Honda CEO Takeo Fukui talked about the new dedicated hybrid from Honda due out next year. Despite having the first hybrid on the road in the US, Honda has had to retire two of it's three hybrid cars in the past few years (Accord and Insight), leaving just the Civic Hybrid in the Honda fleet of hybrids.
Next year will see big changes, however. Following the success of the Prius, Honda is hoping a dedicated hybrid sedan will see the same sort of sales. The new hybrid sedan will be a five-door, and seat five passengers, making it a more practical choice, unlike the two-seater Insight. It will also emphasize fuel economy, unlike the Accord hybrid.
The new hybrid will be introduced in Japan, North America and Europe and Honda is targeting sales of 200,000 units a year globally.
At the same time, Fukui stressed the premium for hybrid technology has to be kept under 200,000 yen (US$1,900; euro1,200). That's good news for potential buyers.
"The 200,000 yen difference is a must," said Fukui. "If we could shrink the price gap to less than 200,000 yen, then hybrids can compete with conventional cars" based on their lower fuel consumption.
Honda also has plans to expand their hybrid fleet with a new Civic Hybrid, a CR-Z type sports hybrid, and a Fit subcompact (Jazz in Europe) hybrid sometime between 2010 and 2015.
Honda is still using nickel metal hydride batteries and plans to keep it that way for now.
Honda has plans to sell 500,000 hybrids a year sometime after 2010.
More Details from Honda on Their Global Hybrid
- Honda will release a name for its global hybrid later this year.
- They have reduced cost in their Integrated Motor Assist components.
- It will be produced at Honda's Suzuka factory in Japan along with the Civic Hybrid.
- Expect 200,000 units per year in sales, half in North America.
- Hybrid production capacity at Suzuka will increase from 70,000 vehicles per year to approximately 250,000 units, with future expansion possible if needed. Which means they expect to sell 50,000 units of the Civic Hybrid?
- The battery and internal processing unit will be positioned below the rear cargo area, freeing up area in the hatchback area for storage.
- Various technologies, including a function to assist more fuel efficient driving, are being installed
- Expect it to be the best value in its segment.