• Apr 3rd 2009 at 5:30PM
  • 18
2010 Honda Insight - click above for a high-res gallery

Honda's new Insight went on sale in hits homeland about a week ago, and already it's under attack. Before it hit the market, there were rumors that it would be much cheaper than the Toyota Prius. Toyota, however, has other ideas. The Insight is 1.89 million yen ($18,853 USD) in Japan, which is the same price as the current Prius. Toyota then priced the coming third generation Prius at 2.05 million yen ($20,437 USD) to keep it close to the Insight. Then Toyota said it would keep the second-generation Prius on sale in Japan, and there have been rumors that Toyota is also working on a cheaper Prius costing around 30% less than the current one. That would pit three Prius models against one Insight, all similarly priced.

In response, Honda CEO Takeo Fukui said Honda will not lower the price of the Insight. Said Fukui, "I think that is something we can't do right now. We have to carefully examine the new Prius to know whether it is necessary for us to take certain measures. We have to think about the balance between cost and effectiveness." If Toyota does come out with three Japan-market Priuses, Honda will be thinking long and hard about those issues.

Unlike Toyota, though, Honda does have the CR-Z hybrid coming, which could give Honda some sporting hybrid credentials that Toyota doesn't yet have. Honda also said it is expanding its research and hybrid push into large sedans instead of counting on clean diesels for its bigger cars. Fukui feels that clean diesels are too expensive to develop be practical.

[Source: Automotive News, sub req'd]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      I love competition!
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Cheapness of the insight is noticeable inside out appareently...the cost cutting measures here and there, plus the MPG isnt worth all that hype ......People jusr wanna buy this thing mainly for BRAGGING purposes "oh look i got a hybrid electric car " Which the car doesnt even live up to the HYPE and HYBRID status the PRIUS nameplate carries. " AKA FULL TIME HYBRID" not some knock off " HYBRID" that cannot even run on Electric alone and the PRIUS actually got more HORSEPOWER and TORQUE....Power makes a huge diffrence.

      Conclusion: U get what u pay for...youd be better off spending that extraa cash on the PIRUS with Real MPG, Power , and FULL TIME HYBRRID capabilities. NOT SOME WANNABEE HYBRID.
      • 6 Years Ago
      With Toyota cutting the price of the Prius so much, wonder if it's still profitable?
        • 6 Years Ago
        You're kidding, right?

        You can't effectively draw conclusions about profit margins on a vehicle's price alone.

        The single, most-important factor in the profit margin, is the value of the Yen to the Dollar, especially since both vehicles are manufactured in Japan.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't think this move is about profitability in the short term-it's about keeping Honda from taking away Toyota's domination of the hybrid marketplace. If you can stop your rivals from selling enough hybrids to be profitable while improving your own hybrid technology it'll ensure that you'll always have significantly better hybrid powertrains.
        Toyota basically knows that Honda can't really afford to cut the cost of the Insight since they just don't have the economy of scale necessary, so they're cranking up the heat.
        Keeping the 2nd generation on sale is kind of an insult though, they're basically saying that even their last-gen hybrid can compete against the Insight.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Man your brain just isn't firing on all cylinders.

        For this news story, how much the Prius is selling in the US is *completely* irrelevant, because we're talking about the pricing of the new Prius IN JAPAN. I'm wondering whether they can maintain a profit IN JAPAN. Dollar to Yen has absolutely nothing to do with this. The 2nd-gen isn't even sold in the US yet, how the heck do you think US sales for something that isn't even out yet will effect Japan pricing? US sales for 2nd-gen is ZERO, and therefore has absolutely no bearing on this news story. Cripes man.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ugh, some people just don't get it? I'm WONDERING if it's profitable, where did I ever say you can determine profitability on price alone?

        Another thing, this news story is about the price of the Insight/Prius in JAPAN, not US. Dollar to yen is completely irrelevant.
        • 6 Years Ago
        58% of all Prius sales come from US, about double of JDM.

        If you exclude the 1st generation Prius, then US sales account for 3x as much of JDM Prius sales.

        Anything affecting the Yen means that the Prius line can be making a huge profit despite JDM pricing.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I like the Honda better than the Prius because it's a simpler car that doesn't try as hard to be hip like the Prius.

      Maybe that's what the Clarity is for?!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Honda combined vanilla and eco-snobbery into one gay package.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Someone got turned down for prom by Honda
      • 6 Years Ago
      saw one of the new Insight's driving around town. typical hybrid driver: in a span of 3 blocks, they were blocking traffic intersections, making illegal turns, running lights, if these people want to show the world they're better because they drive a hybrid, whats stopping them from showing an ounce of common courtesy?
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Honda's a size smaller than the Toyota. That alone should dictate a lower price. Its fuel mileage is lower, in addition. There's only so much extra Honda can get from its name alone.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Really glad to see more hybrids coming on the market. The more mainstream they can make them, the more they'll be accepted and seem less the cars will be. While the hybrids on the market now may not be acceptable to most of the market, I really hope that the future is bright for these vehicles. More of these on the road, the more project cars I can work on. Hopefully...

      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm waiting for the CR-Z.
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