Honda Motor Co. sold its 800,000th hybrid-electric vehicle last month, about 12 years after the Japanese automaker sold its first. The company announced the milestone as it prepares to sell the first North American hybrid under its Acura luxury badge.

Honda debuted hybrid sales with the first-generation Insight in late 1999. That model achieved fuel economy of about 80 miles per gallon on the Japanese test cycle, making the model the most fuel-efficient among any gas-powered vehicle at the time. Honda, which today sells seven hybrid models in 50 countries, will start selling the Acura ILX hybrid in North America this spring.

Last year, Honda sold almost 31,600 hybrids in the U.S.. That's down 5.9 percent from a year earlier and about one-sixth of what Toyota sold in the U.S. Honda's U.S. hybrid sales, like Toyota's, were believed to be hampered by supply issues stemming from the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan last March.

By comparison, Toyota, the world's biggest maker of hybrids, sold its two millionth Prius hybrid worldwide in October 2010. Toyota introduced the Prius to Japan in 1997 and to Europe and North America three years later.
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Honda's Cumulative Worldwide Hybrid Vehicle Sales Reaches 800,000 Units

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has announced that Honda's cumulative worldwide hybrid vehicle sales surpassed 800,000 units as of the end of December 2011. This milestone was reached 12 years and 2 months after the start of sales of the first generation Honda Insight in Japan November 1999, which delivered fuel economy of 35km/liter* then the world's highest fuel economy among all gasoline-powered vehicles.

Honda introduced the first generation Insight, Civic Hybrid and Accord Hybrid equipped with Honda's original lightweight and compact IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) hybrid system. More recently, following the introduction of the second generation Insight in 2009, Honda introduced a total of six new hybrid models in the last three years to expand the hybrid vehicle line-up and sales. Honda's annual worldwide hybrid sales for 2011 was approximately 200,000 units (up 30% compared to 2010), and Honda's total hybrid sales during the last three years exceeded 500,000 units. In Japan, the ratio of hybrid vehicles exceeded 45% of all new Honda vehicle registrations for the month of December 2011.

As of today, Honda sells seven hybrid models in approximately 50 countries around the world. In addition, the market introduction of the ILX, the first Acura brand model equipped with a hybrid system, is scheduled in spring 2012 in North America.

Under the global environmental slogan of "Blue Skies for Our Children", Honda will continue its efforts to realize the further market penetration of hybrid vehicles to realize a low carbon society


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  • 23 Comments
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 7 Months Ago
      Toyota still sells 5 to 10 times more Priuses per month than the insight. But Honda has resorted to marketing speak rather than engineering work. This is sad and indicative of a company that is not doing well. For some dumb reason, i still hope the brand can pull through; when i was younger, i owned a string of 90's Hondas and loved the hell out of them. Some part of me wants that magic back, and it is painful to watch them release dud after dud. I think we need to clone Mr. Soichiro.. :P
      Ford Future
      • 7 Months Ago
      I enjoy driving the 2010 Insight every day. It's a pleasure to drive. With the EV-Sportster Honda has a good lineup of fun vehicles in the pipeline.
      • 7 Months Ago
      So, all told, there's probably a bit north of 3 million hybrids out there on the roads doing their thing. Still not enough, but that's some pretty significant change. Remember back in the day when folks were still claiming that Toyota only sold the Prius at a loss?
        Letstakeawalk
        • 7 Months Ago
        "Remember back in the day when folks were still claiming that Toyota only sold the Prius at a loss?" That was true, at the time. The first generation were sold at a loss - Toyota didn't make any profits on hybrids until around 2001. "We reduced costs of hybrid systems for the current Prius by 50 percent from the first generation. For the next-generation Prius, we will be able to cut costs by another half, so I think we've been able to ensure profitability will be similar to regular vehicles, such as the Corolla." The second-gen Prius was when they started making money, and now they're really up to par with typical profit margins. Of course, that ignores R&D costs, but then those are spread out over every vehicle the company makes, and over a long period of time. Honda has a 15% profit margin on the Insight - pretty good! Not as much as an Acura or a fully-loaded Accord, but still quite respectable. http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/george-will-disses-the-prius-obama-and-the-facts.html
      Levine Levine
      • 7 Months Ago
      Stupid Honda could have sold two million hybrids if it had adopted a pure hybrid powertrain rather than forcing IMA down the throat of consumers. Even when the writings are on the wall courtesy of Prius, Stupid and stubborn Honda insisted on IMA. Honda used to be a well managed company. No more.
      TheDoctor
      • 7 Months Ago
      I just bought a 2012 Honda Insight, I'm getting around 50mpg on the highway and it looks so much better than the Prius, it's much more fun to drive than the Prius...not to mention costs thousands less. love it.
      Yegor
      • 7 Months Ago
      Toyota now sells 800,000 hybrid-electric vehicle in a little bit more than a year. Toyota passed three million hybrid mark in March 2010. http://www.autoblog.com/2011/03/09/toyota-passes-three-million-hybrid-mark/
      Letstakeawalk
      • 7 Months Ago
      I remember sitting in the Honda Insight at the '99 Frankfurt Show... I was so enthused! Great memories. Kudos to Honda, and here's to many millions more!
      krona2k
      • 7 Months Ago
      Honda have seemed a little bit rudderless the past few years, I hope they can turn it around. My other halves Civic hybrid seems to be losing battery capacity and the engine light comes on quite a lot. She wishes she'd spent a bit more and got a Prius.
        Spec
        • 7 Months Ago
        @krona2k
        Yeah. The original Insight was a big hit with enthusiasts due to its very aerodynamic design. But the 'normalized' hybrids have largely been disappointments and Toyota has walked all over them. They need to up their hybrid game and release a pure EV. (And keep the fuel cell car development going . . . perhaps they can make a nice break-through.)
      • 7 Months Ago
      Oh come on PR, people were still using that line on the Prius up to a few years ago. It's not about the initial investment, it's about the FUD that always surrounds a new tech.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 7 Months Ago
      I agree, PR - there have been many vehicles which were sold without expectation of an initial profit.
      Larz Larzen
      • 7 Months Ago
      Honda ought to bring out a modern version of the first Insight. It blows whatever they're doing now, away. It would make the best commuter car. I still see a few on the road. A 60mpg ride to work and back is nothing to sneeze at.
      Yegor
      • 7 Months Ago
      There is interesting info in Honda press release that is not in this article - Honda sold 200,000 Hybrids globally last year! Wow! http://www.hondanews.com/channels/honda-automobiles/releases/honda-s-cumulative-worldwide-hybrid-vehicle-sales-reaches-800-000-units Only 31,600 hybrids wer sold in the U.S. so I guess about 150,000 Fit Hybrids were sold in Japan. That is a great number! Wow! Japan now is the global leader in fuel economy!
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