Among the options that will soon be available to Honda customers in certain markets: cruise control, automatic transmission, solar panels for your house. Which is admittedly odd.
The New York Times explains the car company’s new offer:
Through a partnership with SolarCity, a residential and commercial installer, Honda and Acura will offer their customers home solar systems at little or no upfront cost, the companies said on Tuesday. The automaker will also offer its dealers preferential terms to lease or buy systems from SolarCity on a case-by-case basis, executives said.
The deal, in which Honda will provide financing for $65 million worth of installations, will help the automaker promote its environmental aims and earn a modest return, executives said. …
And SolarCity, one of the few clean-tech start-ups to find a market for an initial public offering of its stock last year, will potentially gain access to tens of millions of new customers through Honda’s vast lists of current and previous owners.
It’s an interesting strategy by Honda, a reinforcement of the company’s ongoing efforts to sell itself as environmentally friendly. And it’s not only buyers of efficient Hondas who stand to benefit from the offer; you can buy a giant gas-guzzler from another car company and still take Honda up on its deal.
Honda approached SolarCity more than a year ago when it was looking for a partner to provide solar installation services for its hybrid and electric vehicle customers, said Ryan Harty, American Honda’s assistant manager for environmental business development. The company then decided to expand to all its customers — a group it is defining “very, very broadly,” Mr. Harty said, to include not just car owners but also those who have explored its Web sites. The offer will be available in 14 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington, and the District of Columbia.
For SolarCity, of course, the benefits are obvious. This is not the first time it has worked with a car company; in 2009, it announced a partnership to provide panels for Tesla’s solar charging stations. (Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk is also chair of SolarCity.)
We are still looking into reports that Chevron is offering an authentic polar bear rug with the purchase of 20 gallons of gasoline. We’ll update you as we learn more.