2009 Honda Skydeck Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery
Honda hasn't shared similar success with its various hybrid automobiles as cross-town rival Toyota, despite the fact that the two Japanese automakers introduced their first gasoline/electric models around the same time. The reasons for the sales disparity are many and varied, and at least due in part to the design of Honda Integrated Motor Assist drivetrain, which doesn't quite match the level of sophistication and fuel mileage of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive.
Still, Honda is pushing forward with the next generation of its IMA system, and it will be added to larger, thirstier models within the next three years or so. The last time Honda put a hybrid powertrain in a larger car, the results were more than a little disappointing with the Accord Hybrid failing to meet sales or efficiency expectations. As such, it will be interesting to see how Honda improves the upsized hybrid system and whether it will be enough to compete with the likes of Toyota, Ford and General Motors.
In somewhat related news, Honda is apparently still working on diesel engines, though apparently not for the U.S. market. According to Tomohiko Kawanabe, chief operating officer of automobile research and development at Honda, "If you want to compete in markets like India, and also Europe, (a small diesel engine) is necessary."
[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]