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Much has already been written about Honda's plan to introduce a fleet of new hybrid models to take on Toyota's dominance in the segment. It's strategy includes a new dedicated hybrid model, a sporty hybrid based on the CR-Z concept, and hybridized versions of the Civic and Fit. Yesterday Honda's President, Takeo Fukui, revealed more information about that dedicated hybrid that's destined to take on the Toyota Prius in the global marketplace. While an official name and specific details will come later this year, Fukui did say that it will be a five-door hatchback (like the Prius) and seat five people. It's styling will be inspired by the FCX Clarity fuel-cell vehicle, so expect a clean shape that's slippery through the wind. It will be produced in Japan alongside the Civic Hybrid at Honda's Suzuka factory, and the automaker expects to sell about 200,000 per year around the world, with 100,000 earmarked for North American markets. Honda also claims it has found new ways to reduce weight in the car and also lower the cost of its Integrated Motor Assist technology, though we don't expect any of these hybrids to be full parallel hybrids like the Prius, i.e. able to run on electricity alone.

Altogether, Honda hopes its four new hybrid models will reach global sales of 500,000 per year shortly after they're all on the market around 2010. Bully for them, but Toyota's already said that it will be selling a million hybrids annually by that time. Game on, people. Check out the official line from Honda PR after the jump.

[Source: Honda]


Honda Announces Additional Details on New Small Hybrid Vehicle

Honda today announced additional details regarding its new small hybrid scheduled for introduction in early 2009, as part of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. CEO Takeo Fukui's mid-year address. An official name and full product details will be announced later this year.

In addition to weight reduction, a significant cost reduction in Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) components will result in the most affordable hybrid vehicle to date. This dedicated hybrid vehicle will be offered as a 5-door hatchback with seating for five passengers and will employ an exterior design concept that evokes the FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle. Along with the Civic Hybrid, the new vehicle will be produced at an expanded IMA production line at Honda's Suzuka factory in Japan.

The new small gasoline/electric hybrid vehicle will have expected annual global sales of 200,000 units per year - approximately 100,000 of which are bound for the North American market. Following this launch, Honda also plans to introduce another unique small hybrid vehicle based on the CR-Z sports car first shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show as well as a Fit hybrid model. Including the Civic Hybrid, these four hybrid vehicles are expected to reach combined annual global sales of approximately 500,000 units.

"Honda has been at the forefront of hybrid development since it first introduced the American public to hybrid technology with the Insight in 1999," said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. "These new advancements in Honda's technology and production systems will result in cost reductions that will allow us to make hybrid technology available to a whole new generation of buyers."

Featuring seating for five passengers, distinctive styling and high-value amenities, the new hybrid will present an appealing package. Taking advantage of reductions in the size of components, the battery and the internal processing unit will be positioned below the rear cargo area, allowing the hatchback design to provide adequate cargo space to meet the needs of a family. Additionally, various technologies, including a function to assist more fuel efficient driving, are being installed to achieve a further improvement of practical fuel efficiency. With its affordable price, the new hybrid vehicle will represent the best value in its segment.

The new hybrid will be produced at a newly developed second IMA production line at Honda's Suzuka factory, which currently produces the Civic Hybrid. With the second line in operation and improvements in IMA production efficiency, hybrid production capacity at Suzuka will increase from 70,000 vehicles per year to approximately 250,000 units, with future expansion possible if needed.

Honda is committed to offering products with the highest environmental performance produced at factories with reduced environmental footprints. A leader in the development of cleaner, more fuel-efficient mobility products, Honda introduced the first low-emission vehicles; America's first gas/electric hybrid car, the Insight and the world's first EPA-certified hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, among other environmental achievements. In 2007, Honda was named "greenest automaker" by the Union of Concerned Scientists for the fourth straight time.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Have they worked on the lumpiness and noise of the IMA system yet? It has driveline shuffle when it activates and if you're in the backseat of the Civic, you can hear it quite loudly.

      The Prius is a lot more smooth in operation than Honda's system.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Honda and Toyota will essentially have the market cornered so I'm sure they'll both do quite well. It's too bad the American manufacturers can't come up with anything that can compete in this space.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Whoa there, punky. Honda makes an announcement with no details and you state the Americans are hopelessly behind?

        Honda makes only one hybrid right now, and it's just a modification of another car. GM makes several of these, including one very advanced one (the Tahoe).

        Honda's high-line hybrids haven't done so well. The Accord came and went, the Insight as well.

        Toyota is doing a bang-up job and everyone else (including Honda, maker of the first hybrid) is playing catch up. But that doesn't mean no one else will catch up.

        If GM made a press release about the two-mode Malibu being out this fall (with no details), would you then become as convinced about their success as you are about Honda's?
        • 7 Years Ago
        ls2ls7: the reason why GM put it in the Tahoe is because they needed a vehicle that had enough margins to help absorb the cost of the hybrid system. Since their more advanced hybrid system costs them a lot of money, the margins on the Malibu would lead to a huge write-off for every hybrid Malibu sold.

