New Honda Hybrid models announced

Honda Canada has released additional information about a new Hybrid vehicle to be introduced in 2009.

The new gas/electric Hybrid vehicle will attempt to expand the popularity of these fuel efficient vehicles by lowering production costs and increasing the efficiency of the vehicle.

Honda FCX Clarity Hybrid

According to Takeo Fukui, Chief Executive Officer of Honda Motor Co., during his mid-year address, the new small hybrid car is scheduled for introduction early next year. The official product name and full product details will be announced later this year.

In addition to weight reduction, a significant cost reduction in Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) components will result in the most affordable hybrid vehicle to date. This dedicated hybrid vehicle will be offered as a 5-door hatchback with seating for five passengers and will employ an exterior design concept that evokes the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle.

“Honda has been at the forefront of hybrid development since first introducing the Canadian public to hybrid technology with the launch of the Honda Insight in 1999,” said Jerry Chenkin, executive vice president of Honda Canada Inc. “New advancements in Honda’s technology and production systems are resulting in cost reductions that will allow us to make hybrid technology available to a new generation of Canadian car buyers at a more affordable price.”

The new small gasoline/electric hybrid vehicle, to be produced at an expanded IMA production line at Honda’s Suzuka factory in Japan, will have expected annual global sales of 200,000 units per year. Of that number, approximately 100,000 will be sold in the North American market.

Following this launch, Honda also plans to introduce another unique small hybrid vehicle based on the CR-Z sports car concept, first shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, as well as a Honda Fit hybrid model. Including the Civic Hybrid, these four gasoline-electric hybrid cars are expected to reach combined annual global sales of about 500,000 units.

Featuring seating for five passengers, distinctive styling and high-value amenities, the new hybrid will present an appealing package. Taking advantage of component size reductions, the battery and the internal processing unit will be positioned below the rear cargo area, allowing the hatchback design to provide adequate cargo space for the needs of a family.

Various technologies, including an innovative function to assist more fuel-efficient driving, are being applied to achieve a further improvement of practical fuel efficiency. Honda’s new small hybrid car is designed to be offered at an affordable price and will represent the best value for Canadians in its segment.

The new hybrid will be produced at a newly developed second IMA production line at Honda’s Suzuka factory, which currently produces the Civic Hybrid. With a second line and production improvements, hybrid production capacity at Suzuka will increase from 70,000 vehicles per year to nearly 250,000 units, with future expansion possible if needed.