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Honda plans to re-enter the hybrid fray

Topics:  Honda, Honda Insight

Honda plans to re-enter the hybrid fray

Anthony Fontanelle
December 26, 2007

Honda Motor Co. will be pacing on the growing demands for hybrid vehicles and other technologies. According to Takeo Fukui, President of Honda Motor Co., the automaker will be investing on the development of fuel-efficient and eco-friendly vehicles as well as on other innovations.

Fukui also added that Honda is developing something distinctive in the line of gas-and-electric hybrids that will match the Toyota Prius. "The competition in hybrids has just begun," Fukui said at a year-end speech Wednesday at a Tokyo hotel.

In 2009, Honda Motor Co., the producer of premium-quality Acura Cl brake caliper will be introducing an affordable hybrid. Japan’s second largest automaker will target 200,000 unit sales for its every year says Fukui.

Fukui also added that the automaker is on the process of boosting production of hybrid vehicles, that in 2010, hybrids will account for about ten percent of the automaker’s total sales.

This year, Honda is expecting a six percent sales rise from 3.55 million vehicles in 2006 to 3.76 million units. Although the American auto market is expected to have flat sales next year, Honda Motor Co. is still predicting that sales growth will continue for them. Fukui confirmed that the company will be introducing four new vehicle models.

The automaker’s hybrid hurry is due to Honda being one of the worst performers in the hybrid market. Since the introduction of the hybrid version of the Accord sedan in 2004, it only sold 24,000 units. On the other hand, since the Prius’ introduction in December 1997, it already sold 900,000 units worldwide. Despite ten years in the market, the Prius continues to be the revolutionary hybrid.

According to Fukui, they realized their mistake. Unlike the Prius, offered only in hybrid model, the automaker makes hybrid version of their other vehicles like the Civic and the Accord. Honda also failed to realize that small hybrids are the best sellers since the fuel economy features are more obvious.

Fukui said that Honda will allot $424 million for a research center in Japan to develop the next generation cars especially hybrid vehicles and fuel cells. The new Honda facility will initially start its operations in 2009 and will run in full swing on 2010. It will start product developments for Honda’s luxury brand, Acura.

Although Fukui declined to give the price of their new hybrid to match the Prius, he said that its hybrid system is cheaper giving way for the automaker to make the vehicle available at a fairly competitive price.

Source:  Amazines.com

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