Honda to launch low-price hybrid
Honda will start selling a hybrid version of its Fit subcompact worldwide by early 2008 to try to undercut Toyota.india Updated: Feb 22, 2006 16:06 IST
Japan's Honda Motor will start selling a hybrid version of its Fit subcompact worldwide by early 2008 to try to undercut Toyota, the world leader in gas-electric vehicles, a report said on Wedenesday.
As high oil prices boost demand for smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, Honda would develop a hybrid engine to mount on the subcompact and assemble the new model at a Japanese plant, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said.
Honda plans to price the vehicle at around $11,800 to make it the world's first hybrid that costs less than two million yen, the economic daily said without naming sources.
It will start exporting the vehicle to North America and Europe, possibly by March 2008, and will also consider selling it in China and other Asian countries, the newspaper said.
Honda declined to comment on its product planning.
Japan's top automaker Toyota Motor has enjoyed huge success since it first launched a Prius hybrid car powered by a combination gasoline and electric engine in 1997.
It now has five hybrid models and is expected to launch another soon.
Honda, the third-largest automaker of Japan, entered the hybrid market in 1999 but its sales are now only about one-fifth of Toyota's.
Global sales of Honda's three hybrid models amounted to 47,821 in 2005, with some 90 percent sold in the United States, according to the company.