Honda has just released the first official photos of its eagerly-anticipated new dedicated hybrid car that will debut early in 2009. The car that until now had been referred to by Honda officials simply as the "Global Hybrid" will revive the popular Insight name from the company's first hybrid model. Although Honda is officially calling the car that will be shown in Paris next month a concept, these concepts tend to be extremely close to the final production version. Given the similarity to the spy photos we've seen already we shouldn't expect much to change before launch next year. The Insight does bear a strong resemblance to the larger FCX Clarity fuel cell car although as with most hybrids, the current Honda three bar grill design is actually a solid piece for optimized aerodynamics. Honda has already said that it has cut the cost of its IMA hybrid system in half for the Insight and the new Insight's price is expected to start in the neighborhood of $18,500. Honda is expecting about 200,000 world wide sales of the Insight with half of those going to the U.S.
Honda Insight Concept Hybrid Vehicle to Debut at Paris International Auto Show
09/04/2008 - TORRANCE, Calif. -
Honda will reveal a concept version of its new small hybrid vehicle, to be named Insight, at the 2008 Paris International Auto Show, October 2, the company announced today. The new Insight Concept shares styling cues with the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle and will provide an early look at the highly-anticipated five-passenger hybrid vehicle.
Going on sale in the U.S. next spring, the all-new purpose-built Insight will come to market at a price significantly below hybrids available today. From this unique position in the marketplace, the Insight will advance the affordability and accessibility of hybrid technology to a new generation of buyers.
"The original Honda Insight pioneered hybrid technology in the U.S. and remains a symbol of Honda's commitment to innovative technology and fuel efficiency," said Takeo Fukui, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. CEO. "This new Insight will break new ground as an affordable hybrid within the reach of customers who want great fuel economy and great value."
The Insight Concept defines a new stage in the evolution of hybrid technology by utilizing a more cost-efficient version of Honda's Integrated Motor Assist™ (IMA™) hybrid technology, resulting in a new level of affordability for hybrid customers worldwide. Evoking the innovative styling cues first seen in the FCX Clarity, the Insight Concept is designed with a low center of gravity and a generous five-passenger cabin, offering the kind of driving pleasure and roomy interior that customers have come to expect from Honda. While the Insight Concept's aerodynamic design clearly identifies its fuel efficient purpose, its five-door access and folding rear seats speak to functionality that is designed to meet the needs of customers with an active lifestyle. The Insight Concept is a small, fuel efficient hybrid car that delivers big style and functionality with a healthy dose of fun.
Honda achieved a significant cost reduction in Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) components which should make Insight the most affordable hybrid vehicle to date. The production Insight will be offered as a five-door, five-passenger hatchback. Numerous technologies, including a function to assist customers in achieving more fuel efficient driving habits, will be applied to achieve a further improvement in real world fuel efficiency. With its affordable price, the new hybrid vehicle will represent the best value in its segment. Along with the Civic Hybrid, the new vehicle will be produced at an expanded hybrid vehicle production line at the Suzuka factory in Japan.
The Insight is expected to have annual global sales of 200,000 units per year - approximately 100,000 in North America. Following the launch of the new Insight, Honda also plans to introduce another unique sporty hybrid vehicle based on the CR-Z, first shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. All together, Honda's global sales of hybrids should increase to approximately 500,000 units a year, or more than 10 percent of its total worldwide annual automobile sales.
The original Honda Insight was introduced in December 1999 as America's first gas-electric hybrid car. The first vehicle to break the 70-mpg fuel economy barrier, Insight was designed from the ground up to demonstrate the ultimate potential for fuel-economy in a two-seater subcompact automobile.
A leader in the development of cleaner, more fuel-efficient mobility products, Honda introduced the first low-emission gasoline vehicles; America's first gas-electric hybrid car and the world's first EPA-certified hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, the FCX. In 2007, Honda was named "greenest automaker" by the Union of Concerned Scientists for the fourth straight time.
For more information and downloadable high-resolution images of the Insight Concept and other Honda vehicles, including the Civic Hybrid, please visit www.hondanews.com. Consumer information is available at www.honda.com.