June is a crucial month for Antonov, the innovative automatic gearbox developer. Mid-1997 is when Honda could agree a licensing deal for the system.
Mike Emmerson, Antonov’s managing director, is `optimistic’.
In an update presentation in the City this week, Emmerson was encouraged by the fact that Honda, which has had the system under test for a couple of years, extended its trials beyond small cars to models up to 1.6 litres.
If Honda gives the green light, the first reward to Antonov would be an upfront `entrance’ fee linked to the value of the technology followed once production began with royalties related to units produced.
Antonov has already sold a production licence – though it will not reveal the terms – to Gajra, the Indian transmissions maker, and has just raised £3m from investors in part to support the customer’s production. That is for an annual minimum of 100,000 small car units – which, according to Emmerson, `will go a long way towards getting us to break even’.