Honda has given the strongest indication yet that it is going to follow Japanese rival Toyota down the hybrid power path, announcing that it will launch four hybrid powered cars over the next six years – including an all-new family five seater next year.
– by David Twomey
Interestingly it is unlikely that any of the cars will be sold in Australia in the near future.
Honda Australia spokesman Mark Higgins told CarAdvice” The Global Hybrid (the all-new family five seater) will initially be sold in Europe, the US and Japan but should move into other markets once demand has been satisfied.
He added that in regard to a Hybrid version of the Jazz (called Fit in some markets) which has also been announced, it was too early to speculate about its sale in Australia.
The Honda announcement was made in a speech in Tokyo by Mr Fukui, President and CEO of Honda Motor Co.
He said Honda was to launch a more affordable hybrid car designed to allow more people around the world to adopt cleaner motoring technology, to significantly reduce global car emissions. The car is expected to be based on the Remix concept shown at the Detroit Motor Show earlier this year.
Honda expects annual global sales of 200,000 units of the new car which goes on sale early next year.
The company will further accelerate hybrid sales by introducing a sporty hybrid based on its CR-Z Concept, an all-new Civic Hybrid and the addition of a Jazz Hybrid model.
With all four of these models, Honda expects combined annual sales of its hybrid models to reach 500,000 units.
Mr Fukui said that Honda was absolutely committed to reducing the environmental impact of its products and is developing the new hybrid car to broaden the appeal of hybrid technology at an affordable price.
Mr Fukui made the point that it is now time to shift penetration from creating awareness of hybrid towards making it popular across the world.
Encouraging more customers to drive more fuel efficient, low-emission hybrid cars would in turn help to reduce global CO2 levels. While no technical details of the new hybrid were released, it was revealed that the car would be a 5-door model capable of carrying five people.
Its strengths will be good fuel efficiency, manoeuvrability, comfort and styling. Production costs will be significantly reduced with the new control unit and battery made lighter and more compact.
A thinner motor is also being produced in an improved manufacturing facility at Honda’s Suzuka plant.
With a completely new platform, Honda is to re-position the hybrid control unit and battery which will be located underneath the cargo space. Various technologies are also to be incorporated including a function to assist more fuel efficient driving.