Honda's new CEO, Takanobu Ito, has finally announced the on-sale date for the company's next hybrid model, the CR-Z. The CR-Z coupe will go on sale in Japan in February 2010 with a launch in North America and Europe sometime later that year. The CR-Z was first shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show and since then Honda has said it will eventually join the production hybrid lineup along with the existing Civic, the new Insight and an upcoming Japan-only Fit hybrid.
At the launch of the 2009 Fit last year, we asked Honda if the hybrid would come to the U.S. market. At that time, we were told that model would only be for Japan. We checked this morning with Honda spokesman Chuck Schifsky who confirmed "At this moment, we are not ready to announce any plans for the sale of Fit Hybrid in regions outside of Japan." So, for now, the Fit hybrid remains Japan only but it will also launch before the end of 2010.
The CR-Z is seen as a modern interpretation of the popular CR-X of the 1980s which in HF trim was the most fuel efficient car available in America for several years. Of course, the lean burn engine in that model wouldn't come close to passing the NOx standards of the Tier 2 Bin 5 rules. It's not known whether Honda will use the same 1.3-liter engine/IMA combination from the Insight or something a bit more powerful. We can probably expect to learn more at this fall's Tokyo Motor Show.