Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Honda goes hybrid once again

Even I used to think that Toyota Motor Corporation (TYO: 7203) is the pioneer in hybrid vehicles but that is not true; it is the second largest Japanese automobile producer, Honda Motor Company Limited (TYO: 7267), who first introduced hybrid car in the USA. In 1999, Honda rolled out its first hybrid model, the Honda Insight but it was not very successful. Now, looking at Toyota’s success, the company is gearing up again with new hybrid models. On May 21, Honda CEO Takeo Fukui told reporters that by 2010, Honda is planning to sell 500,000 hybrid cars per year. Honda is planning to bring out the Hybrid version of its popular Fit Subcompact. Business Week reports:

First up will be Honda's long-awaited dedicated hybrid car. Seating five, it will be a five-door model with an exterior design based on Honda's sleek FCX Clarity fuel-cell car, which it plans to begin leasing later this year in the U.S. and Japan.

The new car will go on sale in early 2009 and will use a traditional gasoline engine as its main power source, tapping an electric motor during startup and acceleration. It will be launched in Japan, North America, and Europe at an "affordable price," which Fukui says means customers will be thinking about more than just image when they make their buying decision. "This hybrid vehicle will be chosen rationally by customers based on its economic benefit," he says. Annual production is scheduled to be 200,000 vehicles a year, around half of which will be sold in the U.S.

The five-door model will be followed by a sporty hybrid and a new version of the popular Civic hybrid in 2010.

The main problem is, though Honda is optimistic to compete with Toyota, Toyota Motor Corporation is in far better position than Honda dominating majority of North American Hybrid market. At this point, the other option for Honda is going for electric plug-in vehicles like Nissan but Honda is not interested in electronic vehicles. According to Fukui, the major drawback of the electric vehicles is the low powered battery. Unless there is some major technological advancement in the battery, the plug-in cars will not be much popular.

Related article:
Business Week


Anonymous said...

I tell you what I just got one of those hybrid vehicle . I save so much money on gas I put like 30.00 in the tank for two weeks. Thats right I said two weeks. That is crazy! I love it, and it feels so futuristic. By the way I got the Toyota Prius. So awesome, comes with projection speed and gas gauge on the dash with built in monitor for gps or the "Energy Monitor" to see if your using the electric engine or the gas engine.