By the year 2020, all forms of international communication at Honda Motor Co will be in English. The announcement has come as a company directive to all their officials. First announced in the annual sustainability report, this decision has been taken in view of Honda’s expanding operations to international markets.
Appointments to senior managerial posts will depend on their fluency of the English language while all internal documents will have to be written in English directly and not translated from Japanese (which is the case currently).
Major sales of Honda Motors come from English speaking nations, like the United States, the largest English speaking country in the world. It is view of this, and for the fact that other rival automakers such as Nissan and Renault have also adopted English as corporate language for international communication that Honda has brought this policy into effect.
Audi, Airbus, Aventis, Daimler-Chrysler, Renault and Samsung are names of some of the largest companies in the world today, who did not have English as their main language. But, all have adopted English as their lingua franca today. Japanese companies Fast Retailing (Uniqlo), Rakuten and Bridgestone also follow an English only means of official communication.
Last year, Honda Motors hired 4,778 new employees in North America while only 719 new employees were taken on in Japan with Japanese employees accounting for just 32 percent of Honda Motors total workforce of 204,730. In a fast paced global business scenario, the process of discussions to be carried out in Japanese and then translated into English is both tedious and time consuming. Immediate decisions, instant responses and effective means of communication are vital to staying ahead in competition and hence English as the official language in companies is the only answer.