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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