Over a five-week period prior to its June 16th launch, Honda reportedly logged 7,000 orders for its Fit Shuttle over in Japan. That's a fraction of the number of 52,000 orders recorded by Toyota for the Prius Alpha hybrid MPV, a competitor to Honda's gas-electric version of the Fit Shuttle wagon.

Of the 7,000 Fit Shuttle orders logged, 90 percent reportedly opted for the hybrid version, which has a fuel economy rating of 30 kilometers per liter (70.56 miles per gallon U.S.) on Japan's 10-15 test cycle. Pricing for the gas-electric Fit Shuttle starts at 1.81 million yen ($22,440 U.S. at the current exchange rate), compared to 2.35 million yen ($29,135 U.S.) for the five-seat Prius Alpha.

Production of the Fit Shuttle at Honda's Suzuka factory in Mie Prefecture got underway in early May. The automaker says that some Fit Shuttles will be delivered by the end of July. Honda's planned March 18 launch of the Shuttle was delayed due to the quake that rattled Japan on March 11.

[Source: Ward's Auto – sub. req.]

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