Honda, which is about to shake up the world market for fuel economy cars with the new Insight hybrid, is making noise about its credentials as a petrol/electric car pioneer
It says that worldwide, its total hybrid sales since the 1999 introduction of the first-generation Insight, hit 300,000 earlier this month.
That original Insight (the silver car pictured) was an expensive, limited edition model, but the new one (the red car) which debuts in April is being pitched as the most affordable hybrid car on sale anywhere.
Toyota, the acknowledged big player in the petrol/electric market, is said to be considering continuing to build a lowered-spec version of the current Prius to counter the Insight.
Japanese reports suggest the new Insight will undercut the new-generation Prius – also due for imminent release – by several thousand dollars.
Honda says Japanese buyers ordered 10,000 new-model Insights in its first 11 days on sale – double the anticipated monthly order rate.
Honda sells hybrids in 40 countries around the world (including New Zealand) and expects to sell around 200,000 Insights globally each year
America has been a major player in Honda hybrid sales from the outset. Americans bought more than 14,000 of the original Insight, nudging on seven times the amount sold in Japan. Europeans bought just 392.
The Civic has been Honda’s most successful hybrid, with more than 255,000 sold – 191,493 in North America and 5500 in Asia/Oceania which includes New Zealand. Americans have also bought 28,471 US market-only Accord hybrids.
Honda NZ has said it will sell the new Insight here.