Keeping rivals Insight
Honda is backing price to sell its hybrid, writes PAUL GOVER in Paris IT WILL BE A SURPRISING PRICE. WE PLAN TO HAVE IT UNDER CIVIC HYBRID
ASUB-$ 30,000 starting price is the target for forthcoming Honda hybrid, the Insight. The new petrol-electric powerhouse is being set against the benchmark Toyota Prius and will lead a range of new Honda hybrids including the CR-Z twoseater and a small city car based on the Jazz.
Honda failed with its original futuristic- looking Insight, a cramped two-seater that was a lousy drive, but has gone all-out on the new Civic-sized five-door hatch.
The change in direction includes a price-driven strategy that will undercut the existing Civic hybrid, while using a similar IMA hybrid powertrain with a 1.3-litre petrol engine.
It will probably be about $8000 less than the Prius and a clear price leader in Australia.
‘‘We intend to have
in Australia before June next year,’’ Honda Australia managing director Yasuhide Mizuno said on the Honda stand at the Paris Motor Show.
‘‘Pricing? Slightly cheaper than the Civic hybrid and closer to $30,000. The timing, to be frank, has not been decided. We are discussing everything.
‘‘Cost-wise, it is very cheap. It will be a surprising price. We plan to have it under Civic hybrid.
‘‘We have to see the exchange rate, so fingers crossed.’’
Mizuno says the Federal Government’s green-car policies are helping with the introduction of cars such as the Insight.
‘‘We try to follow the Australian Government policy,’’ he says. ‘‘One of the trigger points is the Australian Government support for hybrids.’’
Honda is aiming for more than 200,000 Insight sales a year and has even bigger plans with the CR-Z and Jazz.
Mizuno believes Australia will see all of the Honda hybrids, though there is some doubt about the petrol-electric Accord aimed at the US. But timing and final details are yet to be decided and even the Insight program is only at the 70 per cent level for a local introduction.
The Insight in Paris is the subject of a lot of interest, with executives from rival companies — including Ford and General Motors — taking a close look. But there is also talk the styling is too close to the Prius.
This is dismissed by the Insight’s designer, Motoaki Minowa, who says the shape was essential for low drag.
‘‘The future of this type of car is to move closer to the perfect aerodynamic shape as a way of minimising drag and reducing fuel consumption,’’ he says.
Get the picture: the new petrol-electric Honda Insight five-door hatch on display at the Paris Motor Show.