Sony is looking at electric cars for its next big hit

  • Plans to launch Sony Mobility this year
  • The company already has prototype SUV and coupe
  • Shares are up 4%, surpassing the flat Nikkei index

January 5 (Reuters) – Japanese Sony Group Corp (6758.T) plans to launch a company this spring to investigate how they enter the electric car market, and wants to leverage its entertainment and sensor strengths to play a bigger role in next generation mobility.

The new company, Sony Mobility Inc, comes as the Japanese technology giant “explores a commercial launch” of electric vehicles, Sony Chairman and President Kenichiro Yoshida said at a news conference ahead of the US CES Technology Fair.

“With our image processing and sensing, cloud, 5G and entertainment technologies combined with our content management, we believe Sony is well positioned as a creative entertainment company to redefine mobility,” he said.

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Although the once dominant position in consumer electronics has been eroded by Asian rivals such as South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. (005930.KS), Sony still has an arsenal of sophisticated technology in areas such as sensors that are critical for autonomous driving.

It is also still one of the world’s largest entertainment companies, home to prominent video game and film franchises. Sound and entertainment systems are increasingly a focus for next-generation vehicles.

Shares of Sony rose 4.2% in Tokyo after plans for electric cars were announced, easily surpassing a flat Nikkei index (.N225).

Yoshida unveiled a prototype sports utility vehicle (SUV), the VISION-S 02, which uses the same electric vehicle platform as the previously announced VISION-S 01 passenger compartment, which began testing on public roads in Europe from December 2020.

He said the company saw mobility as an “entertainment space” where passengers could choose individual entertainment options and use 5G internet connection.

Wall Street is investing heavily in electric cars and the global car industry has been upgraded by Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), now the world’s most valuable carmaker. Many investors also expect Apple Inc (AAPL.O) to launch its own vehicle in the coming years.

Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) in December committed $ 70 billion to electrify its cars by 2030.

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Reporting by Shinji Kitamura; Author by David Dolan; Edited by Himani Sarkar and Kenneth Maxwell

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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