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Old 02-22-2006, 11:09 AM   #1
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Default Honda to sell Hybrid Fit globally starting in April 2007

Honda to sell Hybrid Fit globally starting in April 2007

Pic of 2007 Honda Fit for Reference:


TOKYO (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co. <7267.T> plans to sell a hybrid version of its popular Fit subcompact model globally as early as the business year starting in April 2007, the Nihon Keizai business daily reported on Wednesday.

Japan's third-biggest auto maker aims to sell the Fit hybrid for around 1.4 million yen ($11,790), or about 200,000 yen more than the gasoline-only version, likely making it the world's first hybrid to cost less than 2 million yen ($16,840), the newspaper said.

A spokesman denied the auto maker had made any decision, but added that Honda had the technological wherewithal to mount its hybrid system, which twins an electric motor and a conventional engine to save fuel, on most of its vehicles.

Chief Executive Takeo Fukui has long said the price premium for a hybrid over a gasoline-only car needs to fall below 200,000 yen ($1,680) for the powertrain to go mainstream.

With hybrid systems still costing auto makers -- and customers -- thousands of dollars, Fukui has said Honda had not made a strategic decision yet to produce the gasoline-electric vehicles in big volumes, unlike rival Toyota Motor Corp. <7203.T>, which has aggressively promoted their proliferation.

A decision to offer a hybrid version of the mass-volume Fit -- Honda's best-selling model in Japan and due to debut in the United States soon -- would suggest the auto maker is a step closer to committing to the powertrain longer-term.

Honda also sells hybrid versions of its two best-selling cars, the Accord and Civic, at a premium of around 300,000 yen ($2,525). Its hybrid-only Insight coupe was the first gasoline-electric car to be sold in the United States.

Honda is developing a smaller motor and battery to reduce the hybrid's cost and weight, the Nihon Keizai said. It will twin the hybrid unit with a one-liter engine for the Fit, the paper added.

Toyota also aims to halve the production and selling cost of a hybrid system. It currently sells many of its hybrid models at a premium of around 500,000 yen ($4,200).

Honda, Toyota and Ford Motor Co. <F.N> are so far the world's sole mass-producers of hybrid passenger cars. Laggards like General Motors Corp. <GM.N> have argued that hybrid systems are most suitable for large vehicles due to the added weight from the extra components.

Compact cars are also generally fuel-efficient to begin with, and the extra cost of a hybrid car may be more difficult to justify, depending on how much can be saved at the pump.

The newspaper said the Fit hybrid would have fuel economy comparable to that of the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius, which the auto makers advertise in Japan as getting around 35-36 km to a liter (82-84 miles per gallon).

($1=118.78 yen)
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Old 02-22-2006, 12:07 PM   #2
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That's awesome, go Honda!
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Old 02-22-2006, 01:15 PM   #3
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Dude, that's chump change. I'll buy one!
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Old 02-22-2006, 01:37 PM   #4
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It reminds me of the old Suzuki Areos
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Old 02-22-2006, 05:55 PM   #5
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Its more like, Honey I Shrunk the First Gen Oddysey.

I like this. The Prius is far to expensive to be the super cost effective commuter car. Toyota talks about how much more advanced thier system is. They don't talk about how thier Prius battery pack costs twice that of the Civics. If this could be priced at about the cost of a Hyundai Elantra, It'd sell well.
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Old 02-22-2006, 06:37 PM   #6
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let's just hope they manage to retain the cargo space of the fit. I've heard that the Civic hybrid has a much smaller trunk than it's gasoline counterpart and on top of it the seat doesn't fold down.
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Old 02-22-2006, 07:30 PM   #7
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"(82-84 miles per gallon)."

WOW. Now compare those numbers to barely mid-30 numbers that the Chevy Aveo is getting.

Once again Honda shows what world-class engineering can occomplish.
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Old 02-22-2006, 08:24 PM   #8
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Wow, I think I actually want one now! 80mpg, and the Honda fit is a great car too.
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Old 02-22-2006, 08:33 PM   #9
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Sounds like a new daily driver for all of us. A Honda that costs around 11k that gets triple the gas mileage will sell easily.
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Old 02-22-2006, 08:33 PM   #10
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Don't wet yourself guys. It says it gets similar mileage to the current Insight and Prius "which the auto makers advertise in Japan as getting around 35-36 km to a liter (82-84 miles per gallon."
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Old 02-23-2006, 02:33 PM   #11
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Plus that sales price is just for Japan.

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Old 02-23-2006, 02:34 PM   #12
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^^Yup; the EPA rating is a lot lower and even that is very hard to achieve in real-world driving.

Anyway, I would seriously consider buying a Fit, hybrid or not, as a city car. I'll bet I could get myself, wife, 2 small kids, euro-type stroller, daypack, and diaper bag into it (just barely)
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