• Dec 25, 2007
Honda CEO Takeo Fukui has said Honda will now take the hybrid war seriously, with a claim that, "The real competition has just begun." Honda is planning to come out with a hybrid-only model in early 2009 that will provide genuine competition for the Toyota Prius.
It seems everyone has been forced to play off the Prius' cues, such as when Fukui says that, "Until now, it has been an image-based competition, not a business-based competition." Which explains the Civic Hybrid being a misstep, because according to CNW research, 50-percent of folks who buy hybrids need the world to know it's a hybrid because they don't want people to think they are burning the remains of giant lizards.

How does Honda plan to get the consumer's attention a year from now? Primarily, sticker shock -- but the good kind. Fukui said he wants the car to come in below the price of the current Civic Hybrid, which is $23,235. The current Prius starts at $20,950, so Honda needs to count a fair number of beans if they want price alone to be the allure. Fukui did say, nevertheless, that he expected the car to have a lighter hybrid engine, which would give better gas mileage. But will either the Prius or new Honda hybrid get better mileage than the MINI Cooper D?

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]


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  • 39 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      The first gen Prius didn't sell well and it was exclusively a Hybrid, the current Prius is a success not so much because of the status symbol factor (though that is a factor) but because it's way way more practical (being a hatchback) and more efficient.

      The Civic hybrid does have decent efficiency but without a fold down rear seat it's impractical even by sedan standards (which is quite a statement) so it's ruled out by a lot of the same efficiency minded people who are more likely to pony up the extra cash for a hybrid.
      • 7 Years Ago
      They kept saying "current prius." Next Gen comes out in 09/10 from the sounds of it. So they better come out with something that'll blow the next gen prius outta the water. Which I doubt.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Yeah, I read the next prius will get 100mpg and cost half as much.

        Right, like the next version of Windows has no bugs and is secure. Expect the next prius to be a modest increase in mpg, with bleeding-edge unproven (and biohazard) batteries. Oh, and the body will probably be even uglier. Yelch.
      • 7 Years Ago
      " 50-percent of folks who buy hybrids need the world to know it's a hybrid because they don't want people to think they are burning the remains of giant lizards"

      I have a friend who bought 2 of the Prius models, one silver and one red. He is on the ego trip of a lifetime. And it is a very expensive ego trip. He feels good and ultimately, from a cost savings that is all he can show for his efforts. I tank him everyday for spending all that $$$ so I can burn all the dino fuel that he is not using.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Honda sells the Civic in a body style not available in the U.S., that is as a small, wagonish, MPV-like vehicle called the stream. It's too bad this model isn't adaptable to the Hybrid powertrain, as it would give Honda a unique Hybrid....both in looks and utility. AND, it wouldn't "force" Honda to come up with a Hybrid model that would require it's own "special look" to be a sales success.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hybrids, E85, clean diesel, all of them are just stopgaps between here and widespread use of hydrogen fuel cells.

      FCX (and home fueling stations) FTW!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Gasoline burning vehicle market will be focusing Higher class consumers in the near future. This will make it exclusive and who doesn't want that.

      • 7 Years Ago
      The methods that the US is choosing for E-85 (e.g. high tariffs on efficient sugar cane ethanol/ using inefficient maize ethanol) has already doomed ethanol as a viable alternative. The US produced 330 billon tons of maize last year, 1/3 of which was converted to be used for E-85. There are only 800 gas stations that have E-85 and about 6 million cars that can use it and WE ARE ALREADY USING 1/3 OF OUR PROGRAM CROP ON IT!!! Unless we can figure out how to make cellulosic ethanol this alternative wont work. Hybrids are a good stop gap measure until battery technology and hydrogen technology comes down in cost – those options will release us from the bonds of an overbearing transportation industry.
      • 7 Years Ago
      More cars for Clarkson to destroy in Top Gear???
      • 7 Years Ago
      But, uh, hybrids are burning the remains of giant lizards, just at a lower pace (unless you include those burned during manufacture, then it's a wash some days).
        • 7 Years Ago
        Its not a wash b/c only 10 to 20 percent of the energy used by a car in its lifetime is from manufacture.

        150,000 lifetime miles divided by 40 mpg equals 3750 gallons of fuel times $3.00 gallon equals $11,250 fuel burnt in use over its lifetime. On a $23,000 car the cost of labor and materials is much higher than fuel so no it is not "a wash."
      • 7 Years Ago
      So the moral of this story is that the race is now one to see which manufacturer can lose the most money making hybrids.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why can't Honda combine the best of the economy technologies, making a diesel hybrid? Fortunately, Honda will have more CR-X style cars now.

      It's interesting that the Honda guys had been asking for higher CAFE standards than 35 mpg; contrary to other companies that were and are against them.

        • 7 Years Ago
        Honda dosn't make real trucks and know that they will have a huge advandage over ther other guys! But we will still need at least 50% of the trucks so the current laws won't work But Honda is smart when it comes to building good cars with Black interiors.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'm sure Honda will be happy to ditch Ridgeline and return to engineering small beasts with sophisticated engines and technologies.

        I need to google for an instruction "Investing in Honda for Dummies".
        • 7 Years Ago
        I guess Honda wants to be "more holier then you" to quote Pete DeLorenzo of Autoextremist until the day arrives when they'll drop their masks to show their faces.

        then I saw this article on AutoblogGreen about Honda changing its mind on ethanol....
        http://www.autobloggreen.com/2007/12/14/honda-changes-its-mind-on-ethanol/
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Fukui said he wants the car to come in below the price of the current Civic Hybrid, which is $23,235. The current Prius starts at $20,950, so Honda needs to count a fair number of beans if they want price alone to be the allure."

      That $20,950 Prius is largely a myth right now. I challenge anyone to actually find one of these new stripper models that has that low-ball MSRP on a dealer lot . The Prius really starts around 23K. So realistically, Honda doesn't have to go that far to compete pricewise.
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