        And with gas prices the way they are they'd probably sell far more money-losing hybrids if they made a Malibu full-mode hybrid.

        Of course at the end of the day GM really has to just eat the losses until they get their costs on hybrids down...the problem is of course that Toyota already did that years ago, so they can put hybrid powertrains in lower margin sedans without worrying about massive losses on each car sold.

        GM really should have bit the bullet when they had more cash to work with...trying to deal with huge losses on hybrid powertrains when you're already strapped for cash is definitely a problem. Just look at how the Volt's price keeps skyrocketing with each announcement...what's the point of getting 100mpg if the car is gonna end up costing 3x as much as the other hybrids.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "And no, the stop/start, unobtainable "hybrid" Malibus and Auras don't count."

        Why? They are a mild Hybird systems much like the Civic and just like all of the Hybrids mentioned in the article.

        The Hybrids that can run on electric only power are limited to the Prius, Highlander, Escape Hybrid, Tahoe and soon the Vue.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I did not endorse buying SUVs. But the technical aspects of the Tahoe hybrid are very advanced, even better than the current Civic hybrid (but perhaps not the next one).

        Chevy made a poor choice as to which vehicle to put their first two-mode system in, I think we can agree on that.

        The current mild hybrid Malibu/Aura are not just stop-start. They have motor assist, like the Civic. Neither the Civic nor the Malibu/Aura can run in electric-only mode, nor could the Insight.

        As to you goat, we have nothing to discuss. You just hate on GM, get it. There's no point in us going further with this.
        • 7 Years Ago
        quit leaving out the honda civic hybrid.

        it has great looks (looks sexier than the prius i think) and only costs a little more than the normal civic.

        i got mine 2nd year they were out, and all the idiots that said "oh man gas will never get above $2.50 you won't gain alot off of having a hybrid" I'M LAUGHING IN THEIR FACES :D

        I fill my tank up once a month lol
        • 7 Years Ago
        why not the LS2LS7?,

        You had me until you mentioned the Tahoe hybrid. Among other things, overbundance of American reliance on unnecessarily needed SUVs is what got Americans into the mess we're in now. The Tahoe hybrid was a bad example. It costs the same as a Mercedes GL320 CDI, but has worse fuel economy, less useful seating and less engaging dynamics. A hybrid SUV is cool, but unless done properly, I see no point over a better engineered diesel vehicle.

        On another note, the Volt is expected to come in somewhere between $5K-$10K more than initially expected because Lutz is pushing to be "first", allowing other manufacturers to give a little more time to make the technology more cost effective at the expense of just a few extra months. The other poster has a point. No offense, but domestic car companies seem to have an ass-backwards way of doing things. I wish they'd just take their time to get the tech right instead of rushing to get it finished.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Honda says this thing will be on sale in early 2009. When did GM and Ford say they were going to have hybrid sedans on sale? And no, the stop/start, unobtainable "hybrid" Malibus and Auras don't count.

        "If GM made a press release about the two-mode Malibu being out this fall (with no details), would you then become as convinced about their success as you are about Honda's?"

        No, because I'm fairly convinced that to succeed right now you need a dedicated car, not a modification of an existing traditional one. If GM can get the Volt out the door within 12 months and sell it for $25,000 or less then they'll clean up too, but I don't see either of those as a possibility.
      • 7 Years Ago
      hope we also get a fit hybrid.
      it should have more cargo capacity then the new GSH

      • 7 Years Ago
      Honda's Insight was the first mass produced hybrid car in America in Dec 1999. In my opinion Honda made a big mistake by foolishly failing to market it strongly before Toyota's Prius.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I would like Honda to produce a successor to CR-X without any hybrid gimmicks.

      Simple, light, cheap, 50 mpg, diesel...
      I saw ads on autotrader about 20-year old CR-Xs Si with 250,000 miles for $2,000.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Diesel? What are you talking about? The original CRX was a high revving, peppy engine with a lightweight powertrain (and was slow). Not something powered by a slow revving, low RPM train engine. Ugh, no thanks.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'd love to have a hybrid del sol, but i think i'm alone in that market haha
          • 7 Years Ago
          I'd buy one. I LIKED the Del Sol, once you get away from the base model, owned two of them (at the same time!) Sold one to friends who wanted it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      isnt there alr a civic hybrid sedan..looks the same as the pic..
        • 7 Years Ago
        I guess you didn't read any of that.
      • 7 Years Ago
      That was good news for Honda enthusiasts like me.

      I have also read that Acura brings us another high performance and high quality ride—the 2009 Acura TSX.
      • 7 Years Ago
      as long as the CR-Z is small, lightweight, fuel efficient and yet still (relatively) powerful and fun to drive, sign me up. If it's just some 3000lb hybrid with marginal fuel economy and anemic power, no thanks.
      • 7 Years Ago
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