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21,673 $m

In a strategic effort to speed growth and more clearly differentiate itself, Honda, the Japanese car and motorcycle manufacturer, is returning to Formula 1 as an engine supplier for McLaren, after a break of more than 20 years. Honda hopes this will ignite the kind of brand awareness it enjoyed during the golden age of "Powered by Honda." Its evocative and interactive campaign, "Sound of Honda/Ayrton Senna 1989," won a Grand Prix at this year's Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity. The Formula 1 race calendar now includes a number of the so-called emerging markets, which are already big markets for Honda motorcycles and growth markets for cars. Honda aims to improve its relevance and responsiveness in these markets by tailoring regional products more quickly. In terms of technological innovation, the brand is partnering with companies like Google and Apple in the areas of telematics and autopilot programs-but this is far from unique in this category. And the year hasn't all been positive for the brand, which has been plagued by recalls. It could also be argued that the product strategy isn't as original or as responsive as those of its competitors, falling short of its promise of being the "Dream Factory." As Formula 1 has moved to a downsized turbo engine, with a structure similar to general production cars, the partnership is a great opportunity for Honda to show its presence and differentiation. All eyes are on Honda-eager to see if it will gain traction and accelerate growth.

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