European Honda Jazz Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery
Honda has an ambitious sales target for its hybrid models in its homeland of Japan. For the next fiscal year, Honda forecasts that hybrids will account for 23 percent of its total sales in its native stomping grounds, up from the 10 percent share that the automaker says the gas-electrics will capture by this year's end. Looking at the numbers, this is a good news/bad news kind of thing.
Honda predicts that its 2011 domestic sales will drop by 20,000 vehicles to 635,000 units. That means that the increased hybrid sales – Honda thinks that additional hybrid models will boost its sales in that segment to 147,000 units in 2011, up 50,000 from the forecasted numbers for 2010 – will make up a higher percentage of Honda's total domestic sales next fiscal year. Honda's new hybrid models include the recently introduced Jazz (Fit) hybrid, a new hybrid wagon based on the Fit, a hybrid Freed minivan and a facelifted Insight.
If Honda hits the 23 percent mark, then the automaker will have surpassed some of the forecasts for the U.S.' hybrid market share by 2020, which brings us to this question: Are we too slow to adopt gas-electric technology or are the Japanese simply more motivated to buy hybrids?