Honda Motor Co. will begin production of eight outboard models private-labeled for Tohatsu Corporation, beginning in November 2013. The motors are expected to be at Tohatsu dealers in 2014. The private-label outboards from Honda will include 60, 75, 90, 115, 150, 200, 225 and 250 hp models, all of which are also in the current Honda line.
Painted blue and bearing the Tohatsu logo, the motors will be available in U.S., as well as 17 other countries, according to an announcement by Tohatsu president Mitsuru Kaneko, who described Honda as "the industry's technological leader." The relationship between Honda and Tohatsu is not new. Historically, Honda Marine has a business relationship with Tohatsu in Japan.
"We are very proud of our new relationship with Honda," Kaneko wrote in a letter with a Tokyo, Japan, July 31, 2013, dateline to Tohatsu distributors. "By adding these larger four-stroke outboards, Tohatsu will now be able to offer a full range of outboards from 2.5 hp to 250 hp and allow us to expand our worldwide distributor/dealer network"
With U.S. distribution headquarters in Texas, Tohatsu's line of outboards currently stops at 115 hp. Its current 40 to 115 models are direct-injected two-strokes, while the 2.5 to 30 hp outboards are four-strokes.
In an official statement, the U.S. division of Honda Marine, based in Georgia, confirmed the agreement, but said little else about the development. "Beginning in 2014, Tohatsu branded Honda outboards will be sold via the Tohatsu dealership network in a number of countries internationally," the statement read.