Naoki “Nick” Sugimoto studied automotive engineering at the University of Tokyo, he never planned to work in the automotive industry. However now he is one the most influential people at Honda’s Silicon Valley Lab (HSVL), overseeing Honda’s advanced information technology R&D in Silicon Valley, as well as its strategic partnerships globally as the Senior Program Director of HSVL.
The lab creates global interactions between Honda and technology companies to create cutting-edge products and customer experiences.
“A lot of change is happening in the technology and automotive industries, and going forward it is more important now than ever for Honda to work with innovators of all types to remain competitive,” said Sugimoto.
A dealmaker at heart, Sugimoto was an entrepreneur who has led a series of technology venture companies in the U.S. and Japan prior to joining Honda, including a website he describes as a combination between Yelp and Craigslist for Japanese speakers.
According to Sugimoto, while the connected car experience took a big step forward with the introduction of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to Honda vehicles including the 2016 Accord and Civic, it is only the beginning. “Your experience in the car is going to be very, very different in the future,” he said.
Through Sugimoto’s leadership, Honda played a key role in founding the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), a group of automakers and technology companies committed to bringing the Android platform to cars.
For years before joining the company, Sugimoto says he admired Honda from afar, and even named his son after company founder. Now, Sugimoto says he hopes to host as many Honda associates as possible at HSVL in the future, so Honda associates can carry the banner of high technology innovation beyond Silicon Valley and into Honda R&D divisions in the U.S. and around the world.
In his spare time, Sugimoto enjoys sailing in the San Francisco Bay.
Sugimoto, who joined Honda in 2005, serves as a liaison between the technology and automotive industries and is the newest Honda associate featured in the What Makes a Honda is Who Makes a Honda video series.
The What Makes a Honda is Who Makes a Honda video series focuses on Honda’s commitment to The Power of Dreams, a global theme that encourages Honda associates to conceive ideas that will create new value for customers and society and show determination to bring those dreams to life. In addition, the video series spotlights the varied careers within Honda and the inspiring efforts of Honda associates.
In past years, Sugimoto lead discusssion at the Connected Car Expo. This year the event has morphed into a huge tech and automotive industry event in Los Angeles called AutoMobility LA. We have special discount codes available. Register for AutoMobility LA conference (Use code ACCN2016 for $200 off).