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by Tim Beissmann

The all-new Honda CR-Z hybrid sports coupe is proving popular in its homeland of Japan.

After just one month on sale in the Japanese market, the country’s second-largest vehicle manufacturer has taken more than 10,000 orders, ten times initial monthly predictions. Half of those buyers were new to the brand, and Honda is now just 2000 vehicles away from its conservative first-year prediction of 12,000.

Ninety percent of orders have been placed by men, with most between 30 and 50.

Around 9000 orders have been placed for the top spec CR-Z EX, which, at 2,498,000 yen (AUD$29,830), costs about $2,740 more than the entry-level model and scores a premium sound system with subwoofer, auto on/off HID headlights and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The result is a long way short of the Toyota Prius however, with 27,000 sales in February making it Japan’s best-selling vehicle for the 10th consecutive month.

Honda is planning to sell between 40,000 and 50,000 CR-Z models around the world each year, with the Japanese figures to be bolstered by the addition of the North American and European markets around mid-year.

Although Honda Australia is yet to confirm it, the CR-Z is expected to hit Australia by mid- to late-2011.

(with The Wall Street Journal)




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