Honda has already recorded 7000 orders for its all-new CR-Z sport hybrid in Japan, only 5000 shy of its projected annual target.
The Honda CR-Z, which went on sale in Japan on February 25, 2010, is a sport-oriented petrol-electric hybrid three-door hatch powered by the combination of a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. Total output figures are 91kw/174Nm while combined fuel economy is 6.2L/100km.
Honda was recently criticised for the CR-Z’s poor fuel consumption figure in the press but responded by saying the car is trying to be both “sporty and fuel efficient” at the same time – two things no green car has yet managed to combine.
Further flak ensued with media quick to point out other vehicles in the CR-Z’s market sector delivered comparable fuel consumption and performance figures without using hybrid technology, and often at a better price point.
The discussions very nearly resulted in Honda’s US executives calling a halt to the model’s sale in North America.
“We had serious doubts about whether this would bring value, ” said Mr Norio Tomobe, Chief Engineer of the Honda CR-Z, while speaking to Automotive News.
Mr Tomobe also said the CR-Z hybrid may feel a little underpowered in its current form, suggesting a Honda CR-Z Type R could be in the pipeline.
Back in Japan the CR-Z is still selling like hot cakes, a catch-22 for other hybrid models in the Honda line up. Honda Insight and Honda Civic Hybrid model sales are already beginning to slow.
At this stage Honda have not confirmed a release date for the CR-Z in Australia, though we expect mid to late 2011.