Automotive News reports Honda expects the popularity of its Fit subcompact to grow significantly over the next four years. President Takanobu Ito says he expects the model and its variations to sell around 200,000 units per year in North America by 2016. That's up from 64,177 units in 2011. The goal is part of a larger strategy to step up sales on this continent by 18 percent, and from the sounds of things, Ito expects the Fit to lead that charge. The tiny hatchback is slated for a redesign next
Remember when selling 100,000 hybrids was something to tout? Today, Honda comes calling with the news that, since putting its first-gen Insight on sale in 1999, the company has sold more than a million hybrids around the world.
Honda broke ground on a production line at its Malaysian factory that will make hybrid versions of the Jazz (as the Fit is known in markets outside the U.S.) – as well as other vehicles – in an effort to more than double hybrid sales in the country.
Honda will start making a hybrid version of its Fit compact in Thailand this summer, according to the Japanese publication the Nikkei. Production will mark the first time Honda will be making any of its hybrids in Asia outside of Japan. Sales of the Jazz Hybrid – Honda substitutes the name Jazz for Fit outside of the U.S. – will start as soon as next summer.
Earlier this year, Honda unveiled a concept version of its Acura NSX at the Detroit Auto Show. Now, the Japanese automaker appears to be taking a speedy approach to hybrid sales in China similar to that mid-engined sports car.
First released in 2008, the Freed minivan has finally been updated to a gas-electric powertrain and will go on sale in Japan before the end of the month. New models with a simple gasoline engine will also go on sale October 28. Next month, Freed models designed for people with special needs will go on sale. These include a "wheelchair-accessible model with a newly developed electric winch, a side lift-up seat model, and a passenger lift-up seat model."
Japan's Honda Motor is looking to hybridize China with a trio of gas-electrics in 2012.
Honda has fired up a website for its Fit Shuttle. The Japanese-market Fit Shuttle clearly resembles Honda's standard subcompact Fit, but features some added glass beyond the hatchback's C-pillar, which means more cubes of storage space inside. The Fit Shuttle wagon will feature both a 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and a 1.3-liter IMA hybrid, both of which are yanked directly from the standard Japanese-market Fit and Fit Hybrid hatchback.
2011 Honda Fit (Jazz) Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery
2009 Honda Fit Sport – Click above for high-res gallery
2010 Honda Insight – Click above for high-res image gallery
Honda Freed minivan - click above for high-res image gallery
Inside Line seems confident it has the real scoop on Honda's upcoming hybrids, or lack thereof in some cases. For one, IL claims Honda insiders have confirmed that there will not be a hybrid version of the next CR-V. A $7,000 premium for a hybrid version is cited as the reason for not producing one, though that sounds a bit high to us.