied sciences and software program platforms that different international carmakers may need to set up of their autos.

For Sony, “part of the purpose is to promote extra parts, together with sensors, to ascertain a foothold for the patron electronics trade within the auto trade,” mentioned Christopher Richter, analyst at CLSA.

“Tesla hasn’t been capable of utterly obtain this, and the JV has achieved it a lot sooner than Apple’s [EV] Mission Titan, which remains to be languishing someplace.”

The electronics group needs to point out what it’s able to by creating a small-scale premium model with Honda, Richter added.